Before she took the White House rose garden by storm, Melania Trump made plenty of on-screen appearances in film, television and commercials. Here are some of her best.
Melania the film star
In the 2001 comedy film Zoolander, Melania makes a cameo alongside her husband, Donald Trump, who tells reporters: “Without Derek Zoolander, male modelling wouldn’t be what it is today.”
The cameo came about because the couple were at the now defunct VH1 fashion awards. “We pulled them aside and asked them to talk about Derek Zoolander, and so Trump and Melania did that,” filmmaker Ben Stiller – who also plays the title character – told The New Abnormal podcast.
And Melania was in good company, as the likes of David Bowie and Lenny Kravitz also had cameos in the motion picture.
Some stars have supported removing Donald Trump’s cameos from films. However, Stiller dismissed the notion on the podcast when it came to Zoolander, insisting the Trumps’ appearance represented a certain era in pop culture.
Melania the reality TV star
When Melania launched a caviar-based skin care line in 2013, she turned to her husband’s reality show The Celebrity Apprentice to help increase exposure for it. The Caviar Complexe C6 collaboration she created with New Sunshine earned her US$1 million upfront plus other perks, but the company still had to pay US$100,000 to be featured on the show.
The episode, featuring Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star Lisa Rinna and actor Stephen Baldwin, showed basketball star Dennis Rodman and actor Gary Busey enthusing about Melania’s good looks. At one point Busey said: “Her beauty lives 5,000 miles past heaven.”
Unfortunately, the cosmetics line was soon cancelled due to poor sales and the company and Melania even ended up suing each other.
Melania the high-profile interviewee
Forget Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s bombshell interview, when Donald and Melania introduced the world to baby Barron Trump, people couldn’t get enough of them. In 2006, they gave the Oprah Winfrey Show cameras a grand tour of their luxury Trump Tower New York triplex home. Their interview with Gayle King also allowed more of the spotlight to shine on Melania, who at the time was a model living in her husband’s somewhat more famous shadow.
The Trumps had so much respect for Oprah back then that in a 1999 interview the couple did with Larry King, Donald said he would want the media mogul to be his running mate if he ran for president.
2003: Miss Universe owner Donald Trump is joined by Miss Teen USA Tami Farrell, wife Melania Trump, Miss Universe Amelia Vega and Miss USA Susie Castillo backstage at the Luca Luca 2004 spring fashion show in Bryant Park! pic.twitter.com/7oui5NVxrJ
— Behind The Crown (@BehindCrown) October 20, 2020
Melania the beauty pageant judge
Ivanka Trump co-hosted the Miss Teen USA pageant owned by her dad, so it’s no surprise that Melania got to serve as a judge for the televised Miss USA competition in 2010. However, Donald was forced to sell the Miss Universe company in 2015 due to remarks he made about Mexicans, which caused advertisers to flee.
Melania the commercial queen
Between 2005 to 2006, she appeared in an Aflac commercial in which a crazy scientist switched her brain with that of the brand’s duck mascot.
Years before she even met Donald, Melania appeared in a commercial for a Slovenian clothing line that showed her as the first female president of the United States. In 1993, 23-year-old Melania was still an aspiring supermodel, and the scenes were shot in her European home country. The ad also shows Melania – whose sister and parents eventually joined her in the US – signing a decree to allow three people to cross the border.
Note: This story was originally published on SCMP and has been republished on this website.