New Novel Sheds Light on Cultural Icon and Encourages Ladies to Find Their "Inner Michelle"

Wednesday, 27 June 2012 17:45 Written by  Iya Bakare

Since the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, the world hasn’t been enamored with or followed a First Lady so closely until Michelle Obama arrived on the scene. As the first better half of the first African-American president of the United States, all eyes remain on the FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States) as she decorates periodicals and television screens with her keen fashion sense, nontraditional standard of beauty and her unique rapport with people. Several books feature the First Lady’s fashion secrets and tips, but how many dig into who she is as a person?

Allison Samuels, senior writer of Newsweek’s "The Daily Beast," says she wanted to create a book different from all the others on bookshelves about the First Lady. She created and wrote What Would Michelle Do: A Modern-Day Guide to Living with Substance and Style, which examines the life of our beloved First Lady, beyond her fashion flair. The award-winning journalist and cultural critic says she used a similar approach to books written about Jackie O and Audrey Hepburn, two other iconic ladies who are a part of the country’s history.

Allison says she first met Michelle on President Barack Obama’s campaign trail in 2007.

“I remember meeting this amazing woman with her amazing husband who both had the potential to change history,” she recalls. “She is so real, genuine, sweet and welcoming.”

Gone are the days of Clair Huxtable as we approach a time when “reality TV” plagues the media. African-American girls don’t desire to be the hot-shot attorney turned entrepreneur Joan Clayton from Girlfriends, but desire the lifestyles and images of the Basketball Wives.

“Why do our children want to be NBA wives when we have a First Lady?” Allison adds. “She [Michelle] is the epitome of grace and style, and is a wonderful daughter, wife and mother. She’s one of many, but unfortunately, we don’t see them. She leads a functional life, as opposed to a dysfunctional life. She knows who to be and what to be at every occasion. She knows about compromise and did what she needed to be done to help her husband. We as African-American women need to learn this and Michelle mastered it.”

In the novel, the journalist reveals an inside peek of Michelle’s life with her family, her relationship with President Obama that blossomed into their marriage, her role as a mother and her valued friendships. Through these various facets of the FLOTUS, we see the ‘human’ side of her, which people can relate to. Allison says the book shows ladies can apply Michelle’s lifestyle to their own lives.

“You can have that life, but there are steps you have to take to get there,” Allison comments.

Visit the official website of What Would Michelle Do? at and follow Allison Samuels on Twitter at @AllisonSamuels


Photos courtesy of Get Red PR

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare

Iya Bakare, GMO's managing editor, earned both her Bachelor and Master of Arts degrees in print journalism. She earned her B.A. from Delta State University with a minor in English and graduated with a M.A. degree from Columbia College Chicago. In her spare time, the Chicago native continues to freelance and ponder ways to both inform and improve her community one story at a time.

She can be contacted at
Follow her on Twitter: @ibakare


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