Malia Obama Omits Last Name From Filmmaking Debut – Hollywood Life

Malia Obama Omits Last Name While Premiering Her Short Film at the Sundance Film Festival

The daughter of former president Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama debuted her movie 'The Heart' with a stage name. 

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Malia Obama at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival
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Image Credit: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Malia Obama doesn’t want to be known as the former president’s kid. The 25-year-old daughter of former president Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama debuted her latest short film, The Heart, at the Sundance Film Festival last month but omitted her last name from the credit. 

Instead of presenting herself as Malia Obama, the screenwriter and filmmaker is going by Malia Ann. The Sundance Institute featured its “Meet the Artist” spotlight video which presented Malia without her famous surname. Malia also made her official red carpet debut at the January 18 event earlier this year, and her parents did not attend. 

Malia’s 18-minute short film was produced by Donald Glover’s production company, Gilga, and is described as “an odd little story, somewhat of fable, abut a man grieving the death of his mother after she leaves him an unusual request in her will,” according to E! 

Malia Obama at the 2024 Sundance Film Festival
Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

“But I also think it works hard to uncover where tenderness and closeness can exist in these things,” she reportedly said in the “Meet the Artist” spotlight clip, adding that she hopes watching her movie would “you feel a bit less lonely, or at least reminds you not to forget about the people who are.” 

Now that the news of Malia’s stage name has gone viral, The View co-hosts addressed the criticism that the rising director is facing, being called a “nepo baby.” 

“She knows she’s an Obama, why do you care?” Whoopi Goldberg said during the Wednesday, February 21, episode of the talk show. “Why do you care what she calls herself? If she wanted to call herself Jeanette McDonald, she has the right to! If I can be Whoopi Goldberg, she can be whoever the hell she wants to be!”

This isn’t Malia’s first time working in show business. She previously worked as a staff writer for Donald Glover’s Amazon Prime Video series, Swarm. 

During his 2022 Vanity Fair interview, the Solo: A Star Wars Story actor, 40, praised Malia and noted that she wasn’t given special treatment on the set of Swarm for being an Obama. 

“I feel like she’s just somebody who’s gonna have really good things coming soon,” the Mr. & Mrs. Smith series star said. “Her writing style is great. We can’t be easy on her just because she’s the [former] president’s daughter.”