While her husband has had a somewhat rocky year, first lady Michelle Obama has continued to bask in the glow of sky-high approval ratings. As popular as ever, this year she got to begin a new chapter as a political wife, a chapter in which she no longer has to worry about another election ever again—unless, of course, she decides to run herself someday.
Her husband’s re-election seems to have imbued the first lady with a measure of newfound confidence and freedom, as shown by some of the risks she took this past year. So here are highlights from some of her best moments in 2013.
1. The Bangs Heard (and Seen) Around the World
Presidents are rarely upstaged during their inauguration festivities. Theoretically the celebration is all about them. But even President Obama knew that during the last inaugural, few eyes were on him, and not just because his wife has become a style trendsetter. During inauguration 2013, she emerged as a hairstyle trendsetter, too. Michelle Obama decided to get bangs for her 49th birthday, which happened to occur just before the inauguration. Though she would later joke that they were part of her “midlife crisis,” her husband would joke at an inaugural gala that the bangs were “the most significant event of the weekend.”
2. The Evolution of Mom Dancing
In February Michelle Obama went where no other first lady had gone before: She went mom dancing. She stunned viewers when she appeared as a surprise guest in a skit on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon in which she spoofed, you guessed it, how moms dance. The video of the segment became a viral sensation, in part because it left nearly everyone who watched it with the same lingering question: Could you picture Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton or Barbara Bush pulling that off?
3. The First Lady Crashed the Oscars