Best of: Becoming Michelle Obama
Jessica Williams: Hi--
Michelle Obama: Hey--
Phoebe Robinson: Michelle Obama…
JW: Wow… wow, Michelle Obama.
MO: Look at you guys.
JW: You look amazing.
MO: So do you, you both, you got your hair games on and --
JW: Thank you.
PR: I'm wearing my finest wig, I'll have you know.
MO: It's gorgeous.
PR: This is my Chaka Khan wig. And I liked it.
MO: It's a good one.
JW: And I'm going to say I don't have my Chaka Khan wig on, but I did brush my edges… It meant something, it meant something. Growing up my mom would always say like, make sure you brush your edges. You don't know if you gonna meet the president of the United States when you go outside. So, this is like, pretty close--
MO: You should call her and tell her--
JW: We did it, we did it.
MO: Edges brushed. Ready for prime time…
PR: Well, thanks for willing to sit down with us and chat. This feels like brunch.
MO: I've been wanting to talk to you guys.
JW: We've been wanting to speak to you, I don't know if you heard the word, but we're big fans.
MO: That's why we're here…
PR: Well, we absolutely loved the book. It was so good. I teared up a lot, it was just…
MO: I can't ... Your demographic, I'm interested.
JW: Oh yeah, our dem is going to love it. Well you know what, I feel like you just ... I hate the phrase keep it real, and especially for like, one black woman to say to two other black women, like keep it real. Like oh my goodness.
MO: It’s like, what does that mean?
JW: But you really like, keep it real, and it's really exciting and I feel like it was candid in a way that we didn't expect.
MO: That's good.
PR: There was so much in there that really sort of jumped out at us. You know, on the podcast we talk a lot about hair, our hair journeys and everything. And you know, you were the first black first lady… Everyone has opinions about black women's hair… You know, I remember when you wrote in the book where you wanted to cut your hair into bangs. You had to make sure that was okay. So what was your journey like having black woman's hair in such a public space?
MO: Well, you know, the first thing you've gotta worry about is how to keep it healthy. And that's, at the core of it, which people don't understand, it's like, getting your hair done every day will mess with your hair. You know? So a lot of it, my whole goal, was I want to end this with hair on my head. You know? I want to leave here with the hair I came with. And so now you've got to think about how do you do that, you know? What are you doing? And are you swimming? Are you working out? But this wasn't just a first lady journey. This is a black professional women's journey…
Because, I always work out, and I wasn't going to be one of those sisters who was like, well I can't sweat. You know? Because it's like, I'm going to be healthy, you know? So figuring out how much heat your hair can stand, and how to cover it, and how to protect it. So I've done a little bit of everything. Braids, weaves, wigs, extensions, and some of it depends on what is happening. You know? How many days am I going to have my hair done? You know? And how many days do I have off and down where I can let my hair breathe and be itself. And you know, I try not to put color on my hair.
MO: So if I'm going to color it, I'm going to color somebody else's hair, and then put that on my head… so that I'm not messing up. So that's what I, and I try to talk to my daughters about hair health because at the end we only have one set of hair follicles. You know, if you pull it out and stretch it out and burn it out, you know? You don't have nothing. I want to have some hair when I'm 70. 70, 80, 90, I want to have hair. I do what I want… So I have been open to every kind of thing. Which is what men in politics don't understand… So there would be a whole 'nother briefing for me when we'd do foreign trips or stuff like that. It's like okay, are we in the rain? Is it raining? Are there cobblestones? You know, is it hot? Is it cold? You know, I'd get these briefings and then all the other senior women who never get briefed in that way would be like calling, going, What are we doing tomorrow? And it's like, girl don't wear heels, because we're on cobblestones. And, we're going to be walking up a hill, and there's going to be grass… So, there's a whole 'nother women thing that no one talks about or writes about. I would talk about it a little bit, you know, that's why I talk about fashion. Because, so much of fashion was not just oh does it look cute, but am I hugging somebody? Because I'd be doing anything from greeting the Queen to doing double-dutch. I could do that in one day, right? So you gotta have hair and clothes that can transition from doing pushups on the floor with Bishop Tutu, which I did by the way. He challenged me to a pushup contest.
JW: Did you win?
PR: Yeah who won?
MO: I was not going to beat… Tutu. I was like dude, yes, I was trying to tell him please, please don't get on the floor. Because he was like 80 something. I was like, I don't want be in South Africa messing with Bishop Tutu because we're on the floor doing pushups.
JW: Yeah, he don't play.
MO: But, I had to go from pushups to playing soccer with kids, to going to meet some first lady. So you have to think about what is your hair doing. Are you sweating? Are you going to pin it up? Is it raining that day? You know, it's like, does the jacket allow you to do pushups? Well take it off if it doesn't. And it's like, what heels are you wearing? There's a whole other life to black hair, black wardrobe, in the public eye. I could go on.
JW: I love it, no, we love talking about hair. I have a few questions about that. Like how often would you say you do get your hair done a week or month?
MO: It depends on what the schedule is. You know, so here's what I would do up days. So I had… my staff who's here listening because it's like, up days… we would do everything in one day, because, that was the day I was getting my hair and makeup done. And, when I was down, it's like don't call me. Because, I'm not putting heat on my hair and we're not doing any of that. So, we would have up days and then we'd do everything. We'd fly to the moon, we'd come back because it's just like, she's got hair and makeup! Let's get her to do a tape this, sing this, dance this. So, we started scheduling some of the days around up and down days.
PR: And down days, would you wear sweat pants?
MO: … It's a down day, just don't freak out.
JW: Oh, I love a down day.
MO: Baseball cap, you know, that kind of stuff where I could workout, not worry about it, not have to put eyelashes on and all that sort of stuff. So, we structured days around sometimes hair and makeup. So, there was some periods where, like holidays, it was like every day. Because, we'd have to host parties every day. We'd open up the White House almost every day from Thanksgiving until like the 19th. Every day. December was the tough hair month. So, pull it back, give it a break. You know, so you wind up, as you know, you have a whole strategy for hair that I'm sure a lot of white women are sitting over there going, man I didn't know all that was going on.
PR: The learning is great. I remember when I shot a movie last summer and I was hanging out with somebody and they were like, oh let's go to the zoo. And, it was starting to rain and I'm like, well I have to take a cab because my hair's going to get wet. She's white, and she was like, what? You can't walk in the rain? I'm like, not with this hair honey.
MO: It's going to turn into something else.
JW: It's a different life.
PR: Exactly, and I'm like you're not ready for it.
MO: But see, one of the things your generation has done, and I'll commend you on that is, that you talk about stuff that people my age and older ... It's like, you didn't talk about your business. You didn't talk about anything. You didn't talk about your marriage. You didn't talk about your menopause. You didn't talk about your period. So, nobody knows anything.
PR: That's what I open with. Always… That state of my menstrual cycle. I'm like, this is where I'm at.
MO: Your generation does that in a way, and it frees up, so my girls they own all of what they do in a way that because they were brought up in a generation where it's like yeah, this is who I am. This is what I'm doing. So, I think it's, you know, it is a political freedom statement that you all are even talking about this and it gives the space for everybody to talk about it. And, figure out what works for them and that it is an effort. So that, you know, how are people going to understand it if we don't talk about it, you know?
JW: That's really nice of you to say, but it's also like, we wouldn't be able to do that if people like your generation didn't come before us and like just represent.
MO: Well we're just doing it. You're good…
PR: I want to talk for a second about The Global Girl's Alliance… You know, you are I think a role model for a lot of women. You've raised two very smart, intelligent daughters. And, education is such a huge part of your life, so can you tell us how your journey made you be like, Well I want to take this next step and start this alliance?
MO: Well, you know, it starts with looking back on those times when I was told that I couldn't do something before anybody even knew anything about me. You know, and I was just in a room the other day with a bunch of really powerful black women, you know. PhDs, and doctors, and doing a little bit of everything. And, we asked the question, who around the room was told at some point that they couldn't do something? And everybody raised their hand. And, these are, you know, people working at Ivy League colleges, and running foundations. I mean the fact that everyone around that room, and I think because it was not just black women, but women, were at some point told they couldn't do something, is astonishing. For all those accomplished women to have some point, somebody, what they saw in them was ‘you can't’. You know, and I've experienced that and I know that my story isn't my only story because I know when I got advantages in my neighborhood there were kids left behind who were just as smart and just as capable.
You know, we were never raised to think, you're special. You know, of course my parents loved us, but my mother was like, no there are a lot of other kids who were as smart as you, but the difference between success and failure when you're a woman, when you're a minority, is really slim. And, if you get the wrong message it sits with you the wrong way, if you don't have an advocate, if you don't have opportunity, if your culture, or if your family's culture around you, you know, puts you in a place that is not what you were meant to be then, you're sunk, you know? I know that pain. I know that frustration.
I mean, I just have people think, just imagine as smart as you both are, as creative and as funny, because to be funny means you have to be smart, there's something that was in you from the time you were four or three. If you talk to your parents they could see that in you. So, imagine that part of you that never got educated. How you would feel. How frustrated, you know? How angry you'd feel. And, to know that there are millions of girls around the world that are in that position, because talent and potential knows no country. It knows no race. It knows no gender. The mirror image of both of you is sitting somewhere in Uganda not being educated, right? Because of some cultural norm, or some close- mindedness, or some ignorance. And, how that girl feels, how you would feel in that situation. That's what I think about when I think about the fight for changing culture and changing stereotypes and putting different messages in girls' heads.
So, I started this work when I was First Lady, it was Let Girls Learn, and we had to shift it because that program belongs to the federal government. But I made a commitment to this issue, not just as First Lady, but as a human being that this was gonna be something that I'd work on. So it took us a year to kind of reshape it and to figure out what it could look like, what my voice needed to be in this arena, how to supplement but not supplant work that was already going on. And it took us a year to get to the point of the Global Girls Alliance where we're really using my leverage to fund work already happening on the ground because there are already great, young leaders and advocates who are working in Uganda, in India, on the ground who know how to address the programs in their community or address the issue. So I want to add resources and support to what they're doing and not be the one coming in, I've got the answer. No, no they have the answer. I can get the attention. So the alliance is the way that we're gonna make that happen.
JW: What do the resources and support look like?
MO: We're working with GoFundMe and there is now a page that you can go to because in your new age giving can be instant. People want to do their own research and be able to say let me decide how I want to give my money. Well, we do the work of sort of vetting programs around the world because you may care about the issue but not know where the programs are, right? You could be a Girl Scout troop down the street and you hear about the issue and it's like we have a bake sale. We want to give 100 dollars. To where? Well, we've done that work of finding programs around the world and vetting them. And so those programs go up on a GoFundMe page for the Global Girls Alliance and people can go and learn about the issue. They can learn about the program. They can learn about the girls participating and they can give. And that money goes directly to the organizations doing the work on the ground.
PR: That's amazing
JW: Yeah that's incredible.
MO: And then there's a network, so part of the alliance is networking all those advocates that are out there all over the world working on these issues, because what I've learned is that if you're working in some small village somewhere you think you're the only one struggling with the issue. Well, there are like a thousand other people in other parts of the world that are doing the same thing. We're creating an opportunity for these young leaders to go online, to learn, to get resources, to be trained, to talk to each other, to network. So, using the you know, internet, this newfangled thing…
JW: Have you ever heard of it?
MO: I have never heard of it. So that part of it, that leadership development part is really connects to all the work that we're doing at the Obama Foundation, which is we're really trying to find and build up this next generation of leaders and give them the support so that we can get out of the way and let them come and take their rightful place as leaders and advocates on issues all across the world. And then get to know each other so they don't feel like they're working in isolation.
PR: That's so cool.
JW: Yeah, that is.
PR:: Is it okay if we switch gears for a hot second?
MO: Yes, I can go on and on, you want to talk about my…
PR: I want to do something maybe like a less high brow question if we can?
MO: Yes, of course.
PR: Okay, so to open, I am a gassy person, now stay with me guys.
PR: And so… but you spent your time in the White House especially you were surrounded by like Secret Service…
MO: And yes there were times I had gas.
PR: And I was gonna ask you -- ... surrounded by people, you toot as well?
MO: No not in eight years. Once I became First Lady, gas left me… Michelle Obama: That's part of the…
PR: But you were constantly surrounded by people. So did you ever have like any sort of embarrassing sort of thing that happened and the Secret Service was there and you guys both sort of clocked it like we're not gonna talk about it but we both saw this happen.
MO: Oh God, yeah. There's a ton of stuff. And it's not just me, let me throw my staff under the bus because it's like yeah. Often times, yeah I had one aid, Kristin, if you're listening to this you know who you are. She was my personal assistant. She would come back to the plane after an event, like dirty, bloody, sweaty, it's like what happened to you? It's like I fell in a hole behind you… So not necessarily the gassy stuff, but definitely tripping, falling, stumbling. One time I was doing a big rally in I think it was Asheville, college campus, and my lead agent was behind me cause he's always behind me, so a lot of times I don't even see him. He's with me all day and we get in the car I'm like where you been? He was like, behind you. And my skirt blew up, the wind just blew it up. And luckily there wasn't like a back-stand, but he was there… and he stepped right over and I was like… I was like whoo-hoo, it's one of those flouncy little cute skirts. And then we had to rethink that. So even outdoors, that was another outfit learning… ... moment. It's like if it's windy, don't wear flouncy thing, wear a pencil skirt or wear some pants. So we started checking weather and wind.
PR: Yeah you don't need to Marilyn Monroe moment, we're good.
MO: But I think I spent eight years going if you see me giving a speech at a big thing, at a convention, what I'm thinking about as I'm walking to the podium is don't fall, don't trip, don’t trip, don't fall. I'm not thinking about the crowds, I'm not thinking about my/// like don't trip, don't be that meme.
JW: Don't do it.
MO: Get out of here in eight years without being a meme. And I did it, I think.
JW: Yeah, I do like, while it is upsetting personally, I do enjoy watching videos of people tripping sometimes. And I love when I see it and I wasn't supposed to see it.
MO: Yeah, when you hear yourself going oh!
MO: Then you watch it again.
JW: Another question for you. In your book you talk about the angry black woman stereotype. And how you dealt with that. And how often times people used that trope to sort of quantify and minimize I think expression from a lot of women of color. I was wondering, do you feel like you're in a place now where you can inhabit that anger healthily and express yourself?
MO: You know in all truthfulness, no. I think that labels and stereotypes are intended, they stick, you know? And if you've grown up sort of thinking watch your mouth, be careful, don't be too, as you see other people. You know, you want to talk about seeing some anger… there's a lot of anger being expressed these days and I just think man if I ever said that, those would be those bubble moments where I could end the presidency. If I said these three words, it would all be over. And those words are said every day, all day, these days. So, no, there's still a double standard.
And I have to be aware of what I say and how I say it because if you want to get a point across… if you're a woman and you're too angry people stop hearing the point. They don't hear you. And I'd love to be able to get in and emotionally, psychologically change that, but the truth is, is that people will hear things differently from me. I will do one thing and somebody else will do the exact same thing and it will be interpreted completely differently.
So I had to learn how to, how do I separate my anger from the point, from the goal?And that is what I try to mentor young people to do. It's like have the feeling, don't deny the feeling exists, I'm not gonna pretend like I'm not angry. But if I'm trying to move an issue, if my anger doesn't work to move the issue, then it's not helpful. And that's what going high means. Going high means you don't ignore it. Going high doesn't mean you don't acknowledge the fear, it's just like well if you're, what's your goal? And if the goal, and usually your goal isn't to just be angry. Barack has been good at that, that's his even keeled temper is not just cause he's calm and cool and not emotional. It's just like, you know, brother can't get too angry if he wants to move things forward. He doesn't have the leeway to solve problems with anger.
And that's remains true for women and minorities. So yeah, I still watch what I say and think about what I say because I don't get a second chance. I don't get the benefit of the doubt that maybe she had a bad day, or maybe she didn't mean what she said.
Every word I uttered on the campaign trail was picked apart and it was analyzed and oftentimes incorrectly. So I couldn't stop people from doing that, so I had to control my own message. I had to control my voice so that it wouldn't be misinterpreted. And I still do….
PR: Did you ever have a conversation about this with your daughters? Just being like this is what you're going to potentially encounter as you get older?
JW: Nice one.
PR: Thank you.
MO: With them, my philosophy is we'll talk about things when you need it. I try not to do too much and this, just everyone gather round. Although they will say, no there are many times there's a mom lecture about let me make a point.
JW: They're like listening to us right now rolling their eyes, they're like whatever.
MO: Mm-hmm. But in my mind, I think that I wait for them to approach me with the issue and then I give them calm and…
PR: You wake them up like this is what you need to know.
MO: Or now there's texting, it's like did you read this? But I'm trying to think of whether I've had that conversation with them yet, just in all honesty. And I don't know if I've had them be careful, because I don't want at this young age to stifle them, you know? I want them, as I say, what my parents did was that they saw that flame in me, and they kept it lit. And what's the balance of keeping that flame so that they have a voice and know how to advocate for themselves but learn how to do it effectively.
So, right now, I think I want to fan their flames. You know? I want to get them used to maybe overstepping a little bit cause sometimes with women you don't step up enough. You don't use your voice enough because you're told you’re mouthy or you’re bossy or be quiet or that's not cute. So we've already practiced girls and stifle. So for me, it's like I want to practice boldness, and then we can bring it back, you know?
JW: I think the really amazing part of the book is actually how frank and honest you are. And something that was really impressive and nice was when you wrote about trying to get pregnant and having a miscarriage. And I think that it happens all of the time and it's actually something that we don't speak about very often. Was the reason why you wanted to put it in the book to sort of normalize it? Or just share your experiences?
MO: Part of it, it's like that was the assignment, to tell my story. I'm the box checker, it's like, it's a memoir, you want to know about my life? Okay. This is it. The notion that I wouldn't share things about my life and then call it a memoir to me just seemed, like, disingenuous. That's really the truth of it because if you were my staff, you would have heard about my miscarriage five years ago because that's part of my conversation. If you're getting married, if you're doing this, well let's talk about this because this is how it works.
So for me… it was never a mystery for me. My friends, my young staffers know about IVF. If it comes up, I'm like I did that too. So that just tends to be, I think in my household we were taught to talk. And to talk about things and not to hide stuff. So, that was already in me. But besides that being my temperament, yes, I do believe that it's important for us to share the highs and the lows especially when you're a role model and people are looking at you. And they're going oh Michelle Obama, she doesn't have any problems. It's like oh no, no, no. Cause I don't want you to think that when you have a problem you're broken. I think that, that's the message. If I'm perfect, then when you're not, which is inevitable, you think you're failing. And it's like no, you're just living life. We're all struggling and stumbling and trying to figure that out. So I try to free young people up to know don't be afraid of stuff going wrong. That's all life is, is a bunch of stuff going wrong. So you're doing just fine.
And miscarriages and challenges with pregnancy, especially as more young women are going to college, they're postponing pregnancy, the biological clock is real. And no one told me that. When you start trying and then you go to the doctor and they're like well at 35 this is your egg production and I was like for everybody? This wasn't in Your Body, Yourselves… why didn't they tell you about like finite eggs? That seems like something people know, and you didn't tell us? That's wrong… So that was my thing, it's like I didn't realize that 35, there's a real drop off. So I do tell young women the biological clock is real. If you can afford it, save your eggs because it was real unless they fix that. But why would I keep that a secret from some other young people? Or knowing that miscarriages happen because half your period is a miscarriage somehow. Who knew that? That you're miscarrying. So not to gross out your viewers cause some people…
So I just don't want some young person struggling with stuff that happens to everybody and, going through that loneliness and that pain and that feeling of failure when this is how our bodies work. Again, I grew up with a household with my ... when I first got my first period, I announced it to everybody, "Dad, Craig, guess what happened?". Because that's how it was, it was an event, and you need to know about this, you know? I want my girls, encourage my daughters to talk to me about everything. I mean, I told them this when they were younger: Do not get your information from another 12-year-old. All of you are stupid. Love you, love your friends, but when you're 12 you don't know anything.
JW: No, you really don't.
MO: I have the answers, so if you wanna know about it, come to somebody where you get the right information. Don't be a 12 year old sitting around, trying to figure it out. You all know nothing. You know? So, if I'm not sharing with them, they won't share with me. And I want all young people to be sharing with each other or to find the people in their lives, the elders, the women who have been through it, and get some facts, but that means we gotta give up the information. We can't be so embarrassed or so pained that we can't educate.
PR: I think, should we do the rapid fire?
JW: Yeah we have to, I'm so excited.
PR: Can I call you Mishie?
MO: You can. Well, you know what, Mish.
PR: Mish, okay, I'll call you Mish.
MO: That's my nickname. My brother.
PR: Mish, OK.
JW: Let me just ... can I just throw out as well… Mich. Sorry I just wanted to.
MO: You did it, you did it. Like, you touched it…
PR: Just so like Jess said, you're open and honest and you always tell the truth, so we're going to do some rapid fire questions… And just off the top of the dog, you tell us. It's this or that rapid fire round.
JW: … Would you go to a Beyoncé concert or have brunch with Oprah?
MO: Okay, well that's just wrong.
JW: It is. These aren't easy.
MO: This or that, and you have to pick? Why can't I have both?
PR: Michelle, that's not…
JW: She could, she could though.
MO: Okay, wait. Yeah, but I could.
JW: Right, you could really do that. You would have the best day. You would invite us, obviously.
MO: Okay, so I pick the brunch, not because I don't love Beyoncé concerts. As you know, I go to all of them, and I love watching my girl perform. But I choose a conversation, you know? So, it's one of those….
JW: I'm like, choose, I'm writing it… "Choose a conversation."
MO: I would choose a conversation because a concert is cool, and you're feeling the vibe, but I want to be like, "So, Oprah, girl, what's going on? What's really happening?" and you can't do that at a concert. Concert, you're just, "Yeah! We're here. Look!" But I want to be like, Beyoncé how the kids, what's going on, how you feeling? That's more meaningful interaction.
PR: So brunch with Oprah?
PR: Okay. Next question.
MO: Am I supposed to answer rapid fire? I'm sorry.
PR: … The thought process is good, but this is a tough question. Answer carefully.
JW: Don't threaten her. You're not going to do anything.
PR: U2 or Billy Joel?
MO: Oh, U2.
MO: She just broke something… Phoebe just broke something on my desk… Just kidding…
JW: People listening, she did a’ ‘Yes’ because she was so excited about the U2 that she knocked over the Fiji water…
PR: But it's closed, so I didn't break anything.
MO: Bono is my boy. Bono is sweet, he's funny. I love him. He's hilarious. So yeah, that's an easy one.
JW: I got one for you. Harry Potter or Bilbo Baggins?
MO: What's the… what?...
JW: From Lord of the Rings. Okay….
MO: I'm so not…. Neither…. Only because. There is an answer to this. Harry Potter came of age when Malia was little, and so Barack and Malia read every Harry Potter book together, and they'd see the movie. That was his thing. So, in my mind, as a mother, if you don't want it to be your thing, and you want it to be his thing, you got to stay out of it. So, I, in my mind, I turn off of all Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, because I would wind up finishing that you know, that project. So, in my mind strategically as a mother, as a wife, I was like, "Mommy doesn't read that stuff. Daddy does."
JW: Aw. At least you knew… Okay, so you wouldn't know what your Hogwarts house would be at all? Do you know?
JW: Okay. Sorry, I tried. I did try.
MO: Sorry. Been to Hogwarts. We were on the set of Harry Potter.
JW: Which one? Where did you...
MO: Well, they shoot them all in London and it was for Sasha's tenth birthday. Malia was the big Harry Potter… what no. Whose birthday was it? They were little. And so they got invited to the Harry Potter set, where they, we sat and had lunch at the great table, and then all the cast came and J.K. came and they got to tour. So that was a big deal, even though I wasn't into it. I was like, "Ah! This is great!" So, I felt like Malia was pretty mad at me and Sasha, because we were so into it and she was like, "This is my thing and why are you acting like you care?" "Because it's cool." … So, J.K., still love you girl…
JW: No, it's great.
PR: We'll edit in post…
JW: Deep-dish pizza or New York style?
MO: Oh, see. That's a rookie question.
JW: Sorry, you know, I...
PR: We just wanted to give you some soft ones.
JW: Look, it was an honor to be dragged by you. I do appreciate it. It was an honor to get roasted, I appreciate it.
MO: Yeah, but that's too simple. Because, deep-dish is a Chicago and comes in all forms. So, is it deep-dish stuff? Which is a no. That's like pizza cake, which you don't do. You know, what kind of crust is it? Is it sort of a graham cracker crust is it a… ?
JW: Well, what's your ideal pizza? Let's talk about your perfect pizza…
MO: My favorite pizza place is Italian Fiesta Pizza, which is a South Side pizzeria. It's thin crust, it's, I don't even know if it's, you know, it's hood pizza.
JW: I love that. Hood pizza's tight.
MO: Yeah, whenever I go, it's neighborhood pizza.
PR: I love that.
MO: And it's the pizza we got when we got good report cards. That was our treat. Getting the Italian Fiesta.
JW: Is it like a thin slice? Or what's the slice like?
MO: It's a very thin, but squared. They cut it into squares.
MO: Not the long slices.
PR: All right. And then the last...
MO: I hope you're learning things about me.
JW: I am, I'm like writing things down…
PR: We're absorbing all of it.
MO: I've read her whole memoir, but the pizza question really gives me insight…
PR: Okay, so this is the last one… Barack's dad jeans, or the way he pronounces karaoke?
MO: How does he pronounce karaoke?
PR: Like that.
JW: Tell her how she...
MO: Where was this in?
PR: I think this was in a clip… He was at an event and he said karaoke, and I was like, Okay, Barack.
MO: Oh, so he pronounced it like he has some sense?
PR: Yes… So, that or his dad jeans, which I love.
MO: I'd pick his pronunciation, because it was ethnically correct, which probably tripped people out. It's like, that's not how you say it…
Uh-oh, you got the fingers…
PR: Do we have time for you read something really quickly to close off the episode?
MO: What is it?
PRL It's something I wrote on the way here. It's a poem I wrote about Bono. No--
MO: From my book? Okay. I'm going to read from my book. How can I have a conversation about the pizza and then it's like, no sorry. We'll be reading from my book.
For me, becoming isn't about arriving somewhere or achieving a certain aim. I see it instead as forward motion, a means of evolving. A way to reach continuously toward a better self. The journey doesn't end. I became a mother, but I still have a lot to learn from and give to my children. I became a wife, but I continue to adapt to and be humbled by what it means to truly love and make a life with another person. I have become, by certain measures, a person of power and yet there are moments still when I feel insecure or unheard. It's all a process, steps along a path. Becoming requires equal parts patience and rigor. Becoming is never giving up on the idea that there is more growing to be done.
JW: Thank you so much.
PR: That was incredible. Thank you Michelle.
MO: Thank you. I could talk to you all day.
PR: Cancel your plans for the rest of the day….
JW: Seriously, thank you so much.
MO: Thank you. That was fun.
JW: Really, really fun…