The accusation of plagiarism against Melania Knauss Trump (or her anonymous speechwriters) has put the former model on the media griddle. As the author of Model, a book on the model business, and now Focus, on fashion photographers, I’ve fielded several calls today about the third Mrs. Trump’s career as an alleged supermodel—and disappointed the questioners, I’m afraid, by firmly dismissing it.
Knauss was simply one of the endless parade of pretty but fungible women who passed through the modeling business making hardly a mark, until she turned up at the end of the long line of actress-model-whatevers who’ve served as arm candy for Donald J. Trump over his 40 years in the public eye. Dating and then marrying Trump transformed Melania into a supermodel-of-sorts if you consider her professional peak, a near-nude appearance on the cover of British GQ, a mark of distinction.
Far more interesting—and relevant to the current political debate, where Bill Clinton’s decades-old sexual improprieties are now being regurgitated by his wife’s enemies—is Trump’s history as what’s commonly referred to as a model-fucker.