It’s a feat practically unheard of in modern times: Malia and Sasha Obama, children of former POTUS Barack and wife Michelle managed to live eight years in the White House and maintain a sense of normalcy. And, even more remarkably, the Obama girls seem to have held onto that oh-so-elusive privacy since leaving 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in 2016. So, what have the Obama sisters been up to these last four years?
Well, a rare glimpse at the women Malia and Sasha have become surfaced when they appeared in Netflix’s Becoming — a documentary centered on mom Michelle’s 34-city book tour promoting her memoir. Albeit brief, their cameos only further fanned the public’s fascination with the siblings.
Now 21 and 18, respectively, Malia and Sasha were 10 and 7 when their father became president. And just as Becoming focuses on Michelle’s next chapter, the girls are writing their own stories now, too. No longer the children we watched grow over two terms worth of turkey pardons and Barack’s dad jokes, Malia and Sasha have moved on from their time as First Daughters.
While the world isn’t quite as privy to their moves as we once were, we are afforded the occasional glimpse into the sisters’ post-White House lives. Here are a few major highlights from the last few years.
Shortly after leaving the White House, Malia opted to take a gap year before attending Harvard in the fall of 2017. So, just after Barack’s last term ended, his eldest daughter started a new post-White House endeavor: an internship. During that time, Malia worked in the New York City office of the Weinstein Co. There, she was tasked with “reading through scripts and deciding which ones move on to Weinstein brass.” (Malia’s internship took place prior to Weinstein’s arrest/etc).
Harvard (& a Boyfriend?)
Hand in hand: Malia Obama, 20, is pictured with her boyfriend Rory Farquharson in Mayfair, #London last week
Barack Obama's eldest daughter Malia, 20, met her boyfriend Rory Farquharson at Harvard University pic.twitter.com/W2UIO0nG2a
— Hans Solo (@thandojo) July 30, 2018
It didn’t take long after Malia had officially entered Harvard for boyfriend rumors to start swirling. And in the fall of 2017, TMZ released video footage of Malia kissing fellow student Rory Farquharson, the British son of an investment manager. In early 2018, photos surfaced of the supposed couple shopping together in New York City.
Blowing Off Some Steam — Or, As It Were, Smoke
Also in the fall of 2017, as Malia settled into college life, a video emerged of a woman who appeared to be the Harvard student blowing smoke rings. The moment, not surprisingly, went viral with most people defending Malia’s right to have fun and explore life without White House-level scrutiny.
The Non-White House House
In a move nearly unprecedented in presidential history, the Obamas decided to stay in Washington, D.C., after Barack’s last term. In fact, he was the first president in almost 100 years to remain in the capital post-POTUS. And as Michelle later joked with Ellen DeGeneres, Sasha seemed to get the best of the family’s new digs. “Sasha actually killed in this house,” Michelle said. “She has, like, this two-room suite, it’s all decked out. She’s got a living area and bedroom, and she designed it.”
Sidwell Followed By the University of Michigan for Sasha
— Twitter Moments (@TwitterMoments) August 29, 2019
As for why the Obamas decided to stick around, according to Politico the former POTUS pointed toward his youngest daughter. “We’re going to have to stay a couple of years so Sasha can finish,” Obama said, referring to Sasha’s Sidwell Friends High School. “Transferring someone in the middle of high school — tough.” Around this time, in the fall of 2016, Sasha even got her first job working as a cashier at a seafood restaurant in Martha’s vineyard.
Sasha entered the University of Michigan last fall.
After eight years under a microscope, who could blame the girls for wanting a little vacay? In mid-January 2017, Sasha stole away for a fun girls’ trip to Miami Beach with some of her best friends — including Joe Biden’s granddaughter Maisy Biden. During their excursion, the girls reportedly danced and hit up local restaurants for desserts.
Family Vacation Time
A few months after Sasha’s girls’ trip, she synced schedules with Malia and the girls’ parents for a family holiday to Bali. There, they went whitewater rafting on the Ayung River, visited UNESCO World Heritage Site Jatiluwih village, and wore traditional saris.
Cardi B and Offset with Sasha Obama pic.twitter.com/rjoajAw2e8
— DailyCardi (@DailyCardi) April 29, 2018
Both Malia and Sasha have enjoyed musical outings since leaving the White House. Malia has attended Lollapalooza on several occasions (even dancing and rolling around on the ground in carefree abandon). She also appeared in the music video for Harvard band New Dakotas’ song “Walking on Air.”
As for Sasha, she reportedly hung out backstage with Cardi B at DC’s Sixth Annual Broccoli City Festival in early 2018. Per the festival’s website, it’s aimed at millennials and “focuses on unifying people to achieve positive social change.”
Hanging Out with Mom
— Kudzai (@kudzai_hairboss) May 6, 2020
Malia and Sasha’s brief but impactful cameo in Netflix’s Becoming hinted that the girls both enjoy a tight bond with mom Michelle. In one scene, Malia — who’s dubbed “little potato” by the former FLOTUS — gets emotional after one of her mom’s arena talks. “You’re so good. I love you too much,” Malia tells Michelle, adding, “I cried again.”
She continues, “What this has demonstrated in a way just, damn those eight years weren’t for nothing, you know? You see that huge crowd out there and that last kind of speech you gave about — people are here because people really believe in love and in hope and hope in other people.”
Sasha seems equally impressed by and happy for the pair’s mom. “I’m excited for her to be proud of what she’s done because I think that’s the most important thing for a human to do is be proud of themselves,” the youngest Obama says.
Before you go, revisit photos of Malia and Sasha growing up before our eyes.