7 Facts About Melania Trump That You Wouldn't Have Expected From FLOTUS
The first lady turns 49 on Thursday, April 26. Since her husband assumed the presidency, she's been one of the more low-profile first ladies, and in fact only moved into the White House midway through Donald Trump's first year in office. Although it's well-known that she's a former model from Slovenia, there's still a lot about her that isn't frequently reported, so here are seven facts you probably didn't know about Melania Trump.
Days before Melania's birthday on Thursday, Donald sent out an email praising her role in the Trump family and asking supporters to sign a birthday card for her.
"Melania is my rock and foundation," the president wrote, "and I wouldn’t be the man I am today without her by my side. She’s the cornerstone of our family, and an incredible mother to our son, Barron. I’m so proud of her accomplishments, and I hope you’ll wish her well on her special day."
Since entering the White House, Melania has played a somewhat different role than her predecessors. Melania lived in New York with her son Barron until June, and is generally sparser in her public appearances than, say, first ladies like Michelle Obama or Hillary Clinton were.
But there's a lot more to Melania than meets the eye. Here are some lesser-known facts about the first lady.
She's The First Catholic To Live In The White House Since JFK
Melania only revealed in that she was Catholic in 2017, according to HuffPost, after meeting with Pope Francis at the Vatican. This makes her the first Catholic to live in the White House since John F. Kennedy and Jackie Kennedy Onassis (Former Vice President Joe Biden is also Catholic, but the vice president doesn't live in the White House).
Her Secret Service Name Is "Muse"
Candidates for president and vice president all receive Secret Service nicknames, and so do their spouses. Melania's nickname is "MUSE," according to a Washington Post report at the time, while her husband's is "MOGUL." According to the Post, it's standard for married couples to be given nicknames that begin with the same letter.
She Once Said A Jewish Journalist "Provoked" Anti-Semitic Death Threats
After Jewish reporter Julia Ioffe wrote a profile of Trump that some perceived as unflattering, Ioffe was bombarded with anti-Semitic death threats from Trump supporters. When asked about the incident, Melania appeared to blame Ioffe herself, saying that she "went too far" in the article and had thus "provoked" the racist death threats she was receiving.
Donald said that he "heard it was a nasty article" and that "I don’t have a message to the fans" who sent the death threats.
She Was Born In A Communist Country That No Longer Exists
Melania was born in Novo Mesto, a small town in what's now the country of Slovenia. But in 1970, when she was born, Slovenia was part of Yugoslavia, a Communist country that encompassed several other regions that are now independent countries. Yugoslavia collapsed in the early '90s, and Slovenia formally declared independence in 1991.
She Dropped Out Of College To Model
Melania attended University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, where she studied design and architecture. Although her personal website once stated that she received a degree from the university, the official White House website now says that she "paused her studies to advance her modeling career in Milan and Paris." A professor at the university later told NBC News that, although he believed Melania's "IQ was very high," she didn't complete her studies at Ljubljana.
She Appeared In An Aflac Insurance Commercial
In 2005, Melania starred in a commercial for Aflac Insurance. In the ad, a pair of mad scientists undertake an experiment to swap Melania's voice with that of the Aflac "spokesduck," so that the duck can "tell the world the benefits of Aflac with sex appeal!" The spot ends with the duck giving the Aflac pitch in Melania's voice.
She Reportedly Speaks Six Languages
According to CNN, Melania speaks no fewer than six languages: Slovenian, French, Serbian, German, Italian and English.
She's The Second Foreign-Born First Lady
The first was Louisa Adams, John Quincy Adams' wife, who was born in England.
She Changed Her Name Twice
It's often reported that the first lady's maiden name is Melania Knauss. But that wasn't her birth name: She was born Melanija Knavs, but changed her last name to Knauss during her modeling career and ditched the "J" in her first name. Then, after marrying Donald in 2005, she changed her last name to Trump.
This is the first birthday Melania will celebrate while living in the White House. With Donald set to serve his first term out and his intention to run again in 2020, it likely won't be her last.