Since the White House announced that Malia Obama will attend Harvard University in the fall of 2017, the First Daughter’s decision has been scrutinized and analyzed to pieces. So much for privacy.
While there’s no shortage of successful Harvard alums (ahem, her parents) for the young Obama to admire, there are a handful whose career paths seem to be very much in alignment with Malia’s — we know she interned on the set of the HBO series “Girls,” and on the canceled Spielberg-produced CBS science fiction series “Extant.”
It goes without saying that the eldest Obama daughter will forge her own path, or maybe a multi-lane highway. Here, if you’ll indulge us, are our fantasy Harvard alumni mentor picks for Ms. Obama.
Natalie Portman: Unless you’ve been smothered under the wings of a black swan, perhaps you’re aware that Portman graduated from Harvard. If Obama continues along her current path, she will join a number of notable Harvard alums in the entertainment industry, including director Darren Aronofsky and actress/writer Rashida Jones. But because they both possess an effortless grace and quiet seriousness, Malia seems most akin to Portman, who has parlayed her acting career into a (mostly) successful turn as a director.
Alexis Wilkinson: As the first African-American woman to lead The Harvard Lampoon, the university’s famed humor publication, Wilkinson was a trailblazer at the predominately white, male magazine (more notable alums: John Updike, George Plimpton). Now a writer on HBO’s “Veep,” Wilkinson’s career is on fire. Similiarly, we can’t wait to see what Ms. Obama achieves while she’s still on campus — no pressure.
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Colin Jost: The “Weekend Update” co-anchor has already won a slew of awards, and though we’re not actually sure what’s up with his mocktail t-shirts, a little levity and humor are traits we hope for in the young Obama, who will likely never fully escape the public eye. Another Harvard Lampoon alum, we can imagine Malia shares Jost’s whipsmart, satirical sense of humor.
Sheryl Sanberg: Though there’s reportedly an Instagram embargo on the Obama daughters, Malia’s(infamous) Pro Era Instagram post showed that she’s shrewd yet subtle on social media. That’s why Sandberg, the CEO of Facebook and “Lean In” author — is a fitting mentor. Her expertise in leveraging her status as a feminist role model in the public eye — particularly using the sudden loss of her husband as a way to open a conversation about grief — is worth noting. And we have a feeling that Malia is already leaning in.
Priscilla Chan: Chan, an accomplished physician known for her philanthropic efforts in education, healthcare and science, is an obvious role model. Chan and the first daughter might also share a common bond, as powerful, intelligent women whose achievements can be overshadowed by male Harvard alums (or in Chan’s case, her famous husband dropout) in their families.