First of all, how irked do you think Anna Wintour is that Michelle Obama is promoting her new book (Becoming, which comes out tomorrow) with Elle and not Vogue? My guess is very, and I am longing for some inside scoop about how Nina Garcia pulled off this coup. (I love magazine logistics.)
As far as the cover goes: I really like it. Her face looks so joyful, and — this is a sort of weird thing to note, but I think a lot of you will be with me — I LOVE the font they used for Michelle’s name, and the way they placed it over the swirl of her skirt. It’s so thoughtfully designed. (The actual look is Dior, and I can only imagine that Michelle Obama is delighted to have the freedom to wear a leather top if she wants to.)
Inside the magazine — as you see from the cover — Michelle is interviewed by Oprah, and obviously Oprah is exempt from my usual complaint about Celebrities Interviewing Celebrities because Oprah is a celebrity in large part thanks to how very good she is at professionally interviewing people. (Also, she’s doing a lot of cover stories lately; she also interviewed Julia Roberts recently.) And while O has the occasional tendency to make the interview as much about herself as the person in question, she doesn’t do that here at all. It’s an excellent interview, to the point where I had a problem pulling a quote from it to put here; you should just go read the whole thing. But I will leave you with this bit:
We have to feel that optimism. For the kids. We’re setting the table for them, and we can’t hand them crap. We have to hand them hope. Progress isn’t made through fear. We’re experiencing that right now. Fear is the coward’s way of leadership. But kids are born into this world with a sense of hope and optimism. No matter where they’re from. Or how tough their stories are. They think they can be anything because we tell them that. So we have a responsibility to be optimistic. And to operate in the world in that way.
I’m trying, Michelle!