Malia Obama will spend her gap year learning about the movie business

Harvard bound – but only after a gap year.
Harvard bound – but only after a gap year.
Image: Reuters/ Kevin Lamarque
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Former US president Barack Obama has not yet revealed his plans for life after the White House, but his eldest daughter, Malia, reportedly has designs of her own.

The 18-year-old, who graduated from high school last June, plans to spend her gap year before attending Harvard University as an intern at a movie company. Malia Obama is slated to begin work at the New York office of The Weinstein Company—run by Harvey and Bob Weinstein—in February.

Harvey Weinstein is an outspoken Democrat, who has hosted and fundraised for Barack Obama in the past.

The independent studio counts films like this year’s Golden Globe-nominated Lion and The Founder, as well as acclaimed titles like The King’s Speech, The Fighter, and 2012 Best Picture winner The Artist, among its massive film roster. It also produces and distributes TV shows including director David O. Russell’s upcoming, untitled Amazon series starring Robert De Niro and Julianne Moore, Netflix’s Marco Polo, and Project Runway. Previously, the Weinsteins founded and ran Miramax, which made Pulp Fiction and other indie classics.

It’s unclear what role Malia will take on at the production house. But this isn’t her first foray into the entertainment business. She reportedly interned on HBO’s Girls, and worked on the set of the short-lived CBS drama Extant, which starred Halle Berry.

While it may seem as though Malia Obama is following her father, who is planning his third book, into the creative arts, the internship may also work well as a calculated career move. The film and TV industry is booming thanks to an influx of cash from new tech entrants like Amazon and Netflix, which are spurring development and tying up experienced talent that were already in demand in Hollywood.

According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of behind the camera jobs like producers and directors, and film and video editors and camera operators is projected to grow 9% and 11%, respectively, from 2014 to 2024—faster than the 7% average for all jobs during that period.

Malia Obama’s entry into the field is also noteworthy because women, and particularly women of color, aren’t well represented in behind the camera roles of major film and TV productions. A new generation of young women like Obama could help change.