“Forever First Lady” Michelle Obama covers upcoming December/January issue of ESSENCE Magazine. All smiles and looking stunning in a natural hairstyle for the first time. She talks to ESSENCE about her days in the White House, how to find your own Barack—and what’s next for her.
ON HOW TO FIND YOUR OWN BARACK: “I think a lot of people don’t have a clear idea of what they should look for in a mate—and for a long time, I didn’t either…What drew me to Barack was that when I met him, he was already a fully formed individual. From our very first conversations, he showed me that he wasn’t afraid to express his fears and doubts, or that he might not have all the answers. He could handle someone with her own passions and goals, someone who had ideas of her own. He relished it, in fact. I liked that…”
ON HER HAPPIEST DAYS IN THE WHITE HOUSE: “Any day that I got to spend time with children was a good day. Sometimes if I was need of a pick-me-up, my staff would schedule an event with young people to give me a boost. Kids give me energy. They get me out of my own head and remind me about the things that are most important…”
HER ADVICE TO WOMEN ON BALANCING IT ALL: “When I was raising young children, I learned to lean on a group of my friends in Chicago, women who, like me, had jobs and partners and children who kept them moving every minute. We’d help one another in very concrete ways, like picking up each other’s kids for dance lessons or a birthday party or anything else that came up…Of course, we leaned on our husbands as well…But for me, there was something special—something vital, even—about sharing this experience with other women who were going through the same kinds of stresses and challenges that I was…”
ON WHAT’S NEXT FOR HER: “Since we left the White House, I’ve spend most of my time focusing on finishing this book. The book tour will keep me busy for a while, and then I’ll take some time to evaluate what’s next. I’m in no hurry. What I know is that public service is in my DNA, so I’m planning to find ways to keep being useful…I see myself always staying involved in efforts like that…”