How Critics Hit Malia Obama Hard On The Nepo Baby Discourse

Malia Obama has made no secret of the fact that she hates being a celebrity simply for being a former first daughter, but that hasn't stopped critics from attributing her professional success to that. Even with all the steps she's taken to make it on her own, Malia hasn't been immune to nepo baby commentary. 

Allusions to Malia's nepo baby status go back to her first gig in the entertainment business. As a teenager, she'd interned on the set of Halle Berry's "Extant." A few years later, Berry herself had shared in an interview on "Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen" that Barack and Michelle Obama's eldest daughter had been keen to take on any job assigned to her. "She was down to do whatever a PA is asked to do, and I had wild respect for her for that," she said. Granted, the actor added that most people struggled to see her as a regular assistant — and there's no denying that was a direct result of her family connections. Nevertheless, Berry added that Malia had been committed to her tasks, anyway. 

Enthusiasm aside, the former first daughter couldn't escape shady retorts from those who felt she was given special treatment. Exhibit A: one comment under the "WWHL" video saw someone complain, "She's a kid, really why are they in such awe. Just because her parents are successful doesn't mean she's placed on a higher standard." Unfortunately, Malia has continued to face those sentiments over the years. 

The Glovers have denied claims of special treatment

Halle Berry isn't the only star to have gushed over Malia Obama's can-do attitude in the entertainment business. Donald and Stephen Glover have also spoken highly of the eldest Obama daughter's professionalism — and in so doing, the latter poked fun at anyone thinking they'd give her any special treatment. 

To refresh, Malia started her high-profile job in the Glovers' writing room for "Hive" in 2022. Speaking to Vanity Fair of her appointment, both Donald and Stephen shared that they'd been blown away by both her writing skills and approach to the job. "She's just, like, an amazingly talented person ... She's really focused, and she's working really hard," Donald told the outlet. That's not to say they would have any qualms about telling her if something wasn't up to snuff, though. Speaking about what it was like employing one of Barack and Michelle Obama's daughters, Stephen joked, "Well, you know, we just hurt her feelings. We can't be easy on her just because she's the [former] president's daughter." Granted, he added that it hadn't ever been a problem in the past. 

Unfortunately, that couldn't stop Malia's critics. After Donald reiterated to TMZ that he believed Malia had a ton of potential, YouTube commenters once again slammed her as a nepo baby. Ironically, one commenter even [erroneously] claimed, "She has no writing credits to her name and she got a job with Donald Glover. It's not because of her skills or experience."

Malia was dragged for changing her name

As many will know, Malia Obama goes by a different name — Malia Ann — professionally ... and that may have something to do with Donald Glover. As he told GQ, he'd warned her that her famous last name would lead to greater scrutiny. However, it turns out changing her name only added to the heat she got. 

In the wake of Malia being billed by her professional name in an interview about her film, "The Heart," one social media user took to X, formerly Twitter, to call her out. "Obama's daughter trying to sneak past Nepo baby discourse by not using her last name," they wrote. However, several industry bigwigs have pushed back against that logic. Whoopi Goldberg came to her defense, as did every single one of her "The View" co-stars. As Alyssa Farah Griffin pointed out, "It's also, like, damned if you do, damned if you don't. If she went as Malia Obama, it'd be, 'She's riding her parents' coattails.'"

There's no denying that Malia has better access to the stars than most people do, and as her former employers have pointed out, it wasn't easy for her to do things like coffee runs or personal assistant jobs, particularly when Barack Obama was president. However, Malia can't exactly change the fact that her parents are famous. Even so, it's pretty clear she's done whatever she can to make her own way, regardless.