Money & Power
13 Crucial Lessons From Michelle Obama's Farewell Talk With Oprah
Two of the most inspiring people of all time sit down face to face.
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First Lady Michelle Obama sat down with Oprah Winfrey for her final farewell interview at the White House. Here are just a few of the biggest takeaways and standout revelations from the CBS interview.

1. This election was just as tough for her as it was for many Americans. The First Lady hit the campaign trail hard in support of Hillary Clinton this year, but as she explained to Oprah, this election was just as hard for her as a citizen as it was for her as First Lady. In the interview, Obama revealed she had gone to bed before the results of the election were called, only to wake up and find out Donald Trump had won when she checked her phone in the morning.

"This past election was challenging for me as a citizen," she said. "To watch and experience. It was painful."

2. Racism is a reflection of people being racist more than it is a reflection on people of color. Throughout her time as First Lady, and even when her husband was first campaigning back in 2007, Obama has been subjected to countless racist remarks and unforgivable levels of disrespect. But while at first, these remarks took her aback, she ultimately realized that what these horrific trolls were saying wasn't in any way a reflection on her, but more a reflection on them.


"You know, color, wealth — these things that don't matter still play too much of a role in how we see one other," she said. "And it's sad, because the things that least define us as people is the color of our skin, it's the size of our bank account. None of that matters."

"It's our values," she continued. "It's how we live our lives. You can't tell that from somebody's race, somebody's religion. People have to act it out. They have to live those lives. So that was the blow back, and then I thought, OK, well, let me live my life out loud so that people can then see and judge for themselves. And that's what I want young people to do. Just live your life."

3. The Obamas really are as loving and commited as they seem. In the middle of the interview, President Barack Obama popped in as a surprise guest, gushing about his wife and once against proving what an incredible power couple they are.

"We all knew she was brilliant and cute and strong and a great mom," Obama said of his wife. "But I think the way she blended purpose and policy with fun so that she was able to reach beyond Washington, on her health care initiative and her military family work, it was masterful."

4. The First Lady has no intentions of running for office. Bursting bubbles and breaking hearts everywhere, Obama reiterated that she has no intentions of running for president in 2020 or beyond, both because of what a difficult job it is and because she wouldn't want to put her family through it again.

"The next family that comes in here, every person in that family — every child, every grandchild — their lives will be turned upside down in a way that no American really understands," she said. "And it's not for us to complain about it, so you don't hear complaints, but it is a truth, an actuality, that there is a weight to it."

"People don't really understand how hard this is," she continued. "And it's not something that you cavalierly just sort of ask a family to do again."

5. Her mother will be leaving D.C. to go back to Chicago as soon as they're out of office. While both the President and First Lady were vague about where they plan to move after Sasha finishes high school, the First Lady made it very clear that at least one member of the family would be peacing out as quickly as possible: her mother.

"She's going back to Chicago — she's, like, 'Bye, Felicia,'" she said. "Grandma is done."

6. Malia and Sasha are both going through a rebellious teen phase. Yes, even members of the First Family aren't immune to teenage hormones, and given that most teens "start to bristle against all kinds of authority" at some point, it makes sense that growing up in the White House might have its own set of problems. Luckily, the First Lady acknowledged that they've mostly been able to work through any "tensions."

"Imagine being 18, 17, 16, 15, and you've got at least eight men with guns driving you around," she said. "Walking into your parties. You know, not letting you ride in friends' cars. I mean, there were those tensions, for sure, that we had to sort of work through."

7. In her opinion, her greatest achievement has been setting an example for young women everywhere — especially young black women. During her interview, she discussed how proud she is that so many young women got to see "somebody educated, strong [and] outspoken ... on a regular basis" during her time as First Lady. 

8. Sometimes you have to brush off the hate if you want to move forward. In order to get through her everyday life, the First Lady often just has to put on her blockers and power through — incredible advice for even us plebeians.

9. Words matter. Throughout the interview, the First Lady continuously reiterated how much words matter — especially for kids.

"Words matter," she said. "What we say, how we behave — we are modeling to the next generation."

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