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First ladies of style: Michelle and Carla and Jackie

There's no doubt Michelle Obama is an international superstar and her trip to France will be no exception for worldwide attention, presidential scholars say.

They'll be watching where she's going, what she's eating and what she's wearing in a style reminiscent of Jackie Kennedy's trip to Paris. And, heightening the excitement is news the Obama daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, will be in Paris too.

"There is a lot of interest in [Michelle Obama]," said Meena Bose, the Peter S. Kalikow Chair in Presidential Studies at Hofstra University. "She is a very fashionable woman, a very talented woman, a very accomplished woman."

And Bose says Obama is also capable of handling the spotlight, sure to be white-hot given the presence of another extraordinary first lady, Carla Bruni-Sarkozy of France, a former supermodel and singer hailed as France's Princess Diana.

Michelle Obama

Age: 45

Grew up on Chicago's South Side. Graduated from Princeton and Harvard universities.

Worked as a lawyer and hospital executive.

Married Barack Obama 1992. Mother of Sasha, 7, and Malia, 10

Self-described Mom-in-Chief

Fashion: Prefers off-the-rack J. Crew and emerging designers such as Jason Wu and Isabel Toledo

Mission: Helping military families

"As a nation we're facing unprecedented challenges I don't think that anyone here would doubt that. These are -- there are few times in our nation's history when the phrase 'We're all in it together' really means something. And now is one of those times. We're all in this together."

Carla Bruni-Sarkozy

Age: 41

Italian-born heiress whose family fled to France when she was a child.

Occupations: former supermodel who has appeared on some 250 magazine covers; singer-songwriter with three albums released.

Learned to play the piano and guitar as a child; later studied architecture and art in Switzerland. At 19, decided to become a model.

Married French President Nicolas Sarkozy in 2008. Mother of a son, Aurelien, from a prior relationship. Was linked romantically to Mick Jagger and Eric Clapton

Fashion: Favors Dior but has also been known to wear jeans.

Mission: Signed on with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria as its first formal celebrity envoy.

"She was so young and modern, and, of course, unconsciously I would project myself more like Jackie Kennedy than, for instance, Madame de Gaulle, who would be much more like the classical French woman behind her husband," Bruni told Vanity Fair magazine.

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier Kennedy Onassis

Died of cancer at age 64 in 1994.

Early years were divided between New York City and East Hampton, where she learned to ride almost as soon as she could walk.

A debutante, she was educated at the best of private schools; she wrote poems and stories, drew illustrations for them, and studied ballet. Studied at Vassar University, spent her junior year in France and graduated from George Washington University.

Occupations: After college, took a job as an "inquiring photographer" for a local newspaper in Washington. In her later life, worked as an editor for Doubleday in New York City.

Married: John F. Kennedy in 1953. Mother of John Jr., who died in a plane crash in 1999, Caroline and Patrick, who died as an infant. In 1968 married wealthy Greek businessman Aristotle Onassis, who died in 1975.

Fashion: Favored Oleg Cassini, who helped make her the most glamorous first lady in history.

Mission: Made White House a museum of American history and decorative arts as well as a family residence of elegance and charm. Her courage after her husband's assassination won her worldwide admiration.

The face of Camelot, known for her iconic style and grace.

"What is sad for women of my generation is that they weren't supposed to work if they had families. What were they going to do when the children are grown -- watch the raindrops coming down the window pane?"

SOURCES: The Associated Press, whitehouse.gov, Chicago Tribune

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