14 Things You Didn't Know About Michelle Obama

14 Things You Didn't Know About Michelle Obama

In honor of her 50th birthday, here are 14 things you might not have known about the First Lady. 

1. She's one of only three First Ladies with a graduate degree

Michelle Obama showed how bright she was at an early age, successfully skipping second grade before entering a gifted program in sixth grade. She graduated from a magnet high school as salutatorian before going on to Princeton University and then Harvard Law. She is one of only three first ladies to have a graduate degree (Hillary Clinton also has a J.D., while Laura Bush has a Masters).  

2. Her dissertation was called "Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community”

... and it's pretty interesting. You can read it here

3. She was Barack’s superior when they met

Michelle and Barack met at Sidley and Austin, a corporate law firm in Chicago, when she was 25 and finishing up her first year as an associate. That summer, she was assigned a 27-year-old summer associate to mentor: her future husband. While she initially declined invitations to go out on a date, saying it would be inappropriate, she eventually caved. The rest is history. 

4. She left corporate law to work in the public sector

After working at Sidley and Austin, she went on to found Public Allies Chicago in 1993, an AmeriCorps national service program that provided training to young people pursuing careers in the public sector, before eventually working for the University of Chicago's University Medical Center. 

5. She took her infant child to a job interview

When Sasha, now 12, was four-months-old, Obama was offered an interview for an executive position at the University of Chicago Medical Center — only, she couldn't find a babysitter. So, she packed the newborn up, stuck her in a stroller and took her along to the interview, where Sasha slept through the whole thing. It's a good think the University of Chicago was as progressive as she hoped they would be. She got the job. 

6. She doles out honest advice

At the Democratic National Convention in 2004, her husband was about to go up on stage and give the speech that threw him into the national spotlight. Her advice? "Just don't screw it up, buddy!" 

7. She writes her own speeches

The First Lady herself wrote the stump speeches she delivered on the campaign trail and her 2012 Democratic Convention speech. Not only that, but her speeches were good. Even conservative columnist John Podhoretz described her convention speech as a "total knockout."

8. She is tied for tallest first lady

At 5'11", she is tied with Eleanor Roosevelt for tallest First Lady. 

9. She loves old sitcoms

Michelle Obama can't get enough of The Brady Bunch. In a segment for Jay Leno, she was able to name all six of the Brady kids' names, and even their cousin Oliver. She has also mentioned on several occasions that she loves The Dick Van Dyke Show, prompting a note from Van Dyke himself that read "Thank you for making me famous all over again."

10. She is the 'hottest' first lady

Michelle Obama is the only first lady to be ranked on Maxim's "Hot 100" List. In 2009, she came in at No. 93, beating out such beautiful women as Padma Lakshmi (!) and Olivia Munn. And she is notably one of the few women in the spread who isn't basically nude. Instead, she appears in one of her signature, sleeveless dresses. 

11. She gave up $212,000 a year to be First Lady

Michelle Obama gave up her swanky job as VP at UChicago's hospital to help her husband campaign in 2008. When she left, the Harvard-educated power mom was making $212,000 a year. 

12. Her favorite food is French fries

You might not expect it given her penchant for working out and asking everyone to stay in shape, but the First Lady's favorite snack is French fries. Valerie Jarrett, senior adviser to the White House and close family friend told CBS about the First Lady's cravings, saying, "Whenever we're on the road and we've had a long day, we're looking for a way to have French fries and, if we've been really good, then we get to have a cheeseburger to go along with our French fries!"

13. Her Secret Service codename is "Renaissance"

Perhaps because of her many talents? 

14. If she meets you, she’ll probably hug you.

... especially if you are a kid. She told Time she thinks that touching breaks down barriers between people, saying, "That’s why I'm so touchy with kids, because I think if I touch them and I hug them, that they'll see that it's real, and then they'll relax and breathe and actually kind of enjoy the time and make use of it."

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Jessica Huseman

Jessica wrote for Mic.com until Feb. 2014. Now she's an investigative reporter at The Teacher Project, writing articles on K12 education for Slate.com. Her work has appeared in ProPublica, The Atlantic, Slate, The Dallas Morning News and Chalkbeat and more. Find her contact info and her recent work at www.jessicalhuseman.com.

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