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Melania Trump is the First Lady of the United States. She is married to Donald Trump, who is the 45th President of the United States.
Melania is an immigrant to the United States from a country in Eastern Europe known as Slovenia. Although she now lives a happy life, with many privileges she grew up very poor, and under an oppressive regime.
Early life[edit | edit source]
Melania Trump was born on April 26, 1970. She was born in a Slovenian city called Novo Mesto. Only at that time, Slovenia was not an independent country like it is today. It was ruled by a communist nation called Yugoslavia.
Under communism, people are often very poor. This is because the government controls all business. But in a communist society, the government uses poverty to its advantage in order to control the people. That means there is no freedom or democracy under communism.
When Melania was living in Communist Yugoslavia, her name was spelled Melanija Knavs. Her Dad, Viktor Knavs was from a nearby town called Radeče. He sold cars and motorcycles for a government owned business.
Her mother's name was Amalija. Amalija was a pattern maker who worked for a children's clothing company in Sevnica. She was originally from the village of Raka.
As a young girl, Melania, and other children of workers at the clothing factory would often take part in fashion shows, trying on the various outfits made at the factory. This gave her a fondness for modeling.
Melania has a sister named Ines, who she grew up with in Yugoslavia, and whom she calls, her "longtime confidant". She also has an older half-brother, who she has never met.
As a poor young girl, Melania lived in a very modest apartment, as did most Slovenians. She grew up in the town of Sevnica, where her mother worked. Her father was a member of the League of Communists of Slovenia, a local communist organization. Communists believe in state atheism, so that meant no members of the League of Communists were allowed to believe in a God. Against the state's wishes, however, Viktor Knavs allowed his daughter to be baptized.
When Melania was a teenager she moved with her family to a two story house in Sevnica. She later moved to Ljubljana to attend the Secondary School of Design and Photography.
After high school she would attend the University of Ljubljana before dropping out after one year.
Life as a model[edit | edit source]
Since her mother worked for the children's clothing factory in Sevnica, Melania began modeling informally from the age of five. She started doing modeling for monetary gain at the age of sixteen. Her first true assignment in the industry was posing for a Slovenian fashion photographer named Stane Jerko. When she began working as a professional model, she changed the spelling of her last name from "Knavs" to the more German looking version of "Knauss".
When she turned eighteen years old, she signed a contract to work for an Italian modeling agency. In 1995, she met Paolo Zampolli, a friend of Donald Trump. Zampolli encouraged Melania to travel to the United States to start a new life.
In 1996 she moved to Manhattan, which is in New York City.