As the personal confidante, partner and right hand woman, the role of the first lady is not only important for the President, but also for the people. The first lady is an extension of her husband’s diplomacy and public persona and to appear as a strong unit.
Just like every president has different policies and forward thinking, so does the first lady. From their own initiatives to charity work, Michelle Obama and Melania Trump have inherently different personalities and passions. But when it comes down to it, who’s the favorite FLOTUS? This might help you decide.
The campaign trail – Michelle Obama
When Barack Obama was running for President in 2008, Michelle Obama was a huge part of his campaign trail, traveling on buses to different states to speak to voters and assist in the mission of getting on board with Obama’s manifesto.
Michelle was constantly bouncing back and forth between the campaign tour, and being at home with her daughters in Chicago. She wanted to ensure she could juggle it all, being a potential future first lady as well as being the doting mother.
The campaign trail – Melania Trump
Slovenian Melania Trump took some time to get used to the whole concept of a campaign trail and how she could reinforce the positive work of her husband as the future president. In a rare appearance, Melania spoke at a campaign rally in Pennsylvania in 2016, describing how she was spending time with her young son Barron at home while Donald went to get the country’s backing for his leadership.
Melania described how being a full-time mom is her most important role and she wants to teach Barron, and other children how to be kind to one another.
Inauguration style – Michelle Obama
Barack Obama was sworn in as president on January 20th 2009 and Michelle was constantly by his side. In her first official appearance as first lady, Michelle wore a muted lime green custom Isabel Toledo dress and coat.
The style itself was classic, but the color was bold and gave everyone an insight into the fact that Michelle wasn’t going to blend into the background during their stint in The White House. She followed the ceremony by donning a delicate white Jason Wu gown at the Inaugural ball.
Inauguration style – Melania Trump
Donald Trump was sworn in the 45th president of the United States on the 20th January 2017 and Melania was by his side wearing slim-fitting powder blue suit and suede gloves by Ralph Lauren. Her outfit was reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy’s at JFK’s swearing in ceremony in 1961.
People hailed Melania’s outfit choice as classic and poised. She followed this by wearing a white, off-the-shoulder gown by Hervé Pierre to the Freedom Inaugural Ball. Her choice to wear white resulted in the comparison of fashion between Trump and Michelle Obama.
Moving in to The White House – Michelle Obama
Michelle wasted no time getting acquainted with her new home at The White House. Not only did she order a total renovation of the president’s private quarters to suit their own interior style, but she also made some changes in the grounds.
Michelle famously added a vegetable garden to The White House so she could grow her own fresh produce. She even made an event out of planting fruits and vegetables in the garden, hoping others would choose a healthy lifestyle and follow suit.
Moving in to The White House – Melania Trump
Melania was in absolutely no rush to move into The White House with her husband and was quite comfortable residing at the Trump’s 5th Avenue penthouse in Trump Tower, New York City, with youngest son Barron. Melania only moved into the world famous Washington D.C. residence 5 months into Trump’s presidency.
She wanted her son Barron to finish up the 2016-2017 school year before moving him to a new school and redesigning The White House together with Donald.
FLOTUS staff – Michelle Obama
One of Michelle Obama’s first points of business when moving into the East Wing was to employ a whole new team of staff to cater to her needs. It was reported that Michelle hired a team of around 25 people to implement her agenda.
Michelle was clear about her mission as first lady and wanted to make a difference in as many areas as possible and needed the people behind her to be able to manage this workload.
FLOTUS staff – Melania Trump
Despite being used to a luxury life in New York with all the staff she could ever need, Melania took a much low-key approach when coming into The White House. She only hired around five individuals to work for her, a number far less than preceding first ladies.
In the next year, Melania’s staff added an additional five people to her staff, rounding the number out at 10. Melania focused on going for the quality of her staff than the quantity.
Hosting events – Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama was extremely active in Obama’s campaign trail and this was no different when she transitioned into her role as first lady. It was said Michelle was determined to enhance her public profile and position within Washington, so hosted many events within her husband’s early presidency along with doing plenty of community service in the local Washington D.C. community and visiting soup kitchens.
Boasting two Ivy League degrees and a hefty resume full of executive positions, Michelle knew exactly how she was going to position herself on the international stage.
Hosting events – Melania Trump
Once she got into the swing of things in Washington, Melania became more active in planning events at The White House, even co-hosting and speaking at the annual Governor’s Ball at the White House.
In addition, she hosted the White House Easter Egg Roll with her husband and held a lunch on International Women’s Day where she gave an empowering speech on the importance of education and nurturing the younger generations. Nonetheless, Melania was clear in making her number one priority her son, Barron.
Trips abroad – Michelle Obama
Michelle was often seen on presidential trips with her husband and while he was meeting with government officials, Michelle often visited impoverished communities and the less fortunate. One of Michelle’s most talked about appearances was at a girls school in the UK with 900 refugee pupils and where 55 languages were spoken.
Michelle spoke about diversity and standing up for who you are in a speech that was hailed around the world. Together with Barack, Michelle took daughters Sasha and Malia to Ghana to learn about their ancestry.
Trips abroad – Melania Trump
In Trump’s first trip abroad to the Middle East and Europe, Melania accompanied him the entire time and delved into the culture and communities in many of the different locations. One of the most poignant moments on the tour was between Melania and Pope Francis when he asked the Solvenian-native about some of her national dishes that he loved.
Melania also gave opening remarks in Warsaw before Donald’s speech, telling the nation that we should never have to live in fear.
First Lady mission – Michelle Obama
One year after Michelle Obama became the first lady, she launched her “Let’s Move” campaign in order to combat child obesity. Coming into the White House, Michelle had voiced her concerns on getting the country healthy and one of her first acts in planting a vegetable garden made this mission clear.
The campaign helped contribute to the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, which improved nutrition standards of public schools and gave them the necessary funding to make these changes.
First Lady mission – Melania Trump
Melania Trump also launched her initiative over a year after coming into the White House, but she was clear in her motivation from the outset. Melania launched the “Be Best” campaign in order to combat cyber-bullying on the Internet and to focus on promoting “safe and positive online behaviors.”
Despite her mission, Melania received plenty of backlash from media outlets and reinforced that if she can stand up against the world’s media, she hopes it would give individuals the belief in themselves to do the same.
FLOTUS getaway – Michelle Obama
When Michelle wanted some much needed time off, she would often escape to the Obama family favorite, Martha’s Vineyard. The island located south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts was a regular spot for Obama and Michelle frequently escaped there with daughters Sasha and Malia.
While the family didn’t own a permanent residence there, they would often rent houses in the area and get some time away from the media circus and everything that encompassed politics and their public life.
FLOTUS getaway – Melania Trump
Being married to the president who also happens to be a property and hotel mogul certainly has its perks. When it comes to vacation spots, the options for Melania are endless with Trump hotels all over the world. Having said that, when it comes to down time, the Trumps are always found at Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.
The members-only club is the Trump’s go-to location where they are surrounded by their close family and friends. With numerous pools, restaurants, a golf course and many other amenities, they have everything they need right there.
Fashion designer friendships – Michelle Obama
Being the first lady, top designers compete for the opportunity to dress them for big events that will have their designs shown around the world. Of course, the style stakes were extremely high and everyone was quick to critique an outfit. Michelle Obama opted to work with up-and-coming designers with an unusual background to elevate their profile.
She favored designers including Jason Wu, Tracy Reese, Thakoon, Sophie Theallet and Brandon Maxwell. After dressing the first lady, these designers began dressing the A-listers of Hollywood and became household names.
Fashion designer friendships – Melania Trump
Melania Trump ran into some issues when working with fashion designers due to their political affiliation, but no matter what Melania wore, she looked absolutely phenomenal and oozed class. Melania is often seen donning pieces by Dolce and Gabbana, Badgley and Mischka, Diane von Furstenberg, Ralph Lauren, J. Mendel and Monique Lhuillier.
Melania’s love of couture fashion began years before she became the first lady and her style has been elevated ever since she took to The White House.
Celebrity supporters – Michelle Obama
Throughout her time in the White House, Michelle Obama brought a sense of cool and down to earth nature that so many people admired and appreciated. Her status of course earned her some very famous friends along the way and she developed relationships with celebrities including Oprah Winfrey, Beyonce, Ellen Degeneres and Alicia Keys.
Michelle utilized these friendships in her public missions, using Beyonce to help tackle childhood obesity and Ellen Degeneres in many different campaigns.
Celebrity supporters – Melania Trump
As her husband, Donald, has been in the public eye for over 40 years as a businessman and mogul, Melania honed in on his celebrity friendships ever since they were married in 2005 at Mar-A-Lago. The likes of Simon Cowell, P. Diddy, Katie Couric, Heidi Klum, Anna Wintour and Barbara Walters were just some of the famous faces to attend the nuptials.
However, ever since becoming the first lady, Melania has taken a step back in mingling with celebrities and her main focus is on raising her son in the most private way possible.
Mom life- Michelle Obama
When Obama took office, his daughters, Malia and Sasha were ten and seven respectively when they started living in The White House. Both girls were enrolled in Quaker Sidwell School in Washington and Michelle was vocal about wanting her girls to live a normal life, despite their extraordinary situation.
The girls were very much kept out of the public eye unless they were attending an official event with the president. When Malia went to prom, Michelle made sure she got the full experience without being bothered by secret service.
Mom life- Melania Trump
Melania only has one son with Donald, Barron, but she also has four step-kids in the family. Even during Trump’s campaign, Melania insisted her first priority is Barron and at 10 years old, she didn’t want to change his whole life immediately.
Melania ensured there was as little disruption as possible and waited for Barron’s school to finish for summer before changing his school to Washington. Barron is rarely seen at public events with his family and lives a quiet life inside The White House.
Background- Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama grew up in Chicago and had an extensive education, attending both Princeton University and Harvard Law School. She worked at the law firm Sidley Austin, where she met Barack Obama and later went on to work for nonprofits and as the associate dean of Student Services at the University of Chicago.
Then, she worked as the vice president for Community and External Affairs of the University of Chicago Medical Center. Her strong background put her at an advantage of succeeding in her missions as first lady.
Background- Melania Trump
Melania Trump grew up in Slovenia and went onto work as a fashion model, being signed to agencies in Milan and Paris. It wasn’t until 1996 that Melania moved to New York to pursue her career. She met Donald in 1998 when he was divorcing his second wife Marla Maples and they became engaged in 2004.
Melania launched her jewelry company Melania Timepieces in 2010 and also marketed a Melania Skin Care Collection, sold in high-end department stores.
Wedding bells- Michelle Obama
Michelle and Barack were married on October 3rd 1992 at the Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago. The ceremony was attended by their close family and friends, Michelle’s brother walked her down the aisle and Barack’s brother was best man.
The former first lady noted that the couple danced all night and their first dance was to “Unforgettable” by Nat King Cole. The couple went on their honeymoon in California. Today, they have been married for 27 years and still going strong.
Wedding bells- Melania Trump
Melania and Donald’s wedding was nothing short of a lavish, star-studded affair with no expense spared. The were married on January 22, 2005 at the at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida before going on to their wedding reception at Donald’s estate Mar-A-Lago.
Melania wore a $200,000 dress made by John Galliano of Christian Dior and their A-list guests were serenaded by Billy Joel. The whole event was widely covered by the media.
Off time- Michelle Obama
When Michelle isn’t attending presidential events or working on her own advocacy, she enjoys working out in her spare time, going on walks with their dogs Sunny and Bo and she would often help out at various homeless shelters in Washington.
Many have said that Michelle works out “like a gladiator” and she puts herself through grueling exercises. When she has more time off during the holidays, the family travel together to Martha’s Vineyard in Cape Cod.
Off time- Melania Trump
While it is known that Donald Trump loves to golf whenever possible, while he is on the golf course teeing off, Melania usually travels down to their estate Mar-A-Lago with him and enjoys the amenities of the beautiful resort.
With many of the Trump’s friends members at the club, it is a time for them to unwind with close people around them. Here, Melania is close to Worth Avenue where she can browse her favorite designer stores.
Cover lady- Michelle Obama
Ever since Michelle Obama became the first lady, many notable magazine publications were vying to get her on the cover with an exclusive interview. The lucky ones that managed to get the deals were Vogue, Vanity Fair, People, Essence and Elle.
Michelle delved into life at The White House and as first lady as well as life after being the first lady and how she would go on with life. Michelle used many of these interviews to further her efforts in advocacy.
Cover lady – Melania Trump
Melania Trump has always been most comfortable in front of the cameras at photoshoots as this was how she gained her name in modeling. Prior to becoming first lady, Melania shot a nude GQ cover on Trump’s private jet and she has also appeared on the covers of Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair, Time as well as Vogue taking her exclusive wedding photos for their cover.
Considering she was known as Trump’s wife before becoming first lady, not much has changed for Melania.
Dripping in diamonds – Michelle Obama
Being the first lady of the United States sure has its perks and one of them is to be able to wear, borrow and be gifted with some incredible one off diamonds jewelry pieces.
Michelle has been seen wearing some fabulous brooches, one of her favorites was a hummingbird diamond brooch in white gold. Another of her famous pieces was her pearl necklace that she has been seen wearing to plenty of White House events, as well as her large diamond hoop earrings.
Dripping in diamonds – Melania Trump
Being the wife of a billionaire, even before becoming first lady gave Melania Trump access to many pieces of jewelry that one could only dream of. Donald proposed to Melania with a 15 carat, $1.5 million ring by Graff, followed by gifting her with a $3 million diamond ring for their 10-year wedding anniversary.
She also has a diamond encrusted Cartier watch in her collection along with many teardrop diamond earrings and diamond necklaces worth an eye watering amount of money.
Code name – Michelle Obama
The secret service use code names to refer to each member of the presidential family. Michelle Obama had chosen the name Renaissance during her time as first lady and many speculated why she had chosen such a name.
The truth behind it was that Michelle had read an issue of Vanity Fair which detailed Jackie Kennedy’s obsession with the Mona Lisa in November 2008. From then she loved the sentiment and chose Renaissance as her code name.
Code name – Melania Trump
The Trump family were given a list of codenames to choose from which all began with the letter M. For obvious reasons, Donald chose the codename Mogul, while Melania also went for something that described her past. In a nod to her modeling career and the reason why she moved to the United States, Melania Trump’s codename is Muse.
Covering the magazines of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Vanity Fair among many more, this was an obvious choice for the Solvenian-born first lady.
The second term – Michelle Obama
When it came to campaigning for Barack Obama’s second term in office, Michelle Obama pulled out all the stops to ensure that her husband won the race to the White House. This included being a present and important figure on the campaign trail, giving encouraging and inspiring speeches at conventions, celebrating the last four years and giving a glimpse into what the next four looked like.
Michelle received plenty of standing ovations and praise in her well-thought and poignant messaging for the election, which was a big factor into why Obama won.
The second term – Melania Trump
With the next presidential election looming, the press have noted specific actions presented by Melania Trump which may give some kind of insight into how she is going to tackle the race to the White House.
Political commentators have noted that Mrs. Trump has been much more present at state dinners and different events, perhaps showing that she is gearing up to take a more active role as first lady and starting to test the waters for the next campaign and the type of appearances she is going to have to make.
First lady legacy- Michelle Obama
There is no denying that Michelle Obama was an incredibly passionate and active first lady during Barack Obama’s presidency. From traveling by herself to different international events, advocating on behalf of military families, helping women, people of color and standing up for those who couldn’t, Michelle’s public approval was incredibly high and she was even voted the most-admired woman of 2018.
After leaving the White House, Michelle penned a biography detailing her thoughts on all things as the first lady and what life is now which topped all of the best-sellers lists.
First lady legacy – Melania Trump
Melania Trump is three years into her role as first lady and in the last few months, more than ever, we have seen her take more initiative in attending events and being seen in public. Despite Melania wanting to take a more behind-the-scenes approach, she has still impressed many with her comments and determination in reducing cyber bullying.
It remains to be seen how she will tackle the 2020 presidential campaign and if she will take an active role in speaking on behalf of her husband to encourage more voters.
The best FLOTUS?
Both Michelle Obama and Melania Trump have shown determination and hard work in their own right, but when it comes down to their work as first ladies, they have clearly taken a very different approach.
Michelle’s background in law and university administration helped her in delivering successful public speeches and advocacy work whereas Melania came from modeling and has always appeared classy and poised in every public appearance. With a potential four more years on the line for Melania, it will be interesting to see how she makes her mark as first lady.