5 Pieces Of Monday Motivation We Took From Michelle Obama’s Becoming Tour Last Night

'The presidency doesn't change who you are, it reveals who you are'

Michelle Obama Becoming London Tour

by Emma Rowley |

On Sunday night Michelle Obama spoke to a packed O2 arena in London – a 15,000-strong crowd, according to her interviewer Stephen Colbert. Mrs O, now on the European leg of her book tour for her autobiography Becoming, covered everything from date nights with Barack (‘sitting down at dinner together and just talking’) to the London exercise class she snuck in while here (‘Orangetheory in Islington’, a tough HIIT workout).

Here's everything we took away, for your Monday motivation…

1. Hold onto hope

Asked for her advice to the UK at a time of division, Michelle struck an optimistic note with a call to action. 'My advice is, get to work. Don't be complacent and don't be so cynical you just turn off. Because democracy never stops.’ And, as she put it: ‘If we don't vote, somebody will, and that means that's the direction of the country we’re in.’

2. Humanity beats protocol

She's a big fan of our Queen – ‘elegant and kind and considerate' – and no, she doesn't regret that headline-making moment when she put her arm around the monarch in what some dubbed a breach of protocol. ‘I don't know that I could have done anything different because it was a totally human reaction,’ she told the audience. ‘In that moment no, that was always the right thing to do – because it was the human thing to do.'

3. Take control of your personal message

Michelle remembered how, when she first came into the public spotlight, people attacked her ‘patriotism’ and her ‘voice’ – even calling her and her husband ‘terrorists’. ‘There was a time people accused me of not loving my country,’ she said.

‘I had to steady myself in that. I had to learn to adjust my voice. If you don’t take control of your message and your image and your voice, someone (else) will do that.’

4. Make your own mind up

When a young Barack Obama started at the law firm where she worked, Michelle reserved judgement until she met him. 'He was such a star at Harvard... he was coming in already with this sort of sense of wonderfulness, and I was sort of skeptical. When you're used to white people underestimating black people... (I thought) I'll be the judge of whether you're fabulous.’

Happily for Barack, she judged that he was - while he made it clear he was keen on her. ‘Brothers want a lesson in impressing a woman? Be clear,’ she said. ‘He had game, he was clear.’

5. Don’t mention the T word

Although Donald Trump was never mentioned by name, his was the unspoken presence in the room, as Michelle addressed everything from the pressure on Barack to produce his birth certificate to the current political climate in the US.  'There are still people in the United States who think Barack wasn't born in this country,’ she noted, describing life there nowadays as like living with ‘divorced dad’ – feels like fun but then you get sick.

She reminded the crowd: ‘For anyone who had problems with Barack Obama, let’s just think about what we were troubled by – there were never any indictments.’ He wore a tan suit, joked her interviewer Stephen Colbert. ‘I know.’

Her conclusion? ‘The presidency doesn't change who you are – it reveals who you are.’

Don't forget to check out these throwback pictures from Michelle and Barack Obama's relationship:

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Michelle and Barack Obama Throwback Pictures - Grazia
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CREDIT: Instagram Michelle Obama

Michelle and Barack Obama Throwback Pictures - Grazia

The first image she shared was from her family home, which she describes as a 'cramped apartment'. Her caption read:'Over the next few days, I'll be sharing some photos and memories from my book, BECOMING. My father, Fraser, taught me to work hard, laugh often, and keep my word. My mother, Marian, showed me how to think for myself and to use my voice. Together, in our cramped apartment on the South Side of Chicago, my family helped me see the value in our story, in my story, and in the larger story of our country.'

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