10 Things You Should Know About Melania Trump
Policy + Politics

10 Things You Should Know About Melania Trump

© Jim Young / Reuters

After staying, for the most part, out of the spotlight of her husband’s campaign, Melania Trump gave a speech at the Republican National Convention last night. Praised at first, the speech quickly became the latest Trump campaign scandal, with the possibility that she plagiarized from Michelle Obama.

The speech has once again thrust the inner workings of the Trump campaign into the election spotlight — and brought new attention to the 46-year-old potential first lady. Here are 10 things you should know about Melania Trump:

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1. She was born Melanija Knavs in Sevenica, Slovenia (then Yugoslavia) on April 26, 1970. She Germanized her name to Melania Knauss while modelling. If Donald Trump is elected president, Melania will be the second foreign-born first-lady, after Louisa Adams.

2. Her modelling career, which began when she was 16, took off when she signed with an agency in Milan at 18. With a style her website describes as “natural elegance,” Melania has worked with high-fashion photographers Patrick Demarchelier, Helmut Newton and Mario Testino and has appeared in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Sports Illustrated, Vanity Fair and New York Magazine.

3. According to her website’s biography, she completed a degree in design and architecture from a university in Slovenia. Some are skeptical; she may have dropped out after the first year and never received a degree.

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4. She emigrated to the United States on an H-1B visa, which allows businesses to hire high skilled workers, including models, for 6 years before applying for a higher status. She received a green card in 2001 and her citizenship in 2006. “I did so well, I moved here…. You follow the rules. You follow the law. Every few months you need to fly back to Europe and stamp your visa…It was a long process,” she told Harper’s Bazaar.

5. She met Trump at a party given by Paolo Zampolli, the owner of a modelling agency, in 1998. Krauss refused to give Trump her number (Trump had brought his own date), so he gave her Trump's instead. A few days later, she called him for a date. 

6. In January 2005, they were married in Palm Beach, Florida. The ornamentation on her Christian Dior wedding dress took more than 500 hours to complete.

7. Melania launched her jewelry collection, Melania Timepieces & Jewelry, with QVC in 2010. It sold out in 45 minutes. Her 2013 skin care collection, Melania Caviar Complexe C6 got wrapped up in a $50 million lawsuit over promotions and was arguably a failed business venture

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8. Melania says she has been intentionally private since the start of her husband’s campaign, focusing on raising their son, Barron William Trump, born in March 2006. She told Harper’s Baazar that she has put her own business endeavors on hold while Trump is campaigning so that she can focus on parenting: "I don't have a nanny. 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, even if it's just the two of you, being quiet in the car together."

9. She reportedly advised Donald not to run for president. “She said, ‘We have such a great life. Why do you want to do this?’” Trump told The Washington Post. Trump has also said that both Melania and his daughter Ivanka have “begged” him to act more presidential

10. She speaks six languages: Slovenian, Serbo-Croatian, English, Italian, French and German. According to The New Yorker, her favorite phrase is “from A to Z,” which she uses whether describing her family life, career or husband’s campaign.