Melania Trump has had a very interesting life. Born as Melanija Knavs in Novo Mesto, Slovenia, she has since become a naturalized American citizen and held a number of careers.
Her first and longest career was as a model. Starting this career when she was only five years old, it became a passion that she would not soon give up. By age 16, Melania had begun doing commercial modeling work. Her first gig came when she posed for the Slovenian fashion photographer Stane Jerko. It was during this time that she adapted her birth name to the Germanic version “Knauss”.
At 18, Melania was signed to a modeling agency based in Milan, Italy. Due to the world-class reach of this agency, she was named as Jana Magazine’s 1992 Look of the Year. With this, she was awarded an international modeling contract.
In 1995, while modeling in fashion houses in Paris and Milan, Melania met the co-owner of Metropolitan Models, and friend of her future husband President Donald Trump, Paolo Zampolli. Zampolli encouraged Melania to travel to the United States where he wanted to represent her as her modeling agent.
In 1996, Melania took the plunge and moved to Manhattan to start her own American dream. It was in 1998 that she first met Donald Trump at a party and the two began dating soon thereafter.
Melania appeared alongside her then boyfriend Donald Trump as he campaigned for the 2000 Reform Party Presidential nomination. When interviewed by the New York Times what her role would be should Donald Trump be elected, she stated that she would be very traditional, “like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy”.
Melania and Donald Trump became engaged in 2004. On January 22, 2005 the two were married at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida. The reception was held in the ballroom of Mar-a-Lago. Soon after, Melania became pregnant, giving birth to their son Baron William Trump on March 20, 2006.
In 2010, Melania launched a line of jewelry, called Melania Timepieces, and Jewelry. She also began marketing a Melania Skin Care Collection that was sold in high-end department stores.
During her husband’s run for President of the United States in 2016, Trump stated “I encouraged him because I know what he will do and what he can do for America. He loves the American people and he wants to help them.”
After assuming the role of first lady of the United States on January 20,2017, Melania did not immediately move to the White House. Instead, she continued living in Manhattan at the Trump Tower until her son had finished the 2016-2017 school year at Columbia Grammar and Preparatory School. On June 11, 2017, she and Baron moved into the White House with her husband.
Melania is noteworthy because she is the second foreign-born woman to hold the office of first lady. She is also the first naturalized citizen to hold the title, as well as the first whose native language is not English.
During her first White House event in March 2017, she held a luncheon in honor of International Women’s Day. During this event she spoke about her life and coming to America as a female immigrant. She discussed working towards gender equality in the United States and beyond. She stated she believed education was one of the greatest tools that can be used against gender inequality.
In March of 2018, Melania scheduled a meeting with executives from technology companies for a discussion concerning online harassment and internet safety, particularly how these things affect children. This group of executives included people from Amazon, Facebook, Google, Snap, and Twitter. During the event, Melania was quoted as saying “I am well aware that people are skeptical of me discussing this topic,” but “that will not stop me from doing what I know is right.”
Trump has also started a public awareness campaign that focuses on well-being for children and advocates against cyberbullying and drug use. The campaign, that began on May 7, 2018, was called Be Best.
As an legal immigrant herself, Trump has been fairly vocal in her support of effective immigration reform. She attended a roundtable on this matter that included doctors, medical staff, social workers, and other experts at Upbring New Hope Children’s Shelter.
In October of 2018, Trump began a four-country tour of Africa. During this, Melania hosted multiple speaking engagements focusing on conservation, as well as children and families. She visited Ghana, Malawi, Kenya, and Egypt.
As a wife and First Lady, Melania Trump has noted that she is definitely willing to rebuke her husband’s ideas and public statements. While she has stated that she is aware he will inevitably do what he wants to do in the end, she is always one to speak her mind and offer her guidance. This is something she has been able to extend to her husband throughout his presidency and has likely helped to shape a number of policy decisions.
Follow Melania on the following platforms:
White House Twitter: https://twitter.com/FLOTUS
Personal Twitter: https://twitter.com/MELANIATRUMP
White House Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/flotus/?hl=en
Be Best Website: https://www.whitehouse.gov/bebest/