First lady Michelle Obama, Malia Obama and President Barack Obama watch the Fourth of July fireworks from the roof of the White House on July 4, 2014.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Malia Obama has blossomed into a beautiful young lady in her eight years in the White House. We have watched her and sister Sasha grow, and both appear to be confident, capable, lovely young women.

Malia, one-fourth of the tight-knit Obama family, is obviously close to her parents, but she seems to have a special relationship with dad. President Barack Obama reportedly chose not to speak at her recent high school graduation for fear of his emotions. Of her leaving home, he has said that he is “losing one of my best friends.”

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In the tradition of her brilliant parents, Malia Ann (whose name is "Mary" in Hawaiian; Ann is the president’s mother’s name) will be attending Harvard University but will not begin until the fall of 2017, when her father is out of office. She has traveled the world with her parents, most recently with her mother, grandmother and sister to Africa in support of Let Girls Learn. We wish her the very best in her first steps into adulthood!

Happy birthday, Miss Malia!

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Angela Bronner Helm is a writer, editor and professor of journalism at the City College of New York. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Malia in London, 2015

Malia Obama departs after her visit to 10 Downing Street on June 16, 2015, in London.
Karwai Tang/WireImage

Malia in London, 2015

Malia Obama in Senegal, 2013

President Barack Obama and his daughter Malia talk on the bow of a ferry traveling to Goree Island, Senegal, on June 27, 2013.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Malia Obama in Senegal, 2013

Malia in the Oval Office, 2015

Malia Obama wipes something from her dad’s face in the Oval Office at the White House on Feb. 23, 2015.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Malia in the Oval Office, 2015

Malia in Washington, D.C., 2014

First lady Michelle Obama, daughter Malia Obama and President Barack Obama walk from St. John’s Church to the White House after service Oct. 27, 2013.
Shawn Thew-Pool/Getty Images

Malia in Washington, D.C., 2014

Malia in Cuba, 2016

Marian Robinson, Malia Obama, Sasha Obama and first lady Michelle Obama attend an exhibition game between the Cuban national baseball team and Major League Baseball’s Tampa Bay Devil Rays at the Estado Latinoamericano in Havana on March 22, 2016.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Malia in Cuba, 2016

Malia in Hawaii, 2009

On vacation in Hawaii on Dec. 29, 2009, President Barack Obama hugs his daughter Malia while National Security Council Chief of Staff Denis McDonough waits to connect him on the latest conference call following an attempted Christmas Day terrorist attack.
Official White House photo by Pete Souza

Malia in Hawaii, 2009

Malia in Washington, D.C., 2014

Sasha Obama and Malia Obama attend the TNT Christmas in Washington 2014 event at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 14, 2014.
Kevin Mazur/WireImage

Malia in Washington, D.C., 2014

Malia in Hawaii, 2011

President Barack Obama holds hands with daughters Malia and Sasha while they walk with friends at Sea Life Park in Honolulu on Dec. 27, 2011.
Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Malia in Hawaii, 2011

Malia in Washington, D.C., 2016

Michelle Obama, daughters Malia Obama and Sasha Obama, and President Barack Obama leave the White House before boarding Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House on June 17, 2016.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Malia in Washington, D.C., 2016

Malia’s Birthday, 2014

First lady Michelle Obama, Malia Obama and President Barack Obama watch the Fourth of July fireworks from the roof of the White House on July 4, 2014.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Malia’s Birthday, 2014

Malia in the White House, 2009

President Barack Obama, Sasha, first lady Michelle Obama and Malia sit for a family portrait in the Green Room of the White House on Sept. 1, 2009.
Official White House Photo by Annie Leibovitz

Malia in the White House, 2009

Malia in Honolulu, 2008

Then-President-elect Barack Obama gets a big hug from daughter Malia, followed by daughter Sasha, as they meet at the Honolulu Zoo on Dec. 30, 2008.
TIM SLOAN/AFP/Getty Images

Malia in Honolulu, 2008

Malia in Hawaii, 2010

President Barack Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia eat shaved ice at Island Snow Hawaii in Kailua, Hawaii, on Dec. 27, 2010.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Malia in Hawaii, 2010

Malia in the Oval Office, 2011

First lady Michelle Obama, Malia, President Barack Obama and Sasha sit for a family portrait in the Oval Office on Dec. 11, 2011.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Malia in the Oval Office, 2011

Malia in China, 2014

First lady Michelle Obama hugs daughters Sasha and Malia as they visit the Great Wall of China in Mutianyu, China, on March 23, 2014.
Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon

Malia in China, 2014

Malia in the Rose Garden, 2015

President Barack Obama and his daughters Sasha and Malia participate in the annual National Thanksgiving Turkey pardon ceremony in the Rose Garden of the White House with National Turkey Federation Chairman Jihad Douglas on Nov. 25, 2015.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Malia in the Rose Garden, 2015

Malia in Hawaii, 2009

Malia Obama arrives at the Hickam Air Force Base in Honolulu on Dec. 24, 2009, for Christmas vacation.
JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images

Malia in Hawaii, 2009

Malia in Maine, 2010

On a weekend trip to Acadia National Park in Maine, President Barack Obama showed his daughters, Malia and Sasha, how to skip stones during a hike in the park on July 17, 2010.
Official White House Photo by Pete Souza

Malia in Maine, 2010