The title of the feature, "A First Lady Undeterred," speaks to the way that Biden has approached the many issues currently facing the world, including a pandemic and a war, with "grace and conviction," according to the magazine. The magazine's editor in chief explained that that's the reason for Biden's appearance.
"In its 155-year history, Harper's Bazaar has never had a first lady on its cover. That changes with this issue, about the subject of freedom, featuring Dr. Jill Biden," editor in chief Samira Nasr wrote in a statement. "We wanted to do this cover with Dr. Biden not as an expression of allegiance to a particular political party but to celebrate a woman who understands the gifts and responsibilities of freedom and who has made it her mission to be there for all Americans and help heal our divided nation."
Throughout the discussion led and written by Mattie Kahn, Biden speaks to the theme of showing up by sharing how she's dedicated herself as a wife, a mother, a teacher and a first lady, all while maintaining independence.
Dr. Biden knows exactly who she is without losing sight of herself.
She's the first presidential spouse ever to maintain her own career in addition to her @FLOTUS duties.
"You have to be able to stand on your own two feet,” she tells @matkahn.https://t.co/FWY3rPYVjt pic.twitter.com/hdcVYqHBLT
— Harper's Bazaar (@harpersbazaarus) May 31, 2022
"I understand a woman's need to have something for herself," she said while reflecting on a prior marriage and divorce that left her struggling to make money and a life of her own. "I knew I would never, ever put myself in that position again — where I didn't feel like I had the finances to be on my own, that I had to get the money through a divorce settlement. ... I drummed that into [my daughter], Ashley: Be independent, be independent. And my granddaughters—you have to be able to stand on your own two feet."
As the president's wife, Biden continues to teach English and writing classes by commuting from the White House to Northern Virginia Community College in Alexandria twice a week. Maintaining a balance between her professorial position, which she's held since 2009, and her duties in the White House is something that she's had practice with.
"Even as a Senate spouse, I was working, going to grad school, doing campaign events, raising kids," she said. "That's the feeling I get. You're exhausted. You just do it."
Biden also made use of the conversation to talk about her nearest to her, including the U.S.'s childcare crisis, support for military families and cancer research. She also provided insight into her marriage with President Joe Biden — namely that they take care of arguments over text so as to not fight in front of the Secret Service in what they call "fexting."
In response to a recent message from the first lady, the president noted that their correspondence isn't so private. "Joe said, 'You realize that's going to go down in history. There will be a record of that.'"
Aside from her duties at the White House and her career independent of that, Biden makes sure to act as a support system for her husband through it all.
"I try to be a support for Joe, because I don't know how many people are saying to him, 'That was great. That was brilliant,'" she said. "I try to be that person for him."
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