This collection of seventeen essays is not intended to be a biography of Michelle Obama, many of which can be found here in LAPL’s catalog, rather this is an appreciation of who she is as a person, who also happened to be First Lady of the United States. The essays are from students and from working professionals in different fields: fashion, literature, arts and entertainment, social and political activists.
There is a commonality to their perceptions and expectations about the First Lady, as some recall being apprehensive or nervous visiting the White House, and meeting her. What comes through is that she is a loving, protective, supportive and encouraging mother; a professional lawyer who came from a working class family that was hard working; she is an enabler, especially for girls and women; and encourages healthful living through better eating and exercise. As a modern woman she made her own mark on style, fashion, entertaining, and on domestic and international events. She brought the professionalism of her working life to this position, but she also brought who she is as a person: focused, serious, at ease, dignified, outgoing, inclusive in her programs and her actions. There is also an unselfconscious, mischievous woman, which was evident in some of her public activities: mom-dancing with Jimmy Fallon, singing with James Corden, leading exercises on the White House lawn and encouraging others to participate.
Among those who wrote essays are the following: fashion designer Jason Wu, who was asked to dress the new First Lady, and submitted several sketches, not knowing until the inaugural ball that his dress was the one worn by Mrs.Obama; journalist and author Jon Meacham's insight, “... Mrs. Obama, a clear-eyed lawyer, found a way to withstand the scrutiny of the spotlight. To borrow a phrase from William Faulkner, she not only endured it: she prevailed over it."; for ninth-grader Laua Camacho, who lives in Red Hook, Brooklyn, Michelle Obama's modest early life is an inspiration to do well in school, and look to a future where a young girl can see endless possibilities.
Not only in 2016, but in years past women have campaigned to run for President of the United States. Most presidential wives may have supported their husbands' work, however it is doubtful that any woman has cajoled her husband into running for President so that she could be First Lady. In modern times it is a position that mostly has been a burden because every woman has been so intensively watched and scrutinized. Perhaps this First Lady was watched more than any others, because her husband was “the first” African American President. Michelle Obama proceeded to live her life, and led by example, which exemplifies a woman who lives by the courage of her convictions.