There are certain words that have been used to describe Michelle Obama: Open. Authentic. Unapologetic.
It’s that last one that Oprah Winfrey zeroes in on during CBS’ hour-long broadcast, First Lady Michelle Obama Says Farewell to the White House: An Oprah Winfrey Special, Monday. “What allowed you to stand in your own truth and find your way?” she asks.
“Being a grown-up,” Obama replies.
“Let us not forget: I didn’t just wake up first lady,” she adds before firing off her credentials. “I mean, I went to law school, I practiced law, I worked for the city, I ran a nonprofit (and) I was an executive at a hospital. I’ve been in the world. I’ve worked in every sector, and you don’t do that without coming up against some stuff. You know, having your feelings hurt, having people say things about you that aren’t true. … Life hits you, so over the course of living, you learn how to protect yourself in it. You learn to take in what you need and get rid of the stuff that’s clearly not true.”
But that’s not to say that being reduced to a cheap trope — the “angry black woman” — didn’t faze her.
“That was one of those things that you just sort of think, ‘Dag, you don’t even know me,’ you know?” Obama said. “And then I thought, ‘OK, well, let me live my life out loud so that people can then see and then judge for themselves.”
It was that indomitable approach that made President Obama, who briefly slid into the interview room, respect FLOTUS even more.