Budding Filmmaker Malia Obama’s Advice from Donald Glover: ‘If You Make a Bad Film, It Will Follow You Around’

Malia Obama is set to make her filmmaking debut thanks to Donald Glover, and she received some straightforward advice from the decorated Hollywood star.

Glover sat down with GQ for a cover story and opened up about mentoring Barack and Michelle Obama’s older daughter. After hiring Malia Obama as a writer on his new Amazon Prime series, Swarm, the Atlanta creator confirmed that she’s developing a short film under his new production company, Gilga.

“The first thing we did was talk about the fact that she will only get to do this once,” Glover said.

“You’re Obama’s daughter. So if you make a bad film, it will follow you around.”

Fam Udeorji, Glover’s longtime collaborator and his creative partner at Gilga, shared more of the mentorship they’ve been providing Malia Obama.

“Understanding somebody like Malia’s cachet means something. But we really wanted to make sure she could make what she wanted—even if it was a slow process,” Udeorji said. “It’s more about diversity of thought than just, like, diversity for optics. You know what I mean?”

Malia got her feet wet as a writer and received a writing credit on the show’s fifth episode, “Girl Bye,” alongside series co-creator Janine Nabers, Variety reported. The first daughter of film studies comes with a prestigious resume.

She majored in visual and environmental studies at Harvard before interning at the Weinstein Company and serving as a writer intern on the set of Girls, as per Vanity Fair. Malia Obama took her time before deciding what college she would attend, as noted by The Ledger, but Obama had already been teasing her interest in making films.

After a gap year, Malia entered Harvard in the fall of 2017 and graduated in 2021. Soon after graduation, Malia secured a spot in the writer’s room on Swarm.