Melania Trump is “very concerned” about her appearance, even moreso than previous modern first ladies, most of whom (excluding Jackie Kennedy) who weren’t afraid to let their flaws show, Newsweek is reporting.
University of Maryland associate professor Jennifer Golbeck, a social media expert, analyzed the first kady’s social media presence — most notably Instagram — and concluded that Melania uses intense discretion in what she allows the public to see of her. Simply put, she doesn’t want Americans seeing her with any flaws.
This fixation on her public appearance even extends to her official White House portrait. Previous first ladies in modern memory (excluding Mrs. Kennedy) have been willing to let at least some of their imperfections show in their paintings. Not Melania, says Goldbeck.
“[Melania’s official White House painting is] really very lovely but different from some of the others, which show more flaws.”
Stylist Phillip Bloch, a friend of the Trump family, is even more direct.
“You never see her with a hair out of place.”
That’s not necessarily a bad thing, says Bloch. Considering Melania’s background in professional modeling, it would seem to make sense that she’s diligent about not letting her flaws show through.
In fact, compared to Melania’s two most recent predecessors in the office of first lady, Michelle Obama or Laura Bush, Melania’s public image is one of dignity and formality. Mrs. Obama, for example, liked to laugh it up and crack jokes, even going so far as to go shopping at CVS Pharmacy with talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres. Mrs. Trump, by comparison, is downright stoic.
Her image of formality is perhaps amplified by the fact that she rarely speaks about policy or about her own personal projects. All first ladies in recent memory have had causes that they support: for Michelle Obama, it was children’s nutrition; for Laura Bush, who had formerly worked as a librarian, it was children’s reading.
So far, Melania doesn’t have a specific project attached to her name, such as Michelle’s “Let’s Move!” initiative to combat childhood obesity, or Laura’s “Ready to Read * Ready to Learn” reading project.
Mrs. Trump, according to her own communications director, Stephanie Grisham, so far hasn’t announced a formal project. She will, however, “take on more speaking roles when appropriate.” She helps to use her position as first lady to “help children,” says Grisham, although how, specifically, she intends to do that isn’t clear.
In fact, Mrs. Trump does seem to make it a point to surround herself with children as often as possible.
If Mrs. Trump’s more formal, dignified, and behind-the-scenes presence as First Lady is contrary to that of her predecessors, it’s not lost on the American public. Unlike her husband, who currently faces historically low approval ratings, Melania is largely popular with the American people. She currently has a 54 percent favorability rating and, as People reported last week, is one of the most-admired women in the U.S.