Many high school students try and get some work experience under their belts before heading off to university. Not many of them get to intern on the set of one of the biggest TV shows of the 21st century – but then, not many people are the daughter of the president of the United States.
Malia Obama interned on the set of Girls over the summer of 2015, when she had just turned 17, and has always stayed quiet about what exactly her responsibilities were while working on the HBO series.
However, Lena Dunham has now revealed what really went down on set.
“She’s an angel,” Dunham told radio DJ Howard Stern. “She was interning at HBO and they thought, what if she comes a couple days a week to the set of Girls?”
Dunham said that the elder Obama daughter, now 19, had been keen to get a realistic experience of being an intern – despite the fact that she could have avoided some of the more mundane tasks.
“She loved the show, and I mean, obviously we weren’t, like, making her go get our coffee,” she said. “You’re not going to send [the president’s daughter to get coffee].
“But she wanted to do all the jobs,” Dunham continued. “That was the cool thing. She was totally enthusiastic.”
Obama, who is set to start her first term at Harvard University this autumn, has just starting interning with Hollywood mega-producer Harvey Weinstein. She also did a stint as a production assistant on Extant, a short-lived sci-fi series starring Halle Berry.
Speaking to Stern, Dunham said that she had been struck by the teenager’s understanding of cinema.
“She is so smart,” she said. “I once asked her, ‘What’s your favourite movie?’ and she was like, ‘Well, do you want me to list by my favourite director, actor or cinematographer?’
“I was like, ‘You are smarter than me, let’s just leave it at that,” Dunham joked.
Jenni Konner, Girls’ producer and the co-founder of Dunham’s feminist newsletter Lenny Letter, explained what she hoped Obama had learnt during her time with them.
“We were sort of training her to do what our writer’s assistant did,” she said. “There’s a job where you sit on the set and – we do a lot of improv – so you take down the improv so you can get it in the next shot. We had one of our people who did train her to do that.”
Watch: A farewell letter to President Obama
Barack Obama also attended Harvard University – as did his wife and Malia’s mother, Michelle – and has spoken about his anxieties about his eldest child flying the nest.
“Malia’s more than ready to leave, but I’m not ready for her to leave,” he said during an interview with Ellen DeGeneres in February 2016.
He added: “She’s one of my best friends, and it’s going to be hard for me not to have her around all of the time. But she’s ready to go. You can tell.
“She’s just a really smart, capable person and she’s ready to make her own way.”
Images: Rex Features, Getty