Melania placed second in the 1992 Jana Magazine “Look of the Year” contest, which took place in the Slovenia capital Ljubljana.
The top three contestants were signed on an international modeling contract.
Melania has one sister, Ines, and an older half-brother from her father’s previous relationship.
Ines, Melania's older sister, is also reportedly the closest person in the world to Melania, and her long-time confidante. Ines is an artist, and was Melania and Donald's maid of honor on their wedding day.
She lived modestly in a concrete building in Sevnica; this small town is located in Slovenia’s Lower Sava Valley.
Several coal mines operated in the Central Sava Valley. It is surrounded by the Sava Hills, with Kum on the right side of the Sava and Black Peak.
She was born in what was then Yugoslavia in 1970. At only five-years-old, she was already walking the catwalk. She inherited her mother’s fashion sense and got her start owing to her mother’s career in the clothing industry.
In the picture, she is seen (second from the right) in 1977 showing off the company’s products.
After studying architecture for a year at a local university, Melania decided to leave her studies to pursue a full-time career as a model. She changed her name to Melania Knauss and left Slovenia to model in Milan and Paris.
An agency owner (who happens to be Donald Trump’s friend) brought her to New York. Continuing, she worked with "Vanity Fair," "Vogue," and the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit issue.
Melania placed second in the 1992 Jana Magazine “Look of the Year” contest, which took place in the Slovenia capital Ljubljana.
The top three contestants were signed on an international modeling contract.
She was destined for modeling. standing at 5’11 (1.80 meters) tall.
Once she moved to New York, she shared an apartment with photographer Matthew Atanian. Continuing, she worked with "Vanity Fair," "Vogue" and the "Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue."
She was featured on numerous magazine covers like Harper’s Bazaar (Bulgaria), Ocean Drive, In Style Weddings, New York Magazine, Avenue, Allure, Vanity Fair (Italy), Vogue (after her marriage to Donald Trump), and GQ (UK).
Her lawyer Michael Wildes said that she first came to the United States on a business visitor visa in August 1996.
In 2005, she was featured in an advertisement for Aflac insurance along with the Aflac mascot, a duck. At the time, comedian Gilbert Gottfried voiced the duck. In the advertisement, Melania and the duck switch personalities through a Frankenstein-like mad experiment. At the end of the footage, she awakens and quacks, “Aflac,” in Gottfried’s voice.
Melania filmed the commercial in the year that she and Donald were newlyweds. According to Adweek Melania said (of the commercial) “I am very excited to make my acting debut in the latest Aflac commercial. Donald is known for saying ‘You’re fired’; maybe I will be known for saying ‘Aflac.’ “
Melania moved to New York City in 1996 and a few years later she met Donald Trump at a Fashion Week party in September 1998.
Zampolli hosted the event at the Times Square nightclub the Kit Kat Club. Although Donald was still married to Marla Maples, the two had been separated since May 1997, and he attended the event with another date, Celina Midelfart. When Celina had gone to the bathroom, he approached Melania and attempted to get her phone number but she refused.
The two shared their first date at the Greenwich Village hot spot Mooma. Melania Trump broke off the relationship shortly after. They reunited after a few months of time apart.
In 1999, they gained national attention after giving an interview on "The Howard Stern Show." They gained even more recognition in 2004 when Donald launched his reality show, "The Apprentice," a reality show which judges contestants based on their business skills.
The couple were engaged in 2004 and made it official On January 22, 205 at the Episcopal Church of Bethesda-by-the-Sea in Palm Beach, Florida. Guests were invited after to celebrate with them in the ballroom at Donald’s Mar-a-Lago estate. The marriage was her first and his third.
Michael Jordan and his wife also got married at the church in 2013. The couple danced their feet off in the $35 million grand ballroom that they had restored for the occasion. The ballroom was decorated with crystal chandeliers and Versailles-inspired Louis XIV-style decor.
The event had many A-list celebrities in attendance, including 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.
French chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten catered the event with a 5-star menu that included caviar, steamed shrimp salad in champagne vinaigrette, and lobster rolls. He served beef tenderloin as the main course while guests drank Cristal champagne all night. The 350 guests probably licked their plates clean.
Performances of the night included Billy Joel’s “Just the Way You Are”, as well as Billy’s new version of “The Lady is a Tramp,” subbing in new lyrics about Trump.
Besides Billy Joel’s million-dollar performance, Melania booked a full orchestra, The Michael Rose Orchestra of Palm Beach, which included piano, saxophone, bass, and drums.
The media was all over the wedding and made sure to be there every step of the way, starting with the bride’s $200,000 dress by John Galliano of the house of Christian Dior. The dress was designed with around 300 feet of Duchesse satin and beautifully embroidered. It took a reported 550 hours to complete.
The wedding dress featured over 1,500 hand-stitched crystal rhinestones and pearls, a 13-foot train, and a 16-foot veil. Melania paired the dress with even more extravagance; three diamond bracelets and a diamond necklace. Melania was later featured in "Vogue" with a 14-page spread of her $100,000 Christian Dior strapless gown.
Melania became a U.S citizen in 2006, one year after being married to Donald. She received U.S citizenship on a visa that is allocated to immigrants with “extraordinary ability” and “sustained national and international acclaim.”
She stated “I followed the law. I never thought to stay here without papers. I had a visa, I traveled every few months back to the country to Slovenia to stamp the visa. I came back, I applied for the green card, I applied for the citizenship later on after many years of green card. So I went by the system, I went by the law. And you should do that, you should not just say let me stay here and whatever happens, happens.”
Melania is Donald Trump’s third wife. Before she became First Lady, she was working hard as a Slovenian American model. Before Melania, Donald was married to Czech model Ivana Zelníčková and actress Marla Maples.
He married Ivana in 1977 at the Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan. Together they had three children: Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric. Ivana became a naturalized United States citizen in 1988. The couple divorced in 1992, following Trump's affair with actress Marla Maples. The two had a daughter together, Tiffany. Both of these divorces were widely publicized.
In March 2006, Melania and Donald had their first child together and named him Barron William Trump.
Donald chose his first name and Melania his second.
Although she lives a luxurious lifestyle, Melania was never assisted by a nanny.
She believes in the importance of carrying for your child. “I don’t have a nanny,” she told Harper’s Bazaar in 2016. “I have a chef, and I have my assistant, and that’s it. I do it myself. You know, those hours with your child are really important ones”.
When she was asked on ABC News in 2013 about having more kids, she replied: “We are happy and my hands are full with my two boys -my big boy and my little boy.” In an interview that Melania had in 2012 with Parenting, Melania described herself as a "full-time mom" whose husband didn't change diapers or put his son to bed.
And Donald famously told Howard Stern in 2005, "I like kids. I mean, I won’t do anything to take care of them. I’ll supply funds, and she’ll take care of the kids."
Melania was involved with the Martha Graham Dance Company and Love Our Children USA. Melania differed drastically from previous First Ladies, as she didn't seek to use her power for a specific cause.
Despite her involvement with the charities, she never applied her philanthropic side to the White House. Her charitable efforts weren't so obvious, especially when compared to her predecessors.
Melania is the first Catholic in the White House since the Kennedys. After Melania visited the Vatican, her spokeswoman confirmed that the First Lady is, in fact, Catholic. She was baptized as a child in Slovenia but due to the tight reign of the League of Communists of Slovenia, the baptism had to be done in secret.
Former President Trump did reference his religious identity during the campaign, but Melania kept quiet. Melania described her visit with the pope as “one I'll never forget.”
Melania is only the second First Lady who was born outside of the United States. She is the first one to be born in a communist nation. She was born in then-Yugoslavia during the rule of Marshal Josip Tito.
The first foreign First Lady was the wife of John Quincy Adams, Louisa Adams. She was born in London. She was born to an American merchant father and an English mother. She served as the sixth First Lady from 1825-1829.
During her husband’s campaign, she evaded the spotlight as much as possible. Despite her bitter relationship with the spotlight, it’s very uncommon for such a high-profile woman to vanish from the public eye. Usually, first ladies are always alongside their husbands.
Melania, quite differently, avoided political media coverage and openly dismissed her husband’s presidential campaign. It is safe to say that Melania Trump didn’t fit the prototypical First Lady. Unfortunately for her, the camera loves her.
Her United States Secret Service name was “Muse.” The names were not really necessary, as sensitive electronic communications are now routinely encrypted.
However, they hold true to tradition. Traditionally, all family members’ names begin with the same letter. Other First Ladies’ names include Renaissance (Michelle Obama), Tempo (Laura Bush) and Evergreen (Hillary Clinton).
She was one of the tallest First Ladies. It’s no surprise that the former model is tall, but actually, she wasn't the only tall First Lady. The 5-foot-eleven stunner stands tall alongside Michelle Obama and Eleanor Roosevelt.
She does have some other unique qualities going for her, like the fact that she was the first naturalized U.S citizen to become First Lady and the only one born in a communist country.
Melania was a truly noble First Lady. Not following suit like other First Ladies, she only made the White House her official home five months after her husband became president.
Although critics were convinced that she was trying to avoid her roles as First Lady, the Trumps shared that the delay was so that Barron could finish fifth grade in New York.
Another thing that distinguished Melania from previous First Ladies is that English isn’t her first language.
She’s the first to not have English as her native tongue. It seems like speaking that many languages should be handy at White House functions, but rumor has it that Melania so seldom made public speeches due to her very thick accent.
Melania is the only First Lady to be the third wife of a U.S president. Trump was married before to Marla Maples until 1999 and prior to her, Ivana Trump until 1992. Ivana, a Czech native, joined her husband in his real estate endeavors.
The couple quickly became prominent in New York society. In the 90s, there were rumors that Donald Trump was having an affair with model Marla Maples, a Georgia native. Ivana divorced her husband in 1990 and won a $20 million divorce settlement.
Distant but supportive: When she was questioned how she would react if Donald Trump became the next president, she told "The New York Times," “I would be very traditional. Like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy. I would support him.”
Melania differs greatly from previous First Ladies who supported their husbands in their political goals. Melania didn’t want Trump to win the presidency. According to an article in “Rolling Stone” magazine, Mrs. Trump stated: “‘It’s not my thing. It’s Donald’s thing.’”
Melania doesn’t always share the same opinion as to her husband.
She told CNN in March of 2016 “I don’t agree with everything that he says, but you know, that is normal. I’m my own person.”
“Be Best.” Former First Lady Melania started the Be Best public awareness campaign in May 2018 to encourage the well-being of youth and advocate against cyberbullying and substance use.
She gave a speech in Pennsylvania in which she said that dealing with cyberbullying is a cause she wanted to take up as First Lady.
Although some people insisted that Melania was trying to delay her duties as First Lady, the family actually just wanted their son to finish fifth grade in New York before making the move to D.C. The teenager bears much resemblance to his father, earning himself the nickname, ‘Little Donald.’
Apparently, Barron has an entire floor of their three-story penthouse in Manhattan.
When Melania finally made the move to the White House, the staff instantly took a liking to her.
She was different than former First Ladies and it was evident in the way in which she treated the staff with thoughtfulness and recognition.
According to some White House workers and friends, the Trumps spent little time together and don’t even sleep in the same bedroom. Due to their separate schedules, their time together is infrequent.
Apparently, after his previous two marriages, Trump gladly welcomed Melania’s low-maintenance demeanor. Melania has said of herself that she’s not a nagging wife. During a CNN interview with Trump in 2005, he described his relationship as stress-free: "We literally have never had an argument. We just are very compatible."
Melania was quite different than previous First Ladies. She had a quiet demeanor and is soft-spoken.
Those close to her have described her as a homebody who shies away from the spotlight and often retreats early from events.
According to "The New Yorker," Melania and Donald met in 1998 at a Fashion Week party in New York.
Donald tried to get her number, but because he was there with another date, she refused to give it to him. Donald, being the confident and go-getter man that he is, didn’t give up. Melania eventually took his number instead of giving him hers.
Childhood friends of Melania told "The New York Times" that Melania’s father also has a “larger-than-life personality,” quite like Donald’s. Her father, Viktor Knavs was a member of the Communist Party, which the Times described as “an exclusive club whose members sometimes joined because of career ambitions as much as ideology.”
Knavs managed car and motorcycle dealerships for a state-owned manufacturer. Also written in Times was another fact that her childhood friends disclosed of her father “he carries himself “in a self-assured way that now reminded them of Mr. Trump.”
Another amusing detail shared by "The New York Times?" Apparently, Melania’s parents didn’t quite understand or agree with Donald’s political views and actions.
According to the Times, Melania Trump’s father complained to his longtime friend about Donald Trump’s “whiplash-inducing inconsistency.” Knavs said he didn’t understand why his son-in-law wanted to be president.
Donald Trump only visited Slovenia once. The visit was in July 2002 and for a short three hours. Melania and Donald landed at Ljubljana Brnik airport, arriving in Trump’s Boeing 727.
They had dinner with Viktor and Amalija Knavs at the Grand Hotel Toplice on Lake Bled. The New Yorker said that “Trump’s stopover at Lake Bled was the only time he has been to Slovenia.”
According to the New Yorker, Melania Trump “appears to have internalized many aspects of Donald’s culture.” Melania Trump reportedly doesn’t drink alcohol (like Donald Trump). She also doesn’t ever give in to critical remarks of her husband, even when asked about things she could easily joke about, like his unpopular hairstyle.
Additionally, “she has taken on her husband’s signature pout,” according to "The New Yorker."
Americans hold many expectations for the President and First Lady. Donald and Melania Trump were anything but typical, like with Melania’s decision to stay in New York.
On one occasion when Melania was present at the U.S. Capitol in show of President Trump during his first State of the Union address, she broke tradition by arriving separately from the president and choosing to ride with her guests invited to the first lady’s box instead.
The former first lady studied architecture and design at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia. However, she left after only one year of study in pursuit of modeling. Despite this, she is featured on the University’s alumni section of Wikipedia. Melania is the first in a long line of First Ladies to not have a degree.
The topic of her college education was a sensitive one during the campaign. A biography of Trump which was dispersed in a program at the Republican National Committee indicated that she had started modeling “after obtaining a degree in design and architecture at university in Slovenia.” After reporters learned that she hadn’t graduated, the Trump organization took down her biography from the company website altogether.
Melania released her own jewelry line on QVC in 2010. Visitors of the White House website during the Trump Administration got more than a simple biography of Melania and her charitable interests.
They also get a list of her magazine cover appearances and details of her jewelry line at QVC.
Melania has been featured on several magazine covers throughout her career.
Throughout her modeling career, Melania worked with a number of highly recognized photographers, including Patrick Demarchelier, Helmut Newton, and Mario Testino.
Melania has changed her birth name.
While working as a professional model in Italy, she transcribed the Slovene version of her maiden name Knavs to the German version Knauss.
She can speak many languages: Melania speaks multiple languages, with some sources saying as many as six. CNN reported that she could speak Slovenian, French, Serbian, German, Italian, and English. Apparently, her son Barron Trump could speak in Slovenian, English, and French when he was just three years old.
Melania isn’t the first wife of a president to speak multiple languages. For example, Louisa Adams could speak Dutch. Pat Nixon could speak some Spanish. Lou Hoover could speak Mandarin Chinese, as could Herbert Hoover. And apparently, the Hoovers spoke Chinese in the White House to prevent others from eavesdropping on their conversations.
Her wedding dress cost $200,000, and she also wore a second dress. The couple broke up shortly after starting to date but reconciled within six months and got engaged in 2004. They had a winter wedding in Florida and quite a number of top-name celebrities attended including Katie Couric, Heidi Klum, Shaq, Barbara Walters, Simon Cowell, Billy Joel and yes, the Clintons.
As if that wasn’t enough, Melania changed into a second dress after her very expensive and heavy Dior gown became too difficult. The second dress was a Grecian-style tight Vera Wang gown, complete with a knee-length skirt slit, just for the Mar-a-Lago reception.
Melania Trump’s style has changed quite a bit over the past years, and her wardrobe has enjoyed quite the drastic makeover. Let’s take a look at how Melania’s style has evolved over the years from sequins and plunging necklines to conservative and elegant suits.
In the late nineties, Trump loved to rock bejeweled clothing- take here the dress she wore to the 27th annual Fragrance Foundation Fifi Awards in 1999. The FiFi Awards are the “Oscars of the fragrance industry.” They are an annual event sponsored by The Fragrance Foundation, which honors the fragrance industry's creative achievements.
In 2002 Trump used to be a dedicated enthusiast of fur coats, here she’s decked out in a long white one looking like an extra in The Chronicles of Narnia but really attending the 2002 Victoria Secret show. However, she stopped wearing fur, according to Stephanie Grisham, Trump's East Wing communications director.
Playboy Playmate Pamela Anderson posted on Twitter a photo of a “thank you” note from Melania Trump, acknowledging a gift Anderson sent her following Trump's January inauguration of faux fur.
In 2003 Trump went for a Marie Antoinette look, topping off the hip-hugging white dress with chiffon ruffles, candy-pink silk on the bottom, and pink silk slippers.
She donned the look at The Film Society 2003 gala tribute to Susan Sarandon.
In 2005, for the Marc Jacobs’ 2005 show, she showed up in low-rise flares jeans and a pink sheer cami top.
The show was during the Olympus Fashion Week Spring 2005 at Pier 54 4 in New York City.
At the 2006 Breast Cancer Research Foundation’s annual 2006 Red Hot Pink Party, she showed up in an empire-line babydoll dress
Melania went with the theme of the party, pink. It’s obvious that Melania can pull off a range of saturated shades, and hot pink is included in that list of colors that suit her stunningly.
When she hosted the New York premiere of the 2007’s Cadillac.
Melania chose an empire-line satin and silk dress.
Here she was sporting a fancy matching two-piece suit in 2008.
This two-piece suit is something that is fitting for wealthy New York women. Her son adorably matched in a tan-colored jacket.
For somebody who avoids the limelight, here she is doing just the opposite at the 2008 Met Ball. She showed up in an attention-grabbing bright pink gown. The Met Ball, also known as the Met Gala, is an annual fundraising event for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York City.
Every year the event celebrates the theme of that year’s Costume Institute exhibition and guests are expected to dress according to the theme of the exhibit.
Melania loves sporting strapless dresses and chose a black one for the 2009 Met Ball.
The Met Gala is the Oscars of fashion, so of course, she dressed for the occasion and the whimsical theme.
The 2010 Met Ball was a fashion statement that will be remembered.
Another jaw-dropping gown, this time, in midnight-blue and designed by Christian Siriano for the Met Ball.
The 2011 premiere of Tower Heist.
Melania showed up for the premiere in high stiletto helps and a feminine skater dress that perfectly flaunted her curves.
For the 2012 Met Ball, Trump went for a different look as opposed to the usual long gown.
This time, she chose a white cocktail dress designed by Marc Bouwer with pointed shoulders.
For the 20th-anniversary benefit for the European School of Economics in 2014, Melania chose a look very different from her usual feminine hip-hugging dress.
Instead, she sported a black paneled jumpsuit with a sheer lace pattern on top. We must say, she still looked dazzling!
As the presidential campaign intensified, Melania looked flawless as she stepped out on the red carpet in a conservative white Mugler bias-cut gown at the Time 100 Gala.
While white isn’t the easiest color to pull off, especially in a dress, Trump loves to wear the color for many occasions.
In 2017 Melania kept with her more conservative look.
Melania chose this Dolce & Gabbana black cocktail dress.
To finish off her family vacation at their New Jersey home, Trump chose a summery, mid-length dress by Delpozo.
It's no surprise Melania is a big fan of the expensive designer.
While on a tour of the National Gallery of Art in Washington in 2018, Trump sported a classy all-white Michael Kors suit.
This came just after she joined French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte, for a tree-planting ceremony at the White House, where she wore a black Givenchy cape.
Below, Melania is shown on August 20th, 2018, while speaking at a Cyberbullying Prevention Summit in Rockville.
The first lady looked professional but still glamorous in a light blue blouse and suit jacket hanging off her shoulders.
August 19, 2018: Just one day before, Trump dressed down (while still maintaining her class) in a vibrant green turtleneck sweater with white jeans and white sneakers.
She walked alongside President Donald Trump and their son Barron before getting ready to leave Washington D.C.
April 24, 2018: At her first state dinner, her spokeswoman, Stephanie Grisham, told the White House press pool that Melania chose Chanel Haute Couture gown.
The gown was a black Chantilly lace Chanel Haute Couture gown, hand-painted with silver and embroidered with crystal and sequins. About 100 people attended the dinner.
February 23, 2018: To welcome Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and his wife Lucy to the White House, Melania put on a chic show and chose a $3,500 Dolce & Gabbana coat matching it with gold metallic snakeskin pumps.
The shoes had impressive 5-inch heels.
February 14, 2018: Melania didn’t spend Valentine’s Day with Donald. Instead, she visited young patients at the National Institutes of Health’s Children’s Inn and wore an appropriately red coat for the celebration. During the outing, Melania and young patients decorated heart-shaped cookies with sprinkles.
After getting her hands dirty from decorating, Melania hosted Valentine's Day party at the Inn. The first lady was presented with a Valentine from a young boy before passing out her own to patients, telling them "Happy Valentine's."
February 5, 2018: While visiting the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in Ohio, Melania was looking ever so chic in a yellow turtleneck sweater and complimentary yellow jacket matched with a slim-fitting brown leather skirt by Herve Pierre. Melania Trump thanked the hospital for “a very warm and informative visit” in a statement.
“I am so grateful for your continued research on combating opioid abuse and for all you are doing for your patients,” she said. “Children will always be my top priority, and I appreciated the opportunity to visit with the young patients today and witness firsthand their strength and spirit.”
For Super Bowl Sunday, Melania dressed it down while still maintaining her style and patriotism. She sported a red, white, and blue jacket as well as white pants.
The two watched the Florida Atlantic University Marching Band perform. They hosted a Super Bowl party at Trump’s golf club in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Melania spent several weeks away from the spotlight until making an appearance at the State of the Union in which she donned an ivory Dior pantsuit, a Dolce & Gabbana top, and nude-colored Christian Louboutin stilettos.
Her choice of look could not have been more different from many Democratic women who chose to wear all black in honor of the #MeToo movement. People quickly took to Twitter, commenting that Melania’s look resembled the outfit Hillary Clinton wore when she was awarded the Democratic nomination and that white represents the suffragette movement.