Michelle Obama on her 50th birthday: My message to women is be healthy

McClatchy Washington BureauJanuary 15, 2014 

Michelle Obama at the White House, December 2013. She turns 50 on January 17, 2014.

TISH WELLS — McClatchy

First Lady Michelle Obama said she's yet to peak -- even as she celebrates her 50th birthday at the White House this week.

"I'm first lady of the United States of America -- that's pretty high up," Obama said in a birthday-themed interview with People magazine. "But I've always felt like my life is ever-evolving."

The article -- which includes a conversation on her famous arms, plastic surgery -- she doesn't imagine she'll go under the knife or use Botox or fillers, but hasn't ruled it out -- and menopause - a topic she said she and her girlfriends have discussed as they move into their 50s and 60s - is featured in the Jan. 27 issue of People, which hits newsstands nationwide on Friday -- Obama's birthday.

In it, Obama says there's a number of older women who serve as role models for her, including Cicely Tyson, whom she said she saw on Broadway recently.

"She is in her 80s and did a two-hour play with stamina and passion," Obama told People. "I told her, 'I want to be you when I grow up!' "

And, she said, there's actress and fitness guru Jane Fonda, "a beautiful engaged, politically savvy, sharp woman."

She also speaks of her mom -- the White House's "First Grammy" -- Marian Robinson, saying that each decade "brings a greater sense of calm and certainty" and that for her 76-year-old mom, "she's even that much more solid about herself. She speaks her mind. She does exactly what she wants to do every single day without apology, I'm not there yet, but I look forward to that."

Post her husband's presidency, Obama noted she'll be in her early 50s, with more to accomplish.

"I don't have the right to just sit on my talents or blessings," she said. "I've got to keep figuring out ways to have an impact -- whether as a mother or as a professional or as a mentor to other kids."

She noted that when the first couple leaves the White House, eldest daughter Malia will be in college and Sasha will have a few more years "and then she'll be in college.

"At that point in life," Obama said. "Whoa, the sky is the limit!"

She's got a message for other women, as well: "be healthy." She's says she's never missed a mammogram or pap smear and while she says she doesn't "obsess" about what she eats, she makes certain to eat vegetables and fruit.

"And as everyone knows, I do exercise," she said, adding that as she hits 50, she's turning from heavy cardio and running "to things like yoga that will keep me flexible."

And she says by 70, she'd like to be traveling -- to remote castles in Ireland, on rafting trips and to the Hoover Dam, which she said she hasn't seen.

"I have flown into an airport, done an event and left, but I want to stay and have a meal, try the local dish and shop in a little shop," she said.

And she told People she wants to be "the grandma that my mom has been. I want to be there for my girls, and help them be mothers and women and achieve their dreams."

"I have actually started thinking about that," she said. "Not because of my age but because I'm watching my girls grow up right before my very eyes."


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