Monday, Apr. 04, 2011

Michelle Obama

Age: 47
Occupation: First Lady of the United States
Previous TIME 100 appearances: 1

The morning after President Barack Obama hosted Chinese President Hu Jintao for an official visit and state dinner in January, there seemed to be more chatter about the red dress Michelle Obama had worn the previous evening than about Hu or China — or President Obama, for that matter. Commentators both inside and outside the fashion world wondered if it had been appropriate for the First Lady to wear a non-American designer for an official state dinner (the dress was made by the house of the late British designer Alexander McQueen), and debate continued for weeks. Obama's fashion flair is the subject of endless fascination, but the First Lady has leveraged her position for more substantive causes, most notably an ongoing battle against childhood obesity. Her Let's Move! program seeks to bring teachers, parents and health professionals together to encourage healthy eating and exercise among children across the U.S. In March, the First Lady announced she would write a book, to be published in spring 2012, about her White House organic garden, healthy eating and locally grown food.