Michelle LaVaughn Robinson Obama set aside a career as a top lawyer and first stepped into the spotlight almost a decade ago—yet she did so reluctantly.
WATCH: Michelle Obama takes one last walk through White House
“Michelle never fully took to the scrutiny. I mean, she’s thrived as a first lady, but it’s not her preference,” President Obama recently told CBS’ 60 Minutes.
Still, the first African-American “FLOTUS” would quickly step up to the challenge.
“She completely embraced the role of first lady, found what a powerful platform that it was and used it to its full potential,” Anita McBride, former chief of staff to former first lady Laura Bush, told Global News.
WATCH: Michelle Obama gets emotional during her final speech as first lady
She leaves behind a fashion legacy — making style more accessible. “Accessibility” would also mark her time in the White House, her husband telling her at his farewell address she made their home “a place for everyone.”
While she cared for her two young daughters, the mom-in-chief would also fight hard for the country’s disadvantaged youth. She pushed for healthier lifestyles and launched her “Let Girls Learn” initiative.
Michelle Obama embraced unconventional ways to get her message across — viral videos of the first lady include her breaking it down on Jimmy Fallon and joining in on a round of carpool karaoke.
“She always says if I can make people laugh, I can make people listen,” said Peter Slevin, author of Michelle Obama: A Life. “She connected with people in ways no first lady ever had before.”
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The first lady was also a big presence on the campaign trail, delivering some of the most memorable speeches of the cycle and going after Donald Trump with some pretty harsh language. Still, she made it clear her door would always be open to her successor, Melania Trump.
What’s unclear is just what Michelle Obama will do next, but the work she’s done so far has certainly left a mark — she’s leaving the White House with higher approval ratings than her husband.