After living in the White House for eight years former First Lady Michelle Obama is revealing a new side of herself in her Netflix documentary Becoming, based on her memoir of the same name. Upon entering the White House in 2008, Obama, 56, had some changes she wanted to make, especially on behalf of her young daughters, Malia, 21, and Sasha, 18, who were no more than 10 and seven years old when they entered the 1600 Penn address. “I didn’t know what the residence part of it [the White House] looked like,” Obama confessed during her exchange with Stephen Colbert on her book tour. “But I do know when I went to visit and have tea with Laura Bush, there were butlers there, fully-dressed in tuxedos, which they wore all the time, most of them African-American and Latino older men,” the former First Lady recalled.
She knew immediately, for her daughters’ sake, that this was something she wanted to change. “What I spent a lot of time thinking about was ‘How do I make this mansion with butlers and staff feel like a home for two little girls?'” Obama, a native of Chicago, knew exactly what course of action she wanted to take, and it involved scaling back some of the staff’s duties and adjusting their dress code. “I didn’t want them [my daughters] growing up thinking that grown African-American men served them in tuxedos,” she confessed to Stephen and the audience. Obama shared that they “changed the dress code” for the staff to be more relaxed. She also confessed that she had to “beg the housekeepers, ‘These girls have to learn how to clean their own rooms, and make their beds, and do their laundry. You cannot do this every day because they will not live here forever. And I am not raising kids who don’t know how to make a bed.'”
Naturally, the mother-of-two received some pushback from her youngsters. “Of course the girls were like, ‘They make your bed,'” she recalled of her daughters’ response to their daily chores. But Obama assured her girls that she, an adult woman who had just endured rigorous months on the campaign trail, meetings voters, and attending speaking engagements, had earned the luxury. “And it’s like, ‘Because I’m the First Lady and I have a degree,'” Obama recalled telling her daughters to the audience’s uproarious applause and laughter.
I’m thrilled to give you a sneak peek of BECOMING before it premieres on Netflix on May 6. This movie tells my story, from my childhood on the South Side of Chicago to my life today—and it celebrates the powerful stories of the people I met along the way. #IAmBecoming pic.twitter.com/jXqGTMRIZc
— Michelle Obama (@MichelleObama) May 4, 2020
So many layers of the Obama family’s life away from the spotlight is unearthed in the new documentary. Although the film centers on Michelle Obama’s journey from Chicago youngster to the United States’ 44th First Lady, there are some intimate moments with her family sprinkled throughout. One tender moment reveals her eldest daughter, Malia, telling her mom following a speaking engagement, “You’re so good, I love you too much. I cried again.” Both girls also sit down for an interview, filmed in 2018, and shared just how proud they are of their inspiring mom. “I’m excited for her to be proud of what she’s done,” Sasha says in the doc. “Because I think that that’s the most important thing for a human to do, is be proud of themselves.”
Becoming is currently streaming on Netflix.