Michelle Obama turning 50; a look at her "ever-evolving" life

At an education event at the White House Thursday, President Obama made sure nobody forgot about Friday's big event – first lady Michelle Obama’s birthday. But it’s not just any birthday -- it's the big 5-0.

In an interview with People magazine, Mrs. Obama described her life as "ever-evolving."

Robin Givhan, a Washington Post contributor, covered the first lady during the president's first term, and has seen her evolve firsthand. She said, “I always had the sense that she was choosing her words so very carefully, and now it seems that she is more comfortable expressing herself.”

Mrs. Obama was asked by People whether she would ever consider plastic surgery or Botox. She said, “I don't imagine I would go that route, but I've also learned to never say ‘never’.”

Givhan said, referring to the remark, “I think that was pure unadulterated honesty.”

 With a focus on healthful foods, exercise and education, Givhan says a big part of the first lady's legacy will be her impact on children, but she's also been a role model for people her own age.Eleanor Roosevelt said when she turned 50, “Well, when you get to be my age birthdays are not something to be celebrating.”

To that Givhan said, “She was dead wrong! Birthdays are always something to be celebrated. 50 is not old, and I don't think that women any longer have this perception that, at 50, or even at 40, there's this cruel reality and you now have to be the quote, unquote matron.”

Last month, Mrs. Obama said this about her birthday plans: "I'm not exactly sure yet what I’m gonna do, but it might involve some dancing.” 

 So by really celebrating her birthday with a dance party and other events, is she sending a message?

Givhan said, “Yeah, that you know that 50 is something to jump into with both feet and be happy about.”

Happy about a birthday -- once feared -- but now, cause for celebration.

  • Chip Reid

    Chip Reid is CBS News' national correspondent.

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