Presidential children are often shrouded in mystery despite the great media spotlight shined on their parents. Malia Obama, the oldest child of Barack and Michelle Obama, was just 10 years old when her father was elected president. By the time he left office, Malia had turned 18, literally growing up before our eyes!
Despite all that attention, Malia still knows how to shock the world. Here are the eight most surprising things you didn’t know about Malia Obama, from her earliest days in the White House to her most recent adventures as a 21-year-old Harvard student.
She had to do chores at the White House to earn her allowance
Growing up in the White House, which has a staff of approximately 100 maids, butlers, chefs, and other workers, you might assume Malia Obama must have grown up very pampered and spoiled.
The truth is that her parents made sure Malia earned her own way. For example, she and her younger sister Sasha Obama had to regularly do chores to earn money as part of an allowance. How much was their allowance, you ask? A whopping one dollar a week, her father revealed in a 2008 interview with People!
While Malia leads a life of wealth and privilege, her parents made sure she understood the value of both money and hard work.
She was born on the Fourth of July
Your birthday is meant to be a special day that is all about you. However, a birthday too close to a holiday means that your special day often gets overshadowed. Just ask anyone with a birthday close to Christmas and they’ll tell you how annoying it can be.
Once again, Malia has a tale of woe on this front that is tough to beat. Why? Because she was born on July 4, 1998!
Being born on Independence Day might not make too much of a difference for the average person. But it certainly does when your dad is the present of the United States of America!
For eight years, Malia’s birthday celebrations were probably overshadowed by Fourth of July duties for the first family. The bright side is that now they can make this day all about Malia once more.
She’s over 6 feet tall
Like her parents, Malia Obama is strikingly tall. At 6’1″, she’s even taller than her statuesque mother Michelle at 5’11”. In fact, you may be surprised to learned Malia is exactly as tall as her father Barack Obama!
It’s impressive, but perhaps not quite as shocking as current presidential kid 13-year-old Barron Trump towering over 6’3″ Donald Trump!
She was taught how to drive by the Secret Service
Who taught you how to drive? In all likelihood, it was either your terrified father or a bored high school instructor. Either way, Malia has your story beat!
Malia was actually taught to drive by none other than the Secret Service, Michelle Obama revealed in a 2015 interview with Rachel Ray.
“Driving for Malia, I think, gives her a sense of normalcy, like the rest of her friends are doing. And my kids have got to learn how to live in the world like normal kids,” she said.
Learning how to drive from the guys whose life is like one big action movie — now that beats driver’s ed class!
She was caught smoking marijuana at Lollapalooza
Relative to other presidents, Barack Obama and his family didn’t have much controversy during their time in the White House. Towards the end, though, Malia was a source of controversy for a simple reason: she knows how to party!
Then 18 years old, Malia made headlines when she was caught on camera “twerking” at Lollapalooza 2016. But most controversially of all, she was also spotted smoking marijuana at the same festival. Headlines buzzed again weeks later when a photo surfaced of her at a University of Pennsylvania frat house sitting near a bong.
A little controversy is not enough to keep her from having a good time. Malia showed up at Lollapalooza again the following year, though she swapped the joints for some awesome dance moves. And a photo of Malia near a bong is still less embarrassing than her dad’s photo with Justin Bieber.
She had some choice words for an unruly fan
Despite a few brushes with controversy, Malia seems to take her studies seriously. She graduated from high school in 2016 and announced that she would be attending Harvard University in 2017 after taking a gap year.
Malia tries to live the life of a normal college student, and moved into a dorm on campus. But it’s tough to be anonymous when you’re the daughter of a president.
Malia caused headlines when TMZ revealed footage of her snapping at a woman who wanted to take a photo of her in Harvard Square. After declining to pose for a photo, the woman shoved her camera in Malia’s face. Malia snapped, “Are you gonna take it in my face like an animal in a cage?”
They say a picture is worth a thousand words. But that comeback of Malia’s is priceless.
She may be headed for a career in Hollywood
While Malia has not yet announced her college major, it seems likely she could choose a career in Hollywood. While still in high school, she served as a production assistant on shows like CBS’s Extant in 2014 and HBO’s Girls in 2015. She earned praise from the shows’ stars Halle Berry and Lena Dunham. The latter called her “an angel” in an interview with Howard Stern.
“She is so smart,” Dunham said. “I once asked her, ‘What’s your favorite movie?’ and she was like, ‘Well, do you want me to list by my favorite director, actor or cinematographer?’ And I was like, ‘You are smarter than me, let’s just be done with that.'”
More recently, during her gap year in 2017, Malia served as an intern at the Weinstein Company. Her internship ended months before the Harvey Weinstein sexual misconduct scandal broke. Interestingly, when the Weinstein Company filed for bankruptcy in 2018, Malia was named in a 394-page list of people and organizations that were still owed money by the company!
She was mysteriously edited out of a music video she appeared in
The question remains if Malia’s supposed Hollywood ambitions lie in front of or behind the camera. But she briefly showed some aspirations of getting in front of the camera when she made a cameo appearance in an indie rock music video in 2018.
The video for the song “Walking on Air” by the New Dakotas originally featured 20-year-old Malia lip syncing, dancing, and even playing the harmonica! But later, the video disappeared from YouTube and was re-uploaded by the band with all of Malia’s appearances cut.
Making the cuts more suspicious is the fact that the music skipped slightly where Malia was edited out. The band posted, “We’ve edited the video to preserve privacy. Sorry about the glitchy cuts,” but has since deleted the video. You can still see some of Malia’s appearances in this footage from ET.
Maybe Malia isn’t ready for a Hollywood career yet, but it will be interesting to follow her journey whatever she chooses to do!