Michelle Obama ‘fabulous’ at 50: Has the big birthday changed?

CNN News Wire | 1/17/2014, 9:43 a.m.
Michelle Obama’s not just embracing her half-century milestone, she’s relishing it. Describing herself as “50 and fabulous,” the “Let’s Move” ...
Michelle Obame

Michelle Obama’s not just embracing her half-century milestone, she’s relishing it.

Describing herself as “50 and fabulous,” the “Let’s Move” creator is getting ready to move herself on Saturday -- as in show off some dance moves -- with a big birthday celebration at the White House.

“I have never felt more confident in myself, more clear on who I am as a woman,” the first lady told Parade magazine last summer when asked about approaching the big 5-0.

That confidence was on full display when she recently took on the topic of aging and whether she’d ever consider plastic surgery.

“Women should have the freedom to do whatever they need to do to feel good about themselves,” Obama said in an interview with People magazine set to release on Friday, her birthday. “Right now, I don’t imagine that I would go that route, but I’ve also learned to never say never.”

And when asked if she has peaked at 50, she joked that first lady is “pretty high up,” but said she’s always felt her life is “ever-evolving.”

“I’ve got to keep figuring out ways to have an impact, whether as a mother or as a professional or as a mentor to other kids,” said Obama, who has made talking with teens and increasing the college graduation rate among her major issues during her husband’s second term as president.

Michelle Obama has plenty of fabulous company when it comes to celebrating a milestone birthday in 2014, with a host of amazing women including Sandra Bullock, Elle Macpherson, philanthropist Melinda Gates, California Attorney General Kamala Harris and Susan Rice, President Obama’s national security adviser, all turning 50 this year. (Check out the gallery above showcasing 50 women celebrating 50 in 2014!)

Some, like Macpherson, are welcoming middle age. “I rather like the idea of flowing on with life. I have had amazing life experiences and hopefully another 50 years of experiences ahead of me,” she told Contact Music in May 2012.

Others, like Courteney Cox, aren’t so psyched.

“That’s gonna be brutal,” Cox told New You Magazine back in 2012, referring to her 50th birthday in June. “I’m not that interested in that! That sounds different. It feels different.”

So how does 50 feel? Is 50 today a whole lot different than the age 50 of 20 or 30 years ago? We asked women across the country who have already reached the half-century milestone to weigh in, and most agreed with Obama: 50 really is fabulous.

‘50 is the new 40’

Sharon Greenthal, managing partner and editor-in-chief for MidLife Boulevard, an online magazine focusing on the lives of women older than 40, wrote a widely read post back in 2012 titled “How to turn 50.”

“The way to turn 50 is to embrace it,” she wrote as she turned 50 that year.

In an interview, Greenthal, a former stay-at-home mom with two grown children in Los Angeles who became an editor after turning 50, said 50 today is dramatically different than 50 of a few decades ago.