04 December 2019 22:34
Will we ever really know Melania Trump? Will we ever really know the first lady of the United States, she who is seen wearing coats more often than she is heard? The first lady regularly makes appearances at charities, hospitals, and armed forces events, and appears by her husband's side at the requisite state and holiday photo ops. She talks politely with the citizenry and bows and scrapes in the general direction of the people. Sometimes she even gives speeches.
She shows up these days. And yet will we ever know her? Will we ever hear behind her anodyne pleasantries or see behind her luxury armor? CNN's Kate Bennett just published a whole unauthorized biography about her that includes juicy details like the Trumps are just like the couples who voted for him: They sleep in separate bedrooms. But after nearly 300 pages of well-sourced information, I'm still not sure. Who is Melania, the Melania at home, away from cameras, surrounded by caviar cream and, I don't know, jewels or what have you? What is she thinking? It's almost as if we need some kind of naïf, an innocent untangled from the projections and the palace intrigue and all the whispers that lend the first lady her slipperiness. To that end, thankfully on Wednesday, while in London on official NATO business with her husband, the first lady took a moment to stop by the local Salvation Army and make wreaths and ornaments with the children there. The children's review, per Emily Goodin, the Daily Mail's senior U.S. political reporter? "I'm gonna be honest and say her makeup was a bit much. It made her look sad but actually she was very happy," said one nine-year-old. Yes! Beneath that exterior, somewhere under the layers of flesh-toned goo, below protective face she puts on, there is a woman who is not sad, but instead is happy. You heard it from a school child. "My impression of her was actually really nice. Everyone was expecting her to be very grumpy but she was actually very nice," added a 10-year-old. Amazing. Where could this whole grumpy and sad expectation have come from? I suppose Melania does have eyes like cold little daggers slicing through the camera's gaze, whenever she's photographed atop this man-made wonder of the world or that one. Maybe it's a little intimidating for children, but it's something she can't really help. That's just what her face looks like, and it was probably very helpful when she was a model at a time when it was better to be aloof instead of entirely approachable. But what's one profession's asset is another's liability, as the saying goes. She is cursed by genes and perhaps a little something here and there to smize on. This is her burden, just one among many in her new life on the geopolitical main stage. Let's see here, before we go, anything else that these small ingenues can offer about our inscrutable first lady? "I was surprised at she's never had a minced pie," said the 10-year old. "She said she was going to try one tonight." Brilliant. More Great Stories From Vanity Fair — Kate Middleton is having a moment, and here's why the queen is a fan — Caught between boomers and millennials, is Generation X really our last, best hope? — Were Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Kate Middleton, and Prince William ever actually the fab four? — As the college-admissions scandal rolls onward, Felicity Huffman's and Lori Loughlin's paths diverge once again — Prince Andrew's fallout continues as he seems unable to stay away from giving interviews — From the Archive: The American nightmare and ballad of Richard Jewel Looking for more? Sign up for our daily newsletter and never miss a story.