Malia Obama had one simple request for her parents when they met her prom date in the White House

By Sandra Sobieraj Westfall and Sam Gillette
November 13, 2018 12:03 AM
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Michelle Obama‘s new memoir may present a stinging criticism of President Donald Trump, but the former first lady also reflects on sweet moments with her family during their time in the White House — including untold details about daughter Malia’s prom night.

According to Becoming, out Tuesday, Malia, then 16, begged the first lady and president on her special night: “Just be cool please, okay?”

In the spring of 2015, Malia told her parents that she’d been invited to prom “by a boy she kind of liked,” Mrs. Obama, 54, writes. While Malia, now 20, and her sister Sasha, now 17, weren’t permitted to travel in vehicles with anyone who wasn’t in the Secret Service, her parents decided to make an “exception” for prom night.

“On the appointed evening, her date arrived in his car,” the former first lady writes, “clearing security at the southeast gate of the White House, following the path up and around the South Lawn by which heads of state and other visiting dignitaries normally arrived, and then gamely — bravely — walking into the Dip Room dressed in a black suit.”

Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau State Visit to the White House
Credit: Pete Souza/The White House

For the full PEOPLE interview with Michelle Obama, including intimate details of her new laid-back life with Barack, pick up the new issue on newsstands Friday.

Michelle Obama on the new issue of PEOPLE
| Credit: Miller Mobley/

It was then that Malia asked her parents to “be cool.”

Former first lady Michelle Obama's memoir to be released in November, Chicago, USA - 10 Jan 2017
Malia with her parents

“Her embarrassment [had] already [begun] to smolder as we rode the elevator downstairs,” Mrs. Obama writes. “I was barefoot, and Barack was in flip-flops. Malia wore a long black skirt and an elegant bare-shouldered top. She looked beautiful and about twenty-three years old.”

President Obama Hosts Canadian PM Trudeau On His Official Visit To Washington
Malia Obama
| Credit: Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

While Malia “still laughs” and remembers their encounter with her date as “a bit excruciating,” Mrs. Obama writes that she and her husband did manage to pull off their daughter’s request.

There’s a reason former President Barack Obama was able to keep his cool when meeting his daughter’s date. During a November 2016 interview on the Raleigh radio station WDCG, he shared his thoughts about daughters Malia and Sasha going on dates.

President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughters Malia and Sasha
The Obamas
| Credit: Pete Souza/The White House via Getty

“The truth is, I’m pretty relaxed about it for two reasons,” he said at the time. “One is Michelle — she’s such a great example of how she carries herself, her self-esteem, not depending on boys to validate how you look or not letting yourself be judged by anything other than your character and intelligence.”

He added, “Hopefully I’ve been a good example in terms of how I show respect to my wife.”

The second reason he doesn’t worry about his daughters is more straightforward: “They have Secret Service.”

When remembering Malia’s prom night, Mrs. Obama writes that she also took comfort in knowing her daughter had a Secret Service detail.

“Barack and I shook the young man’s hand, snapped a few pictures, and gave our daughter a hug before sending them on their way,” she writes. “We took what was perhaps unfair comfort in the knowledge that Malia’s security detail would basically ride the boy’s bumper all the way to the restaurant where they were going for dinner before the dance and would remain on quiet duty throughout the night.”

Becoming is on sale now.