What we learnt from Michelle Obama: ‘World leaders aren’t that ...

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What we learnt from Michelle Obama: ‘World leaders aren’t that smart’

Twelve things you didn't know about the former first lady and the world around her

Anita Singh


Former US first lady Michelle Obama gave a talk in London earlier this week to promote her bestselling memoir, Becoming. Here are 12 things you would know about her only if you attended her speech. Meghan Markle is a fan
The Duchess of Sussex slipped into the audience to listen to the former first lady’s talk and had a private audience with her afterwards. Sadly, it was not over dinner at Amal and George Clooney’s, as had previously been reported.
Michelle gets the fear about walking in heels
“Trying not to fall is a major thing that I think about in public. When I come on stage I’m like: ‘Don’t fall, don’t fall …’ One of my primary goals for eight years was to never become a meme.”
Marriage to Barack is no fairytale
“Many people look at my marriage as #relationshipgoals. ‘We want to be like Michelle and Barack.’ OK, let me tell you about Michelle and Barack … When I talk to young people just starting to get married, I’m like, there are going to be huge chunks of time where you want to push him out the window.”
Barack fangirls over the Queen
“Barack is so incredibly fond of Her Majesty. I won’t go into his fangirling, but I think it’s because she reminds him of grandmother, Toot [Madelyn Dunham, who died in 2008]. She’s smart and funny and honest in ways that are just like Toot. So yes, he is a huge fan.”
Jon Snow fangirls over Michelle Obama
The top UK newsreader livetweeted the event to his 1.3 million followers. Marian Keyes, Dame Kelly Holmes and Malorie Blackman were also in the audience, along with 300 schoolchildren invited to the event. She’s a hugger
Interviewer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie? Greeted with a hug. The two sign language interpreters on stage? Thanked with a hug. This was after Michelle spent 20 minutes dispensing hugs to starstruck pupils at Elizabeth Garrett Anderson School in north London earlier in the day.
The people who run the world? They’re not that smart
“Here’s the secret. I have been at probably every powerful table that you can think of. I’ve served on corporate boards, I’ve been at G summits, I’ve sat in at the UN. They’re not that smart. There’s a lot of things that folks are doing to keep their seats because they don’t want to share power. And what better way to do it than to make you think you don’t belong?”
She had to inform the White House when she got a fringe
“I didn’t want to be controlled by the Wet Wing. So my team told them about the bangs, but not because I wanted them to. I was like, it’s none of their business how I cut my hair. But that was the nature of things.”
Her advice to parents of girls? Let them be feisty
“My parents saw this flame in me. Instead of doing what we often do to girls who are feisty, which is to try to put that flame out, to douse it because we’re worried about them not being ladylike or being bossy, they found a way to keep that flame lit.”
She won’t wear designers with a bad attitude
“My primary principle for fashion is that I have to feel good in what I wear. I have to be happy about it, and I also have to like the people that I’m working with. So designers who have an attitude, who are difficult, who don’t bring a spirit of joy and empathy and openness – if I hear that somebody treats their staff badly I won’t put on another shoe by that person.”
The Obamas have very different personalities
“I’m a box checker. He’s a swerver. He’s swerving all over the place. His whole life is a swerve.”
She loves peanut butter almost as much as she loves her husband
“Peanut butter and I have had a close relationship for the last 50 years or so. It’s telling what kind of child I was because I had parents who allowed me to debate a point to its natural conclusion and I argued that peanuts had protein and it should suffice as a breakfast. And so I ate nothing but peanut butter and jelly for breakfast until I was about 20 years old.” She now has granola for breakfast.
– © Telegraph Media Group Limited

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