Entertainment Celebrity Melania Trump’s weird New Year’s selfie is a First Lady first

Melania Trump’s weird New Year’s selfie is a First Lady first

Donald Trump Melania Trump Congressional Ball
Donald and Melania Trump hit up the Congressional Ball at the White House on December 15. Photo: Getty
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Ringing in 2019 at her husband Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, Melania Trump kicked off the new year with a First Lady first – posting a candid black-and-white selfie overlaid with a sparkly filter.

“Wishing everyone a happy, healthy, peaceful and prosperous new year,” wrote the smiling Mrs Trump, 48.

The unusual departure from Melania’s modus operandi was immediately noted.

Since Mr Trump first put up his hand to run for US President, the former model has super-carefully curated her social media image, from giving up ponytails (not on brand for the ‘mother’ of the nation) to ditching casual personal shots.

Until now, FLOTUS has been diligent about protecting what little privacy she has left. Not for her posting shots of son Barron, 12, as he grows up, or of catch-up dinners with girlfriends.

So does Mrs Trump’s New Year’s Eve photo – indistinguishable in its ordinariness from social messages shared the same night by suburban matrons everywhere – flag that she might do more things her own way in 2019?

“In a lot of ways the First Lady isn’t following the traditional path,” CNN White House reporter Kate Bennett said on December 30, recapping Melania’s year and forecasting her next moves.

“She’s the most independent First Lady in terms of what she’s doing, making up her own rules, that we’ve seen quite frankly in modern history.

“She does what she wants to do, whether that’s tweeting, expressing something that doesn’t necessarily fall in line with her husband’s administration policy.”

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Wishing everyone a Happy, Healthy, Peaceful and Prosperous New Year! ✨

A post shared by First Lady Melania Trump (@flotus) on

On New Year’s Eve, the man on Melania’s arm was a tuxedoed Barron.

With the government shutdown keeping an unhappy Mr Trump, 72, at the White House, she was the evening’s unofficial host, gliding through the Mar-a-Lago crush in a spangled black Stella McCartney dress.

The colour was unusual for Mrs Trump, who in past years has shown a preference for pink gowns at New Year’s Eve parties (last year it was a rose embroidered Erdem satin number). She first wore black in 2016 when her husband was president-elect.

Melania’s debut appearance at the lavish annual party was in 1999, when her then-boyfriend Mr Trump charged $2846 a head (reportedly the highest-ever ticket price in Palm Beach for a non-charity event) and trucked in 13 kilograms of caviar.

Heavily pregnant at the bash in 2005, she was “paraded around like a broodmare”, according to Vanity Fair, which reported Mr Trump urged her to stand up “so you can all see what I’ve done to her”.

In 2018, Melania mingled with paid-up club members and their guests, who paid $1760 for a cover band and fancy dinner. While this year’s menu hasn’t come to light yet, last year it included the Trump iceberg wedge salad, lobster ravioli, sea bass and a baked Alaska dessert.

One guest who seemed bowled over by Melania was Australian billionaire Anthony Pratt, who posted a shot of his brush with “the very warm” Mrs Trump.

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the very warm Melania Trump

A post shared by Anthony Pratt (@anthonypratt1) on

Mr Pratt, executive chairman of Visy Industries and Pratt Industries United States, sat next to Mrs Trump at a dinner in New York in May 2017.

Amanda Ungaro, the model wife of United Nations ambassador to Dominica, Paolo Zampolli, shared a photo of herself and Melania twinning at the event.

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New Year 2019! MIA

A post shared by Amanda Ungaro (@amandazungaro) on

Ms Ungaro also posted an Instagram story of Melania chatting away madly at the dinner table.

Certainly, 2019 has – so far – started better for Melania than last year. Just 12 days into 2018, news broke that porn star Stormy Daniels alleged she had an affair with Mr Trump in 2005 when his wife was pregnant with Barron.

Donald Trump Melania Trump Iraq trip
The Trumps (with Melania in the controversial ‘no pants’ pants) return from Iraq on December 27. Photo: Getty

“She sort of had to find her footing in that scenario,” CNN’s Ms Bennett said.

“She’s done a lot of things that people haven’t noticed with children, visiting the military just this past week.”

Mrs Trump’s lightning visit to Iraq with her husband was the first time in more than a decade a First Lady has travelled to a war zone, according to her communications director Stephanie Grisham.

“This is a First Lady who wants it both ways. She wants to talk about cyber bullying while not addressing the elephant in the room, that she’s married to a big cyber bully,” Ms Bennett said.

“There’s still room to find that footing … while balancing this privacy, this microscope she’s under and wants to keep, and at the same time being First Lady of the United States.”