How normal will life be for the Obama girls?

Above: President-elect Barack Obama appears on stage with his
daughters Sasha, center, and Malia, right, for his Election Night
victory speech in Chicago on Nov. 4, 2008.
(Emmanuel Dunand / AFP – Getty Images file).

The Associated Press via MSNBC

Dec. 27, 2008

NEW YORK – They’re only 10 and 7, and already designers are angling to dress them. They’ve been on the cover of People and Us Weekly. And there’s that standing invitation — unlikely though it is to be redeemed — to the set of “Hannah Montana.”

Malia and Sasha Obama are unquestionably the world’s most famous tweens, and they haven’t even moved into the White House yet. When they arrive, do they have even a chance at the normal existence their parents have often said they want for them?

A look at history suggests that the media, at least, will keep their distance. Chelsea Clinton, 13 when she entered the White House, was largely left alone at the request of her parents. Amy Carter, who came at age 9, was allowed to live a fairly normal life. And the much younger Kennedy kids were kept from the public glare by their mother, Jackie, who even set up a school for Caroline at the White House.

But this is a different world, one where photos and video can be snapped not just by mainstream photographers but anyone with a cell phone, and uploaded to the Web within minutes. It’s also a world where kids, now a powerful consumer force, eagerly devour news about celebrities closer to their own age: Miley Cyrus, for example, or the “High School Musical” bunch.

Are the Obama girls celebrities in their own right?

“If you’re talking about people who fascinate the public, then yes, absolutely,” says Larry Hackett, managing editor of People, which has featured the Obama family on its cover three times. “But if you mean celebrity in the sense that we can cover their every move, then no. These are kids.” Read More.


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