Malia and Sasha Obama are not only close in age, they have a tight relationship too. The former first daughters had a unique upbringing, moving to the White House at a very young age and growing up in the spotlight. Whether rubbing elbows with celebrities, traveling the world, or just trying to go on a date with the Secret Service in tow, we’re here to give you a unique glimpse inside the lives of these historic siblings.
They gave us all the feels at a state dinner
It was a moment applauded by sisters everywhere—Sasha and Malia attended their first state dinner, honoring Canada, in March 2016. At the black-tie event, the girls met Canuk actor Ryan Reynolds, who posed for an adorable photo with Sasha (and gave Malia the photobomb opportunity of a lifetime.) While little sis appeared to be totally starstruck over the Deadpool (2016) hero, Malia played the role of approving big sister by sneaking in a two-thumbs up in the background of the pic.
Folks swarmed to social media to comment on the official White House photo, snapped by Pete Souza. “Sasha is fangirling over Ryan & Malia is just kinda like ‘nice embarrass yourself in front of freaking Ryan Reynolds,'” tweeted one follower (via Mashable). Another Twitter user said the photo actually made her “want a sister so bad,” and another quipped, “Sasha Obama meeting Ryan Reynolds is all of us meeting Ryan Reynolds.”
At the dinner, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau specifically mentioned the girls, saying (via Entertainment Tonight), “I admire you very much, both of you, for your extraordinary strength and grace.”
President Obama also acknowledged his daughters at the soiree, saying (via People), “When I was first elected to his office, Malia was just 10 and Sasha was 7. And they grow up too fast. Now Malia is going off to college…And I’m starting to choke up.”
They spent spring break in Cuba
After that glamorous state dinner, Sasha and Malia jetted off for spring break. While many teens head to the beach or just hang out at home for a week, the first family logged the first presidential trip to Cuba in nearly 90 years. The visit marked a historic international milestone, but it also solidified Sasha and Malia as style icons. The Daily Mail hailed the teenagers as “fashionable forces to be reckoned with, even surpassing their mom Michelle’s ability to send style bloggers into a frenzy.” The Huffington Post went so far as to say the Obama girls “stole the show.” Malia even showed off her Spanish language skills, translating for her dad at a restaurant in Old Havana.
They fill in for each other at events
Malia proved willing to help a sister out when Sasha’s schedule proved problematic. Tongues and twitters wagged when Sasha was a no-show at her dad’s farewell address in Chicago in January 2017, but Malia, moved to tears, was there to represent them both during the emotional speech. Big sis, at 18, was in the middle of a gap year before heading to Harvard University in the fall of 2017, but 15-year-old Sasha was in the throes of another semester at the prestigious Sidwell Friends School in D.C and was reportedly home studying for an exam. Seriously.
The internet was impressed. As one Twitter user put it, “Sasha Obama out here missing her dad’s farewell speech to STUDY for a TEST and I’m debating whether or not to wake up for class tomorrow.”
They can swap embarrassing dad stories for years
Sasha and Malia are only just beginning to date, but we can only imagine how their future romantic lives will shape up given their father’s penchant for embarrassing dad jokes (not to mention the fact that he was leader of the free world for eight years!) His wisecracks at the annual Thanksgiving turkey pardoning became so cringe-worthy that his daughters reportedly chose to opt out of their final ceremony in 2016. President Obama joked at the event, “Thanksgiving is a family holiday as much as a national one, so for the past seven years, I’ve established another tradition: embarrassing my daughters with a corny-copia of dad jokes about turkeys,” he said (via Entertainment Tonight). “This year, they had a scheduling conflict…actually they just couldn’t take my jokes anymore. They were fed up.” Badum-ching!
Also in November 2016, President Obama admitted his daughters had been dating, and he was okay with it. “The truth is, I’m pretty relaxed about it for two reasons,” he told a radio station (via Today). “One is [their mom] Michelle…she’s such a great example of how she carries herself, her self-esteem, not depending on boys to validate how you look or you know, not letting yourself be judged by anything other than your character and intelligence,” he said. The other reason was much more embarrassing for the Obama girls—the Secret Service. “There’s only so much these guys can do,” he quipped, referring to his daughters’ suitors. “These poor young men come by my house and…” Best of luck to these ladies as they look for love, despite their famous (and famously embarrassing) dad.
They landed summer jobs
Even the president’s progeny have to earn their own spending money. Sasha spent the summer of 2016 working at Nancy’s seafood restaurant in Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.—one of the Obama family’s favorite spots. She allegedly spent her four-hour shifts doing typical starter-job duties, such as bussing tables and manning the takeout window. The only difference was the Secret Service presence. “We were wondering why there were six people helping this girl,” a waiter at the restaurant in Oak Bluffs told the Boston Herald (via the New York Daily News), “but then we found out who it was.” Perhaps in an effort to deflect attention, Sasha reportedly went by her full name of Natasha while on the job.
Malia spent the summer of 2015 interning on the set of the HBO series Girls (2012-). She was spotted getting coffee for the cast and crew and helping shoo away the public from the set. How did Malia land that gig? “She’s a fan, and she mentioned that to [show creator] Lena [Dunham] when she came to the White House,” a source close to the production told Us Weekly. “Lena and her get along great.”
Who’s the ‘Grumpy Cat?’
Thogh Barack and Michelle have worked hard to protect their kids’ privacy, the parents have offered fleeting glimpses of their daughters’ unique personalities. According to the New York Daily News, Malia is “an avid reader” who “plays piano and the flute, studies ballet and favors soccer.” Sasha, known as “Sassy” to her mom, is “the family’s cutup.” She reportedly took piano lessons, and her father even helped coach her basketball team.
During a visit to The Late Show with David Letterman in 2015, mama Obama dished, “I’m not gonna say which one is which, but we have one who generally stays [even-keeled], and then we have one we call our Grumpy Cat. Our salty biscuit…I’m not saying. They could be watching. But they know who they are.”
They have distinct tastes in music
The Obama girls’ concert game is strong. Malia spent some time in Chicago during the summer of 2016, reportedly twerking and maybe smoking at the Lollapalooza music festival. The aforementioned evidence of a teenager being a teenager was caught on smartphones and rebroadcast for the world to opine.
Sasha also apparently enjoys live music. Later that same summer, she was spotted at Jay Z’s Made in America music festival in Philadelphia. grooving to Rihanna’s set.
The girls also spent some quality time with their mom at a huge Beyoncé concert in Baltimore in 2016. The show reportedly coincided with Malia’s high school graduation and Sasha’s 15th birthday. Word is the Beyhive even sang “Happy Birthday” to Sasha that night. That wasn’t the first time Beyoncé sang for a member of the Obama family. She performed during President Obama’s inauguration ceremonies in 2009 and 2013.
They do chores
Despite spending eight years in the White House surrounded by staff at their beck and call, Malia and Sasha still had to do chores and maintain a strict bedtime. According to a 2009 article in The New York Times, the girls had an 8 p.m. bedtime and set their own alarm clocks for school the next morning. They were also expected to clean their rooms, and once first dog Bo came on the scene, the sisters were expected to take him for walks and clean up after him. On an episode of The View, Barack said (via News One), “We don’t let them watch TV or use their computer except to do homework during the week.” He said Malia got a cell phone in 2011, but could only use it “on weekends.” Sound strict? There’s more.
The presidential parents worked hard to shield their kids from social media. According to the New York Daily News, the girls were not allowed to use Facebook while the family occupied the White House. Michelle reportedly told them, “You can’t go off on somebody, you can’t act bratty. Because you may be having a moment, but somebody could use that moment and try to define you forever. So you want to be cognizant of that…You’re not going to have Facebook for a long time.” That was in 2013, so we’ll see if Malia and Sasha’s public presence increases now that their family’s tenure in office has come to an end.