Former US first lady Michelle Obama said the lack of diversity among some segments of the political landscape is a reason that "people don't trust politics".
Mrs Obama made the comments in an onstage interview with television producer Shonda Rhimes at a Philadelphia women's conference.
Mrs Obama recalled seeing a split in congress while attending her husband's State of the Union addresses at the Capitol.
She said one side of the room was "all men, all white", while the other side had some women and people of colour.
Republicans and Democrats traditionally sit in party sections at the annual presidential speeches.
Mrs Obama also received a surprise 25th wedding anniversary message from her husband, former president Barack Obama, at the event.
In a video, Mr Obama praised his wife's strength, grace, determination and honesty.