From an apartment overlooking smoke-filled factories in Communist Yugoslavia to the international runway, now billionaire wife, a heart beat away from the White House …
Meet Melania Trump, wife of GOP presidential front runner Donald Trump
Photo: Bloomberg/Getty Images
Donald Trump smiles as wife Melania Trump greets the crowd during a campaign event at the Verizon Center in Manchester, New Hampshire
How Melania Trump left her bleak Communist upbringing behind: From a childhood apartment overlooking smoke-filled Yugoslav factories all the way to the White House. Donald Trump’s third wife Melania traces her roots to Sevnica, Slovenia. Industrial town’s landscape is dominated by smoke and factory buildings. Then known as Melanija Knavs, she grew up in Communist-run Yugoslavia. Her family lived in an eight-story apartment block in the middle of town. Childhood friends recount how town ‘was too small’ for the aspiring model
Photo: Slane Jerko
Trump’s fashion and modelling career became a reality after she moved to the Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, where she was spotted by chance by photographer Stane Jerko in the street
Overlooked by Communist-era apartment blocks and ever-smoking factory chimneys, the Slovenian home town of the third wife of Donald Trump is a far cry from the luxurious life as Melania Trump a glamorous former model, the wife of the U.S. Republican presidential front-runner and mother of a 10 year old young son.Melania traces her roots back to Slovenia’s sleepy industrial town of Sevnica.
Now: Former model Melania poses with her husband and Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump
Sevnica residents remember Trump – then named Melanija Knavs – as a tall, skinny, well-behaved girl who was passionate about studying and harboured a dream of having an international fashion career.
‘I think I can say Sevnica was too small for her,’ recalled Mirjana Jelancic, a childhood friend. ‘Even as a child, she dreamed of moving.’
Back then, Slovenia was still part of Communist-run Yugoslavia. Slightly more liberal than other Eastern European dictatorships, Yugoslavia kept open ties with the West and its citizens enjoyed free travel.
Melania who lived with her father and mother, in an eight-story building right next to their daughter’s brightly painted primary school, started modeling at 16, while in high school
A photo showing the industrial landscape of Sevnica, where Melania Trump spent her formative years
She took jobs in Milan, Paris and other fashion hubs, becoming proficient in English, German, French and Italian in addition to Slovenian and Serbo-Croatian.She changed her name to Melania Knauss and settled in New York in 1996. Two years later, she met her future husband at a party in Manhattan where the newly separated Donald Trump asked the model, 24 years his junior, forShe rebuffed him because he was with a date that night, she has said. But by the next year, they were a couple. Married in January 2005, the Trumps had their son Barron a little over a year later.
Dominated by factory buildings and apartment blocks, Sevnica was still part of Communist-run Yugoslavia during Mrs Trump’s childhood
Big moment: Melania Trump sat down for her first one-on-one interview since husband Donald announced he was running for president eight months ag
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