Melania Trump will become the First Lady of the US today
The Slovenian model will become the second-ever First Lady to be born overseas, and the first since Louisa Adams – whose husband John Quincy Adams was President from 1825 until 1829.
She was born Melanija Knavs on April 26, 1970 and grew up with her parents and sister Ines in a modest home in Sevnica, a small town in central Slovenia.
“My mom was in the fashion business. I was five years old when I did my first catwalk and did commercials at 16,” she told the website Parenting.
She went on to study architecture and design at university, but dropped out when she signed with an Italian modelling agency at the age of 18.
In 1996, Melania – who by then had changed her surname to Knauas – moved to New York.
Melania began modelling as a child
The family lived in a modest home in central Slovenia
She became hugely successful and graced the covers of magazines such as Vogue, GQ and Sports Illustrated, but eschewed the typical model lifestyle.
“She came to do a job. She didn’t come for any other reason. So she was doing what a model should be doing — go to the gym and go to work,” said ID Models Management founder Paolo Zampolli.
She first met Donald at a New York Fashion Week party in 1998, when she was just 28 years old.
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First Lady-Elect Melania Trump in pictures
Fri, November 11, 2016
We take a look at the modelling past of First Lady-elect Melania Trump who's married to the designated 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump.
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Slovene-born American former model, Melania Trump who is married to American businessman and President-elect of the United States, Donald Trump
Melania's career exploded when she moved to the US
The couple began dating in 1998
Melania became Donald's third wife in 2005
Donald – who is 24 years her elder – was separated from his second wife Marla Maples at the time and was attending the party with another woman.
Donald explained to People magazine: ”I saw Melania and I said, 'Who is that?’.
“She was a very successful model. She was terrific. I tried to get her number, and she wouldn't give it to me.”
Melania graced the cover of British GQ
She appeared in Vogue after her wedding to Donald
Melania added: “I had heard he was a ladies' man, and so I said, 'I'm not one of the ladies.’
I had heard he was a ladies' man
“He said later that he sent her [his date] to the ladies' room so he could get my number. I was like, 'Oh what a sneaky way!’”
Love soon blossomed, and the couple eventually married in a lavish ceremony at Donald’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in 2005.
Melania gave birth to Barron in 2006
Barron is Donald's fifth child
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Trump has been married three times and has five children, plus eight grandchildren.
A year later they welcomed a son, Barron. He is Melania’s first child and Donald’s fifth.
After today’s ceremony in Washington, Melania is expected to fly back to New York where she will remain while her husband is in Washington.
Melania made several speeches during her husband's campaign
Melania is in Washington currently but will return to New York
Donald surprised the US when he announced that Melania and Barron will remain in their home, Trump Tower, until the 10-year-old has finished the school year.
It is thought that Donald's daughter Ivanka, who is moving to Washington, will serve as a de facto First Lady in Melania's abscence.