With a #1 New York Times Bestseller and two successful terms as First Lady under her belt, there really is little to dislike about Michele Obama. (1) She is a woman rarely seen without a smile and has a brilliant family. However, her status as a beloved American figure skyrocketed to international iconoclast in July 2019 when she was named the world’s most admired woman by YouGov. (2)
YouGov annually conducts a global survey (spanning across 41 countries) to determine the planet’s most admired people. Typically, the survey reveals a list of admired women working in entertainment as singers, actresses, and TV presenters. (2) Yet women with strong political and humanitarian ties have also made the list, including Angelina Jolie, Queen Elizabeth II, Malala Yousafzai, Melania Trump, and Hillary Clinton. (2, 3)
Though the YouGov survey does not reveal why we admire these women or why we admire any one over another, it’s easy to see from Michele’s biggest accomplishments why she clenched this year’s top spot. After all, she did work tirelessly to diminish obesity, improve education, expand services to veterans, and mentor young girls throughout her husband’s presidency. (4) But are there other subtleties that play into our admiration of Mrs. Obama? What, in 2019, has sent her admiration ratings into an all-time high? Playing on the idea that it’s the ‘little things’ we love about Michele, let’s discuss the top four understated reasons for admiring Michele Obama
1. She Hustled to Achieve In The Ivy League
In her autobiography Becoming, Michele shares the moment a Princeton educator told her she wasn’t in the right place. Instead of letting these words bring her down, Michele came back stronger in her studies and today is the only First Lady in American history to hold two Ivy League degrees. (4, 5)
2. Thigh-High Sparkling Gold Balenciaga Boots
Since leaving the White House, Michele Obama’s personal style has continued to evolve, moving from relaxed chic to edgy. Such a fashion transition may sound risky, but the public has loved every minute of this brighter, bolder, and modern Michele. The most robust evidence of this fashion transition is the thigh-high sparkling gold Balenciaga boots wore by Michele during a book tour stop at the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn. She continues to command the praise of fashion experts everywhere for this bright, eye-catching look. (6)
3. She Said ‘No’ To Running For President
Despite her political experience and all the hubbub from the democratic party, Michele Obama has remained steadfast in saying ‘no’ to being a presidential candidate. She writes in her book, “The political world was no place for good people”, and “The appeal of standing in an open gym or high school auditorium to hear lofty promises and platitudes never made much sense to me.” (5) Why do we love her for this? She is unapologetically being herself. She is clearly saying to her fans that yes, there is adversity and strife in this country, but that she is going to change it on her own terms and in her own way.
4. She Makes Herself, And Her Husband, Look Good
Women in politics often get heat for making themselves ‘small’ to let their husbands shine. Not so for Michele who, at times during his presidency, maintained a higher public approval rating than her husband. (4) She has had her husband’s back through all the highs and lows and allowed the public to see a softer side of the past-president via public displays of affection.
With Barack Obama also making it to the 2019 YouGov list as the 2nd most admired man in the world, there is no telling what this dream couple will do and what we will admire about them next!