How Michelle Obama left Duchess Meghan ‘speechless’

By Sarah Walker

When the Duchess of Sussex began working on British Vogue’s September issue, “Forces for Change,” she knew she wanted to interview a special guest who would inspire readers.

“I knew that I wanted to create a magazine that would speak not just to where we are, but to where we hope to be,” Meghan said in her editor’s note. “In doing so, I knew we needed to both open and close strong. Like a beautiful meal: the first bite sets the tone and the final spoonful leaves you satiated, smiling, and sometimes (if you’re dining under the direction of a forward-thinking chef) even inspired.”

The 37-year-old went on to ask, “So how could I bring this issue to its logical conclusion? How could I meet that very lofty self-imposed goal?”

Who could she interview? Her answer: “It needed to be Michelle Obama.”

The 37-year-old revealed she asked the former US first lady to take part in the project “over a casual lunch of chicken tacos and my ever-burgeoning bump.”

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We are proud to announce that Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Sussex is the Guest Editor for the September issue of @BritishVogue. For the past seven months, The Duchess has curated the content with British Vogue's Editor-in-Chief Edward Enninful to create an issue that highlights the power of the collective. They have named the issue: “Forces for Change” For the cover, The Duchess chose a diverse selection of women from all walks of life, each driving impact and raising the bar for equality, kindness, justice and open mindedness. The sixteenth space on the cover, a mirror, was included so that when you hold the issue in your hands, you see yourself as part of this collective. The women on the cover include: @AdwoaAboah @AdutAkech @SomaliBoxer @JacindaArdern @TheSineadBurke @Gemma_Chan @LaverneCox @JaneFonda @SalmaHayek @FrankieGoesToHayward @JameelaJamilOfficial @Chimamanda_Adichie @YaraShahidi @GretaThunberg @CTurlington We are excited to announce that within the issue you’ll find: an exclusive interview between The Duchess and former First Lady of the United States Michelle Obama, a candid conversation between The Duke of Sussex and Dr Jane Goodall, inspirational articles written by Brené Brown, Jameela Jamil and many others. Equally, you’ll find grassroots organisations and incredible trailblazers working tirelessly behind the scenes to change the world for the better. • “Guest Editing the September issue of British Vogue has been rewarding, educational and inspiring. To deep dive into this process, working quietly behind the scenes for so many months, I am happy to now be able to share what we have created. A huge thanks to all of the friends who supported me in this endeavour, lending their time and energy to help within these pages and on the cover. Thank you for saying “Yes!” - and to Edward, thank you for this wonderful opportunity.” - The Duchess of Sussex #ForcesForChange

A post shared by The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (@sussexroyal) on

What emerged between the two was an email conversation that left the former Suits star speechless.

“She graciously said yes (because she’s Michelle, she’s gracious), and then very promptly sent answers (because she’s Michelle, she’s prompt),” the Duchess of Sussex wrote.

“What was sent back to me, however, left me somewhat speechless. A few ‘simple questions’ (which she could have answered with a sentence or two) were returned to me as a thoughtful, reflective and beautifully curated narrative – a gentle reminder not of how but of why she has become such a globally respected public figure.”

The author and motivational speaker offered a healthy dose of parenting advice with some pearls of wisdom about the early days of motherhood.

Malia Obama, Sasha Obama, Michelle’s mother Marian Robinson, Michelle Obama and Barack Obama at the lighting of the national Christmas tree in Washington, D.C. in 2015. Photo: © Olivier Douliery- Pool/Getty Images

“Motherhood has taught me that, most of the time, my job is to give them the space to explore and develop into the people they want to be. Not who I want them to be or who I wish I was at that age, but who they are, deep inside,” Michelle said.

“Motherhood has also taught me that my job is not to bulldoze a path for them in an effort to eliminate all possible adversity. But instead, I need to be a safe and consistent place for them to land when they inevitably fail; and to show them, again and again, how to get up on their own.”

She added: “When Malia and Sasha were newborns, Barack and I could lose hours just watching them sleep. We loved to listen to the little sounds they’d make — especially the way they cooed when they were deep into dreaming… Don’t get me wrong, early parenthood is exhausting. I’m sure you know a thing or two about that these days. But there is something so magical about having a baby in the house. Time expands and contracts; each moment holds its own little eternity.”

MORE: The 15 women on the cover of Duchess Meghan’s issue of British Vogue

Meghan was reportedly a hands-on collaborator for the special September issue, from selecting the women to interview as well as feature on the magazine’s cover. The issue has 15 barrier-breaking women on its cover, including Christy Turlington and Jane Fonda. The magazine also includes a candid conversation about racism, prejudice and environmentalism between Prince Harry and Dr. Jane Goodall.

Other influential women featured in the magazine include Salma Hayek, model Adwoa Aboah, diversity advocate Sinéad Burke, The Good Place star Jameela Jamil, author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Orange is the New Black star Laverne Cox, Crazy Rich Asians star Gemma Chan, Grown-ish and Black-ish star Yara Shahidi and teenage climate change activist Greta Thunberg.

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