Michelle Obama's next project is more about her readers than about herself - GulfToday

Michelle Obama's next project is more about her readers than about herself

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Michelle Obama speaks during an event. File photo/AP

"Becoming: A Guided Journal for Discovering Your Voice" will be published Nov. 19 by Clarkson Potter, an imprint of Penguin Random House. The new release was announced Monday. It is a companion to her multimillion-selling "Becoming," which came out last November. It features an introduction by the former first lady and quotations and questions related to her memoir. It is designed to help readers tell their own stories.

In the introduction, Obama writes that she hopes the journal will encourage people to write down their "experiences, thoughts, and feelings, in all their imperfections, and without judgment."

We have to be a lot more sceptical about social media and the Internet – we have to do a lot more work and be willing to be a lot more vulnerable with one another.

If you’re in need of some words of wisdom from a feminist legend today, look no further for your education than Michelle Obama.

On Sunday evening, the former first lady sat down with The Late Show host Stephen Colbert at London’s O2 Arena to discuss a range of topics following the ground-breaking success of her autobiography “Becoming” last year.

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Barack Obama and Michelle Obama walk in the Inaugural Parade. File photo/TNS

Speaking to 15,000 attendees in the audience, Obama opened up about the pitfalls of social media and the early days of her relationship with her husband, former US president Barack Obama.

Reflecting on the moment she met the former politician for the first time, the 55-year-old said: “He was coming in already with this sort of sense of wonderfulness."

During the evening, she also shed light on how she often struggled to adapt to her role as a public figure during her time in the White House and raise her daughters in the limelight.

“A lot of people think change can only happen on the big stage. There is no one who has a monopoly on kindness and truth.

Here are all the best quotes from "Becoming: An Intimate Conversation with Michelle Obama."

On her concerns over social media

With over 12.4m followers on Twitter and 29m on Instagram, Obama knows all too well the dangers of social media.

During her conversation with Colbert, she warned the audience: “We have to be a lot more sceptical about social media and the Internet – we have to do a lot more work and be willing to be a lot more vulnerable with one another."

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Michelle Obama speaks at the Healthier America's 2017 summit. File photo/TNS

Reflecting about meeting individuals who spoke ill of her husband and her during their time in the White House, she added: “Don’t read about your neighbours on Twitter. Somebody can talk into your ear about the person living next to you – and they can feed you lies and misperceptions.”

While she acknowledged the power of social media to galvanise and open up the world to young people (“They’re seeing and experiencing a diversity and clarity that we can’t take away”), she encouraged attendees not to forget the importance of interacting face-to-face with others.

“Put down the phone and start knocking on doors,” she said. “People can never be as mean to you to your face as they would be online.”

On meeting Barack Obama for the first time

During the hour-and-a-half discussion, Obama – who wore a Stella McCartney black jumpsuit for her appearance – shed light on her 27-year marriage to Barack Obama.

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Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey discuss the former first lady's book "Becoming." File photo/TNS

“My impression of Barack started before I met him,” she said, recalling the moment she learned the former president was joining her law firm Sidley and Austin in Chicago, US.

“He was the talk of the firm; this kid who wasn’t even a lawyer – who hadn’t finished law school and was a first-year associate. He was coming in already with this sort of sense of wonderfulness.”

Admitting she was initially sceptical about his talents, she added: “When you’re used to white people underestimating black people and being surprised when they can talk straight, you become sceptical of what their idea of fabulous is.”

The former lawyer later added that she was surprised by how impressed she was by Barack Obama the first time they met.

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Michelle Obama's book, "Becoming," is on display. 

“So imagine if you have this picture of this nerdy guy who the white partners think is fabulous. I had to call to give him directions. And he answers the phone in his Barack Obama voice like ‘hello it’s Barack Obama.’ And – ladies – that voice is pretty sexy. That voice didn’t go with the picture – it was smouldering. I could tell he had more flavour than I thought.”

On changing the world

At several moments during the evening, Colbert opened up the floor to questions from Twitter, with one Obama fan asking the former first lady “How can everyday people make big changes in the world?”

Obama replied: “A lot of people think change can only happen on the big stage. There is no one who has a monopoly on kindness and truth.”

On remaining true to herself during Barack’s presidency

Obama, who left the White House two years ago, said that while her family’s life had been “normal” before entering the White House, she said they quickly had to learn to “adjust to the rarefied air of politics” when they arrived in Washington in 2009.

“We were always ourselves – the presidency does not change who you are, it reveals who you are,” she added in what appeared to be another dig at the current president.

“It is like swimming in the ocean with great waves. If you are not a great swimmer, you are not going to learn in the middle of a tidal wave. You are going to resort to your kicking and drowning and what you knew how to do in the pool.”

When asked how she managed to keep going during the hardest times of her husband’s role as president, Obama said: “Every step of the way there was always someone telling me that I was talking too loud, dreaming too big. And I had to learn that I could either succumb to that or wither away or I could say ‘I’ll show you’.”