Why has Malia Obama changed her name as she forays into Hollywood?


Malia Obama, the eldest daughter of former US President Barack Obama, has sparked curiosity with her recent decision to use her middle name, “Ann,” professionally as she embarks on a career in Hollywood. Shortly before the premiere of her short film The Heart at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah, the up-and-coming filmmaker decided to adopt a new stage name, and the motive behind this choice may come as a surprise.

President Barack Obama jokes with his daughter Malia Obama as they walk to board Air Force One. Like her parents, Malia will be joining Harvard University in 2017, after taking a year off before that.(AP file photo)

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The reason behind Malia Obama’s name change

Recently, Malia Obama, fresh out of Harvard and stepping into the world of filmmaking, has made a unique choice for her professional journey: she’s opting to go by her new name, “Ann.” This decision to step away from her well-known Obama family name indicates a deliberate effort to forge her own path, distinct from her famous parents, who are also making waves in the entertainment industry with Higher Ground Productions.

While this choice might not seem revolutionary in showbiz, it marks a big change for the Obama clan. Malia Obama’s decision reflects a trend often seen among children of celebrities in Hollywood. Take Nicolas Cage, who opted for a stage name instead of his family name Coppola, or Angelina Jolie, who chose to step away from her surname Voight.

Malia Obama will not adopt the family surname

The surprise came during her red carpet debut at the premiere of The Heart. The 25-year-old was introduced as filmmaker Malia Ann in a spotlight video by the Sundance Institute. Interestingly, the Obama parents, now venturing into the movie industry themselves, were absent from the 2024 Sundance Film Festival.

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About the film The Heart by Malia Ann

Malia Ann, credited under her middle name, unveils a heartfelt exploration of grief and longing in her film “The Heart.” The story follows Joshua (played by Tunde Adebimpe) as he navigates the complexities of loss after his mother’s sudden passing. Joshua embarks on a self-discovery journey, meeting people who reflect his mother’s presence while attempting to meet his mother’s final wish and holding silent feelings.

Malia described the film as “an odd little story, somewhat of fable, about a man grieving the death of his mother after she leaves him an unusual request in her will.”


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