It’s been four long years since Michelle Obama left the White House, and our only consolation in seeing our favorite first lady was knowing that she was enjoying a sigh of relief at being out of the public eye. Well — less in the public eye, anyway. It seems that Michelle and Barack Obama’s celeb status is here to stay as she celebrates her 57th birthday over a decade after first entering the White House. Her post-first lady life has only confirmed the popularity of the Obama family. Between her smash hit Becoming, her Netflix deals, and her podcast, Michelle Obama is now a small media empire — and we can’t wait to watch it grow.
Here’s everything Michelle Obama has accomplished since leaving the White House.
She wrote bestselling memoir Becoming
Michelle Obama’s Becoming wasn’t just a hit — it was one of the most successful memoirs of all time. Just 15 days after its release, Becoming became the best-selling book in the U.S. for 2018, and it sold 10 million copies in its first year on shelves. Michelle’s captivating voice pulled millions of readers in to her story of growing up in Chicago, meeting Barack, and coming up with her agenda as first lady, all the way through Donald Trump’s inauguration. Finally freed from being a public figure in the White House, Michelle showed us a more vulnerable, honest side of her than we’d ever seen — and we loved it.
She made a Netflix documentary
Netflix also loved Becoming, so much so that they optioned a documentary about her book tour created with the Obamas’ Higher Ground Productions company (Michelle also recorded an audiobook of Becoming, so that’s three ways you can take this book in). The documentary follows Michelle visiting 34 different cities, sharing what she realized in the course of writing the book and meeting with young women to encourage them to go after their dreams.
She wore the only boots that matter
In December 2020, Michelle ended her book tour at the Barclays Center with Sarah Jessica Parker, clad in a $3,900 pair of thigh-high Balenciaga boots that nearly sold out that same night.
“Now, I’m free to do whatever,” she told Parker of her newly high-glam fashion sense.
She launched a YouTube series
In 2019, Michelle brought to life YouTube series “A Student’s Guide to Your First Year of College,” a “crash course” in how to succeed in those stressful early days. The former first lady’s intro walks you through what to expect and what you’ll learn, from time and money management skills to looking out for mental health.
She started a podcast
In summer 2020, Michelle announced her newest project, The Michelle Obama Podcast. With guests including brother Craig Robinson, Conan O’Brien, and of course husband Barack, this project wound up showing the most personal side to Michelle yet as she opened up about her marriage, her daughters, and how she’s experiencing aging.
Talking with doctors and experts, Michelle sought to de-mystify all that stuff we’re not supposed to talk about — fighting with your partner, being annoyed by your kids, the physical effects of menopause. In her post-White House life, Michelle is freed of having to be Our First Lady and is finally allowed to just be herself. And there’s a lot to love.
A version of this post was originally published March 2017.
Before you go, click here to see family photos of Barack & Michelle Obama and other presidential families.