This is all we know about Melania’s modeling career
Long before she ever imagined she would become the First Lady of the United States, Melania Trump was just another beautiful girl trying to break into the modeling world.
Melania isn’t the first female presidential style icon, nor is she the only one with stunning beauty. But her specific combination of style, beauty, foreign roots and reserved demeanor help make the current FLOTUS one of a kind. So where did she come from and how did modeling help shape who she is today? Keep reading to find out.
Fashion is in the family
Melania is from a small town in Slovenia and says she has always had an interest in fashion and modeling. Born Melanjia Knavs, she claims she knitted sweaters herself. Her father Viktor Knavs was a car dealer and her mother, Amalija, was a children’s clothing designer.
As Melania told People in 2016, “I’ve always loved fashion. My mom was a fashion designer, so it’s always been in my blood.
She has been a model since she was young.
Melania started working as a model when she was 16 years old. She was signed by an agency in Milan when she was 18, but it wasn’t until she was 22 that she got her chance. Melania was a finalist in Slovenian women’s magazine Jana’s “Look of the Year” competition.
A photographer helped her launch her career
Professional photographer Stane Jerko is credited with discovering Melania while she was waiting for a friend to finish walking in a fashion show.
“It was January 1987 when I got home just before the fashion show was over,” Jerko told TODAY. “On the stairs of the party hall, I saw a girl who immediately caught my eye. There stood a tall, slim, attractive girl with long hair and distinct eyes.
Melania was a natural
Jerko reports that even Melania’s very first photo shoots, during which she brought her own outfits, were incredibly promising. Even though she was reserved and quiet, she very quickly got comfortable in front of the camera. She seemed to love modeling and was enthusiastic about learning how it all worked.
She made a full-time career as a model
Melania dropped out of the University of Ljubljana in her native Slovenia where she studied design and architecture. She instead focused her efforts on becoming a professional model.
Melania has worked with well-known photographers like Patrick Demarchelier and Helmut Newton and has appeared on the covers of Harper’s Bazaar in Bulgaria and Vanity Fair in Italy. She even posed nude in GQ magazine in 2000.
She met Donald Trump in 1996
Indirectly, Melania’s modeling career helped her meet the man who would later become her husband, then President of the United States. She met Donald Trump in 1996 at a party after years working as a model in Milan and Paris. The couple married in 2005.
Her White House portrait recalls her past as a model
Most portraits of the First Lady of the White House have a certain look, but the face-on image of Melania, where she is looking directly at the camera, is slightly different from any in the recent past. Everything from the pose to her expression clearly shows that she is comfortable in front of the camera.
Her clothing choices don’t sell
Every time Kate Middleton wears something, it sells. In Melania’s case, the public is a little less inclined to try to copy her looks. She organizes her own wardrobe with the help of designer Hervé Pierre.
Maybe that’s because a lot of her clothes are super expensive (hello, $51,000 3D floral coat) and therefore out of reach for most budgets. Still, it’s obvious the first lady has the experience to become a true style icon.