What Life Is Like For The Obama Sisters Today

The Obama sisters, Malia Obama and Sasha Obama, had a childhood most of us absolutely cannot relate to — growing up in the White House, dodging paparazzi, having Secret Service agents accompany them on dates; not to mention, you know, having a dad as president.

When it comes to the sisters' personal lives, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have kept details about them relatively private, but they also tend to stay under the radar themselves. However, Malia has been described as the "wise and thoughtful" one, with her parents shocked and impressed at her making her own bed and setting her own alarm by the first grade (via People), whereas Barack Obama described his youngest daughter Sasha as energetic and "the comedian in the family."

As the sisters grow up, it's clear that their unconventional upbringing hasn't turned them into spoiled, unrelatable princesses. Quite the opposite, actually; both seem to be living pretty normal lives, with Sasha attending college and Malia, a recent college graduate, working as a TV writer.

The two share a place in Los Angeles

Michelle Obama revealed on the "Today" show in November 2022 (via Page Six) that her two daughters had moved in together in Los Angeles. It's not necessarily uncommon for siblings to live together, but it does come as a small surprise since, according to Michelle, her daughters didn't get along super well when they were younger. "There was a period of time when they couldn't stand each other," she said on the "Today" show (via Page Six). "I said, 'You wait, you are going to wake up one day and you're going to look over at that other person, and you're going to know that you two share something very unique,' especially given what they've been through." It looks like Mom was right.

Michelle also shared that her daughters invited her and Barack Obama over for cocktails at their place, but their bartending skills weren't quite up to par. "The martinis were a little weak. I don't think they really knew what it was," Michelle said. 

Living in Los Angeles makes sense for Malia Obama and Sasha Obama since Malia is working in the entertainment industry and Sasha is attending college at the University of Southern California (per Page Six). We're glad to see the Obama siblings settling into their adult lives, and we're sure their martini-making skills will improve in time.

Malia Obama graduated from Harvard in 2021

With a mom who went to Princeton and Harvard Law, and a dad who went to Columbia and Harvard Law, it doesn't come as a huge surprise that Malia Obama attended Harvard too — Ivy League education seems to run strong in the Obama family. But Harvard wasn't an instant choice. According to People, Malia toured other colleges like Princeton, Brown, and the University of Pennsylvania before settling on Harvard. Her choice to attend the prestigious university was not pushed by her parents; in fact, Barack Obama supported Malia in choosing any school that offered a good education. "One piece of advice that I've given her [Malia] is not to stress too much about having to get into one particular college. ... There are a lot of good colleges and universities out there ... Just because it's not some name-brand, famous, fancy school doesn't mean that you're not going to get a great education there," said Barack Obama (via People).

Malia graduated from Harvard in 2021 and got her degree in Visual and Environmental Studies. She kept her time at Harvard pretty private, but what we do know is that she was named a Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize winner, which awards undergraduates who excel in the art of teaching (via Biography).

Sasha Obama is studying psychology at the University of Southern California

After graduating from the Sidwell Friends School in 2019, Sasha Obama began her college career at the University of Michigan but later transferred to the University of Southern California in 2022 (via Tatler). 

She now studies psychology and lives with her older sister Malia Obama in Los Angeles (via the Daily Mail). Apparently, the psychology classes are carrying over into Sasha's family life; according to Michelle Obama (via People): "Sasha's starting to share some articles because she's a psychology major and I think she's slowly psychoanalyzing us ... Some of the articles are specific to what she thinks are our individual neuroses."

Despite her celebrity status, Sasha seems to be having a pretty normal college experience. Recent photos from the Daily Mail showed Sasha decked out in a boho-casual outfit of overalls and a patterned tote bag, complete with some retro glasses and perhaps the most important college kid essential — AirPods.

The sisters moved back home with their parents during the pandemic

Both Malia Obama and Sasha Obama were in college when the coronavirus pandemic emerged, and this meant they were unable to attend classes in person for a period of time. "My girls are studying from home," Michelle Obama said in a 2020 Instagram Live (via People). "We're itching to get back to campus, but things are just confusing ... not quite safe."

Despite missing out on some of the in-person college experience, the siblings seemed to have fun back at home during quarantine. "They were baking way too much at the beginning of quarantine, too many delicious pies. They were good at it!" Michelle Obama said about her daughters (via People).

The pandemic also allowed the sisters to spend some quality time with their family — something that Michelle couldn't be happier about. "This time has allowed us to get some stolen moments back with our girls, who were supposed to have emptied out of my nest," she said (via People). "I was celebrating that they were out building their lives and allowing me the emotional space to let them go. Well, they're back! It has been more enjoyable than either Barack or I could have imagined."

Malia Obama took an interest in the entertainment industry

Barack Obama and Michelle Obama have both made marks in the entertainment industry, with Barack narrating Netflix's "Our Great National Parks" and Michelle debuting her own cooking show on Netflix called "Waffles + Mochi." Michelle and Barack Obama also have their own production company which they founded in 2018 called Higher Ground, which has produced films like "Fatherhood" and "Becoming."

Malia Obama isn't far off from her parents' ventures; in the summer of 2015, at just 17 years old, Malia interned with HBO's show "Girls" (per Vanity Fair). According to the show's creator and star Lena Dunham, Malia was "an angel." According to Dunham: "She was interning at HBO, and they thought, what if she comes a couple days a week to the set of 'Girls?' She loved the show, and I mean, obviously we weren't, like, making her go get our coffee. You're not going to send [the president's daughter to get coffee]. But she wanted to do all the jobs. That was the cool thing. She was totally enthusiastic."

In addition to interning for "Girls," Malia had prior experience working as a production assistant for a day on Halle Berry's "Extant" — a 2014 sci-fi series (per The Wrap).

Sasha Obama is dating former basketball player Clifton Powell Jr.

Twenty-one-year-old Sasha Obama has been dating former basketball player Clifton Powell Jr. since the two reportedly met after she transferred to the University of Southern California (via Us Weekly). The two were first photographed together in April 2022, but it's unclear exactly when they began seeing each other. Powell, who works as a writer and director, is the son of "Rush Hour" and "All Eyez on Me" actor Clifton Powell Sr.

Though both Sasha and Malia Obama have likely been dating for at least a few years at this point, it seems their parents are still getting used to it. On the "Ellen DeGeneres Show," Michelle Obama said: "They loved the Jonas Brothers ... Now they're bringing grown men home. Before it was just pop bands. Now they have boyfriends and real lives and all that stuff" (via The Cut). Although it may be bittersweet seeing her daughters all grown up, Michelle is happy that they're learning about what they want in a partner. "I think it's wonderful. I want them to know what they want and who they are in a relationship. And that takes trying on some people," she said in a "20/20" special with Robin Roberts (via Us Weekly).

Malia Obama is working as a TV writer

In 2020, Barack Obama described Malia Obama as "somebody who enjoys people, enjoys life, and enjoys conversation. She's never bored, which is a badass quality that can take you places" (per InStyle). With a disposition like that, it's no surprise Malia has also forged a successful TV writing career for herself at just 24 years old.

Her most recent endeavor involved working with "Atlanta" creator Donald Glover. According to Vanity Fair, Malia was hired to help write a character for Glover's upcoming show "Hive" which features a "Beyonce-type character." According to Glover, Malia's writing and talent are impressive. "I feel like she's just somebody who's gonna have really good things coming soon," he said, per Vanity Fair. "Her writing style is great."

Donald Glover's brother, Stephen Glover, is also working on "Hive" and had nothing but good things to say about Malia too. "Donald always says perspective is important, and people with different perspectives are important for a writers room. And for sure, she definitely has a unique perspective on everything," Stephen Glover said (via Vanity Fair). "So we wanted to hear her stories and have her work with us. Listening to her stories and having her involved really gave us a lot of good ideas."

Malia Obama is rumored to be dating record producer Dawit Eklund

Malia Obama was connected to her Harvard classmate Rory Farquharson since 2017, and the pair even quarantined together in 2020, according to Barack Obama (via the New York Post). "There was this whole visa thing, he had a job set up, and so we took him in," Obama said on "The Bill Simmons Podcast" about his daughter's boyfriend. "And I didn't want to like him, but he's a good kid."

However, it appears Malia and Farquharson split, since Malia has been linked to record producer Dawit Eklund. The two were first linked in July 2022, and numerous photographs show the pair hanging out in New York City and Los Angeles (via Page Six). Eklund is from Addis Ababa, but attended and graduated from George Washington University in D.C. These days, Eklund appears to focus on music; he co-founded the record label 1432 R, which focuses on electronic Ethiopian music.

It's unclear whether or not Malia's family has met Eklund, and due to the lack of photographed PDA between the pair, it's likely the couple is looking to keep their relationship as private as possible. After years of being in the public eye, it makes sense that Malia wants a bit of privacy.

The sisters are activists

In the summer of 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement gained momentum after the murder of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others by police. The push against police brutality and the dire need to protect Black lives swept across the United States and even into other countries like Colombia and South Africa (per NPR).

The widespread movement also had some high-profile supporters: Malia Obama and Sasha Obama. Per USA Today, the siblings participated in protests throughout the summer of 2020, and Barack Obama expressed how proud he was of his daughters in a conversation with Anderson Cooper: "They have a pretty good sense of 'Look, we don't expect everybody to be perfect. We don't expect everybody to be politically correct all the time, but we are going to call out institutions or individuals if they are being cruel,'" Obama said. He added that he "could not have been prouder of them" for their activism and desire to improve the world. "Their attitude was — we've seen something wrong and we want to fix it, and we think we can fix it. And we understand that it's not gonna take just a day or a week or one march to fix it. But we're in it for the long haul," the former president said (via USA Today).

Malia and Sasha Obama remain close with their parents

Despite the stressors that come with being in the public eye, the Obamas appear to be a pretty close-knit family. One may assume that growing up in a place like the White House and living a prestigious lifestyle would spoil the siblings, but it appears that quite the opposite has happened. Reflecting on their time in the presidential home, Barack Obama said of his family (via People): "I think we came out of it whole. There were great joys in the White House. There was never a time where we didn't recognize what an extraordinary privilege it was to be there. Most importantly, our children emerged intact and they are wonderful, kind, thoughtful, creative — and not entitled — young women. So that's a big sigh of relief."

And even now that the sisters are older, it seems their bond with their parents remains strong. On birthdays and holidays, both Michelle and Barack post sentimental photos and captions expressing their love and support for their daughters. In a recent Instagram post, Barack Obama shared a snap of him and his family smiling together and wrote: "Merry Christmas, everybody! One of the best parts of the holiday season is getting to spend time with the special people in our lives."

Additionally, the fact that the sisters invited their parents to hang out over "martinis" and "charcuterie" at their apartment is a pretty good sign that they're still close to Mom and Dad.

Malia and Sasha Obama are great friends

Though the sisters haven't always gotten along — in fact, they "couldn't stand" each other for some time — Malia Obama and Sasha Obama are now as thick as thieves. "The thing that I love the most is that those two girls are each other's best friends," Michelle Obama said (via Page Six).

Barack Obama echoed Michelle's happiness about his daughters' closeness: "Now they're both old enough, where they just enjoy each other's company ... And to be together as a family and see how they've become these marvelous young women — there's been no greater joy than that," he told People in 2020.

It's possible that their unconventional life experiences helped forge such a close bond between the two sisters — growing up as the children of the president is an experience that not many can relate to, and the Obama siblings may have leaned on each other for that reason. "I think that they realize that they have a unique bond because they're the only two who know what they just went through," Michelle Obama said (via People). "Growing up in the White House with the brightest spotlight in the world on you as you were going through adolescence and puberty. They uniquely know what that means for them."