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Malia Obama and Barack Obama | Source: Getty Images
Malia Obama and Barack Obama | Source: Getty Images

Malia Obama Celebrates 26: Inside Her Life as She Debuts Her Alias & Ditches Family Surname

Junie Sihlangu
Jul 04, 2024
07:40 A.M.
  • Malia Obama chose to be credited in a special way for her directorial debut.
  • Malia's look for her debut at the Sundance Film Festival was analyzed by netizens.
  • For her birthdays, she's always received social media tributes from some special people, in the past her parents held parties.
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Malia Obama, daughter of former President Barack and Michelle Obama, showcased her directorial debut, "The Heart," at the Sundance Film Festival. For the event, she stood out by choosing to be credited differently and the way she dressed.

US President Barack Obama stands on stage with Malia Obama after accepting the nomination during the final day of the Democratic National Convention on September 6, 2012, in Charlotte, North Carolina | Source: Getty Images

US President Barack Obama stands on stage with Malia Obama after accepting the nomination during the final day of the Democratic National Convention on September 6, 2012, in Charlotte, North Carolina | Source: Getty Images

On July 4, 1998, Michelle's first child Malia Ann Obama was born. Her middle name, Ann, was in honor of Barack's mother, who died in 1995 at the age of 52 from ovarian cancer. The eldest Obama child grew up as the president's daughter before graduating from Harvard, and deciding on a screenwriter career.

Malia Obama joins her family at a campaign event, July 4, 2007, in Des Moines, Iowa | Source: Getty Images

Malia Obama joins her family at a campaign event, July 4, 2007, in Des Moines, Iowa | Source: Getty Images

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In her latest film, "The Heart," where Malia is credited as director and screenwriter, she showed her independence by choosing to go by her stage name, Malia Ann. Earlier in May, she made an appearance on the red carpet at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival for the premiere of the movie.

Malia Obama at the Sundance Film Festival, 2024 | Source: Getty Images

Malia Obama at the Sundance Film Festival, 2024 | Source: Getty Images

The former First Daughter's journey into the film industry started when she got a role in the writing team for the series "Swarm." The series, which premiered in 2021, featured a cast that included Rory Culkin and Billie Eilish.

"Swarm" marked a promising start to Malia's career. Speaking about Michelle's daughter, Janine Nabers, the co-creator of the "Swarm" said, "She's an incredible writer." Nabers added, "She brought a lot to the table…" The co-creator also described the young woman as very dedicated to her work.

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Malia Obama, 2016 | Source: Getty Images

Malia Obama, 2016 | Source: Getty Images

Despite having famous and well-known family, Stephen Glover, one of the executive producer of "Swarm," insisted that they treated Malia like any other creative team member. He stated, "We can't be easy on her just because she's the [former] President's daughter."

Stephen also noted this about her character, "Nah, she's very down to earth, and cool. So, it's not a problem at all." As previously reported on January 19, 2024: At her first-ever red carpet debut at the film festival, Malia captivated attention making a notable statement in the fashion and film world.

LaTonya Borsay, Tunde Adebimpe, Ayesha Nadarajah, Malia Obama, and others at the "The Heart" Premiere during the Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2024, in Park City, Utah | Source: Getty Images

LaTonya Borsay, Tunde Adebimpe, Ayesha Nadarajah, Malia Obama, and others at the "The Heart" Premiere during the Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2024, in Park City, Utah | Source: Getty Images

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She stepped onto the red carpet for the first time at her movie's premiere. During the Sundance Film Festival which was held on January 18, 2024, she showcased her unique dress style.

Malia wore in an oversized, long gray coat paired with a casual striped blue shirt. In her look, she exuded a relaxed yet stylish vibe. Her outfit was complemented by dark, knee-high boots, giving of a blend of elegance and comfort.

Malia Obama at the "The Heart" Premiere during the Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2024, in Park City, Utah | Source: Getty Images

Malia Obama at the "The Heart" Premiere during the Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2024, in Park City, Utah | Source: Getty Images

The young woman's appearance sparked a wave of varied reactions online. While many celebrated her unique style, praising her "classy look," and saying they "love her style," others gave mixed reviews. A displeased netizen criticized her ensemble, stating, "Dressed like this for the red carpet? Tacky."

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While someone claimed that she "needs a wardrobe consultant." One commentator admitted Malia's fashion sense has "indie" vibes. Her gray coat was labeled as "thrifty" by one social media user.

Malia Obama at the "The Heart" Premiere during the Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2024, in Park City, Utah | Source: Getty Images

Malia Obama at the "The Heart" Premiere during the Sundance Film Festival on January 18, 2024, in Park City, Utah | Source: Getty Images

Malia Obama's first red carpet appearance was not only a step into the limelight but also a stride in her growing career in the film industry. She had already carved out a space for herself at age 25, thanks to her role in the writers' room for Donald Glover's series.

Her writing debut was made on Donald's Amazon Prime Video series, "Swarm." The multitalented musician and creator, known for his critical and audience acclaim, has praised Malia, noting that her writing style is unique and promising.

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Malia Obama is seen in Tribeca on March 29, 2017, in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Malia Obama is seen in Tribeca on March 29, 2017, in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Donald has described the former First Daughter as an "amazingly talented person." Malia's interesting path in Hollywood includes various internships and a role as a production assistant.

Despite her high-profile background, Barack's daughter is regarded as a "regular person like everybody else" in the writers' room. Her film industry journey has been marked by notable and great progression.

Malia Obama, Michelle Obama and Barack Obama, 2017 | Source: Getty Images

Malia Obama, Michelle Obama and Barack Obama, 2017 | Source: Getty Images

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Her parents can't hide how proud they are of their daughter and that was evident when she celebrated her birthdays. For Malia's 2023 birthday, her parents published sweet messages to honor her. Barack wrote on his Instagram, "Happy birthday to this talented, hilarious, and beautiful young woman."

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The former President sent his well wishes to his oldest daughter stating, "Malia, I hope 25 brings you everything you're looking for and more." His wife, Michelle, joined him with congratulations, posting, "Happy birthday, Malia! I feel so lucky to be your mom and to be able to watch you become the wonderful young woman you are today."

She concluded her post by declaring her love to her daughter. In 2021, when Malia turned 23, her mother was one of the people who paid tribute to her with an Instagram post that featured a picture of the pair smiling while embracing.

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Michelle started by wishing everyone a happy Fourth of July before wishing "our dear Malia" a happy 23rd birthday. Barack's wife noted how it had been a number of years since they took the image included in the post.

However, she said she knew Malia will always be her "sweet little girl whose big hugs and big heart always lift up my day." She ended her post by saying they love Malia and were excited to see what the year brought for her.

Malia Obama seen on January 25, 2022, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Malia Obama seen on January 25, 2022, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

The Chicago-born young woman born in 1998 celebrated her 26th birthday on July 4, 2024. At the time of her birth at the University of Chicago Medical Center, her father was a law professor and an Illinois state senator.

Her mother worked as the associate dean of student services at the University of Chicago. In 2008, her parents discussed how they celebrated the then-10-year-old's birthday. Barack revealed how they taught her boundaries by giving her a weekly allowance of $1.

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Michelle Obama stands with her daughters Sasha and Malia Obama on stage during day one of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) on August 25, 2008, in Denver, Colorado | Source: Getty Images

Michelle Obama stands with her daughters Sasha and Malia Obama on stage during day one of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) on August 25, 2008, in Denver, Colorado | Source: Getty Images

The Obama's were interviewed while celebrating the US's Fourth of July holiday at a park in Butte, Montana, which coincided with Malia's birthday. When asked if it was true that the parents didn't buy gifts for their daughters, including then-seven-year-old Sasha, they said it was true.

Michelle explained that they didn't buy the girls presents because they spent hundreds of dollars on hosting birthday parties. They also bought popcorn, movie tickets, and pizza for the special occasions' sleep over, which Barack described as "enough."

President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama walk with their daughters Sasha and Malia Obama at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on April 13, 2009, in Washington, DC. | Source: Getty Images

President Barack and First Lady Michelle Obama walk with their daughters Sasha and Malia Obama at the annual White House Easter Egg Roll on April 13, 2009, in Washington, DC. | Source: Getty Images

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The then-senator said he and his wife wanted to teach their children about limits. Besides, the girls' friends always brought them gifts that Michelle described as "so much stuff" that it became numbing.

Although the children grew up in the limelight, they still had to do chores and were raised as normal as possible.

From Malia Obama to Malia Ann, from the president's daughter to a Hollywood screenwriter and director. The world awaits to see what new films are set to come from Barack's daughter, as she works on finding her voice in the movie industry.

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