GROWING up in America's most famous house, Sasha Obama was always destined to struggle to have a normal childhood and coming of age.
Yet the former first daughter has transformed into a VERY relatable teen – from her TikTok dances and long acrylic nails to a passionate festival kiss.
Sasha, the popular youngest daughter of former US president Barack Obama, was just seven when her family moved into the White House in 2009.
Since then, she's gone from happily sliding down the building's famous banisters to having her first kiss surrounded by armed security officers, meeting her celebrity crush and enjoying a college lifestyle.
Now aged 19, Sasha is going viral on Twitter after a photo apparently showing her dressed in a crop top, belly chains and bikini bottoms was posted on the site.
In the image, a young woman, said to be Sasha, looks fashionable and confident as she rests her perfectly manicured fingers on a brick ledge.
And it's a confidence dad Barack says Sasha has radiated since childhood.
A confident child
Born 'Natasha' Obama on June 10, 2001, three years after her big sister Malia's birth, the youngster is said to have known her own mind from an early age.
"Sasha is, as Malia describes it, completely confident about her own take on the world and is not cowed or intimidated – and never has been – by anybody’s titles, anybody’s credentials," Barack told InStyle last month.
"If she thinks something’s wrong or right, she will say so.
"When she was four, five, six years old, once she made a decision, she would dig in and couldn’t be steered off it."
In his new memoir A Promised Land, the 59-year-old proud dad describes how he tried to get Sasha to taste caviar during a trip to Russia.
In response, the little girl declared, "No. Sorry. That looks slimy", adding that she would rather give up dessert than taste the delicacy.
Life as a first daughter
In January 2009, when Sasha was still in primary school, her father was sworn in as president and the White House became her new home.
She was the youngest child to reside there since John F. Kennedy Jr in 1961.
Pictures later showed little Sasha and sister Malia sliding gleefully down a banister as they were shown around the huge building in Washington DC.
During her time as a first daughter, Sasha enjoyed other ordinary childhood activities – she played pranks on her dad, went on holiday, sat down for dinner with her family most nights, took piano lessons, and had some chores.
But despite Barack and wife Michelle's admirable attempts to make their girls' lives as normal as possible, some differences couldn't be avoided.
Speaking to Oprah Winfrey in June 2016, Michelle said: "I mean, it still moves me to tears to think about the first day I put them in the car with their Secret Service agents to go to their first day of school.
It still moves me to tears to think about the first day I put them in the car with their Secret Service agents to go to their first day of school
"And I saw them leaving and I thought, 'what on Earth am I doing to these babies'? So I knew right then and there my first job was to make sure they were going to be whole and normal and cared for in the midst of all this craziness."
The Becoming author, now 56, also recalled an instance where Sasha opened her window at the White House – something that's not allowed.
"There were calls. 'Shut the window!'" said Michelle, reflecting on the things people can take for granted, like fresh air. "It never opened again."
A hilariously-timed yawn
Yet in January 2013, then aged 11, Sasha showed she was just an ordinary kid when she was caught yawning during her father's inaugural speech.
Known for her candidness even back then, she had already told Barack after his swearing-in ceremony: "Good job Dad, you didn’t mess up."
Ordinary summer job
The cheeky youngster was widely praised for her displays of normalcy.
Three years later, she hit the headlines after swapping the trappings of the White House for a summer job at a seafood restaurant.
Then aged 15, she was reportedly being closely watched at all times by her security detail as she worked a cash register and prepared the eatery.
“We were wondering why there were six people helping this girl, but then we found out who it was," a restaurant server told the Boston Herald.
For both Sasha and Malia, secret service agents were a constant presence.
"My kids had armed guards with them at all times," Michelle told CBS’s Gayle King during a sit-down interview at New Orleans's Essence Festival.
“Imagine trying to have your first kiss [around] a bunch of men [with guns] and ear pieces.”
Passionate festival kiss
And they had cameras to look out for, too.
In 2017, then-16-year-old Sasha was reportedly pictured passionately kissing a mystery boy at Lollapalooza music festival in Chicago, Illinois.
The same year, the teen was spotted holidaying in Miami, Florida, with pals, where she was again joined by burly security detail.
And during her chat with Gayle, mum Michelle admitted that she was "surprised" Sasha and Malia had been able to make friends at all.
"Imagine having Malia and Sasha come to your house for a sleepover," she said.
"This is the call: 'OK, we're gonna need your social security number, we're gonna need your date of birth. There will be men coming to sweep your house.
"If you have guns and drugs, just tell them. Because they're going to find them anyway. Don't lie. They're not gonna take them, they just need to know where they are'.
"And by the way, there will be a man with a gun sitting on the front porch all night. Let him come in and use the bathroom, it would just be nice'."
Swanky two-room suite
But there were certainly bonuses to Sasha's life in the spotlight: in 2016, she even got the chance to meet her celebrity crush, actor Ryan Reynolds.
As Sasha chatted enthusiastically with Ryan, her sister Malia was pictured apparently teasing her by giving a double thumbs up in the background.
And after the Obamas left the White House in January 2017, Sasha reportedly netted the best room in her family's swanky new DC home.
Sasha actually killed in this house. She has a two-room suite [and] it’s all decked out
While Barack got "shortchanged" with insufficient closet space and the "smallest room for his office", his youngest child fared very well indeed.
"Sasha actually killed in this house," Michelle later told Ellen DeGeneres.
“She has a two-room suite [and] it’s all decked out. She has like a living room area and a bedroom… she designed it.”
Fleeing the nest
In 2019, Sasha, then 18, graduated from high school and started at the University of Michigan – where she's currently a sophomore student.
Unsurprisingly, a prom photo of the teenager, taken with date Chris Milton before the event, sent social media wild after it surfaced on Twitter.
It was of course a little emotional to drop Sasha off. But like so many experiences in the past 10 years, we wanted to make it feel as normal as possible
For Michelle, seeing her youngest child fly the nest – two years after Malia, now 22, went off to Harvard University – was an emotional moment.
"It was of course a little emotional to drop Sasha off," she told People magazine.
"But like so many experiences in the past 10 years, we wanted to make it feel as normal as possible. So we were there just like most parents, helping her unpack and make her dorm room feel like home."
From the White House to TikTok fame
Since starting at college, stunning Sasha is said to be "living her best life", even performing in TikTok videos like others her age.
Though she doesn't have any known social media accounts herself, Sasha was seen rapping and dancing to Moneybagg Yo's Said Sum with a friend in a TikTok video that was shared – and quickly deleted – in October.
And this month, more footage from the video-sharing app surfaced, showing her goofing around with pals to Popp Hunna's Adderall song.
Many social media users praised Sasha for enjoying her life amid the Covid pandemic, with one Twitter user gushing: "Our Sasha Obama looks happy, has a group of normal looking friends, and is simply beautiful."
Another wrote, "Sasha Obama is absolutely gorgeous and living her best life!!!!", while a third commented: "Can't believe I was blessed to see another Sasha Obama TikTok…bc wow!"
The recent Twitter photo purportedly showing Sasha posing in a crop top has sparked similar praise, with one fan remarking: "She looks so beautiful and doing her own business like a queen."
With the rest of university – and her whole life – ahead of her, it's yet to be seen what remarkable things Sasha will go on to achieve.
But her proud parents, living in DC's exclusive Kalorama neighborhood, are determined to give her the freedom to find her own way in the world.
"With Sasha and Malia, [we try to] honour the unique flame each of them has inside," Michelle previously said. "They are their own people, and that's what I love about them."
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