Sasha Obama is the younger daughter of former U.S. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama.
Who Is Sasha Obama?
Born in 2001 to then-Illinois state senator Barack Obama, Sasha Obama became the youngest White House resident since the children of John F. Kennedy following her father’s election as U.S. president in 2008. Her privacy carefully guarded during the two-term Obama administration, Sasha played basketball at the prestigious Sidwell Friends School and joined her parents and older sister, Malia, for official trips overseas, before enrolling at the University of Michigan in 2019.
Natasha Marian Obama was born on June 10, 2001, in Chicago, Illinois. Her father, Barack, was then an Illinois state senator and her mother, Michelle Obama, was soon to begin a job as executive director for community affairs at the University of Chicago Medical Center.
Following an early meningitis scare, the younger Obama daughter grew to become a healthy, active child. Remaining with her mother and big sister, Malia, in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood after her father was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2004, Sasha attended the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and kept busy with piano, tennis, gymnastics and tap dance lessons.
By 2007, Sasha was on her way to becoming a national figure as her ambitious father campaigned for the U.S. presidency. She made an early television appearance in July 2008 as part of an Access Hollywood segment on the candidate’s family, though her parents later regretted including their children in the interview.
Life as First Daughter
When Barack was elected the 44th U.S. president in November 2008, a 7-year-old Sasha became the youngest White House resident since 2-month-old John F. Kennedy Jr. and 3-year-old Caroline Kennedy in 1961.
After receiving a personal tour of their new home from the outgoing presidential daughters, Jenna and Barbara Bush, Sasha and Malia settled into life in the Executive Mansion under the watch of their maternal grandmother, Marian Robinson. The president and first lady fulfilled a campaign promise by gifting their daughters a Portuguese Water Dog named Bo (and later a second one named Sunny), and set a series of ground rules that included limited TV time and no Facebook.
Largely sheltered from the media, and carefully guarded by the Secret Service agents who assigned her the code name of “Rosebud,” Sasha enjoyed normal childhood activities like sleepovers and class trips and forged a close friendship with Maisy Biden, the granddaughter of then-vice president Joe Biden. Still, she was occasionally included in official presidential business, from the August 2010 photo op that sought to portray the Gulf of Mexico as safe following the BP oil spill, to the international trips that brought her to the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, and the Vatican in Rome, Italy.
According to Michelle’s memoir Becoming, Sasha began asserting more of an independent personality by the start of her father’s second term; no longer eager to join traditional White House events like the annual pardoning of the Thanksgiving turkey, she became a devotee of cooking shows and “commandeered” the White House residence kitchen with her friends. A sports fan, she attended the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup final in Vancouver, Canada, with vice president Biden and Maisy.
Sasha took part in her first State Dinner in March 2016, after which she was photographed getting a thumbs-up from Malia as she chatted with heartthrob actor Ryan Reynolds, and she landed her first job at a popular Martha’s Vineyard seafood restaurant that summer.
Life After the White House
Unlike Malia, who was enjoying a break from her studies before entering Harvard University, a 15-year-old Sasha was too young to head out on her own at the close of her father’s administration in 2017, so she moved with her parents to another neighborhood in Washington, D.C., where she reportedly scored a favorable living arrangement as she finished out high school.
After a January 2017 jaunt to Miami Beach with Maisy, Sasha enjoyed an Indonesian vacation that summer with the rest of her family. She attended the spring 2018 Broccoli City Festival in D.C., where she was photographed with rappers Cardi B and Offset, and joined her mother for a Beyoncé-Jay-Z concert in Paris that July.
In January 2009 Sasha entered Sidwell Friends School, a private Quaker institution that had previously served the children of Theodore Roosevelt, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton and Al Gore.
Sasha became a competitive swimmer at Sidwell but especially took to basketball; President Obama famously helped coach his younger daughter’s hoops team to a league title during the 2011-12 school year, before the negative attention from other parents forced him to step aside. Also involved in the performing arts, Sasha was among the D.C.-area children tapped to join the Moscow Ballet for a production of The Nutcracker in late 2012.
After graduating from Sidwell Friends in June 2019, Sasha caused a stir by bypassing the allure of an Ivy League education and enrolling at the University of Michigan. Like many other students affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, she spent her sophomore year of 2020-21 at home with the rest of the family, tuning into classes remotely and tempting her parents with midnight baking sessions.
Sasha has provided a glimpse of her musical tastes to the world by singing and dancing in a couple of since-deleted TikTok videos, though she also revealed a serious side by participating in demonstrations to protest police brutality following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor in 2020.