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Even Barack Obama and Bill Clinton have to work hard at “being natural,” Hillary Clinton says

Reuters/Brian Snyder
“I love to wave my arms.”
  • Annalisa Merelli
By Annalisa Merelli

Senior reporter based in New York City

Published Last updated This article is more than 2 years old.

His critics can’t deny 55-year-old Barack Obama’s ability to stay on trend with popular culture. He plays with kids in the White House, drops the mic at official dinners, sheds tears listening to touching music. Hillary Clinton, hoping to succeed him as president, is often accused of being scripted, controlled.

Obama’s charm, like that of former president Bill Clinton, may not be as natural as audiences perceive: It takes a lot of practice. “I know how hard they work at being natural. It’s not something they just dial in,” said Hillary Clinton of her two Democratic predecessors in an interview with Humans of New York (HONY) on Sept. 8.

Clinton, 68, had few female role models to follow when developing her public persona. “Who are your models?” she asks. “If you want to run for the Senate, or run for the Presidency, most of your role models are going to be men.” Women can’t just adopt the techniques of men. “Women are seen through a different lens. It’s not bad. It’s just a fact. It’s really quite funny,” Clinton said. For example, “I love to wave my arms, but apparently that’s a little bit scary to people.

“And I can’t yell too much. It comes across as ‘too loud’ or ‘too shrill’ or ‘too this’ or ‘too that,’ ” she said.

However, none on this appears to affect her too much. She ended the post by saying, “I’m always convinced that the people in the front row are loving it.”

📬 A periodic dispatch from the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly in NYC.

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