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5 reasons why Michelle Obama nailed it in China

By Sheena McKenzie, for CNN
updated 9:58 AM EDT, Thu March 27, 2014
The U.S. First Lady has been promoting educational exchange between the two countries -- and charming citizens with her easy-going manner. The U.S. First Lady has been promoting educational exchange between the two countries -- and charming citizens with her easy-going manner.
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • How the U.S. First Lady won over China
  • Week-long tour promoting educational exchange between countries
  • Trip included 'First Granny' and daughters Sasha and Malia
  • Charmed citizens with warm and open manner

Editor's note: Sheena McKenzie is a contributor to CNN's Leading Women. The opinions expressed in this piece are hers. Leading Women connects you to extraordinary women of our time. Each month, we meet two women at the top of their field, exploring their careers, lives and ideas.

(CNN) -- U.S. President Barack Obama's secret weapon in China? Michelle.

Forget diplomatic meetings. It seems the quickest way to a country's heart is by skipping rope in the playground, giggling with high school students, and trying your hand at everything from tai chi to table tennis -- even if you sometimes look a bit silly in the process.

But hey, at least she's enjoying herself right? And in a country where it's rare to see leaders' spouses or children in public, Mrs Obama seems to have charmed its citizens with her approachable manner -- and snappy style.

As her week-long trip promoting educational exchange wraps up, here are five reasons why the U.S. First Lady absolutely nailed it.

Hands up if you think Michelle Obama rocks.
Getty Images

1. She's got sound advice. Michelle Obama had some words of wisdom for young American students traveling abroad for the first time: "You're probably going to make a lot of mistakes. But you know what? That's life. And other parts of the world will appreciate your effort and your energy, as long as you come into the experience respecting the people and the culture," she told CNN's iReport.

2. She took her 76-year-old mom, Marian Robinson. And her daughters, Malia, 15, and Sasha, 12. That's three generations of women, which makes a nice change from the usual line up of male delegates. A little background for you: Robinson is the White House's first live-in grandmother since the 1950s, earning the nickname "First Granny."

3. She's down with the kids. From skipping rope in the playground, to throwing some interesting tai chi shapes, and kicking a jianzi (that's a weighted shuttlecock to the rest of us), it seems there's not much Obama won't try. And she genuinely seems to enjoy it.

4. She's a cyber champion. Access to information -- including the internet -- should be a universal right, declared Obama during a speech at Peking University's Stanford Center. It's quite a ballsy statement, considering China's "Firewall" blocks all websites deemed sensitive. But the U.S. First Lady trod a fine line, stopping short of directly criticizing her hosts.

5. She's such a charmer. Barack who? Mrs Obama proved she can hold her own on an international tour, charming people with her warm and open style. Turns out you don't need a president by your side to be a number one woman...

Watch: Michelle Obama: the iReport Interview

See: U.S. First Lady visits Beijing high school

Inspire: Why Michelle Obama dances with veggies

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