Fabulous FLOTUS: 7 of Michelle Obama's finest moments as First Lady of the United States

Michelle Obama gives her final remarks as US First Lady at the 2017 School Counselor of the Year event at the White House in Washington DC, January 5, 2017.
Michelle Obama gives her final remarks as US First Lady at the 2017 School Counselor of the Year event at the White House in Washington DC, January 5, 2017.PHOTO: AFP

For nearly eight years, Mrs Michelle Obama has stood by United States President Barack Obama's side, as his wife, supporter and "best friend".

But the First Lady of the US has done a lot more than just stand by him.

"You took on a role you didn't ask for and made it your own with grace and grit and style and good humour," said Mr Obama of his wife in his outgoing address on Tuesday (Jan 10). "A new generation sets its sights higher because it has you as a role model. You've made me proud. You've made the country proud."

Here are seven of finest moments of Mrs Obama, 52, as First Lady.

1. On Sesame Street to promote healthy eating

Red carpets and podiums are not the only places where Mrs Obama shines. In October 2013, she joined Sesame Street characters Elmo and Rosita on screen to promote healthy eaing.

She announced that the non-profit organisation behind the kids' television programme was allowing the produce industry to use Sesame Street characters to promote fruits and vegetables to children - for free.

A study by Cornell University researchers a year before had shown that placing Elmo stickers on apples doubled the number of kids who chose the fruit over a cookie.

The agreement was a step by the private sector to support the Let's Move campaign, which aims to reduce childhood obesity rates in the US.

2. #BringBackOurGirls 2014

In 2014, Mrs Obama tweeted a photo of herself holding up a piece of paper with the words "#BringBackOurGirls".

"Our prayers are with the missing Nigerian girls and their families," she wrote.

The tweet shone a spotlight on the kidnapping of 276 girls from a school in Nigeria by militant organisation Boko Haram.

She gave a speech addressing the issue ahead of Mother's Day, in which she said the incident was not an isolated one but "a story we see every day as girls around the world risk their lives to pursue their ambitions".

"I want you to know that Barack has directed our government to do everything possible to support the Nigerian government's efforts to find these girls and bring them home. In these girls, Barack and I see our own daughters," said Mrs Obama. "We see their hopes, their dreams, and we can only imagine the anguish their parents are feeling right now."

According to the BBC, more than 50 girls managed to escape on the day they were captured. Twenty-one of the rest were freed after negotiations, BBC reported in October last 2016, while the rest are believed to be still captive.

3. Let Girls Learn campaign

Mrs Obama is well-known for her passion in advocating education for girls and women. In March 2015, she and President Obama launched the Let Girls Learn campaign.

The campaign is supported by various government organisations including the US Agency for International Development and the Department of State, and seeks to address the challenges that prevent adolescent girls from getting quality education.

The campaign is one of Mrs Obama's signature programmes and top priorities.

Outcomes of the campaign include an education camp in Rwanda, a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and the Nike Foundation aimed at reducing the spread of HIV to young women in countries where it is prevalent, and millions in funding towards education for girls.

Aside from education, Let Girls Learn also has programmes aimed at health and nutrition, gender-based violence, and preventing child marriage.

4. Tuskegee University commencement address 2015

In May 2015, Mrs Obama took to the stage to address graduating students at Alabama's Tuskegee University, a historically black institution.

She spoke candidly about racial issues, sharing her own experiences.

"Over the years, folks have used plenty of interesting words to describe me. One said I exhibited 'a little bit of uppity-ism'," she said.

"Another noted that I was one of my husband's 'cronies of colour'. Cable news once charmingly referred to me as 'Obama's Baby Mama'."

She encouraged the graduates to rise above what discrimination they may face, saying that the feelings such treatment creates "are not an excuse to just throw up our hands and give up".

Instead, Mrs Obama told the crowd to rise "above brutal discrimination" and to learn from history, to "overcome anything that stands in our way".

5. Dancing with a 106-year-old

Giving speeches is not the sole duty on the First Lady's schedule - dancing is included now and then.

In February last year, Mrs Obama did a little shimmy with 106-year-old Virginia McLaurin, who wanted to fulfil her dream of meeting the Obamas in the White House.

A video of the meeting has been viewed more than 68 million times on The White House's Facebook page, and has garnered more than 1.1 million likes and 900,000 shares.

"I wanna be like you when I grow up," Mrs Obama tells Ms McLaurin in the video.

"I thought I would never live to get in the White House. And I tell you I am so happy," returns Ms McLaurin. "A black President and a black wife and I'm here to celebrate black history."

6. Speech at the New Hampshire Democratic National Convention 2016

Mrs Obama stood up for women's rights in her speech at the Democratic National Convention in New Hampshire in October 2016, backing the party's presidential nominee Hillary Clinton.

"I can't believe I'm saying a candidate for president of the United States has bragged about sexually assaulting women," Mrs Obama said.

"And I have to tell you that I listen to all of this and I feel it so personally, and I'm sure that many of you do too, particularly the women. The shameful comments about our bodies. The disrespect of our ambitions and intellect. The belief that you can do anything you want to a woman."

In her lauded speech, Mrs Obama added that strong men who are "truly role models" do not "need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful".

7. Her final speech as First Lady

"Being your First Lady has been the greatest honour of my life and I hope I've made you proud," Mrs Obama said in her final speech as First Lady on Jan 6 at the White House.

She spoke to young people this time, saying: "Do not ever let anyone make you feel like you don't matter, or like you don't have a place in our American story - because you do. And you have a right to be exactly who you are."

However, she added that that right has "to be earned every single day", and called for young people to "prepare yourself to be informed and engaged as a citizen, to serve and to lead, to stand up for our proud American values and to honour them in your daily lives".

She told those who may think about giving up while encountering obstacles to never give up, and to believe in "the power of hope that has allowed us to rise above the voices of doubt and division, of anger and fear that we have faced in our own lives and in the life of this country".

SOURCES: BBC, CNN,InStyle.com, Letgirlslearn.gov, The Guardian, The Straits Times, The Washington Post