Here's What Sasha Obama's Real Name Really Is

Sasha and Malia. Those two names go together like butter and bread. For eight years, they were America's first daughters while their father, Barack Obama, served as president. As of this writing, each girl is a college student. Older sister Malia attends Harvard University (via Town & Country), where their father went to law school and became the first African-American editor of the Harvard Law Review. Younger sister Sasha chose the Midwest for college and attends the University of Michigan (via People).

Americans remember Sasha Obama as the tiny and adorable little girl cheering on her daddy while smiling at the adoring crowd when he became the first African-American ever elected to the United States presidency in 2008. Some even remember her from a very important trip (pre-presidency) to Washington in 2004 when her father was sworn in as a senator and a 3-year-old Sasha attended the ceremony. We also watched her look as frustrated and bored as a preschooler would be at her father's first inauguration, and four years later, play on her phone at his second inauguration — proving that she was growing up right before our very eyes. She's been in the American consciousness for most of her life, but many people don't even know the young woman's real name.

Sasha Obama is named after family

Natasha Marian Obama was born on June 10, 2001, in Chicago, and her parents nicknamed her Sasha for short. Her middle name, Marian, is for her grandmother Marian Robinson, Michelle Obama's mother, who lived with the family in the White House during Barack Obama's eight years in office. Although they suffered through a meningitis scare with Sasha before she was ever thrust into the global spotlight, she grew up healthy, attending preschool at The University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and then Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C. until her college years (via Biography).

In fact, most people didn't realize her name was really Natasha until she was 15 and out of the White House. The teen started working at Nancy's Seafood Restaurant on Martha's Vineyard for the summer in 2016 and used her real name on her paperwork, according to NY Daily News. Much of the staff didn't even know who she was as she worked, but they did wonder why men were always following her around. Those men, of course, were the Secret Service agents assigned to protect the young woman whose code name was Rosebud (via Time).

Social media remarked on the nickname

When the news broke that Sasha Obama's actual first name was Natasha, unsurprisingly many people took to social media to express their surprise. "I can't believe Obama was in office for 8 years and I'm just now finding out Sasha Obama's real name is Natasha," one person wrote on Twitter, while another tweeted, "Where were you when you found out Sasha Obama's name is really Natasha Obama? Me? Wikipedia, new [York], NY, June 12, 2016" (via Marie Claire). And yet another Twitter user went all-caps with the amazement: "WAIT A DAMN MINUTE. WHO IS NATASHA OBAMA?"

Whether going by Natasha or her nickname Sasha, she had to deal with what so many other college students had to deal with in 2020 when colleges began closing and classes went virtual thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. And like so many other parents, Michelle Obama wasn't prepared. 

Sasha Obama spent quarantine like a lot of other kids

Like many parents, former president and first lady Barack and Michelle Obama dropped their younger daughter off to start college life in 2019. When Sasha Obama started her fall semester, Michelle felt like so many mothers feel at that momentous time in life, telling People: "It was of course a little emotional to drop Sasha off at college. It's an adjustment to see each other for a weekend here, a holiday break there, but the moments we do spend together feel extra special because of it."

However, it wasn't long before Sasha was like so many others — back with her parents by 2020 when the world shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic. "Our girls were supposed to have emptied out of my nest," Michelle said in another People article. "I was sort of celebrating that they were out building their lives and allowing me the emotional space to let them go. Well, they're back!"

Michelle didn't let that time go to waste, however, and got to know both Sasha and older sister Malia on a different level. The girls also decided to try new hobbies while quarantining with their parents and learned to cook. Perhaps Sasha was putting those skills she learned during that summer restaurant job to work — the time so many people learned her real name.