What Life Is Like For Malia Obama At Harvard

Barack and Michelle Obama's eldest daughter, Malia, has grown up in front of our eyes, so it's no surprise that the former first daughter has remained in the pop culture spotlight since leaving the White House in 2017. While her parents have reintegrated themselves into public life with high-profile appearances, including selling out arenas for Michelle's memoir Becoming and launching the Higher Ground production company, Malia has, for the most part, tried to stay low-key. After enjoying a gap year following her high school graduation, Malia started her undergraduate career at Harvard University in 2017. 

So what has Malia been doing at the prestigious Ivy League school — the one that's produced eight Presidents of the United States, including her dad (a 1991 law grad)?  For the most part, it seems like she's been having fun, experimenting with her look, and dating. You know, just like every college coed who just happens to be the eldest daughter of America's closest thing to a royal family. Let's take a closer look at what life is like for Malia Obama at Harvard.

Barack pulled a classic dad move on move-in day

Every parent must face the day they drop their kid off at college. It can be traumatic, even for a former POTUS. "For those of us who have daughters, it just happens fast," Obama confessed during a reception for the Beau Biden Foundation for the Protection of Children in Delaware (via WDEL). The former president described taking one step closer to becoming an empty-nester as feeling "like open-heart surgery." He said he "was proud that he did not cry in front of her," but Barack's security detail was not spared the full brunt of this #dadLife moment. "The Secret Service was off, looking straight ahead, pretending they weren't hearing me as I sniffled and blew my nose," he revealed. "It was rough."

The elder Obama, whose never met a dad joke he didn't like, shared some more hilarious details about Malia's Harvard move-in day in a sit-down interview with David Letterman for the Netflix series, My Next Guest Needs No Introduction (via CNN): "Michelle, she had like a cleaning glove, one of those yellow ones, she's scouring the bathroom. Sasha ... was helping make the bed and fold clothes ... and I was basically useless." 

She rocked out in an indie rock music video

As first daughter for eight years, Malia is no stranger to being on-camera, but now she's appeared in her first music video ... or did she? Timelines went into a tizzy when Malia made a cameo in the New Dakotas "Walking On Air" video. The cameo featured Malia lip-synching and playing a mean air harmonica for the Boston-based band. Although it garnered the indie band major attention, the group quickly took down the original video after it went viral and reposted a Malia-free version instead. Alt Press reports that the band members — who are classmates of Malia's at Harvard — offered no explanation other than apology for the "glitch" in the new video. If you're curious, you can still catch screen grabs of Malia's video debut via Entertainment Tonight

This isn't Malia's first brush with showbiz. She made headlines for interning at the Weinstein company months before the Harvey Weinstein sex abuse scandal broke and was a valued production assistant on-set for Halle's Berry's CBS show Extant and Lena Dunham HBO series Girls. Dunham described Malia as an "angel" in an interview with The Howard Stern Show"She is so smart," Dunham said (via Vanity Fair). "I once asked her, 'What's your favorite movie?' and she was like, 'Well, do you want me to list by my favorite director, actor, or cinematographer?' And I was like, 'You are smarter than me, let's just be done with that.'"

She 'allegedly' had a secret Facebook account

According to the Daily Mail, Malia has a secret Facebook account. The page is supposedly filled with personal photos of Malia from her time at the Sidwell Friends School in Washington D.C. and the gap year she spent globe-trotting with friends before attending Harvard. Although plenty of public figures, from Meghan Markle and Prince Harry to NBA star Kevin Durant, have admitted to using anonymous social media accounts, Marie Claire reports that Malia's alleged Facebook account "divided the internet." 

The Daily Mail's potentially explosive report revealed that the page's "cover photograph is of a row of pink post-it notes which read: 'Donald Trump is President,' 'This is not normal,' 'Donald Trump is evil' and 'Don't be complacent.'" The British tabloid also stated that the anti-Trump rhetoric was "liked" by Malia's friend, Finnegan Biden, who just so happens to be the granddaughter of former vice-president and 2020 Democratic candidate Joe Biden. 

While the Facebook page hasn't been publicly active since 2017, a number of pundits on both sides of the political aisle have emerged to defend Malia in the wake of negative headlines. Conservative commentator Ben Shapiro tweeted: "OMG Malia Obama is a human with political opinions and also enjoys wine." Fellow first daughter Chelsea Clinton, who has endured her fair share of criticism for sharing her political viewstweeted: "Malia Obama is a private citizen. No part of her life should be anyone's clickbait." 

She's part of a historic Harvard class

According to USA Today, Malia is part of a ground-breaking Harvard class where the "majority of the students are non-white." Harvard's website states that the class of 2021 is comprised of 50.8 percent minorities, including students who are African American, Asian American, Hispanic or Latino, and Native American or Pacific Islander. Harvard spokesperson Rachael Dane told the BBC that the university, which had been criticized for its lack of diversity in the past, is "committed to enrolling diverse classes of students."

Among Malia's diverse Crimson classmates is a familiar face: actress Yara Shahidi. Us Weekly reports that the Black-ish star and Harvard class of 2022 student got a letter of recommendation for college from none other than Michelle Obama. Although Shahidi said she's never met the eldest Obama daughter in-person, she's excited about experiencing the next chapter in the life of a college coed. "Honestly, I think to be in an environment, which people for the most part actually want to be there to learn, that's (what) I'm looking forward to," she said. "I'm looking forward to just generally expanding."

She's dating a British rugby-playing classmate

Sorry Barry, but Malia has a new man in her life since leaving the White House. TMZ caught the eldest Obama daughter making out with a fellow student at a tailgate party at a Harvard-Yale football game. The Daily Mirror identified the guy as Harvard classmate Rory Farquharson. According to Business Insiderthe rugby-playing Brit comes from a well-to-do family and is considered "quite the catch." In fact, Farquharson is no stranger to famous circles of world leaders. According to the Daily Mirror, he's related to a former senior aide to the Queen of England. While there is no concrete proof that these two are Instagram official — Farquharson deleted his account shortly after the PDA photos were leaked — the young lovers have been spotted numerous times strolling the streets of New York and London

Former President Obama doesn't seem too worried about his daughters dating. "The truth is, I'm pretty relaxed about it for two reasons," he told North Carolina radio station WDCG (via 7 KTVB)  "One is, 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 not letting yourself be judged by anything other than your character and intelligence." The father of two girls went on to joke that "because they have Secret Service, there's only so much these guys can do." 

She's the next Obama-family style icon

Your college years are all about exploration, so it's only natural that Malia Obama would experiment with some new looks after leaving the White House. Malia obviously takes after her mother Michelle (who Vogue crowned a "fashion icon") more so than her dad-jeans wearing father. Seventeen has praised Malia for her impeccable fashion sense, calling her "the ultimate style icon" for her "fashion forward" outfits, described with titles such as: "Double Denim," "Laid-Back Athleisure," and the too-cute "Schoolgirl With a Side of Hugs." 

Of course, any modern-style icon worth their weight in cool has to have a stellar sneaker collection. Footwear News paid her the ultimate compliment by doing a rundown on Malia's kicks, noting her love for Converse Chuck Taylor All-Stars, camel-colored Cat boots, and white K-Swiss high-tops. 

According to Harper's Bazaar, Malia has also experimented with braids while attending Harvard, departing from her "signature straight-wavy style." Stylecaster also gave her props in 2018, describing her "half-up, half-down hairstyle" as "badass."

Michelle warned her to stay out of the tabloids

According to Page SixMichelle Obama gave her first-born daughter some sage advice before she headed off to college: "Don't wind up on Page Six." Overall, Malia Obama seems to be living the live of your ordinary coed at Harvard, but that hasn't stopped her from becoming tabloid fodder. The Daily Mail ran a story in February 2019 that featured Malia partaking in some day drinking with a bottle of rosé while lounging at a pool with friends in Miami. The British tabloid also noted that she was underage at the time.  

That report set off a firestorm of commentary that extended beyond politics. The Guardian offered a stern rebuttal to the "rosé-shaming article," which featured "23 creepy photos" of Malia in a swimsuit. Conservative radio voice Andrew Wilkow tweeted: "Living like the 1%? Drinking underage? Let's see the #democrats and media scream about 'privilege' here." Former first daughter Jenna Bush Hager defended Malia against the dirt. You may recall that Jenna and her twin sister, Barbara, were nicknamed "Double Trouble" by the press after getting busted for using a fake ID to buy booze. When Malia's scandal broke, Jenna tweeted: "Please don't click on silly stories and let's give Malia privacy." Refinery29 might have summed it up best by saying that Malia has "great taste in wine, but bad taste in friends," alluding to those closest to her allegedly selling her out to the tabloid.