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Grace Under Pressure | A Tribute to the First Lady

Michelle Obama danced her way through her 52nd birthday – that’s right, 52nd – this year. We know we’re a little late, but, nevertheless, we thought we should acknowledge this momentous milestone and the impending end of the Obamas time in the White House.

Of course, this needed to be a celebration, and so, we thought: what better way to celebrate than by compiling a gallery of our favourite Michelle Obama moments? We spotted a few of these images in The Guardian recently and decided now would be as good a time as any to pay tribute to America’s wonderful and versatile First Lady. Following is a collection of photos spanning her early days with afroed Obama, right up to her recent uplifting speech on behalf of Hilary Clinton.

When we looked through these photos we could hardly believe the variety of things Michelle has accomplished during her husband’s twin terms in office. It struck us that only a person of inimitable kindness and boundless grace could flow so seamlessly between such moments of comedy, honesty and propriety. Then again, the Obamas aren’t your ordinary couple – at least in terms of their professional journey. At home, they seem to convey a deep compassion for each other and a sometimes playful chemistry, like two kids in love. It’s that same warmth and relatable passion that you see every day, all around you. In short, you believe the story they’ve told us and ‘acted out’ before our eyes, despite the heavy marketing that usually goes into packaging a president for public consumption. We think that’s why the Obamas have managed to keep in touch with the youth of today, stealing comedic late night shows up and down the country, and remained gracious enough to take their sceptred positions with a relaxed manner and an audacious abundance of hope.

When all is said and done, right or left, it has to be said that the Obamas have handled this supreme responsibility with dignity and integrity. Disagree? Well, let’s see if Trump makes it into the White House, then we’ll ask you again and you can judge it by comparison.


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Here the Obama-fro can be seen in full force, while the youthful couple is settling into marriage and sharing a Christmas in Hawaii, with Barack’s family.


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A long way from Hawaii – here the couple share Barack’s victory in the 2007 Illinois primary with their kids, whilst being showered by an explosion of blue and white confetti.


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Here the Obamas share an endearing intimate moment, whilst riding the freight elevator along with their suited staff and secret service agents. As you can tell be Barack’s impeccable tux, they’re on their way to one of the inaugural balls in Washington DC.


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Everyone remembers the moment when Beyoncé sang ‘At Last’ and the Obamas shared their first dance onstage at the inauguration ball. Here’s an image of that beautiful dance taken at the Washington Convention Centre in 2009.


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A force of nature, Michelle Obama flexes her guns, taking a break from her usual refined elegance at the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, 2009. This was her response to a joke about her propensity for always choosing sleeveless dresses. We especially enjoyed the reaction of the moustachioed guy behind her.


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We chose this image of Michelle with her hair swept back and regal statement earrings dangling from her ears. We love this one because of how beautiful she looks, alongside Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the 2009 White House dinner.


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Michele busts a few moves and impresses a troupe of school children at a cultural show in Mumbai, whilst on a visit to India in 2010.


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This is a very touching moment – if you’ll pardon the pun. During a visit to England in 2009, Michelle famously wrapped her arm around the Queen, overcoming an archaic taboo, during a reception at Buckingham Palace.


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Michelle shares a quiet moment with the former president and champion of the anti-apartheid movement, Nelson Mandela, during her 2011 visit to South Africa.


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Celebrating the anniversary of Obama’s Let’s Move! Project Michele turns the East Room of the White House into a playground, whilst racing Jimmy Fallon in a potato sack.


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In 2012, Michelle reaches up and touches the iconic Hokie Stone before stepping out onto the field, surrounded by the packed Lane Stadium, in Blacksburg, Virginia. We love how happy she looks in this picture, despite the audience behind her and the seemingly ominous prospect of standing in front of them to give a speech.


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Again in 2012, the Obamas share a solemn moment, looking out over the 9/11 memorial in New York.


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“Well, during his time in office, I think Barack has answered those questions with the example he set by going high when they go low.” – This year in 2016, Michelle gave a rousing speech at the Democratic National Convention, showing her support for Hilary Clinton. Here she is, stealing the show.


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Finally, Michelle gives us an example of how the Obamas modernised the presidency and kept in touch with the younger generation. Here you see her posing for a selfie with the Obama family dog, Bo, whilst playing together on the pristine lawn of the White House.

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