Life & Relationships

Malia Obama, 25, debuted a new moniker as she began her Hollywood career

Growing up in front of the eyes of the public isn’t something Malia Obama is not familiar with. Being the daughter of the former president of the United States, Barak Obama, she has spent her life under the limelight, and even today, the media is interested in her every move.

The 25-year-old just presented her directorial debut, The Heart, at the Sundance Film Festival. In the Sundance Institute’s “Meet the Artist” spotlight video, Malia Obama revealed she was going by the name Malia Ann, thus ditching her moniker.

Malia, who was born Malia Ann Obama on July 4, 1998, has her middle name honoring her paternal grandmother, who died from ovarian cancer at the age of 52 in 1995, and now, she has dropped her last name in favor of her middle name.

Speaking of the short film for which she served as both director and screenwriter, Malia said. “This is an odd little story, somewhat of fable, about a man grieving the death of his mother after she leaves him an unusual request in her will.” Further, in the YouTube clip of the short film, she wrote, “The film is about lost objects and lonely people and forgiveness and regret, but I also think it works hard to uncover where tenderness and closeness can exist in these things.”

The Heat isn’t her first attempt into the profession. Previously, the Harvard grad worked in the writers’ room on Donald’s Amazon Prime show Swarm, co-writing the fifth episode, “Girl, Bye.”

“She’s a very professional person,” Swarm‘s co-creator Janine Nabers said Malia in a January 2023 Vanity Fair interview. “She’s an incredible writer and artist. She made significant contributions… She’s very, truly committed to her craft.”

Swarm‘s executive producer Stephen Glover also spoke of Malia. “We can’t be easy on her just because she’s the [former] President’s daughter,” he told Vanity Fair. “No, she is really down-to-earth and cool. So it’s not an issue at all.”

Malia Obama isn’t the first celebrity who made the decision to ditch their family name. Other celebs have done that before, including Nicolas Cage, who changed his last name from Coppola, and Angelina Jolie, who dropped her surname, Voight.

For her directorial debut, Malia looked cozy, with minimal makeup, her curly hair down with small braids scattered throughout.

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