If Fierce had a poster child, it could be Michelle Obama. The First Lady turns 50 today, Jan. 17, 2014, and she seems to be savoring each birthday moment. CNN is marking the occasion too. Tonight at 10 p.m., ET, the cable channel will air the documentary, An Extraordinary Journey: Michelle Obama Turns 50.
“She’s at the top of her game,” said Valerie Jarrett in a recent Washington Post article. “She’s fabulous at 50.”
The team at Fierce couldn’t agree more. That’s why our readers and contributors voted the First Lady as one of our 15 fiercest women. As we say in our manifesto:
To be fierce is to be fit, fabulous, healthy, powerful, joyous and peaceful. To discover great health and experience how it enriches your life.
To be fierce is to embrace all that’s wonderful about being a black woman. To live your dreams, celebrate your strengths and appreciate your true beauty. It means being confident and unapologetically you!
We think that these characteristics aptly describe the First Lady. For example, in her only “50th birthday” interview, Obama told People magazine that she plans to switch up her exercise routine for this new phase of her life:
“I’m seeing myself shift from weight training stuff — even though that continues to be important — and the heavy cardio and running, to things like yoga that will keep me flexible,” Obama says.
Obama also seems to embrace all that’s wonderful about being a black woman and to take being a role model seriously — while smashing stereotypical images about who black women are. As Fierce contributor Mary C. Curtis wrote in “Why We Love Michelle”:
“She does not often speak of it publicly, but the First Lady is aware of the startling impact she has had on much of America when it comes to their image of black women. At the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver, after a speech that served as a debut on an international stage, this educated, accomplished wife, mother, lawyer told me: ‘Sometimes I do believe that people don’t believe I exist.’”
So we at Fierce say, “Happy 50th birthday, Michelle! Keep making us proud.”
Nicole Crawford-Tichawonna is associate editor of Fierce.