Michelle Obama’s sparkly boots can’t outshine the wisdom she delivered in NYC


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Photo: Getty Images/Dia Dipasupil

Did you see those boots? On Wednesday, with glittery thigh-high Balenciaga boots peeking out of her full-length gown, former first lady Michelle Obama brought some serious holiday sparkle to the stage at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center—and set the internet ablaze. (Astrologer and writer Chani Nicholas pointed out that Obama, a Capricorn, wore them to usher in her sun-sign season, which kicks off December 22: “Capricorn showing up early for their own season. #OnBrand.”)

During a sit-down with Sarah Jessica Parker, Obama talked clothes (how could she not with SJP?), but that was just the start. “She actually didn’t want to spend too much time on fashion,” says marketing executive Gabrielle Gibbs, who attended the sold-out event. “But she did say that being out of the White House has allowed her to really tap into herself and have fun—hence, the boots.”

Obama updates her husband’s famous message of “hope” with an addendum: “Hope isn’t passive.”

Obama delivered the serious shine when she offered lessons she had learned as part of the only African-American First Family in U.S. history. “Often time, when you’re the first or the only, the bar shifts a lot, right? The bar gets set, you meet it, exceed it, they move the bar,” Obama said, according to the Associated Press.

Obama said that, as the first black American president, her husband felt as if no mistakes could be made. When they finally left the White House after eight years of intense pressure—always trying to measure up to that “bar”—Obama says she broke down into tears aboard Air Force One, Gothamist reports.

Now, with a bit of distance from the White House, Obama has some thoughts on success. The best kind is when you bring others along with for the ride—in fact, you can’t have true success unless you’re willing to do that, Gibbs recalls Obama saying. And you don’t have to be first lady to do it, either.

Gibbs sees the former first lady as having shifted the focus to taking action, in part by updating her husband’s famous message of “hope” with an addendum: “Hope isn’t passive.”

Overall, Obama encouraged the crowd to get comfortable with their own stories and to be open, so that they don’t block blessings that show up outside of the way they were expecting. “I know I’m taking these lessons to heart as we flip the calendar into the new year,” Gibbs says. Obama’s powerful words served as the real showstopper; the $4,000 boots just add a little sparkle.

Another revealing moment in Obama’s new post-White House life: trying to end the silence about miscarriages, by talking about her own. And if you ever wanted relationship advice from the Obamas, here’s how the ex-prez knew Michelle was “the one.” 

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