The first and only time America saw Melania Trump on the campaign trail, she was gliding down a gilded escalator with her husband Donald; midriff-baring and beaming proudly, she was and is quite unlike the rest of 2016 field’s spouses.
The former model, mother of one, and jewelry designer didn’t say a word during her husband’s campaign announcement. Instead, it was daughter Ivanka Trump who provided the loving, humanizing introduction usually offered up by candidate’s wives. Melania only smiled for photos and then departed with Donald.
“She is a very confident person. You’ve seen her on ‘The View,’ and you’ve seen her on different shows. Larry King. You’ve seen her being interviewed. She’s got a great style, and she would be an amazing first lady with heart,” Mr. Trump told the Hollywood Reporter, saying she’d hit the campaign trail by the end of August – though that hasn’t happened.
A spokesman speedily declined msnbc’s inquiry to speak with Melania, but long before her husband ran for office, the Slovenian immigrant who speaks four languages left behind a colorful – and at times scantily clad – media trail that offers a window to the potential future first lady.
Here’s Melania’s most memorable moments.
1. She turned down Donald when they first met. Then-Melania Knauss met Donald Trump at a party in 1998 during New York Fashion Week and refused to give the mogul her phone number.
”I am not a girl who will just give away the number to anybody,” she told The New York Times in 1999. She called him days later and the pair have been together since then.
2. Sex talk with Howard Stern. “We have incredible sex at least once a day,” she told Stern in 2000. “Sometimes even more.”
The notorious interview made headlines for Stern’s invasive questions (What is she wearing? “Not much,” she told the shock-jock) and Trump’s boasting about how hot Melania looks in a “very small thong.”
Melania shrugged it off.
”It’s the man thing, that’s how the man talks,” she told the Times.
3. The perfect political spouse? “[S]peaking with Ms. Knauss is like speaking with a huge, shimmering bubble. She’s light, she’s fun, she’s exceptionally wonderful to look at; two hours later you walk away and the conversation disappears into the air. Pop! If anything substantial was said, it is difficult to recall,” The New York Times wrote in 1999. “She might, in other words, be the perfect political spouse.”
Fifteen years before his actual bid, Melania promised to be a proper first lady if the opportunity arose.
”I would be very traditional. Like Betty Ford or Jackie Kennedy. I would support him,” she told the Times.
4. “How to Marry a Billionaire.” Ahead of the Trumps’ 2005 nuptials, Melania and her edgy Dior gown appeared on the cover of Vogue with an accompanying story titled “How to Marry a Billionaire.”
The white satin dress was made from 300 feet of material and embroidered with 1,500 crystal rhinestones and pearls. It was estimated to be one of the most expensive gowns ever made. The bride was encouraged to eat well before the wedding so she’d have the energy to hoist the gown so large she required a bench rather than a chair for the ceremony.
5. Yes, that wedding – the one Trump says he paid Hillary Clinton to attend. Two years before the Clintons’ attendance at the Trump wedding became a political football, Melania tweeted this photo of the four laughing.
6. Posing in a gold bikini on a hangar – while seven months pregnant. The Trumps don’t do anything quietly, and it seems that maternity photos are no exception: for this shoot, Melania donned a gold bikini and posed on the steps up to their private jet.
7. “Where’s my supermodel?” Trump shouted at a 1999 event while testing the waters for a presidential bid.
Here she is a year later, on the cover of British GQ wearing only jewelry.