Michelle Obama's 10 Best Speeches As First Lady, For When You Need Some Inspiration
Having a powerful, strong, passionate female role model is something every little girl needs, and for the past eight years, girls around the world have been blessed with one of history's best female role models as she stood and fought proudly next to her husband while he led the free world. Michelle Obama has been showing girls and women everywhere that their goals are important, their dreams achievable, and their presence wanted, all while being smart, kind, determined, and basically just a badass herself at the same time. She has launched important initiatives such as Let Girls Lean, Let's Move, and Reach Higher — all aimed at providing the best opportunities to youth around the world. The first lady has also become well-known for her ardent speeches, many of which center on ideals and morals that mean the most to her, and picking ten of Michelle Obama's best speeches from over the years wasn't easy, to say the least.
But with Jan. 20 quickly approaching, the Obamas' time in the White House is coming to an end. The current first family has been a source of hope and love for many Americans during President Obama's two terms, and to say that they'll merely be missed would be a vast understatement. The Obamas as a family have come to represent class, grace, brains, and more to millions across the nation, and seeing them leave the White House will likely be tough. Mrs. Obama, with her sky-high goals and "Go high" motto, in particular, will be hard to part with.
So to honor the first lady and her family, I've pulled together this list of Mrs. Obama's finest speeches she's given during her time as first lady. Prepare to be inspired (and maybe grab a box of tissues):
When She Made Everyone Cry At Maya Angelou's Memorial
The passing of Maya Angelou was a heartache felt around the nation, as the famed poet and activist had brought to much hope to so many. Mrs. Obama spoke at the memorial, and though she was mourning, was still able to leave us all in awe with some sag advice. "We are each wonderfully made, intricately woven, and put on this earth for a purpose far greater than we could ever imagine," she said.
When She Empowered Us All With Her International Women's Day Speech
Michelle Obama has made her feminist beliefs known, in no uncertain terms. And on International Women's Day, her firm stances were on full display, in a beautiful way. Obama spoke of the inequality girls and women across the world face, and the importance of fighting back. "We're in this together," she said, speaking of her Let Girls Learn project. "These girls are our girls."
Her Mic-Drop-Worthy 2016 Democratic National Convention Speech
In what is perhaps her most well-known speech to date, the first lady spoke urgently and passionately of her love of her daughters, the morals guiding her and President Obama through their time in D.C., and the kind of leader this country needs. Of course, in light of the election, this speech becomes more tear-inducing than it originally was, but it is still a battle cry, a fight song, as Mrs. Obama utters her famous "when they go low, we go high!"
Her Moving & Honest Speech At The 2012 DNC
While Barack Obama was running for reelection in 2012, wife Michelle was taking to the campaign trails right along with him, speaking in the way only she can. At the 2012 DNC, the first lady brought many to tears with tales of the couple's early life together, in a rusted-out car, and their short-lived date nights. Now an ominous statement, she says "being president doesn't change who you are, no, it reveals it."
When She Got Real On Hillary Clinton's Campaign Trail
We all painfully remember PussyGate. The day our now-president-elect made very clear where he stands on women's rights and sexual assault. When he laughed it off and claimed he was joking. Well, Michelle Obama was not one to let this slide, as she delivered a powerful speech criticizing Trump's language and treatment towards women. "I can't stop thinking about this," she said, during a campaign trail speech in October last year. "It has shaken me to my core in a way I could have not predicted."
Her Speech At Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit
Even in a room surrounded by privileged, well-educated, powerful women, Mrs. Obama never forgets those who have less or fewer opportunities than their peers. At Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit in October 2015, the first lady spoke strongly about the inequality girls in other countries face, and their fight for education. "Remember how it felt to be sitting in a classroom, knowing full well, we were smarter than the boys," she joked.
Mrs. Obama's Poignant Speech To Schoolgirls At Oxford
Back in 2011, Mrs. Obama visited Oxford University to speak to students from the Elizabeth Garrett Anderson Language College (EGA). While this speech is much more subdued than some of her more recent remarks, the first lady still managed to make her point clear, and drill-in her call to action. "You don't have to wait until you've mad it big time," she said to the students about reaching out to other young girls. "You can start right now."
When She Got Honest About Confidence & Self-Respect
Okay, so this isn't exactly a speech, but it's still Michelle Obama being a total badass and dropping major words of wisdom. The first lady, along with Black-ish star Yara Shahidi spoke on the power of education in everything they do during a panel for Glamour magazine's “A Brighter Future: A Global Conversation on Girls’ Education" panel in October last year. Mrs. Obama also spoke about claiming insults and harmful words as words of encouragement, saying "aggressive is assertive, loud is confidence."
Her Powerful Commencement Address At The City College Of New York
In the height of the presidential campaign this past election cycle, Mrs. Obama took some time out to give a commencement address at CCNY in June, and didn't fail to also deliver honesty, inspiration, and sass. At her last commencement address as first lady, Mrs. Obama also took the opportunity to lay into Trump... just a little bit. "In America, we don't give in to our fears, we don't build up walls to keep people out because we know that our greatness has always depended on contributions from people who were born elsewhere."
Her Eloquent Address At The Young African Women Leaders Forum
Again, while not all of the first lady's speeches are as loud and exciting as others, they are never any less important. At the Young African Women Leaders forum, sponsored by the United States in June 2011, Mrs. Obama spoke of equality, and the fight for justice. "All of you," she said to the young black women in the audience, "are the heirs of that blood, sweat, sacrifice and love. What will you make of that inheritance?"
The Speech That Started It All
"All of us driven by a simple belief that the world as it is just won't do — that we have an obligation to fight for the world as it should be," Mrs. Obama said, during her address at the 2008 Democratic National Convention, prior to her husband's election to the White House. It was powerful in its simplicity and her words spoke for themselves:
That is the thread that connects our hearts. That is the thread that runs through my journey and Barack's journey and so many other improbable journeys that have brought us here tonight, where the current of history meets this new tide of hope.
That is why I love this country.
Oh, FLOTUS. How we'll miss you.