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Melania Trump

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Melania Trump
Donald and Melania Trump (cropped).jpg
Trump in 2016
Born Melanija Knavs
(1970-04-26) April 26, 1970 (age 46)
Novo Mesto, Slovenia, Yugoslavia
Ethnicity Slovenian
Years active 1986–present
Height 5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[1]
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Donald Trump (m. 2005)
Children Barron Trump

Melania Trump (born Melanija Knavs;[2][a] April 26, 1970; Germanized to Melania Knauss) is the wife of American businessman and 2016 U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump. She is a former model. Born in Slovenia, then part of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, she became a permanent resident of the United States in 2001 and a citizen in 2006.

Early life

Melania Trump was born in Novo Mesto in southeastern Slovenia (then part of Yugoslavia) on April 26, 1970.[3] Her father, Viktor Knavs, who managed car and motorcycle dealerships for a state-owned vehicle manufacturer,[4][5] and was a member of the Slovenian Communist Party, came from the nearby town of Radeče. Her mother, Amalija (née Ulčnik),[4] came from the village of Raka[6] and was a patternmaker at the children's clothing manufacturer Jutranjka in Sevnica.[4][7] She has a sister, Ines,[8] and an older half-brother, whom she reportedly has never met,[9] from her father's previous relationship.[4]

She grew up in a modest apartment in a concrete housing block in Sevnica, in Slovenia's Lower Sava Valley.[2] When she was a teenager, the family moved to a two-story house near Sevnica[10] and used a high-rise apartment in Ljubljana.[4]

Trump attended the Secondary School of Design and Photography in Ljubljana[11] and studied at the University of Ljubljana for one year before dropping out.[12][13][14]

She speaks five languages: her native Slovenian, Serbian, English, French, and German.[15]

Immigration to the United States

Trump has indicated that she came to the United States on an H-1B visa in 1996,[16][17] and an agent for a modeling agency told The Washington Post that his agency sponsored Trump for an H-1B visa in 1996.[18] She became a permanent resident of the United States in 2001 and a citizen in 2006.[19]

In August 2016, it was reported that Trump's account of her immigration status may have contained inconsistencies.[17][16][20] Controversial photographs of Trump, for which she posed nude except for a pair of high heels,[21] were re-published in the New York Post in the first week of August 2016.[17] These photographs were originally taken in the United States during a photo shoot which puts her inside the United States in 1995, as does a biography published in February by Slovenian journalists.[17] The photos themselves were published by the French men's magazine, Max. "Every few months you need to fly back to Europe and stamp your visa. After a few visas, I applied for a green card and got it in 2001", Trump told an interviewer, an account consistent with having a visitor's visa which would not have permitted her to work.[22] The photographer who took the nude pictures republished by the New York Post stated that Trump was not paid for her work.[23] A strict immigration policy has been a core component of her husband's 2016 presidential campaign (see Political positions of Donald Trump § Immigration). No clarification regarding the status of her visa in 1995 emerged except to say that she complied with US immigration law until a September 14, 2016 statement from a Donald Trump affiliated lawyer was given on Melania's Twitter account that denies she was in the United States in 1995 and reasserts she first entered the United States in August 1996.[24][25]

Career

Trump began her modeling career at age 16 and at age 17 posed for Slovenian fashion photographer Stane Jerko.[26] At 18, she signed with a modeling agency in Milan, Italy.[citation needed] 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.[4][27]

After attending the University of Ljubljana and leaving after her freshman year,[28] she then worked as a model for fashion houses in Milan and Paris, before relocating to New York City in 1996,[29] her contract and visa negotiated by Italian businessman Paolo Zampolli.[4] She subsequently appeared 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).[30] She was featured as a bikini model in the 2000 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.[31][32] As a model, she was associated with Irene Marie Management Group and Donald Trump's Trump Model Management.[33]

In the 2000s, she appeared in an advertisement for Aflac insurance in which she and the Aflac mascot, a duck, voiced at the time by comedian Gilbert Gottfried, exchange personalities via a Frankenstein-like mad experiment.[citation needed]

Marriage to Donald Trump

Melania and Donald Trump at the Oscar de la Renta Fashion Show in New York City, 2006

After moving to New York City in 1996,[34] Melania met Donald Trump at a Fashion Week party in New York City in September 1998, while he was still married to, but separated from, Marla Maples;[2][35] Donald attended the event with another date, Celina Midelfart, and Melania initially refused to give Donald her phone number.[27] Melania broke off the relationship shortly after it began, but the couple reconciled after a few months.[4] Their relationship gained attention after a 1999 interview on The Howard Stern Show.[36] In 2000, Melania appeared with Donald while he campaigned for that year's Reform Party presidential nomination.[36] 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."[35]

Melania Trump in 2011

After becoming engaged in 2004, Donald and Melania were married on January 22, 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.[37]

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.[37][38] At the reception, Billy Joel serenaded the crowd with "Just the Way You Are" and supplied new lyrics about Trump to the tune of "The Lady Is a Tramp".[37]

The Trumps' wedding ceremony and reception were widely covered by the media.[34] Trump wore a $200,000 dress made by John Galliano of the house of Christian Dior.[37] The cake at the reception was a 50-pound orange Grand Marnier chocolate truffle cake, with a Grand Marnier butter-cream filling, covered with 3,000 roses created by the chef at Mar-a-Lago.[37]

In 2006, Melania gave birth to a son named Barron William Trump. Donald suggested his first name and Melania his middle name.[39] 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.[39] He plays golf with his father and is reported to be fluent in Slovene.[40] He is said to like wearing a suit and tie, and Melania's nickname for him is "Mini-Donald".[5]

2016 presidential campaign

In November 2015, when asked about her husband's presidential campaign, Trump 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."[41] When asked by The New York Times in 1999 what her role would be if Donald Trump were to become president, Trump replied: "I would be very traditional. Like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy. I would support him."[5]

An anti-Donald Trump PAC in March 2016 published an attack ad featuring a nude photo of Trump that was published in 2000 as part of a British GQ magazine photoshoot.[42] The photograph shows her handcuffed to a briefcase, lying on a fur blanket aboard Donald Trump's private jet.[2][30][43]

In July 2016, Trump's official web site was redirected to Trump.com. On Twitter, she stated that her site was outdated and did not "accurately reflect [her] current business and professional interests."[44] This change came after it was widely noted by the media that the website had falsely claimed for more than 10 years that she had a degree in architecture and design from the University of Ljubljana.[45][46][47][48][49] Her biography in the 2016 Republican National Convention official program also incorrectly stated that she had obtained a degree in Slovenia.[14][50]

"Comparing Melania Trump's Speech in 2016 with Michelle Obama's in 2008"

On July 18, 2016, Trump gave a speech on the first day of the 2016 Republican National Convention. The speech contained a paragraph that was nearly identical to a paragraph of Michelle Obama's speech at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.[51][52][53] When asked about the speech, Trump said she wrote the speech herself "with as little help as possible".[54] Two days later, Trump staff writer Meredith McIver took responsibility and apologized for the "confusion".[55]

On September 1, 2016, her attorneys filed defamation lawsuits against British tabloid the Daily Mail and Webster Tarpley, a Maryland political blogger. Both had published allegations from other sources that she worked as an escort for a gentlemen's club in Italy in the 1990s. Tarpley published a retraction and an apology on August 22. The Daily Mail published a retraction and apology after the suit was filed.[56][57]

Notes

  1. ^ The Slovenian pronunciation is [mɛːlaˈnija ˈknaːws]

References

  1. ^ Trebay, Guy (September 30, 2015). "Melania Trump, the Silent Partner". Fashion & Style. The New York Times. Archived from the original on February 28, 2016. Retrieved September 1, 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d Jordan, Mary (September 30, 2015). "Meet Melania Trump, a New Model for First Lady". The Washington Post. Retrieved October 1, 2015. 
  3. ^ Lauren Collins (May 9, 2016). "The Model American: Melania Trump is the exception to her husband's nativist politics". The New Yorker. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h Ioffe, Julia (April 27, 2016). "Melania Trump on Her Rise, Her Family Secrets, and Her True Political Views: "Nobody Will Ever Know"". GQ. Retrieved April 29, 2016. 
  5. ^ a b c Greenhouse, Emily (August 17, 2015). "Vitamins & Caviar: Getting to Know Melania Trump". Bloomberg Politics. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Tednik CELJAN". Celjan.si. Retrieved November 25, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Melania Trump: Slovenian Model Legend". April 13, 2016. 
  8. ^ Louise Dewast, A Glimpse of Melania Trump's Childhood in Slovenia, ABC News (March 7, 2016).
  9. ^ Rapkin, Mickey (May 17, 2016). "Lady and the Trump". Du Jour. Retrieved August 28, 2016. 
  10. ^ "Melania Trump's Past Took Her From A River Town In Slovenia To Trump Tower". The Huffington Post. February 12, 2016.
  11. ^ Jason Horowitz, Melania Trump: From Small-Town Slovenia to Doorstep of White House, New York Times (July 18, 2016).
  12. ^ Glenn Kessler & Michelle Ye Hee Lee, Fact-checking the second day of the 2016 Republican National Convention, Washington Post (June 19, 2016) ("the University of Ljubljana confirmed that Trump dropped out of college before obtaining a degree.").
  13. ^ Lauren Collins (May 9, 2016). "The Model American: Melania Trump is the exception to her husband's nativist politics.". The New Yorker. Her Web site states that she obtained a degree in architecture and design from the University of Ljubljana when in fact she dropped out in her first year. 
  14. ^ a b Joey Morona, Melania Trump didn't graduate from college as bio claims, reports say, Cleveland Plain Dealer (July 19, 2016) ("Her bio on her official website states she graduated with a degree in design and architecture from 'University in Slovenia.' It's a claim that's been repeated by the Trump campaign and the RNC itself, in the convention's official program. However, the Slovenian writers of her biography wrote that Trump actually dropped out from the University of Ljubljana after her freshman year. Politico's Julia Ioffe wrote the same thing in a profile of the presumptive Republican nominee's wife that appeared in GQ back in April."
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  20. ^ Caldwell, Patrick (August 4, 2016). "Melania Trump Could Clear Up Her New Immigration Controversy by Releasing Her Visa Records". Mother Jones. Retrieved August 4, 2016. 
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  24. ^ Reyes, Gerardo (August 4, 2016). "Nude Photos of Melania Trump Raise Suspicions: Did She Violate U.S. Immigration Laws?". Politics. Univision. Archived from the original on August 18, 2016. The Trump election campaign did not answer questions sent by Univision regarding certain aspects of the hitherto fragmented immigration history of his wife. In a statement, Trump said his wife had followed immigration laws 'at all times.' Melania Trump has yet to clarify what type of visa she used during a 1995 photo shoot in New York, or what type of visas she has held, and when she obtained them. The Republican candidate has made immigration one of his main campaign issues. 
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  40. ^ Katz, Celeste (September 3, 2015). "Trump still questioning Jeb Bush for using Spanish". New York Daily News. Retrieved September 4, 2015. 
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External links