In recent weeks, we've been treated to a new side US First Lady Michelle Obama. She's always been likable – her approval rating hovers at close to 70% – but now that she no longer has to consider how her image impacts her husband's chances at re-election, Mrs Obama has become more comfortable in her role as FLOTUS. Since January, she's been more relaxed, more public, and appears to be having more fun.
On her 49th birthday in January, just days before President Barack Obama's second Inauguration, Mrs Obama cut bangs into the sleek chin length bob she's sported for years. Immediately, her new hairstyle became a national conversation. Later, she joked that the decision was a "mid-life crisis".
In February, FLOTUS appeared in a hilarious skit, "The Evolution of Mom Dancing", where she bumped hips with late-night TV host Jimmy Fallon. The pair goofed off, doing silly dances like "The Hands Only Part of [Beyonce's] Single Ladies". Toward the end of the gag, Mrs Obama danced solo, doing an impressive version of "the Dougie", a hugely popular dance among American teens. The same week, she appeared on a broadcast of the Oscars wearing a sparkling Naeem Khan gown as she presented the Best Picture Award to Argo.
Of course, these appearances have not gone without criticism. Writing for The Washington Post, columnist Courtland Milloy was appalled by the First Lady's "booty-shaking" on Fallon and implied that appearing at "some Hollywood movie contest" was beneath Mrs Obama's position.
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