The journey of becoming never ends, according to Michelle Obama.
At the beginning of the call, Zaya was truly all of us as she admitted her split feeling of nervousness and excitement about meeting Michelle. "I'm meeting an idol," she expressed. "I'm literally meeting an idol, but like just preparing for this moment for so long but I'm very excited today. I also get to miss one of my classes, so you know…"
The two icons—have you seen Zaya's wardrobe?—went on to discuss Michelle's novel, Becoming, which released in November 2018, and the teen asked for advice on how to thrive through the teen years.
"Well, like you have and currently are, you know," Michelle pointed out. "I am just so proud of you being an amazing role model and embracing your truth. Right? You're already doing this so maybe this is for some other young people that are listening."
Michelle went on to explain, "But let me just—it does take time to know what your self is, you know, for young people so my first piece of advice is to be patient with yourself. You know, number one, you know, at your age or in the teenage years, and probably through your 20s, you're going to be experimenting with someone many versions of yourself, right? All young people are trying on different versions, different voices. They're learning more about their intellect, they're learning about what they love, what're they're good at, what they like. This is the period of exploration.
Michelle, who shares daughters Malia, 22, and Sasha, 19, with husband Barack Obama, pointed out how much pressure adults put on teens to know what they want to be when they grow up and spoke about her personal experience of hating that question when she was younger.
"It's like, 'How am I supposed to [know]? I'm 13. I'm 12,'" she recalled. "You're not supposed to know yet. Your job now as a teenager is not to have it all figured out, but to give yourself space and time to learn and grow."
Michelle encouraged Zaya to read new books, make new friends, and to connect with people who come from different backgrounds and have different ideas on life. "Sometimes it's the people who are not like you who will show you a part of yourself that you never knew was there," she mentioned. "What we do know is growth comes with difference. You know, growth comes when you try on something new and you learn from that."