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Michelle Obama's 10 most powerful quotes: On success, failure, how to fight bullies & more

The former First Lady of the United States is a bestselling author

michelle obama quotes
Phoebe Tatham
Content Writer
8 March 2023
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Michelle Obama became the focus of global attention back in 2008 when her husband, Barack, became the first African American president of the United States.

Despite relinquishing her title as the First Lady of the United States in 2017, Michelle remains one of the most influential women in the world thanks to her unwavering commitment to several important causes.

Ever since she first stepped foot inside the White House, the mother-of-two has become a notable advocate for higher education, civil rights, ending childhood obesity and supporting military families. We've taken a look at some of Michelle's most empowering quotes of all time. Keep scrolling to discover our favourites…

WATCH: Michelle Obama opens up on life without Malia and Sasha

On setting goals and discovering your true self:

In her widely acclaimed memoir, Becoming, Michelle penned: "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."

michelle obama purple suit© Photo: Getty Images

On tackling misogyny:

During a 2016 speech, Michelle shared: "Strong men, strong men, men who are truly role models, don't need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful."

On success:

Making an appearance at the 2012 Democratic National Convention, the author poignantly stated: "Success isn't about how much money you make; it's about the difference you make in people's lives."

michelle obama signing book© Photo: Getty Images

On bullying:

Back in 2016, the mom-of-two exclaimed: "When someone is cruel or acts like a bully, you don't stoop to their level. No, our motto is, when they go low, we go high."

On championing gender equality:

As a powerful advocate for gender equality, Michelle famously said in 2014: "No country can ever truly flourish if it stifles the potential of its women and deprives itself of the contributions of half its citizens."

MORE: Michelle Obama makes surprise revelation about raising daughters Malia and Sasha

DISCOVER: Michelle Obama details her reality of menopause, weight gain and 'hot flashes'

On freedom:

During her impassioned final speech as a First Lady for the United States, Michelle shared: "You cannot take your freedoms for granted. Just like generations who have come before you, you have to do your part to preserve and protect those freedoms... you need to be preparing yourself to add your voice to our national conversation."

michelle obama with barack© Photo: Getty Images

On helping others:

Speaking at the Democratic National Convention in 2012, the former First Lady revealed: "When you've worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed."

On female friendship:

Reflecting on the power of female friendship, Michelle famously said: "Friendships between women, as any woman will tell you, are built of a thousand small kindnesses...swapped back and forth and over again."

michelle obama daughters© Photo: Getty Images

On failure:

Appearing on a panel for Glamour's The Power of an Educated Girl, Michelle confessed: "Failure is an important part of your growth and developing resilience. Don't be afraid to fail."

On fighting for justice:

In 2014, the motivational speaker told a group of Kansas students: "Every day, you have the power to choose our better history - by opening your hearts and minds, by speaking up for what you know is right."


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michelle obama glamour panel© Photo: Getty Images

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