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Michelle Goes Vogue

And now for the pictures you can pretty much find everywhere on the Web today! Michelle Obama ... in Vogue!

And on Vogue -- the cover, of course. Vogue "likey" money and the Obamas have proven they can pretty much sell any magazine from Ladies' Home Journal to Newsweek. I'm surprised there isn't some "Teen Beat" off-shoot, all-Obamas, all-the-time magazine yet, a la the mini mags you can get of various pop hearthrobs.

Also, fashion legend and Vogue Editor-At-Large Andre Leon Talley interviewed Michelle for the spread. She obviously did that voodoo that she "do" oh-so-well on Talley who went full-on First Lady crush all over her in his story.

Mrs. Obama has a hug—a sincere and friendly embrace—that has become familiar to countless supporters from coast to coast. And when she talks to you, she focuses all her calm attention on your face. For a passionate supporter like me (someone who, like millions of regular American citizens, volunteered in the campaign trenches and basked in the glow of glory at the Inauguration), being the focus of this reassuring gaze is akin to hearing a chord from John Coltrane's "A Love Supreme." Or maybe Ralph Vaughan Williams's "The Lark Ascending": All is well and right and real.

With her long, lean, athletic frame, she moves as if she could have danced with Alvin Ailey in another life. Curled up in the corner of a huge taupe velvet sofa, wearing knee-high boots as she nestles into the cushions, she almost seems like any other mom recently relocated to a city because of her husband's new job.

michelle vogue 2009_2

Feel the Talley love! He goes on and on and admits that despite the love from Vogue -- and Vogue's love of haberdashery a la femme -- Michelle is more than her clothes.

What Michelle Obama is less focused on—in direct inverse proportion to the focus of the public—is fashion. Which isn't to say that she doesn't appreciate good clothes. Or that the fashion choices of a woman whose image will shortly be—or already is—among the most recognizable in the entire world aren't iconic. And thus far, those choices have been fearless. Every moment she sallies forth, she will be scrutinized, then alternately set on a pedestal or skewered. Which, thankfully, hasn't put the brakes on her enthusiasm or originality—so markedly different from, but for an exception or two, previous presidential partners who shrank from matters of style or played it safe. Her self-possession is an inspiration. "I love clothes," she admits. "First and foremost, I wear what I love. That's what women have to focus on: what makes them happy and what makes them feel comfortable and beautiful. If I can have any impact, I want women to feel good about themselves and have fun with fashion." ...

I first met Mrs. Obama at an impromptu dinner at Oprah Winfrey's house in Santa Barbara, California, on the eve of the divine Ms. O's Legends Ball in 2005. I was seated between the then Senator Barack Obama's wife and Tina Turner. Do I remember what Michelle was wearing? Not at all. What I do remember was how informed she was on so many topics. And when she said she actually knew who I was, I was so flattered my jaw dropped.

I like the two pictures I've seen so far from the eight-page spread, specially the one with her on the sofa, writing a note. I will probably be on the hunt for the other six pictures in the coming week. Overall, I think Michelle looks lovely, although the cover of the mag is a tad underwhelming. (Even though purple is obviously the First Lady's power color.)

I realize Annie Leibovitz is a legend, (loved her pictures of David Beckham in a bullfighting ring for Vanity Fair a few years back and the more recent Walt Disney fairytales adverts) but that seriously could be the cover of just about any halfway decent women's mag. Hell, Essence could have done one better.

Where's your A-game, Annie?

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Reader Comments (30)

I think white media is still just nervous around powerful black people. Even Annie.

Then again- Miss O isn't exactly a tattooed athlete. So maybe she deserves a more conservative spread.

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterezparz

I love the picture of her standing by the window. Her body looks AMAZING in that picture - the ideal female figure.

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdkan71

@ ezparz

She could have gone with something more iconic for the cover. Annie's taken some great cover shots of women. I don't expect her to pull a Beckham, but I've got to believe Annie had the skills to do something that could make you go wow. Maybe she was under some time constraints (I imagine) and therefore could not go hog wild with her imagination.

Like she did here with Angelica Hudson, Diane Lane and Sharon Stone

Or here with the Queen of England

Or here, my favorite cover shot of French First Lady, Carla Bruni.

The Carla Bruni one is pretty damn fierce. But once again, it looked like Leibovitz had some time to plan that one out and Michelle's shoot was obviously a quick turnaround.

February 11, 2009 | Registered CommenterDanielle Belton

So, in the end did Talley give her a lovingly drawn card and beg her to be his valentine? It sounds like this article is a love letter. Not that she doesn't deserve the love and appreciation, but Talley is crushing HARD.

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterVersai

I'm so unimpressed. The photos are nice, but I've seen Annie's photography and as one of the post above states, she usually does an awesome job. She usually captures something within that we won't necessarily see from the outside. These photos are nothing special. I understand being conservative but this is an opportunity to show a little pizzazzzzzz and to sizzle...absolutely nothing extraordinary about these photos.

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterReign

The First Lady does have a nice booty and hips. There's only two types I like: petite and voluptuous. There ain't no middle ground.

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterdukedraven

Well I just got done watching Andre Leon Talley on CNN and he talks about Michelle Obama Vogue Cover and he says they were not trying to go for this all out Glamorous Fashionista cover because thats not who and Michelle Obama is about and the people dont see her that way. Thats why they did a Simple Classy and Elegant Cover for her. I just wanted to let some of you guys know that since some you guys are talking about what is laking on the cover already.

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjojo

To the above comment, I totally get that, but come on, the photographer clearly did not bring her A game. This same photographer took FABULOUS Pics of Mrs O. for a Paris magazine with life, character, and great appeal:

but these are so lackluster!

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterLayo G

The reason why the photos are so normal is the fact that this is a recession. If Annie would have went all out, everyone would be complaining that Michelle was like Marie Antoinette while people are losing their homes and jobs. This is why the pics are more "InStyle" magazine instead of haute couture.

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterwillet784

Exactly willet784 they were like that with nacny regan when the economy was down they always talked about her because she wore exspensive things and was all about glamour

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterjojo

Hated it! Two snaps in a circle.

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTalulazoeapple

I wasn't feelin the cover, but I liked the other two pics alot. I hope the other six are better than the cover.

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAlexis

yeah well she did the LeBron King Kong cover last year and the hideous crouching tiger open mouth JHud shoot as well so this is good for her.

February 11, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterFaith

^^hmmm, a familiar pattern? vogue sucks--between the lebron james garbage and this--why not at least 1 shot of her simply standing facing the camera? i heart michelle but i cannot support that magazine. won't be buying this issue

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrandom2cents

I think the cover reflects Vogue's middle of the road sensibility -- a magazine that still hasn't featured Beyonce or the Williams sisters on the cover (sacre bleu) -- is remiss to do anything to daring.

I wonder if it sells out, will that get Beyonce closer to the cover?

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteriamnotstarjones

First Lady Michelle is absolutely gorgeous on the cover! I love, love, love the fact that she choose her own clothes from her closet. She is a brilliant woman who understands the time and mood in the country and she has adapted very well to it. Who could ask for anything more. I also love, love, love the fact that she does her own thing despite all the criticism from the blogs. As a Black woman I can not be more proud of her and way she doesn't have to show "boat" like most of our folks who have what she has, but she can be sophisticated and elegant normal and real all at the same time. Love you Michelle keep doing you! You're lovely and no one can take it away from you.

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermomonamission

As long as First lady O continues to have whites take her pic, and dress her, they'll memoralize her in the most unflattering way. We've all watched America's Next Top Model. The problem w/ the cover is the half nervous looking smile. Even Tyra would've gotten another pic from the bunch. I've seen models w/ 100 of the same pics, and mags taking the best one. They're haters and they're gonna make her look stupid.

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSam

People, People!!! That is what Michelle looks like in real life. Michelle is not a beauty queen...LOL
Keep in mind her appeal to many folks is that she is smart, classy and seems to be a good person. Michelle is not a supermodel and never will be she is your average everyday woman. The cover reflects what she truly looks like and some people can not handle the truth.

As for a Essence, Ebony cover doing a better job...Well, keep it real they would have photo shopped Michelle to death. Yes, a Black photographer would have made Michelle look supermodel great but it would not have been the real Michelle. Annie showed you all what Michelle looks like with out all the fake damn glamor. Keep being you Michelle, ignore the haters!

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTia

First I look more average than MO, and I looked better on my wedding day than this cover. 2nd I've seen other pics of her. This is not about the pic not being beutiful. That's just your self hatred. Sometimes pple take picks of her mid way while she's talking so that her mouth is open . There are pple who know they have to always have a game face on b/c someone is taking a pic. Do you think some of those 40 yr old white actresses look the same as on the cover of the mags. Ofcourse not. You know that many of these pics are bias. Look at the pics of other women more avg than MO. Their pics look better.

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSam

Look at her bangs and the strands of hair out of place or the stupid poses tha says nothing about her personality. She's a lawyer. No lawyer theme. How come we never saw these types of unflattering pics b4 they won. We're not stupid. I've seen many gorgeous pics of her, not w/ her mouth half open, and a half smile. MO isn't a model so doesn't control her facial expressions. They should've directed her like they do models.

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSam

Look at this photo for all of those haters, and see what we mean by a better photo:

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterSam

Michelle is gorgeous PERIOD.

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEmme

I like the inside pics, though I don't have a problem with the cover that some have.

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterrikyrah

Its the cover that I absolutely abhor. Annie takes gross pictures of African Americans. Does anyone remember that Whoopi Goldberg in milk crap?

Michelle is beautiful IMO. Look at the Paris Match photo, very subdued yet stunning. This crap looks like a disposable camera shot.

For all of the hype this is so blah. Me no likey!!!

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterTalulazoeapple

I think they could have done better with that cover. Her face looks strange. Man, are there any unbiased people in the media?

February 12, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterme
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