See Pics of Melania Trump’s Transformation Since She Married Donald Trump!

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She is the statuesque, bronzed, and stunning “better half” to our next president. Unapologetically coiffed to the nines, and often underestimated as shy and unassuming, she is a steady powerhouse: mother, executive, philanthropist, and unwavering partner-in-chief. All the world’s eyes upon her, she has been thrust into the political spotlight. Forced to answer for her husband, and herself, while proving to an entire country of vastly differing views that she is worthy of our admiration and capable of forging an aspirational path for women that allows for both traditional values, as well as illuminated progress. No small task for any woman. Even for one who seems to have it all.

An easy target, the media has devoured her personal history, like wolves to prey. But even though her frame may be lean, she has proven unshakeable. She is a willing participant, ready to face the challenges ahead, while maintaining a fierce confidence in herself. She is strong. She is graceful. And with a beauty that originates in her heart, she is a force with which to be reckoned. She is Melania Trump. And on Friday January 20, 2017, she steps her Louboutin-clad foot into the White House as First Lady of the United States of America.

Growing up Knauss (in Yugoslavia)

She was born Melania Knauss, on April 26, 1970 in the industrial town of Novo Mesto, in the former Yugoslavia. Light years away from the opulent NYC penthouse she calls home today, she spent her earliest years kicking around in a stark, Communist-era apartment block, looking out onto factory chimney stacks, according to the AP (via PEOPLE). The NYTimes reports her father Viktor worked as a salesman, and her mother Amalija was a children’s clothing designer. “I think I can say [Novo Mesto] was too small for her,” childhood friend Mirjana Jelancic shared with the AP (via PEOPLE). “Even as a child, she dreamed of moving.” Jelancic, now elementary school principal where both formerly attended, further described Melania to ABC News, “She was a very good student. She was an angel.”

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