Michelle Obama for Vogue
Showing off her killer arms in a figure-flattering blue Reed Krakoff dress as well as those face-framing bangs that caused such a stir earlier this year, Michelle Obama doesn't look like your average mom on the cover of Vogue. And while she certainly isn’t, within the magazine’s pages she most definitely sounds like one, talking about life in the White House as daughters Malia and Sasha progress through adolescence – as well as helping her husband, President Barack Obama, to put his best foot forward.
"Our job is, first and foremost, to make sure our family is whole," says the FLOTUS in the April issue of the magazine. "You know, we have small kids; they’re growing every day. But I think we were both pretty straightforward when we said, ‘Our number-one priority is making sure that our family is whole.'"
Now that Malia is 14 and Sasha is 11, the way they go about that has changed. She talks about how things have become more "elastic" and "flexible" when it comes to the girls, so that they can experience normal aspects of adolescence whenever possible.
"There’s a lot of energy that goes into working with staff, working with [Secret Service] agents, working with friends’ parents to figure out how do we, you know, let these kids go to the party and have a sleepover and walk through the city on their own, go to the game," says the first lady. "Any parent knows that these are the times when you’re just a scheduler and chauffeur for your kids. And that doesn’t change for us. Ninety percent of our conversation is about these girls: What are they doing? And who’s got what practice? And what birthday party is coming up? And did we get a gift for this person? You know, I mean, it is endless and it gets to be pretty exhausting, and if you take your eye off the ball, that’s when their lives become inelastic.”
And despite her husband being, ya know, the leader of the free world, he plays a large role in the day-to-day lives of the girls.
"He’s doing it while still dealing with Syria and health care," she says. "He’s as up on every friend, every party, every relationship. ... And if you’re out at dinner every night, you miss those moments where you can check in and just figure them out when they’re ready to share with you.”
The 49-year-old says that when she becomes overwhelmed or stressed with what is certainly an overwhelming life, she channels her husband, who is known for his calm demeanor.
"I’ve learned that from my husband, that sort of, you know, ability to not get too high or too low with changes and bumps in the road … to do more breathing in and just going with it. I’m learning that every day," she says. As well as to "go and enjoy it and take it in and not take things too personally.”
And the first lady wasn’t the only Obama to participate in the Vogue interview. As for what the president has learned from his wife, he tells the mag himself: “What Michelle has done is to remind me every day of the virtues of order. Being on time. Hanging up your clothes. Being intentional about planning time with your kids. There’s no doubt I’m a better man having spent time with Michelle."
And he's certainly better dressed. The 51-year-old politico talks about how he only used to own two suits – and, needless to say, his wardrobe is much more polished now for meetings with other world leaders.
“Thank God,” Michelle says, as her husband laughs. “Now, let me tell you: This is the man who still boasts about, This khaki pair of pants I’ve had since I was 20. And I’m like, ‘You don’t want to brag about that.’ … The girls and I are always rooting when he wears, like, a stripe. They’re like, ‘Dad! Oh, you look so handsome. Oh, stripes! You go!”
“Michelle’s like Beyoncé in that song,” the president says. “ ‘Let me upgrade ya!’ She upgraded me.
As for her own style, which is often buzzed about whether she's wearing Reed Krakoff or her favorite, J.Crew.
“I always say that women should wear whatever makes them feel good about themselves," she shares. "That’s what I always try to do. ... I also believe that if you’re comfortable in your clothes it’s easy to connect with people and make them feel comfortable as well. In every interaction that I have with people, I always want to show them my most authentic self.”
Mission accomplished … at least in this interview.