In a May 24, 2019, interview on National Public Radio's program "All Things Considered," director Olivia Wilde explained the word "Malala" as it is used by the two best friends Amy and Molly as an inside reference between them: "'Malala' is their code word for unconditional support. So what 'malala' means is that what I'm asking you to do now with me you must do....Malala [Yousafzai, the Pakistani advocate for girls' education and the youngest-ever Nobel laureate] is one of their great role models. And I think that's why she holds the most significant place in their friendship, the idea that if you call 'Malala,' you must really mean it."
One of Amy's patches features the symbol of the Mercury Seven astronaut program. It is not clear why she would wear this symbol, given that she never mentions any interest in space, and all of the Mercury Seven were men. The costume designers mentioned that they got her political patches from thrift stores; it is possible that they mistook it for a feminist symbol, given its similarity to the Venus symbol used by feminists.