Inside Malia Obama’s Hollywood Career: See Her Movies, TV Shows

Malia Obama went from the White House to Hollywood.

The writer and producer, 25, is hoping to make a name for herself in the entertainment business, without ties to her powerful family. As the eldest daughter of former president Barack Obama and Michelle Obama, she now goes by her middle name: Malia Ann.

The Harvard alum debuted her first short film, titled The Heart, which she wrote and directed, at the Sundance Film Festival on January 18. In a “meet the artist” video released by Sundance, Malia said her short 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,” she added, explaining that she hopes that the 18-minute film “makes you feel a bit less lonely, or at least reminds you not to forget about the people who are.”

Related: The Best Celebrity Style Sightings at Sundance Film Festival 2024

The 2024 Sundance Film Festival has commenced, and the stars are showing up in style.  Kristen Stewart attended the event’s opening night gala on January 18 in Chanel, and Malia Obama rocked the red carpet screening of her short film, The Heart, that same day in an effortlessly cool ensemble. One day later, Julia Fox […]

Prior to her film debut, Malia had one previous writing credit on Prime Video’s acclaimed 2023 series Swarm, which starred Dominique Fishback, Billie Eilish and Chloe Bailey, among others. The mini series was produced by Donald Glover‘s film production company, Gilga, which also produced Malia’s directorial debut.

“I feel like she’s just somebody who’s gonna have really good things coming soon,” he said of Malia during a March 2023 GQ cover story. “The first thing we did was talk about the fact that she will only get to do this once. ‘You’re Obama’s daughter. So if you make a bad film, it will follow you around.’”

Inside Malia Obama's Hollywood Career: From ‘Girls’ Intern to ‘Swarm’ Writer to Director
Pete Souza/The White House via Getty Images

As for her experience on Swarm, the show made headlines when it was announced that the former first daughter would be joining the writers room.

“She’s a very professional person. She’s an incredible writer and artist,” Swarm co-creator Janine Nabers said of Malia in a March 2023 interview with Vanity Fair. “We really wanted to give her the opportunity to get her feet wet in TV and see if this is something she wants to continue doing.”

Despite her pedigree, Glover insisted they treated the former first daughter just like any other member of the creative team.

“We can’t be easy on her just because she’s the [former] President’s daughter,” he told VF in March 2022. “Nah, she’s very down to earth, and cool. So, it’s not a problem at all.”

The former President and First Lady have also transitioned into the entertainment biz after launching their company Higher Ground Productions, which put out the Oscar-nominated biopic Rustin last year and Netflix’s Leave the World Behind.

Scroll to see a breakdown of Malia’s Hollywood career so far.

What Has Malia Obama Written?

The former first daughter was a writer on Swarm, a show created by Donald Glover and Janine Nabers, and she wrote a 2024 short film called The Heart.

What Has Malia Obama Directed?

She wrote and directed her first short film The Heart, which was released on January 18, 2024, at the Sundance Film Festival.

Did Malia Obama Study Filmmaking?

She graduated from Harvard University in 2021 with a degree in Visual and Environmental Studies, but Malia started getting experience on TV sets prior to finishing high school.

Malia was a production assistant for Halle Berry’s CBS show, Extant, in 2014 ahead of her junior year of high school. Ahead of her senior year, she also worked as an intern on the New York City set of HBO’s Girls, created by and starring Lena Dunham, in July 2015.

“Obviously, we weren’t making her go get our coffee,” Dunham told Sirius XM’s “The Howard Stern Show” in 2017. “But she wanted to do all the jobs, that was the cool thing. She was totally enthusiastic.”

Prior to starting her college education at Harvard, Malia reportedly held an internship at The Weinstein Company, then a massive Hollywood production company, in February 2017. (Founder Harvey Weinstein‘s #MeToo scandal didn’t make headlines until the following October, at which point Malia left to start her freshman year.)

What Is Her Professional Name?

Malia Ann is the credit that appears on her projects. The former first daughter seems to be dropping her recognizable last name.

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