Politics - News Analysis

Trump Brags That Wife Melania Was ‘One of the Most Successful Models’ in History — But Was She?

One of the talking points we hear most about Melania Trump is that she was a “supermodel” when she met and eventually married Donald Trump.

In fact, the first lady reportedly received the coveted EB-1 visa, or the “Einstein” visa for “extraordinary ability.” Perhaps being a world-renowned model would grant her that status, but was she a supermodel?

In 2016 when nude photos of Melania were released (purportedly under Trump’s direction by Roger Stone), Trump said, “Melania was one of the most successful supermodels and she did many photo shoots, including covers and major magazines.”

One of the most successful supermodels??

When I think of a supermodel, I think of Cindy Crawford, Naomi Campbell, Christy Turlington…not Melania Knauss.

Melania studied design at the University of Ljubljana, before abandoning it for modeling. In 1995 she was spotted in Milan by a model scout who also happened to be a friend of Trump’s. She moved to New York, sharing an apartment with a photographer named Matthew Atanian.

Atanian described her to Vanity Fair as disciplined in her pursuit of her career – although hardly to a degree that was extreme by the standards of 1990s models. “She wore ankle weights around the apartment” and strictly ate “five to seven vegetables and fruits every day”.

Her modeling career was floundering – due to “stiffness,” Atanian said – when she met Trump, in 1998.

Their partnership seems to have given them both what they most wanted. She got, says Vanity Fair, “a luxurious home where she could indulge her hobbies – Pilates and reading fashion magazines . . . and a promise that she would never have to return to drab Eastern-European prospects”.

After being known on Trump’s side, Melania infamously posed nude (with strategic covering) for British GQ’s “Sex at 30,000 feet: Melania Knauss earns her air miles” cover story in the January 2000 issue.

“She’s popular, she’s brilliant, she’s a wonderful woman,” Trump told the magazine.

If you look for modeling photos of Melania, most of the shots are similar to these:

I mean, those aren’t high-fashion shots.

I wonder, was Cindy Crawford worried about this:

Writer Quinn Cummings pointed out on Twitter that Melania has no professional photos and no ZED card, which every model has, let alone a SUPERMODEL.

meet the author

Nicole James is a lifelong Democrat and political activist who first cut her teeth as a teenager volunteering for Mike Dukakis’ presidential campaign. She has worked and volunteered for John Kerry, Hillary Clinton, HFA (Hillary For America) and Organizing For Action. She’s passionate about liberal and progressive causes, and considers President Obama her most favorite president ever. She holds her Bachelor’s from Boston College and her Master’s from Columbia University, both in Economics. When not working as a writer, she enjoys traveling and spending time with her three college-aged children.


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