Is Malia Obama the Next 'It' Girl?

Image: Instagram

The world needs It Girls—girls who are famous for nothing more than being famous and stylish. Buzz-generating, they are the fuel of the fashion industry as much as they are the bread and butter of the media business. New It Girls are crowned frequently, often framed in a familiar narrative (someone's daughter, sister, niece). Their wardrobes are scrutinized and imitated, their Instagram feeds explode and suddenly they're everywhere— until they're not.

Following the media craze around Malia Obama's surprising Lollapalooza outing—documented by an enthusiastic friend's selfie—it's safe to assume that she's our next It Girl. The cute dresses are already happening—the only thing left is the official title. Malia just turned 16, an age where previous It Girls made their debut (think: Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez and Zendaya Coleman). Her Lollapalooza picture—the side braid, the sunflower-printed romper, the "OMG, so much fun!" expression—captures an It Girl in action. And this is girl knows how to work a crowd, especially when free of her dad's shadow. 

While her little sister Sasha remains adorable in official family photos, slender Malia looks like she belongs on the cover of Teen Vogue. She was a shy little girl when Obama was elected in 2008, but the role of First Daughter grew on her. Today the media loves her youthful fashion sense and her lack of social media presence—at her parents' insistence—is a refreshing alternative to the self-involvement and over-exposure of Hollywood starlets. As It Girls often go, it was Malia's mother Michelle Obama who catapulted to It-dom first. Her grown-up-with-a-wink take on personal style earned her the love of millions, and now the It factor is transitioning to the next generation, encouraged by the media's affair with youth. Being a "daughter of" worked for so many young things before her, though not for Lourdes (but only because Madonna was so obviously pushing her daughter to heir her throne.)

All of this, of course, is a logical an echo of Obama's much discussed  "superstar quality." But the sparkle isn't always hereditary. Bill Clinton is overflowing with charisma, but Chelsea didn't catch the bug. Malia, with her looks, energy and crowd-pleasing smile, is taking a different path. The end of her dad's presidency will surely place her right in the middle of the first row at Fashion Weeks across the globe. And by then, no one will be surprised.


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