Melania Trump, Much More Than Just A Pretty Face
Love him or hate him, it is pretty much assured that it would take a certain kind of woman to be the wife of Donald Trump. The couple’s ten year marriage has seen the birth of one son, the entry into fashion design, and –most recently—a great deal of stigma and ridicule attached to this former model from Slovenia.
Gawker’s latest side-swipe is only the latest in a long line of undercover hit pieces aimed at Melania to present her as the stereotypical “dumb model”. I wonder if she had been the wife of a less controversial candidate if these outlets would have resorted to such stereotypes. But it begs the question: is it true, is she nothing more than a pretty face? Let’s discover exactly who Melania Trump is and what type of First Lady she might make.
Melania Trump was born “Melanija Knavs” on April 26, 1970 in Slovenia’s lower valley to parents, Viktor and Amalija. Her father managed a string of motorcycle and car dealerships, and her mother worked in fashion providing her and her sister Ines with what would be considered a “middle class” lifestyle under the communist system. She attended the University of Ljublijana pursuing degrees in design and architecture, while modeling part time in Italy. As her modeling career took off, Melania left her studies behind to pursue it more aggressively.
Modeling and America
Melania worked for several years on the runways of Milan and Paris before making a leap to New York. It was there under the tutelage of Helmut Newton that her career in print ads expanded, and she eventually began to find work with Conde Nast periodicals and other well-known photographers like Patrick Demarchelier, and Mario Testino. In addition to being one of the featured models of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition, Melania made the covers of Vogue, In Style, Vanity Fair, Allure, Harper’s Bazaare, Elle and other high end magazines.
Despite the naysayers who have made her nothing more than a trophy wife in the eyes of the public, this former girl from a Soviet block nation had managed to parlay her own assets into an established modeling career before even meeting Donald Trump. To go from Slovenia to New York, requires more than a pretty face. It takes work ethic, determination, and good networking. Most models never make it past catalog ads. Melania made it to New York and the cover of Vogue.
However, it was her modeling work and her transition to working at Trump Model Management which put Melania on the path of her future husband, and it can be said that meeting him certainly changed the trajectory of where she was heading.
Donald Trump and Post Modeling Career
Meeting Donald Trump in the late 90’s certainly had an impact. It is said that this was a meeting of two like minds. Both ambitious, both reformers. In fact, even before they were married Melania helped Trump campaign under a Reform Party ticket in 2000. Their relationship drew the multi-lingual model into any number of charity interests, such as the Police Athletic League, Boys Club, and the American Red Cross. The couple’s relationship was a much quieter one than his previous marriages, but this could also be because Melania is a much quieter person than either Ivana or Marla Maples. Melania and Donald Trump married in January 2005. In March of the following year they announced the birth of their son, Barron William Trump.
Since that time she has been quietly pursuing her original interest in design, and in February 2010 she launched a jewelry collection, “Melania™ Timepieces & Jewelry” with QVC. In 2013, she followed up with a high end Skin Care Collection, “Melania™ Caviar Complexe C6”.
Future First Lady?
It has been said by those who know her (like Manolo Blahnik) that she is not just a pretty face, but is actually nice. From the New York Times:
“Mrs. Trump is a supportive wife, great mother and a lovely person,” Wendi Deng Murdoch, Rupert Murdoch’s former wife, said in reply to an email query. “She is incapable of being mean,” said Brad Johns, the celebrity colourist who for years added the caramel highlights to Mrs. Trump’s hair. “She’s not gossipy at all, not bitchy and just really nice, though I know that’s not exciting to hear,” said Robert Janjigian, fashion editor for The Palm Beach Daily News.
So, there you have it from those who know her—she’s unfortunately nice.
But nice is not the only quality that will certainly help beat back the slings and arrows of the press, apparently she also wishes to be a more traditional, ie “quiet and out of the limelight” First Lady, which may or may not be considered a positive considering the somewhat controversial roles the last several First Ladies have played.
In the case of Melania Trump her appearance has actually hurt her, more than helped. Rather than being seen as a woman who made it in a rough business, she’s been demoted to Arm Candy status by nearly every media outlet. In spite of the fact that less than 1% of all models ever make it to the cover of a magazine or have a career that lasts over a decade, it is implied that her success is based on looks alone. Ask anyone in the business and they will tell you that in the world of modelling, your face may get you in the door, but it is only your hustle that keeps you in the game.
It is interesting to note that Melania is well-aware of how she is portrayed, but more than that she is also aware of her own value:
On a visit to the Trump triplex above Manhattan, one of the contestants on his show, “The Apprentice,” says to Melania: “You’re very, very lucky.”
“Thank you,” Melania, holding a glass of champagne, says with a glittering smile. “And he’s not lucky?”
This quick wit and strong sense of self is what keeps a political wife sane. Although she is currently doing her best to stay out of the political limelight, Melania Trump may surprise everyone by proving herself to be an intelligent woman and strong First Lady.
Also, if Donald Trump is elected, she will also be the first First Lady to have posed nude in a magazine. And if that isn’t breaking unique, I don’t know what is.
What do you thinks makes a First Lady great?