Oprah Interviewed Michelle Obama! 10 Highlights


I was so excited to watch Oprah interview Michelle Obama last night that I signed up for a weeklong free trial with because I don’t have cable. Like, I had to enter my credit card number and if I forget to cancel it by next Monday I’m getting charged $5.99 or something (A.K.A these were the direst of straits). I did this for obvious reasons, the first being that Ops (that’s a long-o) always asks the hard-hitting shit and the second being Michelle Obama, just generally.

Now that I’m on the other side of the hour-long White House interview, I can safely say I learned a few things. The good news: most of them are uplifting. The bad news: none of them are groundbreaking. The weird news: one of them was the realization that I kind of missed the exhilaration of commercial breaks (No pausing! Time-sensitive! Don’t slip in your socks on your way to grab a sweatshirt from your room!)

Anyway, if you didn’t watch, here’s what I gleaned for you:

1. On election night, Michelle went to bed before knowing the results.

She told Oprah that she went to sleep and then found out the next morning “on her iPhone.” (…same though?)

What she hopes we take away from Trump’s win? “Words matter.”

2. She and Barack intend to ease the transition of power in whatever way they can.

“Barack and I are so supportive of this transition,” Michelle told Oprah. “It’s important for the health of the nation for whoever takes office. It wasn’t done for us, but we’re going high…If he succeeds, we succeed.”

Some other wisdom she shared vis-a-vis “going high,” particularly as it pertains to the future of our country and its institutions:

“If we want maturity, we have to be mature.”
“If we want a nation that feels hopeful, we have to speak in hopeful terms.”
“If we want smart leaders, we have to be smart voters.”
“We have to model what we want.”

3. A quick note on aesthetics.

Oprah’s aggressively rectangular glasses were batshit amazing, Michelle’s Preen dress was ridiculously pretty and there was a literal fire crackling in the background suggesting that they love us like children.

4. Michelle’s excited to be done with this job. 

She joked that her and Barack were “on the happy side of the White House.” As in: they’re getting the F out. Later, when Oprah asked Michelle what her biggest personal sacrifice was over these past years, Michelle said her anonymity. “There’s nowhere I can go in the world and just sit at a table and have a cup of coffee and observe the world.” She then indicated she was excited to get that back, at which point Oprah was essentially like, “I have some bad news for you….” and Michelle was like, “Yes I will!!!!!!” But with the most charming look of desperation on her face.

5. They discussed the legacy of openness and inclusion she brought to the White House.

“From the moment she moved in,” Oprah said. “First Lady Michelle Obama made it her mission to redefine the White House as a more inclusive house of the people.”

She ushered in a string of White House firsts: The first man to serve as social secretary, the first openly transgender employee, the first piece of art hung by a black woman, the first time the White House family dining room was opened to the public.

6. She got through the past eight years by “being a grown up.”

When Oprah, referencing the awesome responsibility of entering the White House, asked “What allowed you to stand in your truth and find your way?” Michelle deadpanned: “Being a grown up.” Which is a brilliant answer, considering our current political climate.

7. Sasha and Malia are essentially Katie Holmes in acclaimed 2004 film First Daughter.

Michelle said she was careful to track their wellbeing during difficult times, but sometimes they were just teenagers (like Katie!!!).

“Now in the teenage years, this is the time when kids start to bristle against all kinds of authority. Imagine being 18, 17, 16, 15 and you’ve got at least eight men with guns driving you around, walking into your parties, not letting you ride in your friends cars…There were those tensions for sure that we had to work through.”

So Katie. We should have seen this coming.

8. She has no intention to run for office.

This was marketed as a big cliffhanger (Oprah fans love a cliffhanger), but her answer was a very to-the-point no. “I don’t make stuff up. I’m not coy…It’s not something I would do.”

And then she low-key called out people for wanting it: “It also speaks to the fact that people don’t really understand how hard this is.”

9. Barack made a surprise cameo, was charming as F.

“We all knew she was brilliant and cute and strong and a great mom,” he told Ops. “But I think the way in which she blended purpose and policy with fun so that she was able to reach beyond Washington on her healthcare initiatives, on her military family work…was mastery.”

10. Michelle and Oprah made plans to go glamping.

I’m not going to call Oprah thirsty, but she basically cornered Michelle into agreeing to go glamping with her. It was like watching two people run into each other on the street and agree “to definitely grab a drink sometime,” but with much higher stakes, i.e. potentially millions of people holding them to it.

Smash that like button if you’d watch this in an eight-part series.

Photo via Getty Images

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman

Haley Nahman is the Features Director at Man Repeller.

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