|Mrs. Obama marks her milestone on Friday, Jan. 17th|
Washington, DC - First Lady Michelle Obama is feeling pretty swell ahead of marking the birthday she's dubbed "50 and fabulous" this Friday, Jan. 17th. In the only interview she will give for her milestone, Mrs. Obama discusses aging, her legacy, plastic surgery--she's not ruling it out--her changing fitness routine, and becoming a grandmother.
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Asked if she's already "peaked" at 50, the answer was a decided no. While joking that being First Lady is "pretty high up," Mrs. Obama added that she's always felt that her life is "ever-evolving."
Her 50th birthday will barely be in the rear-view mirror when President Barack Obama ends his final term in office in three years, and Mrs. Obama said there is plenty more she hopes to accomplish.
“I have so much more that I should do. I don’t have the right to just sit on my talents or blessings," Mrs. Obama said.
"I’ve got to keep figuring out ways to have an impact --whether as a mother or as a professional or as a mentor to other kids."
A graduate of Princeton, Mrs. Obama is a Harvard-trained lawyer and worked as a hospital executive before devoting herself to daughters Malia, now 15, and Sasha, now 12, and to her husband's political career.
Future plans aside, Mrs. Obama still has plenty more to do in the White House. She will mark the fourth anniversary of the launch of her Let's Move! campaign on February 9. And beginning in late 2013, Mrs. Obama pivoted her attention to promoting the President's North Star education initiative, which encourages all students to attend college.
Mrs. Obama will host an event at the White House with her husband on Thursday, welcoming college presidents and educators for a meeting to discuss ways to boost college enrollment among low-income students. It is her second North Star event of the week.
Still, despite her new focus on education, Let's Move! Executive Director Sam Kass says the First Lady is in no way backing off from her child obesity campaign.
"The First Lady will be working on this issue for the rest of her life," Kass told Obama Foodorama. "She is passionate about it."
Mrs. Obama has made promoting physical activity for children a key part of her campaign, but her own workout routine is changing with an eye to staying fit into her 70s and 80s, she told People, "so that I'm not falling and breaking a hip one day."
"I'm seeing myself shift from weight-bearing stuff – even though that continues to be important – and the heavy cardio and running, to things like yoga that will keep me flexible," Mrs. Obama said.
She arises as early as 4:30 AM in the morning to fit in exercise, Mrs. Obama has said in previous interviews, and also finds ways to work out when she travels.
There's also lots of dancing going on: Mrs. Obama has showed off her talents at plenty of Let's Move! events. There will be more dancing on Saturday night when President Obama hosts a dance-themed birthday gala for his wife.
East Wing aides are declining to disclose details, but rumors are currently swirling around DC that the bash will feature a performance from Mrs. Obama's close friend/superstar Beyoncé Knowles-Carter. Aides will not confirm.
But citing unnamed sources, the Daily Mail last year reported that Beyoncé had already been invited to serenade Mrs. Obama, as she did for the First Couple during one of the Balls on the night of the President's first inauguration. President Obama's own 50th birthday bash at the White House in August of 2011 featured performances by Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock and his combo.
For Mrs. Obama's party, the White House has instructed guests to eat before they arrive at the 9:00 PM shindig, to wear comfortable shoes, and to practice their dance moves ahead of the event.
As for her personal eating habits outside of parties: Mrs. Obama said she practices what she preaches with Let's Move!, and told People she doesn’t "obsess" about eating.
"I don't obsess about what I eat, but I do make sure that I'm eating vegetables and fruit," Mrs. Obama said.
Known now as America's most famous vegetable gardener thanks to her Kitchen Garden on the South Lawn, Mrs. Obama has freely admitted in other interviews that her favorite food is French fries.
"But she doesn't eat them every day," said Kass, adding that "no one should."
To ensure she's healthy and aging well, Mrs. Obama said she's scrupulous about her healthcare: She has never missed a mammogram or a Pap smear, and said she has already had a colonoscopy.
Asked by People about anti-aging interventions that include plastic surgery, fillers, and Botox, Mrs. Obama said she’s open to the idea, though she's not currently interested.
"Women should have the freedom to do whatever they need to do to feel good about themselves," Mrs. Obama said.
"Right now, I don’t imagine that I would go that route, but I’ve also learned to never say never."
Malia and Sasha have blossomed from little girls into young ladies since their father took office, and Mrs. Obama is already looking ahead to being a grandmother, she said, and would like to model herself after her own mother, Mrs. Marian Robinson, now 76.
Mrs. Robinson has quietly lived at the White House since the First Family arrived in 2009, stepping in for childcare duties. Mrs. Obama said she would like to help her own girls raise their children, especially in their baby years, just as her mother has helped her.
"I want to be that grandma. But I also might be still peaking," Mrs. Obama said. "I’ll have to balance it all--being a good grandma with doing the work I care about."
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*Photo by Eddie Gehman Kohan; magazine image courtesy of People.com