In an interview with Oprah for ELLE Magazine, Michelle Obama revealed many details about her humble, hardworking South Side Chicago upbringing with her parents in a very small home.

The 54-year-old former First Lady, who is promoting her upcoming memoir “Becoming,” worked strenuously during her public school years to set herself up for Princeton and Harvard Law School, yet eventually discovered she “hated” being a corporate lawyer.

During the legal period of her life, Obama said she underwent a significant amount of internal conflict in order to admit this fact to herself, partly because her parents had been working class and struggled to survive while having very little money. As a lawyer, she made far more than they did, but she found the work personally unfulfilling.

“I wasn’t somebody that was going to take risks. I narrowed myself to being this thing I thought I should be. It took losses in my life that made me think, Have you ever stopped to think about who you wanted to be? I had not. I was sitting on the 47th floor of an office building, going over cases and writing memos,” Obama said.

She tried to tell her mother she was unhappy with being a lawyer, but her mother told her to get the money and stick with it.

“I was scared to death. You know, my mother didn’t comment on the choices that we made. She was live-and-let-live. So one day she’s driving me from the airport after I was doing document production in Washington, D.C., and I was like, 'I can’t do this for the rest of my life. I can’t sit in a room and look at documents.'”

Michelle met husband Barak Obama when they were both working at the same corporate Chicago law firm Sidley & Austin but left to work in public service for the City of Chicago, a non-profit organization, and the University of Chicago.

Ultimately, she did listen to herself when she was unhappy working as a corporate lawyer and did not take the advice to persist with it only for the larger paychecks.



MichelleO Oprah Winfrey interviews former first lady Michelle Obama as she kicks off her "Becoming" arena book tour. Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images