Malia Obama – Biography, Age, & Career

Malia Obama is the older daughter of former U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.

Who Is Malia Obama?

Born in Chicago in 1998, Malia Obama moved to the White House after her father, Barack Obama, was elected U.S. president in 2008. She attended the Sidwell Friends School with her younger sister, Sasha, and accompanied her parents on international trips, before enrolling at Harvard University in 2017. Obama has since pursued her interests in television and filmmaking.

Early Years

Malia Ann Obama was born on July 4, 1998, at the University of Chicago Medical Center. At the time her father, Barack, was an Illinois state senator and a law professor and her mother, Michelle Obama, was serving as University of Chicago’s associate dean of student services.

Raised in the middle-class Hyde Park neighborhood with her younger sister, Sasha, Malia overcame an early diagnosis of asthma to enjoy an active childhood marked by soccer, swim and flute lessons. Her world soon expanded beyond Chicago with her father’s election to the U.S. Senate in 2004, however, and by 2007 she was getting a taste of the national campaign trail during Barack’s bid for the presidency.

Life as First Daughter

Just 10 years old when her father was elected the 44th U.S. president in November 2008, Malia spent much of her remaining adolescence and teenage years in the confines of the White House.

According to Michelle’s memoir Becoming, the president and first lady attempted to keep their daughters grounded while transitioning to life in a 132-room mansion that featured a swimming pool, bowling alley and numerous aides. Malia and Sasha received a Portuguese Water Dog, Bo, in 2009 (and later welcomed a second one named Sunny), and counted on the presence of their maternal grandmother, Marian Robinson, to escort them to school and ensure they kept their rooms tidy.

The Obama girls took part in typical activities like class trips, summer camp and their high school proms, albeit under the close watch of Secret Service protection. Malia, who went by the code name of “Radiance,” learned to drive from her security detail.

Additionally, along with the annual trek to Hawaii to spend Christmas with relatives, Malia accompanied her parents on international trips to Russia, Asia and South America and had the chance to meet such renowned leaders as Pope Benedict XVI and Nelson Mandela. During a state visit to Cuba in 2016, she famously helped her father communicate with their hosts in Spanish.

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