Though Melania Trump was undeniably one of the most glamorous first ladies the White House has ever seen, well before her time in Washington, she was also a sought-after model, with a series of photographs from that era having resurfaced in recent days, as SheKnows reports.
A coffee table book entitled Candids Miami 2, featuring images shot by celebrity photographer Manny Hernandez, was just released, and it contains pictures of a young Melania before she became Mrs. Donald Trump.
Among the images featured in the book is one taken in 1999, during the future Mrs. Trump's early modeling days.
The woman then known as Melania Knauss is seen in the photo attending a party given by Ocean Drive magazine.
In the shot, Melania is sporting a sleek black dress and silver jewelry and is notably holding a copy of the aforementioned magazine, the cover of which she graced that particular month.
As Hernandez explained, “She wasn't married to Donald Trump at the time, they were dating. Melania was fairly reserved, maybe because she didn't speak much English and was much younger than Trump.”
“But she loved her cover, that's for sure,” the photographer added.
Hernandez, speaking to the Daily Mail about his recollections of the future first couple, said that Mr. Trump was a veritable fixture in Miami back in Melania's early modeling days, and he would often capture his image at high-profile events.
“At the time he was the big mogul from New York. He would work the room and make his way into all the pictures,” said Hernandez.
Musing about the future president's modus operandi at the time, the photographer added, “I don't know if he chased fame or if fame chased him.”
Despite her background in fashion and modeling, Melania Trump – as first lady – did not receive the sort of fawning coverage media coverage of her style and appearance typically afforded to women in her position – particularly those married to Democrat presidents.
Though her predecessor, Michelle Obama, and her successor, Jill Biden, both appeared on Vogue magazine covers, Mrs. Trump was never offered the same honor during her time in the White House.
Speaking on the topic with Fox News' Pete Hegseth last year, Mrs. Trump underscored the anti-Republican sentiment that plagues such publications, noting, “They're biased, and they have likes and dislikes. It's so obvious, and I think American people and everyone see[s] it.”
Brushing aside any hard feelings about the glaring double standard, Mrs. Trump added, “It was their decision. I have much more important things to do, and I did in the White House than being on the cover of Vogue," but whether Melania will be asked to grace the magazine's pages if she and her husband return to D.C. in January of 2025, only time will tell.