The former First Lady of the United States was inspired by 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' growing up

By Nivea Serrao
January 25, 2017 at 04:43 PM EST
AP Photo/Nick Ut; JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images
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Whether it’s an appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show or Parks and Recreation, Michelle Obama knows the power of popular culture.

So it’s no surprise that she had plenty of her own pop culture influences growing up — among them, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, and, in particular, the now deceased Mary Tyler Moore‘s main character.

According to an interview with Variety, the former First Lady was inspired by the groundbreaking series which depicted Moore’s character as being obsessed with her job in a newsroom as opposed to falling in love with (and trying to marry) a man. The ’70s sitcom taught the then 10-year-old Obama that marriage and having kids were an option, much like going to school and building a career.

You can read the former First Lady’s comments below.

“She was one of the few single working women depicted on television at the time,” Obama told Variety about Mary Tyler Moore’s character on her eponymous sitcom. “She wasn’t married. She wasn’t looking to get married. At no point did the series end in a happy ending with her finding a husband—which seemed to be the course you had to take as a woman. But she sort of bucked that. She worked in a newsroom, she had a tough boss, and she stood up to him. She had close friends, never bemoaning the fact that she was a single. She was very proud and comfortable in that role.

“I was probably 10 or 11 when I saw that, and sort of started thinking, ‘You know what? Marriage is an option. Having a family is an option. And going to school and getting your education and building your career is another really viable option that can lead to happiness and fulfillment.”