Mrs-O.com is a blog dedicated to chronicling the fashion and style of First Lady Michelle Obama. Founded September 2008. 


« Mrs. O in Harper's Bazaar | Main | Dressed to Honor »

The World's Most Powerful Woman

White House Photo by Pete Souza

Mrs. O has been named the world's most powerful woman by Forbes magazine, topping even Oprah Winfrey and Hillary Clinton, who round out the top five. The basic methodology for the list factors a dollar component and a "buzz factor," so almost certainly, the first lady's fashion prowess, along with its mass media following, were of some impact. More qualitatively, Forbes offers up this concise but quite astute rationale for the first lady's top seat on the list:

She has made the office of First Lady her own. A forceful advocate of school nutrition standards and military families' affairs, she's more involved in policy than Laura Bush was. But unlike Hillary Clinton, who championed a secretive (and ultimately unsuccessful) health care reform, Obama has stayed away from hard policy. A fashion icon and an athletic mother of two, she's Jackie Kennedy with a law degree from Harvard and street sense from Chicago's South Side. She's also effective: In response to her Let's Move! campaign against childhood obesity, companies like Coca-Cola, Kellogg and General Mills have pledged to reduce the calorie content of their foods by 2012. The first lady remains popular: 54% of Americans view her favorably.

The first lady's power ranking is also a good excuse to share the photo above, in which Mrs. O wears a wonderfully feminine dress by Barbara Tfank. Thank you to meta, who pointed out fabulous new photos on the White House Flickr stream.

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.

Reader Comments (52)

LOVE that green dress Michelle is wearing! Very becoming and feminine! So awesome! Congrats on being No. 1 on the Forbes list Michelle! Keep up the great work you're doing!

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 1:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterYaadie

Her power resides in her connection with people. Whether it is through a smile, wink, hug, gracious words or frock, Mrs. O has the uncanny ability to connect with people. All people. She is one special lady.

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 1:42 AM | Registered CommenterMcKinley

Mrs Obama ROCKS!!! She is totally amazing in every sense of the word!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 3:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterA.

A well deserved top seat. I am sure this will be accepted with humility. What a wonderful, graceful and humble human being. I can just imagine her saying "Thank you for the honor, but I am nothing special. I am just being myself."

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 8:57 AM | Unregistered Commentermarcelle

One of my favorite childhood dresses had green and purple stripes. I really like Mrs. O's dress and purple heels.

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 9:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterGeorgia

I happen to believe that true power is rooted in love...in love that is given and received. First Lady Obama, along the ladies of this blog, and countless other women, who know love, give love and receive love, are certainly blessed to experience what the power of love can do as they make a powerful and positive difference in the lives of others.

We look forward to the time when the Power of Love will replace the Love of Power. Then will our world know the blessings of peace. ~William Ewart Gladstone

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 10:36 AM | Unregistered CommenterLaVonne

I am in agreement with all my Mrs. O sisters who have written in before me. I cannot express my love & admiration, pride & inspiration for Mrs. O better. Thank you for saying it so eloquently for me.

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara H

She rocks I love this woman, powerful yes indeed I would love to work for there is so much she could teach me. This photo is awesome they are such a beautiful couple I love this family.

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 11:10 AM | Registered CommenterAshley Williams

I always wonder why people must say that "she is Jackie Kennedy" with qualifiers when they discuss Michelle Obama. She is her own unique person. Her sense of style is quite different from the late Mrs. Kennedy-Onassis. By all means, make comparisons just as Forbes compares her with Laura Bush and Hilary Clinton. But drop the metaphor. In my opinion it detracts from both women to do so. Sure, some of the dresses and gowns Michelle has chosen evoke the classics of the 60s, but with a panache and modernity that is all her own.

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 12:44 PM | Unregistered Commenterphilly

It is thrilling that Mrs. O topped the list of World's most powerful women. She is such a shining light, so humble and yet so very intelligent. To think of all the young women whom she has inspired is to be proud to have her as a national treasure.

This dress is really lovely. A close up of the fabric is a must - it is so rich, vibrant, and actually quite thickly woven. Mrs. O really rocks the classic - even retro styles that she wears.

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 1:22 PM | Registered CommenterBevi

I agree, there is so much to emulate in her. I have lost 20Ibs and started loving, loving, folks I mean loving vegetables. I eat huge chunks of broccoli from Big Y with a so much joy . I buy and freeze my carrots and broccoli and green beans and have them for dinner with a simple healthy steam along with some basic carbs(pasta). I used to hate vegetables, but this lady(yes, this lady) has changed all that.

My diet has just rearranged to emphasize nutrients and not just filling my system with sugar this sugar that. America's food manufacturers should get a clue and help us all lead healthy lives. I applaud Mrs. O for her leadership on this issue. she has reached me!

I believe for women who listen to her, she has taught as a lot that small changes make a difference. I fully honor her for that. I think she deserves a loving partner in the president.(who doesn't need me to tell him he adores her).

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered Commentermoi

I am so proud of Mrs Obama. She has used her intelligence, style, warmth and love to radiate confidence and to influence all aspects of our cultue. The way we dress, what we eat and how we educate our childen. She is a shining example of using all your talents in a positve way that draws us all to her and to this site each day to view her clothes and read your comments even if we choose not to say anything.
Everyday she just makes us smile and I believe all over the world people feel the same way. It is truly amazing.

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJudy

she is the best ever!!!! love her!!!

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered Commentertrish

My inspiration, Michele always bring a smile to my face.

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 4:52 PM | Unregistered Commenterdalest/jamaica

It seems the Forbe's list has confused marriage with achievement.

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 5:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnna

God bless Mrs. Obama. She's strong, independent, self-assured, confident, smart and fashionable. She is a good wife and an even better mom. America, we are truly fortunate to have her as our First Lady.

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 6:07 PM | Registered CommenterStrong Foru

Cannot say much that hasn't already been said. Except, the First Lady certainly lives up to her title, "First" and "Lady." Love the quote provided by LaVonne, too. (NOTE: Though few we are on this site, and I'm more than willing to "fall back" to the rear of the line, all the admirers of The First Lady on this site are NOT "ladies." For the men, I REPRESENT. :-)

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 6:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarcus Perry

Congratulations Mrs. O, you are TOPS! I love this beautiful, flowing, graceful dress on her. They are such a loving couple. God bless the US of A!

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 6:53 PM | Unregistered Commenternellinraleigh

there is some controversy over placing mrs. o at the top of the list

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered Commenterlisam

I adore this outfit. LaVonne, you said it better than I ever could about Mrs. O being such a positive and loving force!

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 8:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Michelle carries herself with such grace and humility that I cannot help but admire her. She is a a good example of what we should all aspire to be in our dealings with other people even though we may be powerful . I could not agree more wiith La Vonne. God bless her and her family and may God bless America.

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 10:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlma

To those who feel that Forbes got it wrong, all I can say is, "Say what you need to hear, regardless of how asinine it is".

Monday, October 11, 2010 at 10:37 PM | Registered CommenterCharlene in Detroit


Monday, October 11, 2010 at 11:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterMISS BAKER

Does anyone know the brand of the heels? I would love to know! I haven't found any Pink Jimmy Choo Izzy's...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 3:21 AM | Unregistered CommentertuesdeATX

What people fail to understand is THIS. Michelle Obama mentored an intern who went on to become President of the United States. She was a successful woman in her own right before she even met him let alone when she went on to become his wife. They say that behind every great man is a great woman and Michelle Obama was born to be First Lady.

Since stepping into her role she has worked tirelessly for the good of America. Like Moi, she inspires me to be a better, healthier person. With this in mind, the comparisons to Jackie Kennedy must stop. I personally refuse to drag someone down in order to lift someone up. Jackie Kennedy was not of my era but from what I've read and heard she was greatly admired. So with that in mind why can't both these great women be great in their own right rather than one having to be greater than the other ?? I despair.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 5:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterJestina (England)

Charlene in Detroit, I agree with you. It's amazing that a magazine like Forbes, a bastion of republicanism and the profit margin, would put our First Lady at the top of the hill, and base it not only on her personal qualities and the issues she embraces and promote, but equally as important, on the strength and impact of her influence on others. This influence in turn compels others to move in a way that postively affect other people's lives. If that isn't POWER, then we need to find another way to define it!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 7:42 AM | Unregistered Commentermszonian524

"with a law degree from Harvard and street sense from Chicago's South Side"

@ Anna, (meow), you state that Forbes confused marriage with achievement. Where did you get your advanced degree, Bitter U? The only confused one appears to be you; apparently you've confused the Mrs. O blog with a FOXNews blog.

Most powerful woman in the world, swallow that cream, kitty-kitty.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 10:42 AM | Unregistered CommenterKentashi

The lavender shoes sneaks up on you and make you go WOW !!!! Enough said....

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterBLD

@ Anna - I tend to agree with your statement -

I do believe that our current First Lady is a powerful woman in America, but I don't think she has power and control - I think Oprah deserves the title of most powerful.

@ Charlene from DT

Thank you for the opportunity to allow us to say what we'd like ... it appears your comment is the most asisine

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 1:32 PM | Unregistered Commenterriver rush

I feel so lucky and honored to live in a time when the argument over who is the
most powerful woman in the world falls to two black women...two women whom
I very much admire! Earlier this year, I read The Help by Kathryn Stockett. In an
online review, I wrote that I wished for the characters that they would live long
enough to see how the times would change. And have they changed!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 2:14 PM | Registered CommenterLisa H

@ River, I have no problem with you or anyone else disagreeing with my comments. In this blog, Mrs. O, we have a safe place to post our opinions on subjects that relates to our Michelle, the fabulous First Lady Of The United States, the one to whom this blog is dedicated to. Just take a moment and poll or take a quick scan of the comments here on any given day and you'll find that the general consensus among the posters here are that she is indeed a profound and powerful woman who is so very deserving of the title bestowed by Forbes. And that opinion seems to resonate with other people and in other places, even among those whose political views don't line up with her and her husband, our fantastic President Of The United States. But to come on here, of all places, and state that she was given that title (which probably makes her uncomfortable, but she rightfully deserves) simply because of her marital status is asinine, even if you throw in Oprah. It needlessly pits one woman against the other and it seems more like a trompe l'oiel tactic or slight of hand, done just to fool the eye. So as I said, SAY WHAT YOU NEED TO HEAR!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 2:26 PM | Registered CommenterCharlene in Detroit

You tell them, CID!! I totally agree with you.

Well said, Jestina.

@Lisa H, it is amazing, isn't it?

I will not jump in the argument about whether or not Michelle Obama deserves this title because she HAS the title and NO ONE can change that :-)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 2:51 PM | Registered CommenterNyon

I'm with you, Jestina. This lady is some mentor.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 4:15 PM | Unregistered Commenterdasie

Fabulous little dress....only an amazing woman like Mrs. O can pull it off ! And for the top crown??? Am not surprised! Congratulations!!!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 4:33 PM | Unregistered Commentermutinta d'oliviera-Pio

Michelle Obama is a fantastic lady and a fabulous first lady! I do love what she is wearing. I love the fact that she is daring with her choice of styles and colors, and is not swayed by her critics. For the most part, she looks great in most of what she wears.

Congratulation, Mrs. Obama on your Forbes Magazine honor. You deserve this recognition!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterbusbus

I see Michelle's biggest haters are at it again over a simple list. Michelle "the most powerful women in the world" is starting her campaign duty tomorrow! Michelle's power has really touched many around the world. I will never forget reading about her influence even in India from an article on CNN last year!


I agree no one can change Michelle's title that Forbes gave her. Thus, no matter how much Michelle's critics ponder over the decision and who they "think" should be #1, Michelle's success cannot be taken away from her. No matter how much people try!!!!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 6:52 PM | Registered CommenterM.M.

@ River Rush, you state that you admire both our First Lady and Oprah, yet instead of celebrating what each brings to the 'public table" per se, you proceed to pit one against the other. What's that about? Are you comparing the formidable strength of Oprah's pocket book vs the First Lady's as your basis for defining what power is? Well, Forbes certainly isn't seeing it through your prism. I suggest you re-read the article and pay close attention to their definition and explanation on how they arrived at their selection. And finally, both women are extraordinarily gifted and forward-thinking, thus their position on this list. Their sphere of influence is far-flung, therefore we should celebrate it and be thankful that these two outstanding women have chosen to spend their lives making the lives of others better. So there's no need to nitpick, snipe and complain, and continue to feed into the negative stereotype that women cannot celebrate the achievement of other women without tearing one down to elevate another. In this case, that's so unnecessary and yes, infantile!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 7:52 PM | Unregistered Commentermszonian524

@ Anna,

"It seems the Forbes list confused marriage with achievement". What world do you live in? Where have you been the last 3 years? For you to make such a statement shows how seriously misinformed you are. Instead of jumping to conclusions, I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and say you just haven't taken the time to do your "due-dilligence" in researching Michelle Obama. Over the past 3 years or so there has not been a woman in this country who has been more deeply vetted than Michelle Obama. Remember when she was "un-american"? Well, rest assured the right-wingers did their best to dig up "dirt" on her, all to no avail. Since apparently you don't seem to know who she is, I suggest you begin with a Google search; that's a good starting point. Then maybe, just maybe you'll honestly change your tune and acknowledge to all and sundry that this is a woman of SUBSTANCE, CLASS and ACHIEVEMENT, whom you may want to emulate because in the final analysis she's all these things despite her marriage to the most powerful man in the world.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 8:13 PM | Unregistered Commentermszonian524

LOL Kentashi & CID!

Mrs Obama rules!!! She has been impeccable and remains effortless and unaffected in her simultaneous role of daughter, sister, wife, mother and First Lady.

Her very POSITIVE reach extends well beyond the United States and unlike many on the list, has absolutely nothing to do with money but the very universal currency of humanity, decency, grace, dignity and empathy and all in the face of much hostility and attack on her and her family-

The world continues to watch in admiration and awe as this strong, capable and amazing woman and her magnificent husband remain undeterred & focused as they continue to work hard on our behalf even as they are relentlessly sabotaged, attacked and denigrated.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 10:04 PM | Registered CommenterEleroy

I will not be clicking or reading the Daily Beast article.

The Daily Beast continues to be one of those blogs determined to diminish and/or destroy our lovely First Lady and hard working President.

Megan McCain, John McCain's daughter, writes for the Daily Beast - and that's pretty much all you need to know.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010 at 10:23 PM | Registered CommenterEleroy

Those are some utterly amazing shoes.

We as Americans need to know that Michelle Obama is the most powerful women to the rest of the world and to this very proud American. A prophet(ess) is not without honor save in his/her country.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 12:28 AM | Unregistered Commenterjuliede

a beautiful dress. i love the fit, and that the weather cooperates in allowing her to wear such an outfit in October! i'd never have thought of the shoe color for that dress, but in looking more closely and more leisurely at the photograph, i feel that the deep lavender shoes and the rich green of the dress combine to give her a sweet, assuredly feminine look. absolutely marvelous!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 1:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterMrs F

Both Jestina and Moi make excellent points. This marriage, Anna, exemplifies a true partnership. Mrs. O made her mark prior to her husband's presidency, as Jestina writes, and she inspires with her own agenda, as Moi and her personal achievement illustrate.

Should we disregard the influence of women like Eleanor Roosevelt, who championed civil rights 25 years prior to the 60's, or Abigail Adams, who was her husband's chief counsel, or Lady Bird Johnson, who saved hundreds of thousands of acres of pristine land from development because they married men who were elected to the nation's highest office? It's kind of insulting that when women marry influential men, their achievements are perceived by some as a result of an "opportune" marriage. An argument could be made that these women were major factors in the election of these men to the Presidency.

Mrs. O is a very accomplished woman, and she earned the right to exert her influence on women and young people everywhere. That her appeal is universal and worldwide is a factor that cannot be overlooked.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 8:50 AM | Registered CommenterBevi

Bevi. Excellent analysis. I gravitate to this blog because I am forever impressed with the intellect of its subject, creator, and posters.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 11:42 AM | Registered CommenterMcKinley

@ Jestina in England - Your'e my girl. I just love you. Have always loved your comments. Very well done.
Just recently the President said she is the great force behind him in many ways and reminds him everyday why he's where he is today.

Just dropped in for a minute haven't read the others yet. Hip Hip Hurrah!!!!!!!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 1:52 PM | Registered Commenterprettiribbons

Mrs. O speaking at a campaign event for Sen. Russ Feingold of Wisconsin right now: http://www.todaystmj4.com/news/livestream

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 1:57 PM | Registered Commentermarabout40

Greetings to the frequent posters - and thank you for your comments and feedback to my response and agreement with Anna's initial comment about Mrs. O and her new title of being the most powerful woman in the world.

I understand your encouraging words to re-read my statement and reconsider my position. I also appreciate that the majority of you feel we are entitled to our different opinions.

I adore the First couple, campaigned and voted for them. I don't have the credentials or facts that the Forbes team used to produce their "LIST" - but my opinion remains the same - I don't think Michelle Obama is the most powerful - but I'm honestly glad she made the top of the list.

Even though some comments were a little angry towards me personally - I get it and I hope our next chapter finds us in agreement .... but this will be great dinner conversation for my party on Friday - thanks !

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered Commenterriver rush

Mrs. O looked absolutely stunning at the Milwaukee campaign event today. She wore a below-the-knee length pink sheath dress accompanied by silver heels and the necklace she wore at the WH correspondents' dinner. Her hair was perfect. Her speech, although short, was passionate and motivational.

And check out this photo of her on Monday in a green shirt and navy skirt: http://theobamadiary.com/2010/10/13/visitor/#comment-2849

Love the combo.

Love her!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 2:24 PM | Registered Commentermarabout40

Here is a picuture of FLOTUS in Maryland visiting injured troops at a hospital.


Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 4:11 PM | Registered CommenterM.M.

Mrs O is looking fabulous in Harper's Bazzar. http://tinyurl.com/23e3kr4

Wednesday, October 13, 2010 at 8:00 PM | Registered CommenterAnagrom

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>