Melania Trump appeared at the White House on Friday and her scarlet coatdress reminded some of Nancy Reagan’s famous outfit during her husband’s swearing-in ceremony 36 years ago.
The fit-and-flare is becoming one of the First Lady’s signature silhouettes and despite the lack of support she’s getting from some designers, Melania continues to keep her head held high. This isn’t the first time Melania was compared to another iconic woman. When she donned the sky blue Ralph Lauren ensemble for her husband’s inauguration, people were reminded of Jacqueline Kennedy.
Recently, a physical communication author has also likened Melania to the late Princess Diana of Wales because the two women reportedly reflect elegance and shyness.
According to Judi James, how Melania represents herself during public sightings has a resemblance to the manner the People’s Princess acted outside. “[Melania Trump] is the show-stopper who looks terrified of stopping the show,” she told the Mirror.
Melania is rarely spotted at the White House and chooses to stay at the Trump Towers to let 10-year-old son Barron finish the school year. Nonetheless, when she goes out, she makes it a point to leave a lasting impression. When the president delivered his first major speech to Congress, Melania donned a Michael Kors suit.
The body language expert details that Melania is adamant to maintain a low-key appeal.
“The show is, of course, her husband’s and he’s not a man with a love of being upstaged. Melania looked intent on making a much more low-key entrance, descending the stairs to her balcony seat looking self-conscious and rather lonely. She shook hands with her guests in a rather overly-formal way when you might have expected a hug and performed a quick hair-preen that suggested anxiety at being the center of so much attention.”
She further noted that Melania looked anxious during the speech because she wanted her husband to get all the attention.
“Her facial expressions during this moment under the spotlight ranged from Hollywood smile to micro-gestures of anxiety plus a more surprised-looking smile at the audience’s apparent affection. She nodded a couple of times but overall she looked keen to have the spotlight turned back onto her husband.”
Princess Diana was loved by many because of her reserved, yet warm demeanor. Back when her marriage with Prince Charles was on the rocks, she refused to speak ill of him. She made headlines for interacting with the British people on a more personal level. Prior to becoming the People’s Princess, the mother-of-two also struggled with the glare of publicity.
It might take some time before the seemingly shy Melania gets used to the political limelight. It is significant to note that she isn’t the only first lady who encountered difficulty in adjusting to the position.
Lisa Kathleen Graddy, the curator of the First Ladies exhibit found at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History, cited some examples of women “who have to feel their way into the position.” She told The New York Times that each lady “had her own adjustment period and some never really adjusted at all.”
Louisa Adams, who was born outside the United States like Melania, had to prove her strength, especially because her mother-in-law thought she was “a little too fine a lady” to become a politician’s wife. President John Quincy Adams’ other half did her best to become a great hostess, but people close to her knew that she got depressed. To distract herself, Louisa reportedly resorted to eating chocolates and penning poems and stories with a repressed female lead.
Like Melania, Bess Truman was also dedicated to shielding her daughter, Margaret, from the media. It is believed that President Harry Truman’s wife never completely adapted to life in the White House because she opted to visit her hometown, Independence, Missouri, frequently.
Ohio University professor Katherine Jellison told the website that Pat Nixon also struggled with her new role at first.
“Even people who can recall the Nixon presidency probably can’t remember the sound of her voice,” she noted. “She would have preferred a very different kind of life.”
[Featured Image by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images]