A debate over Melania Trump’s absence from fashion magazine covers has been reignited after conservative actor James Woods questioned why the first lady has “never graced our nation’s major style magazine covers”.
Prior to becoming first lady, Mrs Trump worked as a fashion model - a career that eventually led to her meeting her husband President Donald Trump in September 1998.
However, since taking on the role of first lady, Mrs Trump has not appeared on any magazine covers. In comparison, Michelle Obama was featured on 12 magazine covers during her eight years as first lady, including Vogue three times, Glamour, Time, InStyle and Essence.
On Twitter, Woods alleged that the decision of many magazines not to feature Mrs Trump was proof of the “shameless bias of the liberal mainstream media”.
“If you need any further proof of the shameless bias of the liberal mainstream media, the most stunning First Lady in American history has never graced our nation’s major style magazine covers…” Woods wrote on 8 February, alongside a photo of Mrs Trump taken ahead of the White House’s governor’s ball.
If you need any further proof of the shameless bias of the liberal mainstream media, the most stunning First Lady in American history has never graced our nation’s major style magazine covers... @FLOTUS@realDonaldTrumppic.twitter.com/qvL07hVdT9— James Woods (@RealJamesWoods)February 8, 2020
The tweet, which was liked more than 107,000 times, prompted some to agree with Woods’ assessment.
“Absolutely unconscionable,” one person wrote in response. “She is the epitome of class and grace, elegance and intelligence.”
Another said: “You’re exactly right. They can’t stand that she’s so beautiful and conservative.”
While Mrs Trump may appear on magazine covers in the future, it is unlikely she will be featured on Vogue’s cover, as editor-in-chief Anna Wintour previously revealed the magazine is “taking a stand” when it comes to politics.
During an interview with CNN, Wintour said: “I don't think it's a moment not to take a stand… I believe, as I think those of us who work at Condé Nast believe, that you have to stand up for what you believe in and you have to take a point of view."
The fashion magazine’s editor-in-chief also addressed why many political figures profiled are Democrats, explaining: “I think it's very, very important to have a point of view, and we profile women in the magazine that we believe in ... After the defeat of Secretary Clinton in 2016 (in particular), we believe that women should have a leadership position and we intend to support them.”
Following the interview, Mrs Trump’s spokesperson Stephanie Grisham criticised Wintour, and said that the first lady’s role is “more important than some superficial photo shoot and cover”.
“To be on the cover of Vogue doesn’t define Mrs Trump, she’s been there, done that long before she was First Lady,” Grisham said. “Her role as First Lady of the United States and all that she does is much more important than some superficial photo shoot and cover.
“This just further demonstrates how biased the fashion magazine industry is, and shows how insecure and small-minded Anna Wintour really is.”
Mrs Trump was featured on the cover of Vogue in February 2005 wearing a wedding dress following her wedding to President Trump. She has also previously been on the cover of Vanity Fair.
This is not the first time that Woods has raised the question of why the first lady has not been featured on magazine covers during her time in the White House.
In 2018, he tweeted: “If the Trumps were Democrats, Melania would be on every cover of every chic women’s magazine in the world every month.”
According to James Heidenry, editorial director of Bauer Publishing Entertainment Group, the reason may also be because Mrs Trump is very private and regularly turns down interview opportunities. Speaking to NBC News, he explained that editors "can't write about what they don't know"
The Independent has contacted Vogue for comment.
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