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First lady on husband: He helps me feel ‘whole’

In the December issue of Glamour magazine, Michelle Obama talks about her relationship with President Obama, her fashion choices and her identity as a role model. The first lady also graces the cover wearing her own drop-waist, red cocktail dress and necklace.
/ Source: TODAY staff and wire

First lady Michelle Obama is fashion's star, but that's not why she's one of Glamour's December cover models.

Mrs. Obama's work in mentoring earned her the spot, which will be rotated with four other covers. She'll receive a special recognition in the annual Women of the Year issue that goes on newsstands Nov. 10.

In an interview with new Glamour columnist and CBS anchor Katie Couric, Mrs. Obama said being a role model is one of the most potentially powerful things she can do at the White House.

"I see how little bits of exposure and big bits of exposure really change my girls significantly, and I want that for more girls around the country and the world," she said.

'Cute only lasts for so long'When it comes to her relationship with President Barack Obama, he helps her feel "whole," she said. "Cute's good. But cute only lasts for so long, and then it's, Who are you as a person? Don't look at the bankbook or the title," she said. "Look at the heart. Look at the soul. ...

"You shouldn't be in a relationship with somebody who doesn't make you completely happy and make you feel whole."

Mrs. Obama does know people are always looking at her, though, especially her fashion choices. "I can't be surprised that people are interested. But I've tried to be at peace with the choices that I make first, and then be open to everyone else's reflection," she said.

On the Glamour cover she's in her own drop-waist, red cocktail dress with a modified ballskirt and a chunky, bow-inspired necklace. The outfit was from her own closet, and no designer will be credited in the magazine.

Finding good mentors, staying saneDuring the interview, Mrs. Obama also spoke about the importance of finding trustworthy career mentors.

The first lady looks as sophisticated in designer dresses as she does in outfits from J. Crew.

"I was blessed throughout my entire career," she said. "I had people rooting for me. It started with my parents, but it extended to almost every teacher that I had. When I was a young lawyer, there were other women and men in the firm who took me under their wing. Look for those mentors, because sometimes mentors don't find you — sometimes you seek them out. Oftentimes, they're flattered and glad to lend a hand."

Mrs. Obama also shared her thoughts about how she keeps her sanity — not only as a first lady who is under constant scrutiny, but also as a mom.

"I have always tried to put my kids first, and then ... put myself a really close second, as opposed to fifth or seventh. One thing that I've learned from male role models is that they don't hesitate to invest in themselves."

For more highlights from the interview with Michelle Obama, visit Glamour.com.