Last night I worked the red carpet at Time Magazine’s 2009 gala event honoring the 100 Most Influential People in the World. It was one of those occasions when everyone who was anyone was present, and I was excited to be in the midst of it all. Among the dignitaries, leaders, revolutionaries, titans, entertainers, scientists, heroes and pioneers that were honored, one woman, Michelle Obama, the keynote speaker, stood out not because of the things she has done but because of the things that have been done for her.
That may sound belittling, but I say that not to diminish her extraordinary hard work and individual sacrifice. If you didn’t know this before, Michelle Obama graduated from Princeton University and Harvard Law School. As a young lawyer she was assigned to mentor her husband President Barack Obama when they first met. She hails from Chicago’s far south side; a long way from where she is now.
“She would be extraordinary no matter what her husband was doing for a living,” said Van Jones, the White House’s green jobs guru, on the red carpet last night. “She has passion for ordinary people so that kids can identify with her. Working mom’s can identify with her. The Queen of England can identify with her.”