The first lady Michelle Obama turns 48 years old today! Promoting service and working with young people has remained a staple of her career and her interest in the White House, exemplified by her Let’s Move campaign to bring together communities in a nationwide effort to tackle childhood obesity. As Mrs Obama celebrates her birthday today, here are 48 things you didn’t know about about the First Lady:
1. Her nickname is “Miche” (pronounced “Meesh”).
2. Her husband calls her “My Rock”
3. Her father worked the swing shift in the boiler room at Chicago’s water purification plant.
4. She grew up with her older brother, Craig, and parents in a one-bedroom, one-bathroom apartment. She shared the living room with her brother, which was separated by a room divider.
5. She and her brother both skipped a year at school – second grade.
6. As a girl, she loved her “Easy-Bake Oven”.
7. Michelle was student council treasurer in high school.
8. Growing up, she practiced playing the piano so much that she had to be told to stop.
9. Although a great athlete, she shied away from competitive sports because, her big brother says, “she hated losing”.
10. Her father died of complications from multiple sclerosis when she was in her 20s.
11. Michelle attended only public schools while growing up in Chicago.
12. She was assigned Barack’s mentor when he came to her Chicago firm for a summer job.
13. Her first impression of Barack wasn’t great; after seeing a photo of him in the law firm directory she decided he had a big nose.
14. She declined Barack’s first invitations to go out on a date, saying it would be inappropriate.
15. Her father and brother had always said you could tell a lot about someone’s character on the court, so before agreeing to date Barack, she asked her brother to take him on on the basketball court.
16. Her university dissertation was entitled, “Princeton-Educated Blacks and the Black Community.”
17. Santita Jackson, Jesse Jackson’s daughter and Michelle’s high school classmate, sang at the wedding
18. She works out “like a gladiator,” according to friends.
19. She hates tights – too “painful.”
20. At the Democratic National Convention in 2004, moments before her husband went on stage to give his speech, she said: “Just don’t screw it up, buddy!”
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21. She watches reruns of The Dick Van Dyke Show
22. For breakfast she likes fruit, eggs and bacon.
23. When she got to Princeton she said the tutors weren’t teaching French correctly.
24. She refused to accompany her husband for walks in the cold Chicago winters.
25. She is the former associate dean at the University of Chicago
26. On their first date Barack took her to see Do The Right Thing, a Spike Lee movie set in Harlem.
27. Her brother, Craig Robinson, is the basketball coach at Oregon State University.
28. At Princeton, Michelle majored in sociology. She got her law degree from Harvard.
29. She worked for Chicago’s Mayor Daley in the city’s office of planning and development.
30. She uses a webcam to stay in touch with Barack while separated.
31. She cooks shrimp linguini – her husband’s favorite meal.
32. Michelle wrote her own stump speech during the campaign and delivered it without notes.
33. Michelle made Barack promise to quit smoking if he ran for president.
34. She plans not to have any more children.
35. She graduated from high school second in her class.
36. She cut back from her six-figure salary with the University of Chicago hospital system to help her husband with his campaign
37. Michelle makes Barack do the dishes.
38. As vice president of community and external affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Centre, Michelle supervised a five hundred per cent increase of volunteerism in the hospital.
39. She was on the board of six major organizations, including the prestigious Chicago Council on Global Affairs, the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and Tree House Foods; and Vice President, Community and External Affairs at the University of Chicago Hospitals.
40. She routinely drew audiences of 1,000-plus supporters, even when she was campaigning on her own, on the trail
41. Her inauguration dress was designed by Cuban-American designer, Isabel Toledo. Her green gloves were J Crew and her shoes by Jimmy Choo.
42. After her husband’s election to the US Senate, Michelle decided to stay in Chicago with their daughters instead of relocating to Washington, DC.
43. Her great-great-grandfather, Jim Robinson, was a slave in South Carolina before the Civil War.
44. Hillary Clinton, Laura Bush, and Michelle Obama are the only First Ladies to receive master’s degrees.
45. She has committed each episode of The Brady Bunch to memory.
46. At 5 ft 11″, she is tied with Eleanor Roosevelt for tallest First Lady.
47.Her secret service codename is “Renaissance”.
48. Mrs. Obama shares her special day with Muhammad Ali who turns 70 today.