The general feeling that the name Michelle Obama evokes in people around the world can be summarized with a single word: goals. Not only a gifted leader and an intelligent lawyer, Michelle is hilarious and down-to-earth, qualities that aren't normally associated with people in government. During every interview, she is quick with a joke, whether she's teasing her husband about his big ears or poking fun at Stephen Colbert in a blanket fort. Although, she's an incredible inspiration to young people and has been a force for change in the White House, she comes across as a regular girl next door, overflowing with kindness, good humour and a smile that could melt even the coldest of hearts (*cough* the entire incoming cabinet *cough*). Caring, witty and whip-smart, Michelle Obama has been the ultimate First Lady and has provided us with so many reasons to look up to her, but we rounded up the top 15 for your viewing pleasure (and as an excellent antidote for the feelings associated with the date January 20). Here are 15 times Michelle Obama was everyone's goals.
15 When she promoted her Let's Move! initiative by hilariously mom-dancing with Jimmy Fallon
Not only is she an amazing speaker, writer and lawyer, but Michelle Obama can move. I suppose this doesn't come as a surprise, given that she spearheaded the Let's Move! campaign, but still, witnessing her bust out and rock mom dance moves in this segment with Jimmy Fallon was a sight to behold. It's rare to see a First Lady busting a move, but Michelle Obama is not one to conform. She made the role of First Lady her own, while owning numerous dance floors in the process. In this video, Jimmy and Michelle promote Michelle's Let's Move! initiative by doing various dances typically seen of chaperoning moms at middle school sock hops. Somehow, Michelle even manages to make moves like the 'Getting A Bag From Your Collection Of Plastic Bags Under The Sink' (yes, apparently this is a dance move) look pretty darn cool. Is there anything this woman can't do?
14 When she rocked Carpool Karaoke with James Corden
In this video, Michelle Obama joins James Corden for a round of Carpool Karaoke. They rock out to "Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours" by Stevie Wonder and Beyoncé's "Single Ladies," even busting out a limited version (they were strapped into car seats, after all) of the iconic "Single Ladies" dance. Between songs, they delve into what Michelle is going to miss most about the White House, and she admits, ever the sweetheart, that it's the people: the staff that she's grown to know and love over the last eight years. After discussing Michelle's Let Girls Learn initiative, which promotes education for girls around the globe, they are joined by surprise guest Missy Elliott. Together, the three jam out to the very topically appropriate song "This Is For My Girls." Michelle Obama: education advocate, feminist, and damn-good karaoke singer. Goals, goals and goals.
13 When she promoted Let Girls Learn with Rory Gilmore
In this sweet video, Rory Gilmore (of Gilmore Girls fame, if you somehow are not a fan) brings Michelle a few (hundred) books for her to read on her upcoming plane trips. The First Lady was off to Liberia, Morocco and Spain as part of her Let Girls Learn initiative, planning to address the challenges that girls around the world face when getting an education. Rory and Michelle go on to discuss Michelle's Snapchat account, and how people use it to follow along with the First Lady's travels and get some behind-the-scenes action. A constant defender of the rights and potential of girls, Michelle is an amazing role model for young women. She also knows how to remain accessible to young audiences, keeping up-to-date with trends and social media to ensure that her message reaches as wide an audience as possible. Not only does she have inspirational ideas, she knows how to implement them and put them into action. What's the word I'm looking for? Oh, that's right. Goals!
12 When co-hosted The Ellen Degeneres Show and hit on Bradley Cooper (sort of)
In this interview, Michelle co-hosts with Ellen, and they attempt to take a selfie together (while doing duck lips, at Michelle's request. Could she be any cooler?). When they can't quite get the angle right, Ellen calls out to her go-to selfie-man, Bradley Cooper (the genius behind the record-breaking Oscar selfie), who emerges from backstage as a surprise for the audience. He sits down and the three discuss the White House, Bradley jumping right into a story about the time he attended a State Dinner. Apparently, the pants on his suit were a tad too tight, so, fearing the pants would rip, he decided to go commando. To this, Ellen quips, "Because if it should rip, it's much better to not have underwear on." And Michelle, reading every girl's mind, adds "For us. It's good for us! Right ladies?" Yes, Michelle. YES.
11 When she blew us all away at the 2016 Democratic National Convention
In this speech, Michelle passionately backed Hillary Clinton, while simultaneously reminding us of our roots, the greatness of America and basic human decency. "Don't let anyone ever tell you this country isn't great," she tells the audience, indirectly addressing the negative implication of Donald Trump's campaign slogan "Make America Great Again." She goes on to express her gratitude for the generations before, who kept fighting through slavery, segregation and oppression, to eventually gain the rights that allowed her, a black woman, to wake up in the White House every morning. To close, she pulled out that optimism, kindness and maturity we all love her for, urging people to be bigger than the worst of the rhetoric out there. "When they go low, we go high," she said, a phrase which would permeate the rest of campaign season.
10 When she matched wits with Stephen Colbert
In this hilarious interview, Michelle showed off her impressive impersonation skills and gave us a taste of her quick wits, going toe-to-toe with the comeback king himself, Stephen Colbert. Imitating her husband, she pokes fun at his dinner table habits, doing an impeccable impression of Barack Obama's deep voice and tendency to pause... a few... too many... times. She then moves on to discuss her faux pas as First Lady, which apparently consist of mispronouncing unobvious names (like Barack?). To close, Colbert asks her about her recent interview with Oprah, in which she called her husband 'swagalicious.' He inquires about how to achieve such 'swagaliciousness,' to which the First Lady responds, "If you don't know what swag is, Steve, you definitely don't have it." Oh, burn!
9 When she busted out some killer dance moves with Ellen
In this video, Ellen and Michelle bust a move to promote Michelle's Let's Move! initiative. For the fifth anniversary of the campaign, Michelle was asking people around the country to #GimmeFive ways they were staying healthy, and the challenge quickly became a social media fitness craze. People around the country jumped in, posting five ways they were staying fit, from Hugh Jackman doing five lunges to Beyoncé's #GimmeFive workout video. In honour of the anniversary, a special #GimmeFive dance routine was created to promote movement, which Ellen and Michelle rocked on Ellen's show, with the help of six professional dancers. Yet again, Michelle demonstrated that not only can she give speeches that move us to tears, write books that inspire people around the country and promote the rights of girls around the globe, she can also bust a move. #GimmeFive, Michelle!
8 When she encouraged girls to "Live out loud" with Oprah
In this farewell interview with Oprah, Michelle spoke out to girls around the globe, promoting self-confidence and ownership of talent. "We, as women, don't pat ourselves on the back," she said, "We're always sort of deferring." If we had to choose one thing Michelle represents (aside from goals, hope, health, eloquence, confidence... Okay, it's really hard to choose one), it would probably be female and minority strength. Her mere presence in the White House, let alone her incredible performance as First Lady, has broken boundaries and set new precedents. She has proven that, no matter what society might say or think about you, you can accomplish your dreams if you set your mind to it. "I want young girls out there to know... Live out loud!" Michelle encouraged. "What's in your brain is really useful. Do not hide it. Don't apologize for it."
7 When she gave college freshman advice with Seth Meyers
In this segment, Seth Meyers gives advice to college freshmen and surprises them with his mystery helper, the First Lady. The reactions of the students alone are worth watching the video for, but the advice of this duo is also pretty hilarious. Ranging from how to destress after courses to how often to call home, Michelle and Seth give some interesting recommendations to the freshmen, with Seth's distinctly less helpful than the First Lady's. Michelle encourages healthy meals, with something out of every food group, while Seth promotes the value of Skittle-only breakfasts, lunches and dinners, and encourages staying healthy through eating a variety of colours (taste the rainbow). In this bit, Michelle once again demonstrates her warmth, good humour and kindness, giving a big bear hug to each student as they leave and posing for a picture.
6 When she made a plea for hope and made us cry during her final official speech as First Lady
In this speech, Michelle reaffirmed every message of hope she has stood for during her time as First Lady. She discussed America's vast range of races and religions, promoting diversity as a strength, not a weakness. She then went on to encourage young people to focus on their work and get a good education. "If we work hard enough and believe in ourselves, then we can be whatever we dream, regardless of the limitations that others may place on us," she encouraged. "When people see us for who we truly are, maybe just maybe, they too will be inspired to rise to their best possible selves." Clearly getting emotional, she closed by promoting hope for a better future as the driving force that moves America forward. "Lead by example, with hope. Never fear."
5 When she advised girls not to take their educational opportunities for granted
In this video, Michelle Obama and Charlize Theron urge girls to live their lives with confidence and pursue higher education. Leading the Let Girls Learn initiative, Michelle's career as First Lady has been defined by her advocacy for education and its role in the world's future. She has fought to provide girls around the world with the opportunity to get an education, promoting school as the key to improving women's financial security, health and independence. In this panel, she admits that the cause is personal for her, and credits her education for many of her successes. She urges Americans not to take their educational opportunities for granted. "I want you to be that hungry to get your education, because it is going to be the key to your future," she argues.
4 When she surprised people recording goodbye messages to her on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon
In this touching video, Michelle Obama and Jimmy Fallon surprise people recording goodbye messages for the First Lady. From heartfelt appreciation for inspiring confidence in women to expressions of gratitude for promoting acts of kindness, the messages were wide-ranging and revealed the extent to which Michelle has been an inspiration for both Americans and people around the globe. Not only has she been an amazing First Lady, she has been an incredible role model, inspiring people young and old to strive for kindness, education and confidence, and to become the best possible versions of themselves. Many of the messages are clearly from the heart and extremely personal, and after each person finishes their thanks to the First Lady, Michelle herself surprises them, emerging from behind a curtain to wrap them in a warm hug and personally thank them for their kind words.
3 When she made us feel every emotion during her speech at the 2012 Democratic National Convention
In this video, Michelle makes us laugh, cry and love her all the more (if that's possible). She tells stories about her early days of dating Barack, when he would pick her up in a car so rusted out that she could see the pavement out of a hole in its side, and recalls the time when his most prized possession was a coffee table he found in a dumpster. She then expresses admiration for the incredible things Barack had to deal with during his presidency. "Being president doesn't change who you are. No, it reveals who you are," she says of Barack's term in the Oval Office. She then goes on to discuss Barack's healthcare reforms, speaking on his values and how he cared about the right choice for Americans, not the right political choice. In this speech, Michelle demonstrates how incredibly charismatic she is, able to perfectly balance humour and genuine passion to give speeches that not only resonate in the moment, but also for years to come.
2 When she showed how incredibly fit she is in this #GimmeFive work out video
Throughout her time as First Lady, Michelle has always been a passionate advocate for fitness and health, spearheading the Let's Move! initiative, which promotes healthier lifestyles. For the fifth anniversary of this program, Michelle issued a challenge to all Americans, asking them to #GimmeFive, and show her five ways they were staying healthy. As discussed above, the challenge became a bit of a social media trend, and she got responses from people across the country, including celebrities like Michael Strahan and Ricky Gervais. In this video, Michelle does her #GimmeFive, and shows that not only is she goals in terms of confidence, intelligence and eloquence, but she is also body goals. As she jumps rope, lifts weights and kicks the heck out of a punching bag, she shows how incredibly fit she really is, not only promoting health but also embodying it.
1 When she let out her inner child during a blanket fort conversation with Stephen Colbert
In this hilarious segment on The Late Show, Michelle Obama joins Stephen Colbert for a blanket fort conversation in which they each embrace their inner child over sleepover snacks (Twinkies for Stephen and baby carrots for Michelle). They discuss a range of topics, from where babies comes from (Michelle: You should ask a grownup... Because they get really flustered and start stuttering) to whether fruits and vegetables have feelings (Michelle: Gosh, I hope not. I eat way to many of them) to who they'd want to bring with them to a deserted islands (Stephen: the president, Michelle: Beyonce). Unafraid to let out her inner kid, Michelle is not only eloquent, charismatic and intelligent, but also relatable, knowing when to let loose a little and have some fun.