Shine Woman of the Year: Michelle Obama

AP via Yahoo! NewsAP via Yahoo! NewsWhen the editors of Shine decided to name our 2008 Women of the Year, it took all of five seconds for us to agree that Michelle Obama was top of the list. The reasons, well, they are many.

Sure, we have gushed about her style and how quickly she has become a fashion icon. Who isn't curious to see what she will wear to the inauguration? Caring about the clothes she wears and the style she creates to set herself apart from first ladies before her is a bit of luxury we are allowing ourselves in this dark economic hour. But Michelle Obama wins our hearts and minds with what she brings on the inside, not for her outward flair.

She is smart, strong, sassy, funny, and empathetic. Raised by loving, hard-working parents on the South Side of Chicago, she pushed herself to do as well as her high-achieving older brother, and her drive landed her at Princeton and then Harvard Law School. She is a working mom with an accomplished career all her own, yet she makes it clear her daughters come first. (Her mom is moving with them to the White House!) So when she says that issues facing women and military families balancing work and home will be high on her list as first lady, we believe her, and we welcome her sharp-eyed attention. She has lived the work-life balancing act, and is living it now in a way she surely did not foresee when her daughters were born.

"I wake up every morning wondering how on the earth I am going to pull off that next minor miracle of getting through the day," she said at a campaign stop in Chicago. Sound familiar? So many women can relate to that early-morning thought. And, now so many women and young girls will have a barrier-breaking role model in the White House, fueling dreams that all of our daughters really can be what they choose to be.

You know this all probably came a bit too early and way too fast for her liking. She wanted to have a dual- career family but also the dinner-together-every-night childhood she had, as Newsweek notes. But Michelle Obama has handled the whirlwind that dropped her family dead-center of a historic storm with grace, smarts, energy and, yes, style.

True, she allowed a gentle image makeover on the campaign trail, softening her sometimes sharply pointed comments. She can go toe to toe with any broadcast news interviewer, but she went on The View to talk fashion and stockings and emerged a hit.

She has had to curb her sometimes biting sarcastic humor and her edgy opinions of her husband's actions for the public, but we can rest easy knowing they will be fully aired inside the White House. We feel all the more hopeful for an Obama presidency knowing the commander in chief will be talking things through with Michelle at the end of the day. He trusts her counsel, and so do we.

Read on for all of our editors' picks for Shine Women of the Year.

Fashion+Beauty Editor Jennifer Romolini says her future style heart will go to Michelle Obama, but France's Carla Bruni-Sarkozy wins her most-fashionable woman nod for 2008.

Jessica Ashley chose
The Biggest Loser's empowering first female winner Ali Vincent as her Healthy Living pick.

In Entertainment, Joanna Douglas singled out the smart, hilarious, and lovely Tina Fey as her choice.

Our Love & Sex champion is former Senator and soon-to-be Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for all she's done this year to protect our access to birth control, abortion, and medical counseling.

Maggie Nemser puts the spotlight on chef/restaurateur April Bloomfield in Food for making English pub grub accessible and fun.