Michelle Obama choked up with emotion as she delivered her last speech as America‘s First Lady on Friday.
She was speaking at an event honouring the 2017 National School Counselor of the Year and State Counselors of the Year at the White House.
In an inspirational good-bye speech, days before Donald Trump assumed office, Michelle Obama said: “I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong.”
“So don’t be afraid. You hear me, young people? Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourself with a good education. Then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of you boundless promise. Lead by example with hope; never fear,” she said.
The outgoing First Lady further said: “If your family doesn’t have much money, I want you to remember that in this country, plenty of folks including me and my husband, we started out with very little.But with a lot of hard work and a good education anything is possible, even becoming President. That’s what the American dream is all about.”
Michelle almost teared up as she closed her speech by saying: “Being your First Lady has been the greatest honor of my life, and I hope I’ve made you proud.”
Here are 10 interesting facts about Michelle Obama that you might like to know:
1. Michelle likes to be fit and healthy. She exercises for 90 minutes, thrice a week – that includes treadmill, weight-lifting and kickboxing. Her morning dawns at 4.30 am.
2. She is a corporate lawyer but left her career to found an American nonprofit organization called Public Allies Chicago.
3. Though into fitness and healthy eating, Michelle has her guilty pleasures in french fries, unlike her fruits-eggs-bacon breakfast.
Valerie Jarrett, Michelle’s friend and Senior Advisor to the US President in Obama administration, told in a 2008 interview: “Whenever we’re on the road and we’ve had a long day … we’re looking for a way to have french fries and, if we’ve been really good, then we get to have a cheeseburger to go along with our french fries!”
4. Michelle met Barack Obama at her law firm where she was his adviser and he was a summer intern. She refused his proposal initially as she found the “conduct” inappropriate. However, on his persistence, Michelle agreed to go on a date with him only after he played basketball with her brother Craig Malcolm Robinson.
Speaking to Slate magazine, Robinson had revealed: “She asked me to play basketball with him. Not to see [how good a] player he was, but because she’d grown up hearing my dad and I say you can tell a lot about a guy on the basketball court.”
It was only after Robinson found “no personality flaws with respect to the basketball evaluation”, that Michelle started Barack Obama.
5. Despite her busy schedule and celebrity status, Michelle makes sure to hangout with her girlfriends as often as possible.
She once told a US daily: “Women energize me. My husband is terrific. He is my true partner. But it’s also important for us as women to find each other. And there’s that natural re-energizing that happens when women get together and we kind of hold each other up. But that takes time to invest in your friendships and to invest in yourself.”
6. She dislikes wearing tights as she finds them “too painful”.
7. When her younger daughter Sasha was four months, Michelle had to appear for an interview for an executive position at the University of Chicago Medical Center. But since she could not find a babysitter, she put her in a baby stroller and took her daughter with her at the interview.
8. On and off, she makes Shrimp with Linguine, which is Barack Obama’s favourite dish. In turn, during a TV interview, Michelle told she makes her husband do the dishes.
9. When she saw Barack Obama’s photo for the first time, Michelle opined that he had a big nose.
10. She loves playing the piano.
Sreya is based in Kolkata. She is a Senior Editor of Big Wire.