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Melania Trump: meet the next First Lady of the United States

Ainhoa Barcelona
Content Managing Editor
9 November 2016
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Throughout the US presidential campaign she has supported her husband Donald from the sidelines, but Melania Trump will soon take on a more prominent role when she and her family move into the White House.

What exactly do we know about the 46-year-old former model, and America's next First Lady?

melanie trump5© Photo: Getty Images

Her childhood and modelling career

Melania was born Melanija Knavs in April 1970 in Yugoslavia, now modern day Slovenia. Her father managed car dealerships while her mother worked as a patternmaker for a children's clothing company.

She had a "beautiful childhood," Melania has said, and was introduced to the world of modelling form a very young age.

"My mum was in the fashion business," she explained. "I was five years old when I did my first catwalk and did commercials at 16. I went professional after my studies. My mum loved fashion. We loved to travel and go to Italy and Paris."

melania trump2© Photo: Rex

Melania was catapulted into the spotlight when she was 17, when photographer Stane Jerko spotted her at a fashion show in Ljubljana. Her trial photoshoot with him marked the beginning of her modelling career and she signed to an Italian agency in Milan aged 18.

She lived in Paris and then New York and has since graced the covers of GQ, Vanity Fair Italia, American Vogue Bulgaria and more. She also featured as a bikini model in a 2000 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.

She has five languages under her belt – Slovenian, Serbian, English, French and German.

malenia trump4© Photo: Getty Images

Meeting Donald

Despite her glamorous career, Melania was not a party girl. "She was reserved," said Edit Molnar, Melania's friend and fellow model. "The first party she ever came to with me was the one she met Donald at."

Melania was 28 at the time while Donald was 52, and separated from his second wife Marla Maples.

"We had a great connection, we had great chemistry, but I was not starstruck," Melania admitted. "And maybe he noticed that."

She took Donald's number at the 1998 party, refusing to give him hers. "If I give him my number, I'm just one of the women he calls," she later recalled. "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."

melanie trump3© Photo: PA

The Trump wedding

After dating for seven years, Melania and Donald tied the knot in 2005 at the businessman's Palm Beach estate. A number of celebrity guests were invited to the £800,000 nuptials, including Heidi Klum, Simon Cowell and Bill and Hillary Clinton, who would later become Donald's presidential rival.

Melania became Donald's third wife and stepmother to his four children – Donald Junior, Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany.

In March 2006 she gave birth to her and Donald's only child, Barron. Melania's nickname for her son is "Mini-Donald" as the youngster is said to like wearing a suit and tie. He was raised bilingual and is fluent in his mum's native Slovenian.

melania trump6© Photo: Getty Images

The kind of First Lady she would be

Melania has previously described what kind of First Lady she would be. In 2000 when her husband considered a run for office, she said: "I would be very traditional like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy."

US political commentator Stephen Fisher has said: "Melania would make an exceptional First Lady. They say never to judge a book – or perhaps in her case, a magazine – by its cover, and nothing could be more true about her.

"She is refined, highly educated, carries herself with incredible dignity, and her beauty is not just skin deep. Unlike her husband, she is a model New Yorker... quite liberal."

melania trump7© Photo: Getty Images

Melania herself has said: "I give him my opinions, many, many times. I don't agree with everything he says, but, you know, that is normal. I'm my own person, I tell him what I think. And I think that's very important in a relationship."

She admitted that the one thing she would change about her husband is "his tweeting", while she would focus her campaign issues on cyberbullying and social media.

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