Malia Obama was only 10 years old when her father Barack Obama was first elected president in November 2008. The former first daughter, who turns 24 on July 4, has come a long way since then, though she mostly stays out of the public eye.

“First of all, them as teenagers having secret service guys follow them when they were going out on dates, I think probably has shut down their interest in public service,” the former president joked about his daughters’ dating lives during an appearance on The Late Late Show in May 2021. “They still have PTSD from guys talking into their wrist microphones with glasses as they’re trying to go to a music concert.”

While life as a former first daughter comes with its restrictions, Malia has managed to make the best of her unique circumstances and forge a path of her own.

She attended her parents’ alma mater, Harvard University, graduating in 2021 with a degree in Visual and Environmental Studies.

“She is a capable, conscientious student who is ready to make her way independently in the world,” her father told the New York Times, reflecting on his daughter’s high school graduation. 

Malia’s mom, former first lady Michelle Obama, previously shared that her daughter had “an interest in filmmaking.” As such, the Chicago native worked as a production assistant before heading off to college to gain experience in the entertainment industry, PBS reported. Malia assisted on CBS’s Extant in 2014 and interned with the HBO show Girls the following year. In March 2022, Donald Glover confirmed that he hired Malia as a writer for his upcoming Amazon series with the working title Hive. In an interview with Vanity Fair that month, the multi-hyphenate revealed the news, insisting that the decision was not a product of nepotism. 

“She’s just, like, an amazingly talented person,” Donald gushed about Malia. “She’s really focused, and she’s working really hard.”

Despite their family’s role as public figures, Michelle shared in 2018 that she purposely kept her daughters out of the spotlight because she wanted to allow them as much of a normal life as possible.

“You want them to be able to have wonderful experiences privately and you want them to be able to fail and stumble privately, like any other kids,” she said on the TODAY show. “And when they’re not allowed to do that, it’s unfair and you feel guilty about it, you know, because they didn’t choose this life.”

As for Malia’s personal life, she has been dating boyfriend Rory Farquharson since first meeting him at Harvard back in 2017. The pair were first spotted together at a Harvard vs. Yale football game. Rory is a British student at Harvard. It seems the pair have the former president’s blessing, as they have been going strong for quite a few years now. 

“They have turned into just exceptional young women,” Barack gushed on the Late Late Show about his daughters. “I could not be prouder of them, not just because they’re smart and accomplished, but they’re just kind people. They don’t have an attitude.” 

Keep scrolling to see Malia Obama’s rare outings through the years.



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Tyler Cowan