From a former model to third wife of Mr. Donald Trump and now future first lady of USA. An introduction to the most talked about personality this year.
Melanija Knavs was born in Novo Mesto in a river town near Sevnica, Slovenia, which was then part of communist Yugoslavia., on April 26, 1970.
She is the daughter of Amalija (née Ulčnik), a patternmaker at the children's clothing manufacturer "Jutranjka" in Sevnica and Viktor Knavs, who managed car and motorcycle dealerships for a state-owned vehicle manufacturer. She has a sister and an older half-brother, whom she reportedly has never met, from her father's previous relationship.
Melania, attended the Secondary School of Design and Photography in Ljubljana and studied at the University of Ljubljana for one year before dropping out. She is fluent in 5 languages - Slovenian, English, French, Serbian and German.
Despite what her professional website and the 2016 RNC program read, Melania Trump did not in fact complete a degree in architecture and design at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. In July 2016, CBS News checked the official public records of the university, and discovered that Melania Trump is not listed as having graduated from there with a degree.
She began modeling at age 16, when she posed for the Slovenian fashion photographer Stane Jerko who spotted her. At 18, she signed with a modeling agency in Milan, Italy. She was named runner-up in the 1992 Jana Magazine "Look of the Year" contest, held in Ljubljana, which promised its top three contestants an international modeling contract. She modeled for fashion houses in Milan and Paris before relocating to New York City in 1996.
She began modelling at 16. Photographer Stane Jerko spotted her as a 17-year-old in Ljubljana as he left a fashion show, and invited her for a trial photoshoot. Her shoot with acclaimed Jerko catapulted her into the spotlight, leading to a contract with Italian model agency ID in Milan aged 18, and went on to work in Paris too. She was named runner-up in the 1992 Jana Magazine "Look of the Year" contest, held in Ljubljana, which promised its top three contestants an international modeling contract.
Following her immigration to the United States, she graced the world’s catwalks and magazines, appearing on the covers of Harper's Bazaar (Bulgaria), Ocean Drive, In Style Weddings, New York Magazine, Avenue, Allure, Vanity Fair (Italy), Vogue (following her marriage to Donald Trump), and GQ (UK). She was featured as a bikini model in the 2000 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
As a model, she was associated with Irene Marie Management Group and Donald Trump's Trump Model Management.
Melania has stated that her contract and visa was negotiated by Italian businessman Paolo Zampolli, owner of ID model Ahency. Through her lawyer, she has indicated she first entered the United States on a business visitor visa in August 1996. She obtained an H-1B visa in October 1996. After that, she regularly returned to Slovenia to obtain a series of four more one-year work visas because, at the time, Slovenians could only obtain one-year visas in the United States.
In November 2016, according to the Associated Press, Melania first came to the US in August 1996 on a B1/B2 “tourist visa.” Tourist visas allow someone to stay in the US for six months, but they can’t seek employment in the US during that time. Then on October 18, 1996, the AP found, she got an H-1B visa for “skilled workers” allowing her to work legally in the US as a model. AP’s documentation shows that Melania was “paid for 10 modeling assignments between September 10 and October 15” — while she was still on the tourist visa. In other words, she was working on a visa that didn’t legally permit her to work — and thus was violating the terms by which she’d been allowed to come to the US.
In response, her lawyer stated the documents on which AP relied "have not been verified, [and] do not reflect our records including corresponding passport stamps.
In 2000, Mrs. Trump self-sponsored herself for a green card as a model of 'extraordinary ability,' and on March 19, 2001, she was admitted to the United States as a permanent resident.
Melania appeared naked on the front of British GQ magazine, in a shoot on Trump's customised Boeing 727 featuring Melania wearing handcuffs, wielding diamonds, and holding a chrome pistol.
GQ editor Dylan Jones said: “We pushed the envelope a little. [It’s] not exactly the kind of thing we could have asked anyone else to do – and we were surprised she said yes.”
She also shot in the buff for a french magazine. The images were originally published in the January 1996 issue of Max, a now-defunct men’s magazine.
She also appeared in a bikini for the 2000 swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated while dating Donald Trump.
Melania was 28 when she met Trump in 1998 at a Fashion Week party thrown by Zampolli at the Kit Kat Club in Manhattan.
He was still married to, but separated from, Marla Maples and was there with Norwegian cosmetics heiress Celina Midelfart but made a beeline for Melania and asked for her number. But, because he had a date, she refused to give it to him - and instead asked the billionaire for his.
She said later: "If I give him my number, I’m just one of the women he calls.I wanted to see what his intention is. It tells you a lot from the man what kind of number he gives you. He gave me all of his numbers.”
She played it cool, waiting a week before calling and they began seeing each other, only to break up for a few months when Trump toyed with the idea of running for US President in 2000 as a member of the Reform Party. In 2000 Melania also gave a rare joint interview with Donald to Howard Stern, telling the shock jock: “We have incredible sex at least once a day.” Trump then boasted about how hot Melania looked in “a very small thong”.
Their relationship gained additional publicity after the 2004 launch of Donald's business-oriented reality television show, The Apprentice. Donald described their long courtship in 2005: "We literally have never had an argument, forget about the word 'fight' ... We just are very compatible. We get along."
Married twice before, Trump proposed at the glitzy Costume Institute Gala in New York in 2004 with a 12 carat emerald-cut Graff ring that was worth $1.5 million and they married January 2005 at The Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida, followed by a reception in the ballroom at Donald's Mar-a-Lago estate.
The event was attended by celebrities such as Katie Couric, Matt Lauer, Rudy Giuliani, Heidi Klum, Star Jones, P. Diddy, Shaquille O'Neal, Barbara Walters, Conrad Black, Regis Philbin, Simon Cowell, Kelly Ripa, then-Senator Hillary Clinton, and former president Bill Clinton. At the reception, Billy Joel serenaded the crowd with "Just the Way You Are" and supplied new lyrics about Donald to the tune of "The Lady Is a Tramp".The Trumps' wedding ceremony and reception were widely covered by the media.
Melania wore a $200,000 dress made by John Galliano of the house of Christian Dior. The dress boasted almost 300 feet of white satin and 550 hours worth of embroidery with 1500 rhinestones and pearls. It is the most expensive wedding dress in history.
They had the most expensive cakes in history . The Grand Marnier chiffon cake was seven-tiered confection was five feet tall, 200 pounds, and covered with 3,000 white icing roses. The guests were also served personal chocolate cakes filled with chocolate truffle — now that's one wedding favor we'd be thrilled to receive.
In March 2006, Melania gave birth to Barron William Trump. Melania suggested his middle name, and her husband suggested his first name. As an infant, Barron reportedly occupied his own floor in the Trumps' apartment in Trump Tower in Manhattan, but often slept in a crib in his parents' bedroom.
Ten-year-old Barron apparently loves wearing a suit and tie and playing golf with his dad. He is also said to share his father's love of bossing people around. "He fired nannies, fired housekeepers," Melania said in a 2011 interview, adding that he quickly hired them back. they don't have a traditional nanny, and Melania frequently helps Barron with his homework and takes him to sports practices.
According to Melania, he is a very strong-minded, very special, smart boy. He is independent and opinionated and knows exactly what he wants. Sometimes I call him 'Little Donald'. He is a mixture of us in looks, but his personality is why I call him Little Donald."
Mrs. Trump’s jewelry collection, first launched in 2010 on QVC and quickly sold out in 45 minutes. Today, the line isn’t doing exceptionally well but it is still making money, despite QVC telling FORBES it “does not have an active relationship with the brand” any longer. According to Donald Trump’s public financial disclosures, 'Melania Timepieces and Jewelry’ revenues increased from the $5,000-$15,000 range to the $15,000-$50,000 range from 2014 to 2015.
But this is quickly offset by Mrs. Trump’s troubled skin care line, founded in 2013. In March 2013, Melania added a skin care line to her resume, called “Melania Caviar Complexe C6.In 2014, Melania Marks Skincare made somewhere between $100,000-$1,000,000. One year later, revenue dropped to less than $201.
In 2006, she posed for Vogue, seven months pregnant in a golden bikini. Annie Leibovitz shot the photos on the stairs of Donald Trump’s private jet.
Donald Trump says that his prenuptial agreement with Melania Knauss has made his marriage stronger. (Though it is worth noting that he’s been down this road twice before; both Ivana and Marla Maples contested their agreements—and lost, Trump points out.) “It’s a hard, painful, ugly tool,” says Trump. “Believe me, there’s nothing fun about it. But there comes a time when you have to say, ‘Darling, I think you’re magnificent, and I care for you deeply, but if things don’t work out, this is what you’re going to get.’ ”
Trump boasted to columnist Liz Smith over lunch at Le Cirque “And the beautiful thing is that she agrees with it,”
Melania has worked with multiple charities. In the past, she’s worked with The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, The American Red Cross as a goodwill ambassador and even rang the bell on Wall Street to honor the Fifth Annual National Love Our Children Day. In 2005, she was the honorary chairwoman for Martha Graham Dance and is still a part of the Police Athletic League, which named her the 2006 woman of the year. She’s also been an honorary chairwoman for The Boy's Club of New York.
In November 2015, when asked about her husband's presidential campaign, Melania said: "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." Trump played a relatively small role in her husband's campaign—atypical of spouses of presidential running mates.
On July 18, 2016, Melania gave a speech on the first day of the 2016 Republican National Convention. The speech closely mirrored a portion that was nearly identical to a paragraph of Michelle Obama's speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
The two speeches, ironically on the importance of hard work, use the same phrasing "work hard for what you want in life," "your word is your bond" and "we want our children in this nation...to know the limits of your achievements is the reach of your dreams and your willingness to work for them."
When asked about the speech, Trump said she wrote the speech herself "with as little help as possible". Two days later, Trump staff writer Meredith McIver took responsibility and apologized for the "confusion".
In a Washington Post poll about campaign spouses that included Melania Trump, Bill Clinton and both vice presidential running mates’ wives, Trump’s favorability rating was the lowest, at 37 percent.
"Melania Trump's popularity is lower than nearly any other recent candidate's spouse during an election year," the National Post says. "The most popular spouse was Barbara Bush, George H W Bush's wife. Michelle Obama was also viewed fairly positively at about this stage of 2012.
A Gallup poll found that Melania Trump’s public image is less popular than other spouses. 28 percent of American adults find the Slovenian-born supermodel favorable with 32 percent viewing her unfavorably. 40 percent of people had not heard of her or held no opinion.
Current first lady Michelle Obama was viewed favorably by 53 percent of U.S. adults in 2008. As it stands, Melania Trump has the least favorable ratings of any prospective first lady Gallup has measured since 1992.
Melania is expected to assume the role of First Lady of the United States on January 20, 2017. She will be the first lady to be born and raised in a communist country and second foreign-born woman to hold the position, after Louisa Adams, the British-born wife of John Quincy Adams who served from 1825 to 1829.
At 5 foot 11 inches, she will also be one of the tallest First Ladies to hold the office, tied with Michelle Obama and Eleanor Roosevelt who were also that height.
She would also be the first first lady to have been a model and posed nude for a magazine.
She will also be the first First Lady to be a third and current wife of the President.
When asked by The New York Times in 1999 what her role would be if Donald Trump were to become president, Melania replied: "I would be very traditional. Like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy."
In 2016, she told CNN her focus as First Lady would be to help women and children. She also said she would combat cyberbullying, especially among children, having quit social media herself due to the "negativity".
She told a crowd of supporters in Pennsylvania: "Our culture has gotten too mean and too rough, especially to children and teenagers. It is never OK when a 12 year old girl or boy is mocked, bullied, or attacked. It is terrible when that happens on the playground. And it is absolutely unacceptable when it is done by someone with no name hiding on the internet."
Fashion designer Sophie Theallet isn’t a fan of Donald Trump’s politics, so much so that she’s refusing to dress his wife Melania.
“As one who celebrates and strives for diversity, individual freedom, and respect for all lifestyles, I will not participate in dressing or associating in any way with the next First Lady. The rhetoric of racism, sexism, and xenophobia unleashed by her husband’s presidential campaign are incompatible with the shared values we live by,” Ms Theallet wrote in an open letter on Twitter.
“I encourage my fellow designers to do the same.”
Sophie rose to prominence by dressing Michelle Obama on a number of occasions over her husband’s eight-year term in the White House.
Trump called in to Stern's show on November 9, 1999, the conversation turned to Melania ("a potential first lady," Trump said) and her looks. "Let me talk to that broad in your bed," Stern demanded. So Trump summoned Melania, who was apparently scantily clad and conveniently sitting nearby, to come to the phone. With Stern oozing his creepiest charm, things rapidly got weird.
After demanding that Melania "put on your hottest outfit" for a Stern-Trump night on the town, Stern asked Melania what she was wearing right then. "Uh, not much," she replied.
Stern pressed on: "Are you naked? Are you nude?" Melania laughed. "Almost," she said.
"Ahhh, I've got my pants off already," Stern groaned.
Dropping his voice, Stern asked about how often Melania and Trump had sex and how good it was. "We have a great, great time," she said, claiming that she and Donald did the deed "even more" than daily. "I can tell you need love," Stern told her. Other topics of the interview included whether Melania stole cash from Trump's wallet, what she wore to the beach, and her "very nice chest for a model."
Trump apparently had no problems with Stern's racy questioning of his then girlfriend. "Oh man, she's naked there, isn't she?" Stern asked when Trump got back on the phone. "She is actually naked," Trump said. "It's a thing of beauty."
The Post uncovered 1995 photos of the Melania stripped down to her birthday suit for a now-defunct French men’s magazine.
The move was the latest in a series of public humiliations for the aspiring First Lady. Her speech at the Republican National Convention was found to contain phrases lifted from Michelle Obama’s speech in 2008. And her website was taken down last week after media pointed out that it cited a false claim of her completing a college degree.