Sasha Obama's 16th birthday on June 10 was overshadowed by online discussion about her name.
On June 11, Refinery29 senior features writer Ashley C. Ford tweeted, "Today is the one year anniversary of me finding out Sasha Obama's actual first name is Natasha."
Ford's tweet was greeted with what appears to be genuine surprise, with "shock" and "omg" being common reactions. But there was also a sprinkling of sarcasm, such as the person who wrote: "I demand congressional investigations into Name-Gate."
Another commenter, who was either being sarcastic or is just easily baffled, wrote: "I don't even know what to think."
As The Huffington Post notes, the revelation that Sasha is a nickname for Natasha was first reported in August 2016 when she took a summer job.
The gig was at Nancy’s seafood restaurant on Martha’s Vineyard, reported the New York Daily News at the time. Her four-hour shift consisted of bussing tables, doing prep work and manning the takeout window.
Sasha previously made headlines for being absent during her father's farewell speech in January.
The White House soon explained that Sasha was back home in Washington, D.C., where she had an exam the following morning at Sidwell Friends, a private school, as reported by The Boston Globe. According to the school’s website, ‘‘students must adhere to the published examination schedule. Absence for travel is not an adequate reason to re-schedule an exam.’’
Commenters on Twitter were amazed that the school’s rules apply even if you’re the daughter of the president of the United States, reported The Washington Post.
One user responded, “Maybe but um her Dad is giving his last speech as leader of the free world… I would think her teachers would understand?”
Another humorously pointed out: “Sasha Obama just nullified every plausible absence from class you were thinking of using this semester.”
A third made a similar observation: “If Sasha Obama really missed this because of an exam in the morning, there are no more excuses for anything, ever.”
Another said: “[Sasha] couldn't make it because she's at home planning her 2040 campaign.”
Despite missing the speech, Sasha was included in it. “Malia and Sasha, under the strangest of circumstances, you have become two amazing young women, smart and beautiful, but more importantly, kind and thoughtful and full of passion,” said the former president. “You wore the burden of years in the spotlight so easily. Of all that I’ve done in my life, I’m most proud to be your dad.”
Her 16th birthday, however, will likely be remembered as the occasion when Sasha's real name went viral, and she became the most famous Natasha since Natasha Rostov, the heroine Leo Tolstoy's epic novel, "War and Peace."