First Lady Michelle Obama is preparing for the future while taking a look at the past seven years of triumphs and challenges. One of her victories includes spreading awareness about obesity in America, which has decreased in recent months.
“We knew when we came in that most people in this country didn’t view childhood obesity as a public health issue,” the first lady explains to Variety. “People just weren’t able to be critical of their own children. It’s hard to look inside on that issue and say, ‘There’s a problem.’ I experienced it as a mom. I saw it in my friends and family. So we knew if we were going to tackle this issue, we would have to change the cultural perspective on the issue as a whole.”
In changing the perspective, Mrs. Obama has managed to use popular culture and bits of laughter to her advantage. “While I am first lady, I wasn’t first lady my whole life,” she shares. “I’m a product of pop culture. I’m a consumer of pop culture, and I know what resonates with people. I know what they’ll get a chuckle out of and what they think is kind of silly. And whenever my team approaches me with ideas and concepts, we’re usually like, ‘Is this really funny? Are people going to understand it?'”
Over the past seven years, President and First Lady Obama have become model parents. Many take the couple’s rearing practices to heart and comment on mannerisms exhibited by Sasha and Malia. Although thankful for the recognition, Mrs. Obama tells media that her family’s bond is not revolutionary.
“We’re not new,” the first lady says. “We’re not special. People who come from intact families who are educated, who have values, who care for their kids, who raise their kids — if you don’t see that on TV, and you don’t live in communities with people like me, you never know who we are, and you can make and be susceptible to all sorts of assumptions and stereotypes and biases, based on nothing but what you see and hear on TV. So it becomes very important for the world to see different images of each other, so that, again, we can develop empathy and understanding.”
Read Michelle Obama’s full editorial cover in the latest edition of Variety.