In a cultural moment defined by sexual misconduct allegations and a non-stop feed of political turmoil, the days of Barack and Michelle Obama‘s leadership from the White House feel increasingly far away. But, for a brief moment today, the former first lady offered a beacon of light and a momentary reprieve from it all when she shared a joyful video of her recent meeting with Parker Curry, the two-year-old girl who went viral after her mom posted a photo of Curry admiring Obama’s National Portrait Gallery painting by Amy Sherald.
“Parker, I’m so glad I had the chance to meet you today (and for the dance party)! Keep on dreaming big for yourself…and maybe one day I’ll proudly look up at a portrait of you!,” Obama wrote on Twitter and Instagram, where she shared a photo and video from their meeting. In the latter, Obama and Parker both showed off their best dance moves to Taylor Swift’s 2014 single “Shake It Off.” Her mom moves truly put her husband’s dad moves to shame.
Obama and Curry’s meeting comes four days after the little girl’s mother Jessica shared the beloved photo of Curry looking at Sherald’s painting in awe, which Obama commented on with three heart-eye emoji faces. “Parker was in front on the portrait, and I really wanted her to turn around so I could get a picture with her, and she genuinely, honestly would not turn around,” Curry’s mom told CNN of the moment it was taken. “She was uncooperative with me because she was just so focused on the portrait and studying it, and she was just so fascinated.”
When her portrait was first revealed, Obama noted the unprecedented nature of it, saying, “[Girls and girls of color] will see an image of someone who looks like them hanging on the walls of this great American institution. [… ] And I know the kind of impact that will have on their lives because I was one of those girls.”
As for the artist, Sherald told W, similarly, that she aimed to capture the magic of Obama’s place in history. “Something big has happened in history, something happened that wasn’t supposed to happen and I think they should be represented in that way,” she said. “She’s so different from any other first lady we have ever had and she needed to be represented differently than any other of the first ladies.”
Michelle Obama Might Be the Best Dressed First Lady Since Jackie O
Michelle Obama in Alexander McQueen at a state dinner in Washington, D.C., January 2011.
Michelle Obama in Azzedine Alaïa in Baden-Baden, Germany, April 2009.
Michelle Obama in Ralph Lauren in London, England, May 2011.
Michelle Obama in Michael Kors on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, January 2012.
Michelle Obama in Thom Browne at President Obama’s second inauguration in Washington, D.C., January 2013.
Michelle Obama in Carolina Herrera at a state dinner in Berlin, Germany, June 2013.
Michelle Obama in Marchesa at the White House Correspondents Dinner in Washington, D.C., May 2014.
Michelle Obama in Bibhu Mohabaptra at the Congressional Black Caucus dinner in Washington, D.C., September 2014.
Michelle Obama in Zac Posen at the BET Black Girls Rock! special in Newark, New Jersey, March 2015.
Michelle Obama in Mary Katrantzou in London, England, June 2015.
Michelle Obama in Christopher Kane in London, England, June 2015.
Michelle Obama in Carolina Herrera at the arrival of Pope Francis in Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, September 2015.
Michelle Obama in Vera Wang at a state dinner in Washington, D.C., September 2015.
Michelle Obama in Tanya Taylor in Washington, D.C., March 2016.
Michelle Obama in Jason Wu at a state dinner in Washington, D.C., March 2016.
Michelle Obama in Carolina Herrera arriving in Havana, Cuba, March 2016.
Michelle Obama in BCBG at the opening ceremony for the Invictus Games in Orlando, Florida, May 2016.
Michelle Obama in Naeem Khan at the Nordic state dinner in Washington, D.C., May 2016.
Michelle Obama in Hugo Boss speaking with Oprah in Washington, D.C., June 2016.
Michelle Obama in Marni in Monrovia, Liberia, June 2016.
Michelle Obama in Proenza Schouler in Marrakech, Morroco, June 2016.
Michelle Obama in Peter Pilotto in Marrakech, Morocco, June 2016.
Michelle Obama in Proenza Schouler arriving in Madrid, Spain, June 2016.
Michelle Obama in Preen in Madrid, Spain, July 2016.
Michelle Obama in Christian Siriano arriving at a memorial for police officers killed in Dallas, Texas, July 2016.
Michelle Obama in Christian Siriano at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 2016.
Michelle Obama in Brandon Maxwell at a state dinner honoring the first family of Singapore in Washington, D.C., August 2016.
WASHINGTON, DC – SEPTEMBER 08: First lady Michelle Obama speaks during the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities poetry reading to honor student poets at the White House, September 8, 2016 in Washington, DC. The first lady honored five students with the nation’s highest honor for teen poets presenting original work. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
Michelle Obama in Naeem Khan at the Phoenix Awards dinner in Washington, D.C., September 2016.
Michelle Obama in Self-Portrait at the Broadway Shine a Light event in New York, New York, September 2016.