Malia Obama, 25, debuts new name as she begins Hollywood career

Malia Obama, daughter of former POTUS and FLOTUS Barack and Michelle Obama, is now a grown woman who is slowly forging a new path for herself – and she’s even decided to change her name.

The 25-year-old recently showcased her directorial debut, The Heart, at the Sundance Film Festival.

Interestingly, the film’s credits notably didn’t include her family surname.

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Malia (L) and Sasha (R) pictured at the White House in 2015. Credit: Pete Souza / The White House / Getty.

Born Malia Ann Obama on July 4, 1998, her middle name pays tribute to her paternal grandmother, who succumbed to ovarian cancer at 52 in 1995. Growing up in the limelight as the President’s daughter and graduating from Harvard, Malia opted to explore a career in screenwriting.

In her latest project, The Heart, where Malia assumes the roles of director and screenwriter, she adopted the pseudonym Malia Ann. Making a striking appearance on the festival’s red carpet earlier this year, Malia enjoyed the premiere of her movie.

Though, this venture into filmmaking isn’t Malia’s inaugural foray into the industry. In 2021, she contributed to the writing team for the series Swarm, which later streamed on Amazon Prime. With notable cast members such as Billie Eilish and Rory Culkin, Swarm marked a promising start to her professional journey.

Malia Ann Obama attends the ‘The Heart’ premiere at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival. Credit: Dia Dipasupil / Getty.

“Some of her pitches were wild as hell, and they were just so good and so funny. She’s an incredible writer,” Swarm co-creator Janine Nabers told E! Online about Malia’s talent. “She brought a lot to the table… She’s really, really dedicated to her craft.”

Despite her prominent lineage, executive producer of Swarm Stephen Glover was quick to say that Malia was treated no differently from other members of the creative team.

“We can’t be easy on her just because she’s the [former] President’s daughter,” he admitted to Vanity Fair. “Nah, she’s very down to earth and cool. So, it’s not a problem at all.”

Credit: Dia Dipasupil / Getty.

Proud parents Barack and Michelle Obama have openly expressed their pride in Malia, showering her with affectionate birthday wishes on her recent 25th birthday.

“Happy birthday to this talented, hilarious, and beautiful young woman,” Barack wrote on Instagram. “Malia, I hope 25 brings you everything you’re looking for and more.”

Michelle echoed her husband’s words, 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. Love you so much! 

From Malia Obama to Malia Ann, from the President’s daughter to a budding Hollywood screenwriter and director, it’s clear that there is a bright future ahead!

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