Did Melania Trump come from humble beginnings similar to the average American? Despite a persistent, incorrect rumor that she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, her history paints a much different picture. Most people who reach a high political office aren’t able to relate to the average American. As a FLOTUS with humble beginnings, Melania may be America’s hope for interpreting what the average American needs.
• Melania Trump, then known as Melania Knauss, was born in Slovenia to Viktor And Amalija Knavs. Her father was a used car salesman; her mother was a seamstress. The town she grew up in was home to just 5,000 people.
• Like parts of America’s rust belt, Sevnica has also experienced widespread industry failures over the years. This included a loss of her mother’s sewing plant, the near loss of her father’s early career, and serious poverty.
• During at least one period of time in Slovenia, Melania’s father became so desperate for work that he sold car parts on the side of the road. He persevered through his struggles and eventually succeeded in finding more lucrative work.
• Although the Knauss’ were far from rich, they were able to maintain a modest, middle-class lifestyle in the tiny town of Sevnica. For most of Melania’s childhood, they resided in a small apartment not much different from the average American lower-middle-class apartment.
• Melania first came to the United States after her father, Viktor, experienced great success as a traveling car salesman in what was then Yugoslavia. It was Viktor’s success in his career that allowed her to first travel to the United States in 1996.
• Like many Americans, Melania had dreams of becoming an entrepreneur. “As a young entrepreneur, I wanted to follow my dream to a place where freedom and opportunity were in abundance. So of course, I came here.”
• Melania’s beauty afforded her the opportunity to become a model quite early in life. But there’s little evidence that her career was anything but superficial. Details of her assignments are available, but far from rival the average American supermodel.
• In fact, at least one news outlet reports that part of what brought her to the United States was a series of 10 modeling jobs over several months. The jobs paid $20,056 – not each, but in total. While it certainly was enough to live on, it was far from “rich.”
• Although she eventually married Donald Trump, the POTUS wasn’t the only reason she remained in the United States. “Living and working in America was a true blessing, but I wanted something more. I wanted to be an American.”