Malia Obama Lost Her iPhone at Lollapalooza, Just Like the Rest of Us – Vanity Fair


Malia out and about in New York City in mid April.

As we’ve long debated in these pages, wrestled with as Jacob wrestled with his angel, it’s tough to know if stars are just like us. Sometimes they behave so much like us that we experience a kind of catharsis, an almost sexual release that makes us feel seen and defined. But other times, it’s clear that stars really aren’t like us at all, that they live fabulous and mysterious lives that us mortals can only dimly understand. So we’ve never been able to definitively decide, have we? If these stars of ours are living lives uncannily similar to our own, or if they, twinkling in the firmament, are doing a whole other thing entirely.

Compounding this vexation is that, in all this pondering, we haven’t given ourselves time to think about the people past stars, those so famous or important that they transcend celebrity and become a kind of royalty. Such people do exist, of course. There’s literal royalty, like ginger sex ideal Prince Harry. But there’s also the unofficial kind, like, say, Malia Obama, former First Daughter, now just a civilian in the world. Except is she? Malia Obama is so famous, from such dynastic stock, that we have to wonder what she really is. Meaning, is Malia Obama just like us?

Turns out, she might be, actually! Page Six, the sweet keening bard of our ages, has a story today about Malia Obama doing something so tragically and beautifully human that it makes us feel an immediate connection to her. You see, Malia Obama lost her cell phone at Lollapalooza. Can you imagine?? Well, of course you can. Because haven’t we all, at some point, lost our phone at Lollapalooza? Maybe not literally. Maybe it was the Warped Tour or the Kiss 108 Jingle Ball or whatever. But it did happen. We are fallible in exactly that way, losing our phones at events as we were designed by God to do.

What’s more, is that when Malia went to the Apple Store in Chicago (her phone was an iPhone, reader) to replace her phone, she couldn’t get one because she didn’t know her Apple I.D.! Which makes her even more just like us, because surely none of us ever remember our Apple I.D. or password. I have to change mine almost every time I login! It’s some strange aphasia. Although, maybe not that strange, given that Malia Obama has it too. She has the excuse that White House security set up her account when she got her phone, sure. But ignore that minor detail, and many others, and Malia and I—and you!—are essentially the same person.

Does that give you any kind of comfort? To know that Malia Obama was at Lollapalooza, just like any old teen, and that she dropped her phone somewhere and it disappeared, just like any old phone? It should. Because, let’s face it, in most other ways, Malia Obama is nothing like us. She breathes the rarefied air of the anointed. Doors don’t so much open for her as they wink out of existence at the mere mention of her name. But to really think about that—the sheer and monumental differences between our experiences of the world—is to stare into a kind of existential abyss from which you may never return. So grab onto this pleasing, steadying fact, that at just one moment in our lives, we intersected with Malia Obama. All of our casually lost phones commingled in the same place, like eels in the Sargasso Sea. And then, when the current shifted, we were back to being lowly nobodies, and Malia was back to enjoying the world laid out before her. As is her right.

Anyway. See you at the next Lollapalooza. (Honestly, how many of you knew that was still happening? I certainly didn’t!) Let’s be careful with our personal items. Losing them may bring us closer to our heroes, but it also means we have to get a new phone.

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