New First Lady sees her popularity rise

As First Lady she has to juggle a range of demanding public and private roles under the constant scrutiny of the world media.

As First Lady she has to juggle a range of demanding public and private roles under the constant scrutiny of the world media.

Yet in the three months she has resided in the White House, Michelle Obama has seemingly won over the nation and the hearts of admirers in the countries she has visited.

Her fashion sense has seen her on the front of Vogue, while personal approval ratings remain sky high. In contrast to her husband she has even seen them rise over the first 100 days.

Michelle Obama’s tenure as First Lady got off to a good start.

A slow dance with the freshly sworn-in President at an inauguration ball could have been looked upon as schmaltzy and a little embarrassing.

Instead it seemed to fit the occasion. Mrs Obama’s choice of a white, one-shoulder Jason Wu gown pleased most fashion watchers.

It was also the first occasion for the US media to turn its attention to the First Lady’s arms. The topic has become an unlikely talking point, with gym trainers reporting a surge of women coming in asking for “arms like Michelle Obama”.

The toned limbs have since seen many more outings in a range of sleeve-less outfits. Her style has seen comparisons being made to another glamorous wife of a popular US President, Jacqueline Kennedy.

Her role as a style icon hit a peak in March, when the first lady appeared on the cover of Vogue. A glossy photoshoot accompanied the article.

It is no surprise that in a recent poll, when asked what words spring to mind when thinking of Mrs Obama, “elegant” figured among the top five responses.

“Classy” was the most popular reply, followed by “nice”, “intelligent”, “strong” and “elegant” in that order.

The same poll, released days before the 100-day milestone, also revealed the extent to which the nation has welcomed the new First Lady.

Her personal approval rating has improved from 68% in early January to 76%, according to the Pew Research Centre.

At the same point in their husbands’ presidencies, Laura Bush and Hillary Clinton saw figures of 64% and 60% respectively.

Her growing popularity at home could still not have prepared Michelle Obama for the adoration she experienced overseas.

Accompanying Barack Obama on his visit to London to attend G20 talks, she charmed the public as her husband did likewise with the British media.

Instead of Jackie-O, this time the comparisons were to the late Princess Diana.

One incident during the visit summed up the ease with which Mrs Obama appears to have taken to her role. While meeting the Queen at Buckingham Palace, the two women briefly put their arms around each other – a rarity for the monarch.

It could have been awkward, instead it looked warm and natural.

Outside her formal duties as wife of the President, Mrs Obama has continued with advocacy work, visiting homeless shelters and hosting White House receptions for a variety of causes.

As if the workload is not heavy enough there are always the children, Malia, 10, and Sasha, seven, to think about.

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