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Family first: Michelle Obama on the secrets of being a White House matriarch

15 March 2013
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Michelle Obama has graced the cover of Vogue magazine for the second time and given a heartfelt interview about just how hard she works to provide a normal adolescence for daughters Malia, 14 and Sasha,11. Photographer Annie Leibovitz captured the first lady's style and glamour in the accompanying photoshoot, which shows Michelle in an eye-catching Reed Krakoff dress from her own wardrobe.


Michelle, 49, is at the height of her powers as she supports President Obama during his second term in office. But as the mother of two adolescent girls, she makes sure family comes first in the White House. "Our job is, first and foremost, to make sure our family is whole," Michelle says in the April edition of Vogue. "You know, we have small kids; they're growing every day. But I think we were both pretty straightforward when we said, 'Our number-one priority is making sure that our family is whole.'" The couple's two daughters have grown up in the public eye and are now negotiating their difficult teenage years under the same circumstances. Their mother works overtime to ensure they have some normality in their lives. "There's a lot of energy that goes into working with staff, working with agents, working with friends' parents to figure out how do we, you know, let these kids go to the party and have a sleepover and walk through the city on their own, go to the game," Michelle says.


"Any parent knows that these are the times when you're just a scheduler and chauffeur for your kids. And that doesn't change for us. Ninety percent of our conversation is about these girls: What are they doing? And who's got what practice? And what birthday party is coming up? And did we get a gift for this person? "You know, I mean, it is endless and it gets to be pretty exhausting, and if you take your eye off the ball, that’s when their lives become inelastic."

President Obama also participates in the interview, and the couple, now in their third decade of marriage, look more in love than ever as they pose in the Red Room of Washington D.C.'s most famous mansion. He tells the magazine: "What Michelle has done is to remind me every day of the virtues of order. "Being on time. Hanging up your clothes. Being intentional about planning time with your kids. There’s no doubt I’m a better man having spent time with Michelle." He also reveals his fashion-savvy wife tries to tweak his style and compares her to the singer

Beyonce, who is a friend and passionate supporter of the couple. "Michelle's like Beyonce in that song," Barack jokes "'Let me upgrade ya!' She upgraded me."

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