Before Michelle Obama's sold-out talk at the Moda Center, eager crowds lined up to pose for photos with life-size posters of the Becoming author.
Many carried copies of the book, some donned shirts bearing the phrase "When They Go Low, We Go High" and others toted handbags with the iconic first lady's face printed on it.
The high density of powerful women—including Gov. Kate Brown, who watched Obama's speech from about 50 rows back—bopped excitedly to Beyoncé tunes pre-show. The fact that Obama's appearance was rescheduled in February due to the threat inclement weather did nothing to deter her fans.
As she took the stage, the audience stood for an ovation, and would stand twice more before the talk was over.
Prompted by questions from moderator and former White House chef Sam Kass, Obama's two-hour-long conversation included musings on her childhood in Southside Chicago, her education at Princeton and Harvard, motherhood and marriage, and finally her messages of hope for surviving the current administration.
On the topic of parenting, Obama told the men in the audience: "You can't take care of your daughter at home, and then go into a workplace you wouldn't want your daughter to peer into."
She also expressed frustration over get-healthy movements that exclude certain people. Obama, who famously launched the Let's Move campaign while first lady, acknowledged she was in "the home of swishes and stripes," but said, "I don't see myself reflected in the conversation."
Although she never said the name Trump, Obama did briefly recall her feelings during the 2016 inauguration, which marked the end of her eight years in the White House.
"After a while you try to smile and just can't," she said, "because we're entering into a new way of being."
She said she hoped her book and her talk inspire people to see themselves in her story and to "own who we are with pride."
"It's harder to hate up close," she said. "Change doesn't start in the White House. It starts in our homes. Don't despair. Just do the work."