- NAME: Michelle Obama
- OCCUPATION: Lawyer, U.S. First Lady
- BIRTH DATE: January 17, 1964 (Age: 49)
- EDUCATION: Whitney M. Young Magnet High School, Princeton University, Harvard Law School
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Chicago, Illinois
- AKA: Michelle Obama
- Full Name: Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama
- Originally: Michelle LaVaughn Robinson
- ZODIAC SIGN: Capricorn
Best Known For
Michelle Obama is a lawyer, Chicago city administrator and community outreach worker, as well as the wife of U.S. President Barack Obama and the 44th first lady.
Just before game one of the 2011 World Series, Michelle Obama became the first sitting First Lady to tweet on Twitter, when she sent out a message of support to military families. Video courtesy of the White House.
In the Spring of 2009, locale school children helped First Lady Michelle Obama plant the first White House garden since Eleanor Roosevelt's World War II Victory Garden. Video courtesy of the White House.
A short biography of Michelle Obama, who rose up from her tough Chicago neighborhood to become a Princeton and Harvard alumni with a successful career, wife of Barack Obama, and eventually the first lady of the United States.
First Lady Michelle Obama spoke about meeting Nelson Mandela and his legacy while visiting Soweto, South Africa. Video courtesy of The White House.
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Eventually, she relented, and the couple soon fell in love. Their first kiss took place outside of a Chicago shopping center—where a plaque featuring a photo of the couple kissing was installed more than two decades later, in August 2012.
After two years of dating, Barack proposed. "We were at a restaurant having dinner to celebrate the fact that he had finished the bar,
" Michelle remembers. "Then the waiter came over with the dessert and a tray. And there was the ring. And I was completely shocked." The couple married at Trinity United Church of Christ on October 3, 1992.
Michelle soon left her job to launch a career in public service, serving as an assistant to Mayor Daley and then as the assistant commissioner of planning and development for the City of Chicago.
In 1993, she became executive director for the Chicago office of Public Allies, a nonprofit leadership-training program that helped young adults develop skills for future careers in the public sector.
Michelle joined the University of Chicago in 1996 as associate dean of student services, developing the university’s first community-service program. She then worked for the University of Chicago Hospitals beginning in 2002, as executive director of community relations and external affairs.
In May 2005, she was appointed vice president for community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center, where she continued to work part-time until shortly before her husband's inauguration as president. She serves as a board member for the prestigious Chicago Council on Global Affairs.
Michelle Obama first caught the eye of a national audience while at her husband's side when he delivered a high-profile speech at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Barack Obama was elected to the U.S. Senate from Illinois that November.
In 2007, Michelle scaled back her own professional work to attend to family and campaign obligations during Obama's run for the Democratic presidential nomination. Michelle says she's made a "commitment to be away overnight only once a week—to campaign only two days a week and be home by the end of the second day" for their two daughters, Malia (born 1998) and Natasha, known as Sasha (2001). It has been reported that the Obama family has no nanny, and that the children are left with their grandmother, Marian, while their parents campaign. "I've never participated at this level in any of his campaigns," Michelle says. "I have usually chosen to just appear when necessary."
After her husband's political role pushed the Obama family into the spotlight, Michelle was publicly recognized for her steely, no-nonsense campaign style as well as her sense of fashion. In May of 2006, Michelle was featured in Essence magazine as one of "25 of the World's Most Inspiring Women." Then in September 2007, Michelle was included in 02138 magazine as number 58 in "The Harvard 100," a yearly list of the school's most influential alumni. She has also made the Vanity Fair best-dressed list two years in a row, as well as People magazine's 2008 best-dressed list.
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When the 19th Amendment was ratified, women were finally given the right to vote, and over the years many courageous women have stepped onto the national political stage as well. In 1916, Jeannette Rankin became the first woman elected to Congress and almost a century later Sonia Sotomayor became the first Latina woman to serve on the Supreme Court. And within the last two decades, the esteemable Hillary Clinton has served as First Lady, a New York senator and Secretary of State. These women, and many more, are setting the stage for the future of female leaders in Washington.
Visit Biography.com's Women's History group to explore more biographies, photos and videos of some the world's most fascinating women."
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The wives of U.S. presidents are often important American figures in their own right. Although they have no official responsibilities, first ladies are a highly visible part of U.S. government. The role of the first lady has evolved over the centuries, from hostess of the White House to advocates for public policy. Learn about the different causes first ladies like Eleanor Roosevelt, Betty Ford, Nancy Reagan, Hillary Clinton, and Michelle Obama have championed over the years, from literacy to addiction to health care reform.
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