Ever since Meghan and Harry sat down with Oprah on Sunday, March 7, multiple celebrities and high-profile individuals have reacted to the interview, adding their voices to various discussions on the royal family, racism, mental health, and more. Former First Lady Michelle Obama is the latest famous figure to share her thoughts on the iconic interview.
Michelle was interviewed by journalist Jenna Bush Hager for half an hour, during which the former First Lady responded to questions on an array of topics, including Meghan and Harry’s interview.
Jenna and Michelle touch on the bombshell interview for less than five minutes, half-way through their discussion.
Body language expert Judi James spoke exclusively to Express.co.uk about Michelle’s body language and facial expressions during these few minutes.
Judi said: “Coming in the middle of a relaxed and friendly interview, the question about Meghan appears to elicit a more careful, political response from Michelle Obama rather than a specifically personal or emotional one.”
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Jenna started off the Harry and Meghan segment of the interview with Michelle by asking the former First Lady: “I wonder when you watched Meghan Markle speak out the other night, what went through your mind?”
Judi speculated on Michelle’s response to this question, saying: “Michelle avoids throwing herself into the controversy like many other commentators have, opting instead for a more general answer based on her own method of surviving public service.
“One of the most charismatic people in the public eye and with some of the most compelling, inspirational body language techniques, Michelle retains her expression of pursed lips and an acknowledging nod, closing her eyes once in a slow blink as she hears the question,” the body language expert added.
“Her ‘Hmmm…’ sounds enigmatic but thoughtful and it is followed by a sigh. Her eyes go up to her right, suggesting she is choosing her words carefully.”
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Judi continued: “In the end she [Michelle] delivers what sounds like advice to Meghan, talking generally about public service and ways to ‘steel yourself and protect yourself.’
“Her lack of hand gestures suggests a desire to avoid emotional displays at this point.”
In her response, Michelle said: “Public service is a bright, sharp, hot spotlight, and most people don’t understand it, nor should they. But there are ways to steel yourself and protect yourself.
“The thing that I always keep in mind is that none of this is about us, public service is about the people that we serve and, especially in times like this, I want the country to be focused on the big issues that we face,” Michelle added.
The former First Lady listed these issues, which included creating jobs for people, feeding people, and making sure that people receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
Judi continued to give her analysis on Michelle’s response, saying: “After a frown and a sad eye expression to her interviewer, Michelle’s advice becomes more pointed.
“Holding her hand up close to her chest for emphasis she says: ‘None of this is about us. It’s about other people’.
“There is a small facial flinch before she gains energy to refer to things like ‘vaccine’, ‘hunger’ and ‘pandemic’,” the body language expert added.
“Her hands move back to her own chest before making a throwing gesture outward to illustrate her very powerful point: ‘I always try to push the light back out there’. When she pauses, she performs a small tongue-poke to hint at some sense of rejection.”
The next question Jenna asked Michelle was: “But what about when she [Meghan] talked about the fact that she’s experienced racism?”
Judi commented on Michelle’s response, speculating on Michelle’s “keenness” to “focus on the power of family with a reference to the royals”.
The body language expert said: “‘I pray for them’ is accompanied by a glance upward and Michelle’s strong line that sounds aimed at Meghan and the royal family is that ‘we’ve all got to learn to live together’.”
Michelle also told the interviewer that “racism is not a new construct in this world for people of colour”.
“So, it wasn’t a complete surprise to sort of hear her feelings and to have them articulated,” the former First Lady added.
She continued: “The thing that I hope for, and the thing that I think about is that this first and foremost is a family, and I pray for forgiveness and healing for them, so that they can use this as a teachable moment for us all.
“[We live] in a world where there are a lot of interracial families, and we have to learn to live together and support each other and value each other.”