TIME White House

See the First Tourist Instagrams Taken at the White House

“Visitors are now able to take photos and keep those memories for a lifetime!” Michelle Obama announced on Instagram Wednesday, lifting a 40-year ban on tourist photography inside the White House

TIME Girl Scouts

Here’s Why Girl Scouts Are Camping Outside the White House

Michelle Obama Girl Scouts White House
Evan Vucci—AP First lady Michelle Obama participates in a knot tying station during a Lets Move! event with Girl Scouts on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, on June 30, 2015.

It's part of the First Lady's anti-childhood obesity campaign

The White House South Lawn might not be the epitome of American wilderness, but it’s where the First Lady and several dozen Girl Scouts are camping out on Tuesday.

Michelle Obama, the honorary national president of Girl Scouts of the USA, has invited 45 Girl Scouts to pitch tents in the presidential backyard to raise awareness on the benefits of outdoor activity. The campout is part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Outside campaign, a branch of the larger anti-childhood obesity campaign she launched in 2010.

The lucky Girl Scouts, who hail from Maryland, Oklahoma, Virginia, West Virginia and D.C., will participate in a range of outdoor activities to encourage their fellow youth to take advantage of America’s outdoors. In the evening, they’ll lay out on the South Lawn for a stargazing session led by NASA astronaut Cady Coleman.

It’s been a high-profile week for the Girl Scouts, who also made news on Monday when a regional chapter’s CEO declined a $100,000 gift after the donor requested the funds not to be used to support transgender Girl Scouts.

TIME People

See the Throwback Picture Michelle Obama Shared on Father’s Day

President Obama is missing part of Father's Day for a golf trip

First Lady Michelle Obama posted a throwback photo of her husband to Instagram on Sunday in honor of Father’s Day.

“Thinking today and every day about the father of these two,” she wrote in the caption of the picture, which shows a younger President Obama and their two daughters, Malia and Sasha.

Thinking today and every day about the father of these two. Happy Father's Day! -mo

A photo posted by First Lady Michelle Obama (@michelleobama) on

The President, who spent the weekend on golf trip in California with his longtime friends, is expected to return to Washington later on Sunday—after all, America’s First Family has a strict 6:30 p.m. dinner time.

Read next: Barack Obama’s Family Tree

TIME Family

Michelle Obama Shares Parenting Tips With David Letterman

First lady Michelle Obama and David Letterman on the set of "“Late Show with David Letterman" in New York City on April 30, 2015.
John Paul Filo—AP First lady Michelle Obama and David Letterman on the set of "“Late Show with David Letterman" in New York City on April 30, 2015.

The joy and terror of teenage hormones

Even the president and his first lady, it seems, are not immune to the terror of teenage hormones.

Michelle Obama stopped by The Late Show on Thursday and commiserated with David Letterman over the “cloud” that sometimes passes over his 11-year-old son, Harry. “All of a sudden, all we do is argue and reason escapes the planet!”

“Yeah, you’re in that phase,” replied Michelle, assuring him that it does go away, but that she’s currently dealing with that situation in the White House – but wouldn’t confirm whether it was Malia, 16, or Sasha, 13.

“We have one who generally stays here,” she said, holding her hand flat out in front of her, “and one we call our ‘Grumpy Cat.’ Our ‘Salty Biscuit.’ You just never know what you’re gonna get from that one!”

The first lady also shared that Malia recently obtained her driver’s license – and that it’s a great way to get her to run errands.

As Letterman pointed out, there’s nothing like raising children in the White House to add to the pressure of parenting. However, “we treat them normally,” said Michelle. “We don’t let our circumstance become an excuse for them.”

“See, I do,” Letterman joked. “My son thinks he’s being raised in the White House.”

This article originally appeared on People.com.

TIME Culture

This Maya Angelou Stamp Has a Quote From Another Poet and Won’t be Reissued

First lady Michelle Obama participates in the unveiling of the Maya Angelou Forever Stamp, Tuesday, April 7, 2015, at the Warner Theater in Washington D.C.
Jacquelyn Martin—AP First lady Michelle Obama participates in the unveiling of the Maya Angelou Forever Stamp, Tuesday, April 7, 2015, at the Warner Theater in Washington D.C.

The U.S. Postal Service was made aware of the error earlier this week

The U.S. Postal Service said Wednesday it would not reissue a recently released Maya Angelou memorial stamp that prominently features a quote from another author.

USPS spokesman David Partenheimer told the New York Times that the quote — “A bird doesn’t sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song” — was often cited by the late poet during interviews, but it was written by Joan Walsh Anglund in 1967. (Angelou never took credit for the quotation.)

“The sentence held great meaning for her, and she is publicly identified with its popularity,” Partenheimer told the Times.

The USPS was made aware of the error on Monday by the Washington Post and told the newspaper they had not known the original, which appears in Anglud’s volume of verse A Cup of Sun.

The 89-year-old Anglund has taken the mistake in her stride. “I think it easily happens sometimes that people hear something, and it’s kind of going into your subconscious and you don’t realize it,” she told the Post.

This is not the first such mistake. President Obama falsely attributed the sentence to Angelou during the presentation of the 2013 National Medal of Arts and National Humanities Medal.

The stamp was released on Tuesday during an event in Washington D.C. that included First Lady Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, activist and poet Nikki Giovanni and Angelou’s grandson Colin Johnson.

[New York Times]

TIME celebrities

Watch Conan O’Brien Attempt Michelle Obama’s #GimmeFive Challenge

He gets by with a little help from Kevin Hart

To celebrate the fifth anniversary of her Let’s Move! campaign, Michelle Obama has been asking people to use the hashtag #GimmeFive on social media and document five steps toward a healthier lifestyle.

The latest celebrity to take part in the challenge is Conan O’Brien, but in the clip above, the late-night host found a clever way to get out of any real physical activity: making Kevin Hart do all the heavy lifting (literally). Then again, there’s nothing in the First Lady’s rules that say you can’t recruit some friends—in fact, she probably encourages it.

Read next: How Billy Eichner Got Michelle Obama and Big Bird on Billy on the Street

TIME White House

New Book Explores Role of Race for First Lady Michelle Obama

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama walk down the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Md., Monday, March 30, 2015.
Susan Walsh—AP U.S. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama walk down the steps of Air Force One at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland on March 30, 2015

Author paints the First Lady as the President's rock, notes the impact her background would have on her future as the nation's first black First Lady

During her senior year at Princeton University, First Lady Michelle Obama couldn’t imagine she would live to see the election of the nation’s first African American, let alone be married to him. “To say that during her Princeton years she could not envision an African American president is like saying that the sun rises and sets every day,” writes Northwestern University Professor Peter Slevin in his upcoming biography, Michelle Obama: A Life.

At the time, the future First Lady was a girl from the South Side of Chicago, navigating the Ivy League world and its social intricacies while questioning the impact black Princeton graduates had on the community at large. She didn’t want to forget her roots and the importance of reaching back — a value instilled in her by her parents back home. Little did she know decades later, as her husband Barack Obama carries out the final years of his second term as President, some of her most notable achievements would involve doing just that.

There isn’t much news in Slevin’s 300-plus page biography of the first black First Lady, which is largely interesting for the mere fact that there’s an insatiable appetite for inside information on its main subject. The key biographical notes are all there: the stint at Princeton and Harvard Law School, her first job at Sidley Austin and her eventual foray into community engagement through her work at the organization Public Allies and the University of Chicago Hospital. Yet Slevin is able to connect the dots of Mrs. Obama’s life and assess the impact her upbringing, deeply rooted in the black experience, has had on not only her impressive career trajectory, but also the legacy she’ll leave behind as First Lady.

Much of the book is an exploration of the racial and cultural history of Chicago, a city with a rich history of segregation and strife, that’s also home to a neighborhood where the Obamas’ home is located that White House adviser Valerie Jarrett describes as “the real world as it should be.” And the anecdotes about the First Lady’s life draw the importance her race has played in her life trajectory.

Michelle and her brother Craig lived in a tiny apartment on the second floor of a bungalow on South Euclid Avenue, where their resourceful parents emphasized the importance of getting an education while filling the gaps on black history left open by their Chicago public-school education. She would later ride public transportation to the sprawling magnet high school she attended, named after civil rights icon Whitney Young, where counselors would tell her she wasn’t a good fit for her dream school of Princeton. Her sights, they said, were too high. She’d later use that same rhetoric to urge folks to vote for her husband, a freshman Senator with his sights set on the White House. And eventually, the story would help her persuade audiences of young people, particularly black and brown students, to focus on getting a college education as a part of her Reach Higher Initiative at the White House.

Even in a short blurb about the Obamas’ budding romance, the author notes that Michelle’s mother Marian at one point worried that Barack’s biracial background would make navigating society’s prejudices difficult. In the end, though, she accepted the future President who she said “shared the values of [their] family.”

And despite the success the First Lady was able to achieve for herself, some of the most influential work she’s done happened on the campaign trail. Though reluctant to agree to a headfirst dive into national politics following the then state senator’s unsuccessful bid for the seat of Illinois Representative Bobby Rush, the First Lady is depicted as a ride-or-die politician’s wife, who was ready and willing to do whatever it took to secure her husband’s position in the American history books.

“If Barack was a helium balloon,” Slevin writes, “Michelle was the one holding the string.”

Slevin’s biography of the First Lady will be released April 7.

TIME Television

How Billy Eichner Got Michelle Obama and Big Bird on Billy on the Street

The actor and comedian tells TIME the behind-the-scenes story of landing the First Lady


Billy Eichner has bellowed at plenty of celebrity pals on his Funny or Die series Billy on the Street, but none more famous than Michelle Obama. This week the First Lady took part in a special edition of Billy on the Street (more like Billy in a Grocery Store) to raise awareness about her new healthy eating campaign, Eat Brighter!, a partnership between the White House, Sesame Street (whose very own Big Bird stopped by for the fun) and the Produce Marketing Association.

TIME spoke to Eichner about how it all went down, his upcoming Hulu show and what Zooey Deschanel was like in college.

TIME: How do you get Michelle Obama on the show? Does the White House pitch you? Do you pitch the White House?
Billy Eichner: Well, I would never be presumptuous enough to pitch the White House. Funny or Die, which produces Billy on the Street, has a good relationship with the White House and the Obamas coming off the Between Two Ferns that President Obama did with Zach Galifianakis, which was very successful.

I’m not sure who did the initial reach-out, but I believe it was someone on Team FLOTUS who knew that the First Lady was passionate about raising awareness of this Eat Brighter! campaign. They were looking to promote it in ways that would be entertaining as well as educational. It would be raising awareness among the parents, really, who are the ones responsible for taking their kids to the grocery stores and making decisions about what they eat and snack on.

The First Lady had seen a bunch of my videos and thought that the combination of this campaign geared towards parents of young children and my energy and enthusiasm would be a good match. That way, we would be able to break through the clutter of what’s online and get people’s attention in a funny way. As soon as I heard this was a possibility I was incredibly honored to do it. I’m so glad that it worked out and people liked the video.

How much did you have to run by her ahead of time? Was she game for whatever?
That’s what’s really great about the First Lady. Billy on the Street really depends on spontaneous unscripted reaction. We’ve never staged anything or rehearsed anything. I made it really clear that as much as we wanted to do the video, in order to have the best results, we really should not run the questions by the First Lady. They’re not used to doing things that way, but they did allow us to do it. We did talk through general ideas of what we might do with her team, and we sent over sample questions, but none of those sample questions were used in the actual shoot. They were just in the spirit of something I might do. And she obviously had watched a bunch of my videos. When she got there, one of the first things she said to me was, “I really don’t have any idea what you’re going to ask me.” She was told that was the best way to do it, and she just went for it. She was game.

So she’s a true Billy on the Street fan, that’s not just her team saying that?
Well, she better be now! She wasn’t going to say yes to dealing with all of my craziness without being a fan of some of my prior work.

What’s the security situation like? If the cameras had turned out around, how many Secret Service people would we have seen?
I believe it was between 10-12 Secret Service guys. We were in a supermarket in D.C. that had been shut down to the public for the hour we were shooting. They swept it through, but once we were in the room, the Secret Service guys were very cooperative. We talked them through a little bit about what we’d be doing so they wouldn’t shoot me if I decided to run in a particular direction.

I figured they probably blindfolded you and drove you around in circles first, Homeland-style.
That’s a whole other game I hope to play one day on Billy on the Street.

Was Elena always going to be a part of it?
Bringing Elena into it was my idea. One of the things we weren’t able to do with the First Lady for obvious security reasons was take her out onto the street and run up to people. And because the point of the video was to raise awareness of a campaign in grocery stories, the First Lady’s only request was that we shoot in a grocery store so people could get some sense of what the Eat Brighter! campaign actually looks like. So how do we do all of that but also maintain the spirit of Billy on the Street which does involve spontaneous reactions from a real person?I thought, what if we could bring someone to the store?

Elena is everyone’s favorite contestant on the show. One of the great things about Elena is that no matter what you throw at her, she’s pretty unfazed. I also knew from prior conversations that I had with Elena that she loves Michelle Obama. She once said if she could have dinner with anyone, it would be Michelle Obama. So I thought it would be a good idea, as long as we could bring Elena down without her knowing who she’s going to meet. Team FLOTUS agreed with that, and some of my producers escorted Elena down to D.C. We had her sequestered in a room in the grocery store before the First Lady got there. Once we brought her out, she was blindfolded, she had earplugs in. The reveal that you see on camera is exactly how it was.

I love that Elena didn’t even believe it was her at first.
Yeah, which makes sense to me — she’s familiar with other weird stunts I pull on the show, so it wouldn’t be out of the question that I would get an impersonator or something.

Has Ariana Grande seen the video?
I don’t know, that’s a very a good question. I thought she’d get a kick of it.

I think she has a good sense of humor.
I think she does! We’re not terrible snarky to Ariana Grande. I go out of my way to say she’s a good singer. The only thing is Elena points out that her ponytail is fake, which is another perfectly Elena thing to say. But I hope she sees it and likes it. Or at least Frankie Grande. Give me something.

How’s your Hulu show with Julie Klausner coming along?
I am sitting in my trailer right now as I talk to you because we are in the middle of shooting it. We’re about halfway done, maybe a little more. It’s going to be eight episodes on Hulu. We haven’t been given a premiere date yet, I think it’s something like late summer or early fall. We’ve been shooting in the incredibly cold New York City temperatures, but we’re having a really good time. Amy Poehler is the executive producer, and there are a bunch of guest stars that haven’t been announced yet, so I don’t want to get in trouble and say who they are. There are some really great comic actors whom we all know and love making appearances on the show, playing my family members or themselves in various cameos. It’s about two thirty-somethings still trying to make it in the entertainment industry. There’s a lot of pop culture talk, but it’s pop culture with a very strong point of view. It’s coming from, I hope, a intelligent perspective, as opposed to some of the more derivative stuff.

Zooey Deschanel recently told me a story about how you both did A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum together in college. Do you remember that? What was she like in college?
She was great! I did an episode of New Girl with her a few months ago, and it was very much a full circle moment because the last time Zooey and I had performed together was when she was a freshman at Northwestern and I was a junior. We were both theater majors cast in a student production of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, and I played her pimp, essentially. I mean, it’s about ancient Roman times, so there are nicer words for it than pimp. I remember her in college very vividly, she was really funny in the show.

She had a great style back then, which was really unusual because Northwestern has a lot of theater majors who show up to class in jogging pants. There isn’t much of a personal aesthetic — it’s the Midwest. Now she’s somewhat of a fashion icon, and that’s not surprising to me. She was always like that, even when I met her years ago.

Read next: 5 FLOTUS Family Dinners for Under $12

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME viral

Watch Michelle Obama Slow Dance With Big Bird

The First Lady gets yelled at by Billy Eichner for a good cause

Billy On The Street with First Lady Michelle Obama, Big Bird, And Elena!!! from Funny Or Die

Michelle Obama slow danced with Big Bird in a grocery store because comedian Billy Eichner told her to do it.

The First Lady is trying to get the word out about the Eat Bright campaign that puts Sesame Street characters on fruits and vegetables to encourage young children to make healthier food choices. For some reason this publicity push lead to FLOTUS standing in the produce section of a supermarket next to Big Bird and Billy on the Street fan favorite, Elena, playing a rapid-fire round of a game called “Ariana Grande or a Carrot?” while Eichner screamed at them. (The answer by the way, is carrot.)

It’s an impressively odd video that is incredibly fun to watch, if slightly hard to process. That said, it’s sad to know that their is now video evidence that the First Lady can’t name all the characters from the Facts of Life.

Read next: Michelle Obama: ‘Turnip for What?’

Your browser is out of date. Please update your browser at http://update.microsoft.com