Ever since her father took office in 2009, Sasha Obama has been known almost solely as a president’s daughter. Growing up both in the public eye, but also under extreme protection, it’s safe to say that Obama’s childhood was anything but ordinary. And yet, the famous daughter has had some moments over the years that help teens relate to her.
There’s more to know about this presidential teen than just her father. The little girl who once lived in the White House is no longer so little. And now that Obama is all grown up and is no longer obligated to be the first daughter, she’s doing big things.
While people of the United States and the world have seen Obama through the years, there’s still quite a few things you probably don’t know about her — like just what rapper Drake thinks of her fashion sense, something he’s commented on publicly. So let’s take a closer look at some unexpected facts about Sasha Obama.
Sasha isn’t her real name
We first met Sasha Obama during her father’s race for the White House. Once he won the election, then 7-year-old Sasha was instantly in public view. Over her father’s two terms in office, the world saw her grow up from young girl to full-fledged teenager. You’d would think by the time her father left the White House eight years later, there wouldn’t be much unknown about the teen. Not quite! Did you know that Sasha isn’t even her real name?
It turns out, Sasha is actually short for Natasha. Mind blown. Although this was first revealed in 2016 when news outlets reported she was using her full first name for a summer job on Martha’s Vineyard (more on that later), it flew under the radar. That is, until Twitter user Ashley C. Ford shared the news in 2017 (via Refinery29), sending all of Twitter into a frenzy. One Twitter user commented on the first daughter’s name, sharing, "My entire life is a lie." And, of course, the GIF responses were amazing, as one expects from Twitter.
Sasha Obama had a childhood scare
It’s not common knowledge, but Sasha Obama got very, very sick when she was very, very young. Former president Barack Obama reflected on the experience in a campaign video that Politico reported on.
"People ask me what was the hardest time in my life — they ask, well what about during the debt ceiling debate and this and that and the other thing," he noted. But those situations paled in comparison to what he went through when his youngest daughter was an infant. "Sasha got meningitis when she was 3 months old," he revealed. "I still remember going to the hospital together and they had to give her a spinal tap." Meningitis is a serious, life-threatening disease, so it’s no surprise that he was acutely concerned.
"Your world narrows to this very small point," he continued, describing how it felt in the moment. "There’s one thing you care about and you don’t care about anything else." Fortunately, Sasha made a full recovery, and lives a happy and healthy life to this day.
Meeting Ryan Reynolds was major for Sasha Obama
Sometimes it’s hard to picture Sasha Obama as a real teen going through the same things as the average kid, but then those beautiful moments happen to remind the world that Sasha Obama is super relatable and just like everyone else growing up… well, most of the time.
A perfect example of this came in 2016 when Obama attended her first state dinner. It just so happened that there were some celebrities there, including the crush-worthy Ryan Reynolds. And let’s just say, being daughter of the president has some major perks as Obama had the opportunity to meet the actor.
As Time reported, there was a great photo-op where Obama met Reynolds with her sister Malia looking on, giving a thumbs up to her lucky sister. Obama’s joy at meeting the actor is just how other teens — and, honestly, adults — would react during that interaction. You go girl.
Can Sasha Obama take your order?
Being the president’s daughter doesn’t necessarily leave you with any special treatment — at least when you’re an Obama. Like many teens who end the school year and head into summer with a lot of time on their hands, Sasha Obama landed herself a summer job. Customers who visited Nancy’s, a seafood restaurant on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, in the summer of 2016 may have noticed an employee who looked familiar. No, that wasn’t a trick of the eye. You really were being served by a first daughter.
As the Boston Herald later reported, then-15-year-old Sasha Obama worked the takeout window at the restaurant for the summer months that year, accompanied by Secret Service agents. A fellow waiter told the Boston Herald, "We were wondering why there were six people helping this girl, but then we found out who it was." Not exactly your typical summer job experience, but close enough!
Sasha Obama is besties with Joe Biden’s granddaughter
Having a friend who gets your way of life is key. This is why it makes total sense that one of Sasha Obama’s best friends is Maisy Biden, former Vice President Joe Biden’s granddaughter. Both girls were in the spotlight from a young age, which seems to have helped the ladies relate to one another. It also doesn’t hurt that they have more in common than just that. Obama and Biden played basketball together and they both love soccer, according to the Chicago Tribune.
They’re school friends too, having attended Sidwell Friends School in Washington. And, as the ultimate test of friendship, the two have even vacationed together in the past. As Us Weekly reported, the two were seen hanging out in Miami in early 2017.
Sasha Obama’s entourage includes a reality show star
Maisy Biden is not the only friend with whom Sasha Obama spends her time hanging out and vacationing. She’s also not her only famous friend. The well-known teen has another friend, Skylar, who was spotted at Obama’s 16th birthday celebration, as reported by AOL.
Skylar has also famously been in front of the camera, but not for political reasons. In fact, Skylar and her family are famous because they live out their lives in front of the camera. Skylar’s mom, Charrisse Jackson Jordan, is one of the housewives on The Real Housewives of Potomac on Bravo.
While Jackson Jordan hasn’t spent time with the Obamas, she spoke about her daughter’s friendship with Obama on Bravo, sharing, "Skylar and Sasha [Obama] are friends. They go to lunch. Secret Service is out there standing outside while Skylar and Sasha’s having lunch." It’s just a totally normal friendship — sort of.
Sasha Obama has the best room in the Obama house
Being the baby of the family has some major perks, especially when your parents are decorating and designing a new house. When the Obama family left the White House, it was time to find a new house to call "home." Because they took the time to find the right house, the family members had a chance to have a say in the designs.
Michelle Obama spoke to their move during an interview on Ellen. And who did she think got the best deal? "Sasha actually killed in this house. She has this two-room suite, it’s all decked out. She has like a living room area and a bedroom."
But what about the former president? He must have more space. That’s not quite the case. The former first lady shared, "He’s got the smallest room for his office. So he’s really hating on her [Sasha]."
Sasha Obama went big for her super sweet 16
As the former president’s daughter, Sasha Obama has seen her fair share of parties. It should come as no surprise then that when it came time for the famous teen to celebrate her sweet 16, she would do it big and have an epic celebration.
In May 2017 she did just that with her party. No longer the little girl who first came into the White House, Obama wore a fabulous red dress by Jill Jill Stuart for the big event, as reported by Business Insider.
Photos leaked on social media revealed that the teen was surrounded by friends for the big event, but she also made sure to include a couple of other important people on the guest list. This included her parents, who were by her side for her exclusive and private birthday party, as seen in additional leaked photos on Instagram that gave the public a quick glimpse into the big evening.
Live music for Sasha Obama, please!
The youngest Obama is definitely a fan of live music, and has been to her fair share of shows. According to BET, Sasha Obama was spotted at Jay-Z’s Made In America music festival in 2016 in Philadelphia, rocking out to Rihanna’s set.
Additionally, on her fifteenth birthday, Sasha, Malia, and Michelle went to Baltimore to see Beyoncé, according to The Washington Post. That wasn’t her first time seeing Queen Bey either, as the trio saw her in Atlanta in 2012, and in Chicago in 2013 and 2014. That’s not counting the performances Beyoncé has given at White House events such as the former First Lady’s birthday party, or the Obamas’ first inaugural ball.
Obama has danced with royals other than Beyoncé, too. In 2018, Barack Obama sat for an interview on the Netflix series My Next Guest Needs No Introduction with David Letterman. There, the former president discussed dancing on stage with Prince: "This was probably three or four months before he died," he reflected. "Prince asked Sasha to come up and dance — and she’s an excellent dancer. Then Sasha pulls me up, which surprises me because she always mocks my dancing, but I have dad moves." Jealous yet?
Sasha Obama’s on social media… somewhere
You’re not going to find Sasha Obama’s Instagram account anytime soon, but that doesn’t mean she’s not using social media. In fact, her father confirmed at a 2017 Hillary Clinton rally that she is. In his speech, he mentioned that Sasha does, indeed, tweet.
There’s hard evidence that Sasha is on Snapchat as well, according to an interview President Obama gave on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. "So, tell me about Snapchat," he said. Sasha obliged him, showing him how it works and what features it has. When she finished the demo, he remarked how interesting it was, and started discussing the implications of social media with his wife.
Come to find out, Sasha recorded the entire thing, and sent it to her friends with the caption: "This is my dad lecturing us on the meaning of social media." Then she took a picture of herself looking bored. Hilarious.
Sasha Obama is serious about her studies
The Internet went crazy when it learned that Sasha Obama was not present at her father’s final farewell address. People wondered how she could miss such an important event, and where she might be.
As it turned out, she was fine — she was just busy. CBS News White House Correspondent Mark Knoller broke the news on Twitter, revealing her location. "Where was Sasha? WH Official says she stayed back in DC tonight because she has an exam at school tomorrow morning." Basically, she was at home studying for an important exam.
Michelle Obama confirmed this in a television appearance. On The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the former First Lady said, "She had a final. And it’s like, you know the Obamas girl, sorry. Better take your test. You can say goodbye later." That shows just how important education is in the Obama household. There really are no excuses.
Sasha Obama had a pretty normal upbringing for a first kid
Despite growing up in the most public possible way, Sasha Obama had a relatively stable upbringing, thanks to Michelle and Barack‘s hands-on method of parenting. According to the New York Daily News, she wasn’t allowed to watch television or use the computer during the week unless it was for homework purposes. She ate dinner with her family most nights at 6:30, and had her fair share of chores. She also took piano lessons and enjoyed going to the movies, and to the mall with friends.
Barack and Michelle tried hard to make things as normal as possible for Sasha. Michelle discussed this at a summit for the Obama Foundation, according to In Style. She said that rather than feel sorry for her daughters, she accepted that they "were living in a bubble, that every misstep for them would be on YouTube." However, there was no room for pity. She continued, "But our view was this is their life, and we can’t apologize for the life they have because a whole lot of it is good." No doubt that kept Sasha grounded.
Sasha Obama is officially a high school graduate
On June 9, 2019, Sasha Obama accomplished a major milestone: She graduated from high school, as reported by an article in Us Weekly. That marked the culmination of her four years at the prestigious Sidwell Friends School in Washington, D.C., where other presidential children such as Chelsea Clinton, Al Gore III, and the Nixon girls got their education, according to an article in Time magazine.
Sasha wore a white dress to the ceremony, and was accompanied by her mother, father, and sister who were there to celebrate the momentous occasion. Also in attendance was Vice-President Joe Biden and his wife, Jill, as their granddaughter (and Sasha’s bestie) Maisy also graduated that day. Talk about the end of an era!
The school took to Instagram to commemorate the occasion, sharing a quote from commencement speaker Sheila Johnson in the caption. "Life has never been about you or about me. Life and all that matters within it has always been about us," the caption read. Congrats, Sasha!
Sasha Obama attends the University of Michigan
When it comes to college, Sasha Obama bucked the family trend of attending an Ivy League school like Yale or Harvard. Instead, Sasha decided to attend the University of Michigan, which is a public Big Ten university, according to an article in The Detroit News. That means that Sasha will be calling Ann Arbor home for four years.
Sasha was spotted by other students at the university while attending freshman orientation in the summer, and seen later with men who are likely Secret Service agents. "I was walking by pushing a vacuum and she walked out right in front of me," film student Zach Lassen shared. "I said, ‘Excuse me.’ It was a crowded hallway with her and some Secret Service dudes." Lassen added that he thought it was "cool" that she’s attending the university. Other students spotted her near the library.
So, what Sasha will major in? Only time will tell!
Will Sasha Obama join Alpha Kappa Alpha?
Sasha Obama might have broken with family tradition by attending a public Big Ten university instead of an Ivy League college as both her parents and sister did. But there’s still a chance she could follow in her parents’ footsteps for another reason that’s related to her education.
Specifically, former first lady Michelle Obama was made an honorary member of the prestigious sorority Alpha Kappa Alpha, according to an article in Yahoo! Entertainment. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t during her undergraduate years at Princeton University that she joined the historically Black sorority, which was founded in 1908 at Howard University. Rather, it was during her tenure as first lady that she was invited to join, which she did in 2008.
There’s a chance that Sasha could choose to join Alpha Kappa Alpha while at the University of Michigan, as they have a chapter there named Beta Eta. It just depends on what direction she chooses to go in, as she’s her own woman now.
Sasha Obama likely has healthy eating habits
When Michelle Obama was first lady from 2008 to 2016, her primary directive was her Let’s Move! initiative, which was aimed at reducing childhood obesity in the United States. Additionally, she planted a garden at the White House, and frequently championed healthy eating.
To that end, you know that Sasha Obama was taught to develop healthy eating habits, both in the home and out in the world. This has been confirmed on a number of occasions, such as when Michelle told the Food Network that her daughters have to eat vegetables and balanced meals. She also admitted to sneaking vegetables into meals, such as hiding cauliflower in mac and cheese.
Sasha also had numerous healthy options at Sidwell Friends School, which has a super fancy cafeteria. And in Michelle’s memoir, she revealed to the world that Sasha has a penchant for watching cooking shows and experimenting in the kitchen. Of course, Sasha likes burgers and fries as much as the next person, according to an interview Michelle gave to CNN, but mom made sure that was in moderation.
The Internet went crazy over Sasha Obama’s prom picture
Before Sasha Obama graduated high school and enrolled at the University of Michigan, she celebrated another rite of passage that most American high schoolers do: She went to prom. And thanks to a relative of her prom date, we all got to see just how stunning she looked on the big night on social media. The original snaps have since been deleted, but thanks to the Internet, we have the images for posterity.
According to an article in Page Six, Sasha stepped out in a long, black gown with a high slit and super thin straps. She wore her long hair down, and accessorized with simple hoop earrings and a pendant necklace — the picture of class, just like her mother. Her date wore a classic tuxedo with a black bow tie, equally elegant and refined, yet simple.
Mom Michelle Obama and sister Malia Obama were present for the pictures, as they appear in some of them as well, and everyone was all smiles.
Drake considers Sasha Obama a "Style Popper"
Both Sasha Obama and her older sister, Malia, have been popular with the press, but it wasn’t just writers and photographers who have shown interested in the two young women. They have received some celebrity notices as well. Specifically, it was the younger Sasha Obama who grabbed the attention of a certain rapper.
In early 2017, Obama was spotted in Miami enjoying some fun and relaxation in the sun. As reported by Us Weekly, the teen was spotted on the beach wearing a baseball hat with Drake‘s OvO symbol on it.
Not only did Drake notice that photo of Obama, but the rapper went even further and gave her a shout-out on social media. He posted a photo of the teen in her baseball cap, with the caption, "Style Popper."
Just another normal day for the one of the coolest teens ever. No big deal, right?