Melania Trump Evolves From Model to First Lady

News time looks back at Melania's life in pictures, from her early life Slovenia to her new role in Washington

By Maya Rhodan

Melania Trump’s journey to becoming First Lady of the United States is almost as interesting as her husband’s ascent to the presidency.

Raised in a small town in communist Slovenia, Mrs. Trump always had interest in fashion and glamour. When she was younger, then-Melanjia Knavs would enjoy knitting her own sweaters and donning fashions sewn by her mother, the reports.

“I always loved fashion. My mother was a fashion designer so it was always in my blood,” Melania told in 2016. In a photo provided by Nena Bedek, a young Melania can be seen walking what appears to be a runway as a young child. She later posed for photos in the Slovenian capital of Ljubljana before leaving the country to model in Europe and the U.S. The First Lady’s modeling chops are also apparent in the steely, sharp look she presents in her official White House portrait, released on April 3.

It was in 1998 that Melania met her future husband—and the future President—at a party in New York. The two married in a lavish ceremony in which Melania wore a Christian Dior gown with a 13-foot train that says it took 1,000 hours to make.

Aside from the fact that Trump is the first foreign-born First Lady since Louisa Adams, she is already taking a unique approach to the role. Three months into President Trump’s Administration, she has not yet moved into the White House, choosing instead to finish out the year with their young son Barron in New York. The two are expected to move into the White House in summer 2017.

Mrs. Trump remains an elusive figure at the White House, making few appearances and traveling with the president to their Mar-a-Lago estate in West Palm Beach, Fla., but she has shown an interest in calling attention to the plight of women and girls around the world.

Despite reports that Mrs. Trump is dreading her new role, the First Lady has said she is proud to serve adding that she will “always stay true” to herself. Like her husband, Melania Trump seems poised to take on the role of First Lady her own way.

 

This picture provided by Nena Bedek shows Melania Trump (born Melanija Knavs, 2nd from right) with Nena Bedek (right), attending a fashion review of Jutranjka, the textile company where her mother used to work, in Radenci, northeastern Slovenia, in 1977.
AFP/Getty ImagesThis picture provided by Nena Bedek shows Melania Trump (born Melanija Knavs, 2nd from right) with Nena Bedek (right), attending a fashion review of Jutranjka, the textile company where her mother used to work, in Radenci, northeastern Slovenia, in 1977.
Melania Trump's Slovenia
Tadej Znidarcic—ReduxA photograph of the Melania Trump’s 8th grade primary school picture in Sevnica, Slovenia, circa 1984. Melania is sitting, fourth from the right in a black sweater.
Stane Jerko—Reuters
Stane Jerko—Reuters17-year-old Melania Trump (Knavs) poses for a picture for photographer Stane Jerko in Ljubljana, in March 1987.
Melania Knavs (Trump) poses for a picture in Ljubljana in the March 1987 picture
Stane Jerko—Reuters17-year-old Melania Trump (Knavs) poses for a picture for photographer Stane Jerko in Ljubljana, in March 1987.
Bill Miles
Bill MilesMelania Knauss at the Cap Juluca resort in Anguilla, in 1999.
Donald Trump and Melania Knauss backstage at a Victoria Secret's fashion show in New York city on Nov. 14, 2002.
Mark Peterson—ReduxDonald Trump and Melania Knauss backstage at a Victoria Secret’s fashion show in New York city on Nov. 14, 2002.
Melania Knauss and her mother, Amalija Ulčnik, attend the Zac Posen Fall Fashion Show at Bryant Park in New York City on Feb. 12, 2004.
Brian Prahl—Splash News/NewscomMelania Knauss and her mother, Amalija Ulčnik, attend the Zac Posen Fall Fashion Show at Bryant Park in New York City on Feb. 12, 2004.
Melania Trump and Andre Leon Talley during her fitting for the Costume Institue Gala on April 26, 2005.
Mark Peterson—ReduxMelania Trump and Andre Leon Talley during her fitting for the Costume Institute Gala on April 26, 2005.
No Credit
Melania Trump in New York, ca. 2006.
Melania Trump and son Barron Trump attend the event for Donald Trump receiving a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, on Jan. 16, 2007.
Peter Brooker—REX/ShutterstockMelania Trump with son Barron Trump at the ceremony honoring her husband Donald Trump with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in Los Angeles, on Jan. 16, 2007.
Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images
Chip Somodevilla—Getty ImagesDonald Trump and his wife Melania attend Golf legend Jack Nicklaus’ Congressional Gold Medal ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda in Washington, DC on March 24, 2015.
Joe Pugliese—August
Joe Pugliese—AugustDonald Trump, Melania Trump and their son Barron Trump pose for a portrait on Sept. 24th, 2015 in New York City.
Donald Trump reacts to an answer his wife Melania gives during an interview on NBC's
Brendan McDermid—ReutersDonald Trump reacts to an answer his wife Melania gives during an interview on NBC’s “Today” show in New York, on April 21, 2016.
Timothy A. Clary—AFP/Getty Images
Timothy A. Clary—AFP/Getty ImagesMelania Trump arrives on stage on the first day of the Republican National Convention at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, on July 17, 2016.
Melania Trump waves to the crowd at the end of her speech on the opening day of the Republican National Convention, on July 18, 2016.
Toni L. Sandys—The Washington Post/Getty ImagesMelania Trump waves to the crowd at the end of her speech on the opening day of the Republican National Convention, on July 18, 2016.
Melania Trump signs her name before she votes at PS 59 in New York, on Nov. 8, 2016.
Carlo Allegri—ReutersMelania Trump signs her name before she votes at PS 59 in New York, on Nov. 8, 2016.
Donald Trump is joined onstage by his family at his election Victory Party in New York’s Manhattan borough, on Nov. 9, 2016.
Christopher Morris—VII for News timeDonald Trump is joined onstage by his family at his election Victory Party in New York’s Manhattan borough, on Nov. 9, 2016.
First Lady Michelle Obama meets with Melania Trump for tea in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House on Nov. 10, 2016.
Chuck Kennedy—The White HouseFirst Lady Michelle Obama meets with Melania Trump for tea in the Yellow Oval Room of the White House on Nov. 10, 2016.

 

 

J. Scott Applewhite—Getty Images
J. Scott Applewhite—Getty ImagesMelania Trump leaves the President’s Room of the Senate, after President Trump signed his first legislation at the Capitol in Washington, on Jan. 20, 2017.
Carlos Barria—Reuters
Carlos Barria—ReutersMelania Trump arrives to welcome President Trump at West Palm Beach International airport, on Feb. 3, 2017.

Benoit Mahaux—The White House Melania’s official portrait from the White House, released April 3, 2017.

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