The internet more or less exploded when a mysterious selfie from First Daughter Malia Obama surfaced on Instagram yesterday. In the leaked photo, the President’s 16-year-old daughter is seen posing in a $32 t-shirt from the Brooklyn hip-hop collective, Pro Era.
The picture came as a shock, not only due to First Lady Michelle Obama’s famously strict social media and cell phone policies with their two daughters, but the family’s online presence on the whole, which is meticulously maintained by social strategy professionals. Many are hailing the Pro Era selfie as the first personal photo leaked from the Obama family.
It is still not entirely clear how Malia’s private snapshot found its way out of the White House, though a representative from Pro Era said that a “mutual friend” made it available to them. The collective, which is made up of 47 rappers, producers, photographers, and publicists, was quick to utilize the photo as a marketing opportunity. They promptly shared the image to their Instagram with a plug for their official gear.
The timing could not have been better, as they seem to be effectively diverting attention from founding member Joey Bada$$’s recent assault charges. Pro Era is currently basking in good press from Malia’s photo. As one fan commented, “From Flatbush Ave to the White House — now that’s progress.”
Although the resemblance to Barack’s eldest daughter is uncanny, some have asserted that it is not a real photo of her. But it would not be out of character for the real Malia to be repping a hip-hop group, or taking a selfie.
Malia previously revealed her interest in rap when she attended the 2014 Lollapalooza festival in Chicago. Though flanked in Secret Service agents, she was spotted dancing to Chance The Rapper’s set and managed to pose for some photos with other attendees. Additionally, she and her younger sister, Sasha, were seen snapping numerous photos of themselves during their father’s inauguration in early 2013.
As we have seen in the past, an Obama clothing endorsement can be a powerful thing. When Michelle Obama divulged she was wearing a J. Crew outfit on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno back in 2008, the brand was quick to capitalize on the unexpected advertising. J. Crew immediately put together a Michelle Obama page on their website to promote “The Tonight Show Outfit,” bought the keywords “Michelle Obama” on Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, and even instructed their call-center representatives on how to handle questions about the First Lady’s fashion. Their swift scheming saw a subsequent surge in sales.