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Michelle Obama turns 50

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Michelle Obama turns 50 years old today (17 January 2014) and we couldn't help but think about how much she has accomplished in that half-century. She's earned degrees from Princeton University and Harvard Law School, worked for a Chicago law firm and excelled as First Lady of America.

Barack Obama may be the ‘official’ president, but it's Michelle who takes the title of the ‘people’s president’. Over the past seven years, she has proven herself to be a gifted communicator, an impassioned campaigner and an incredibly empathetic public figure, capable of reading the mood of any audience be they London school girls or the United States Democratic Party. Let's celebrate with Michelle Obama's ten best quotes to date.

(Image credit: Rex features)

  • Michelle Obama best quotes

    "You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not always be able to solve all of the world's problems at once but don't ever underestimate the importance you can have because history has shown us that courage can be contagious" - In South Africa, June 2011

    Image: Michelle Obama visits the White House Correspondence Office in 2009 in Washington DC

  • Michelle Obama best quotes

    "Don't take shortcuts or play by your own set of rules...and success doesn't count unless you earn it fair and square" - At the Democratic National Convention, 2012.

    Image: Barack and Michelle Obama celebrate their victory in winning the Democratic Primary in North Carolina, in May 2008

  • Michelle Obama best quotes

    "I'm an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity" - At an all-girls school in London, April 2009

    Image: Michelle embracing her daughter, Sasha then aged 7, at a rally to kickoff Barack Obama's Whistle Stop Train Tour in Philadelphia in January 2009

  • Michelle Obama best quotes

    "If we're scurrying to and from appointments and errands, we don't have a lot of time to take care of ourselves. We need to do a better job of putting ourselves higher on our own 'to do' list."

    Image: At the 'Spouses Evening' at the NATO Summit at the Kurhaus, Baden-Baden, Germany in April 2009

  • Michelle Obama best quotes

    "We learned about dignity and decency – that how hard you work matters more than how much you make...that helping others means more than just getting ahead yourself" - DNC speech, 2012

    Image: With Barack Obama at the 36th NAACP Image Awards in 2005 in Los Angeles.

  • Michelle Obama best quotes

    "These are the moments that define us -- not the day you get the promotion, not the day you win teacher of the year, but the times that force you to claw and scratch and fight just to get through the day; the moments when you get knocked down and you’re wondering whether it’s even worth it to get back up. Those are the times when you’ve got to ask yourself, who am I going to be?" - At Eastern Kentucky University, May 2013

    Image: Barack and Michelle Obama at the 'We Are One' Barack Obama Inaugural Celebration concert in January 2009 at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC.

  • Michelle Obama best quotes

    "I never cut class. I loved getting As, I liked being smart. I liked being on time. I thought being smart is cooler than anything in the world" - In London, April 2009

    Image: At an intimate, miniature concert in The White House's East Room in honour of the Gershwin Prize awarded to music idol, Stevie Wonder in February 2009. The president said Wonder's music was the "soundtrack to my youth" and that he doubted his wife would have married him if he hadn't been a fan.

  • Michelle Obama best quotes

    "We can make a commitment to promote vegetables and fruits and whole grains on every part of every menu... And we can help create a culture - imagine this - where our kids ask for healthy options instead of resisting them." - An address to the National Restaurant Association Meeting, September 2010

    Image: Working in the White House garden in April 2009

  • Michelle Obama best quotes

    “The only difference between me and every other woman that I know is that my challenges are publicized, and I'm doing this juggling in front of cameras” - July 2007

    Image: The Obamas at the Inauguration Ball in January 2009 in Washington DC

  • Michelle Obama best quotes

    "We should always have three friends in our lives-one who walks ahead who we look up to and follow; one who walks beside us, who is with us every step of our journey; and then, one who we reach back for and bring along after we've cleared the way"

    Image: The Obamas at the Inauguration Ball in January 2009 in Washington DC

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