Melania Trump fans are calling for the first lady to become a magazine cover star, with some tweeting her most glamorous photos.
The issue was raised on Saturday when actor James Woods tweeted, “If the Trumps were Democrats, Melania would be on every cover of every chic women’s magazine in the world every month,” alongside a photo of the first lady wearing a strapless blue gown.
His comment echoed across Twitter in the form of 18,500 retweets and more than 58,000 likes.
On the surface, the first lady has enough cred to cover every fashion magazine on the newsstand. The former model from communist Slovenia worked in Milan and Paris before moving to the United States in 1996, where she scored covers for Sports Illustrated, Vanity Fair, Harper’s Bazaar, and GQ.
After meeting Donald Trump at a fashion party in 1998 and marrying him in 2005, Melania retreated into private life to care for the couple’s now 12-year-old son, Barron. However, her classic beauty and position in society remained a focal point for mainstream publications, blogs, and Instagram accounts.
Back in February, NBC explored Melania’s absence on magazine covers, comparing her to first lady Michelle Obama, who covered Vogue on three different occasions. One magazine editor who spoke to NBC anonymously said, “For some people, it’s a moral issue,” referring to that fact that some readers feel the administration is steeped in racist policies. “There is no way to do the Trumps without infuriating either the base or the resistance. It is a no-win.”
Another possible reason Melania doesn’t appear on covers stems from personal politics, according to Samir Husni, director of the Magazine Innovation Center at the University of Mississippi. “Some magazine editors may be putting politics ahead of money and vice versa,” he told NBC. For example, in October 2016, Vogue publicly supported Hillary Clinton for president, writing that the former secretary of state was the “perfect” presidential candidate.
And when Wintour did mull over the possibility of putting Melania on the cover of Vogue, telling the Wall Street Journal in February 2017, “We have a tradition of always covering whoever is the first lady at Vogue, and I can’t imagine that this time would be any different,” that lead to threats to boycott the publication. In the previous month, when Vanity Fair’s Mexico edition ran a cover photo of Melania posing with a plate of jewels (from a year-old issue of GQ), the magazine took heat for projecting materialism and “a lack of sensitivity.”
NBC pointed out that Melania’s avoidance of interviews is another factor. Plus, her silence — on policy, her personal platform, her husband’s alleged extramarital affairs — wouldn’t amount to compelling cover stories. There’s also the fact that, while Tommy Hilfiger and Mark Badgley and James Mischka of Badgley Mischka have made supportive statements about dressing Melania, many fashion designers, such as Tom Ford, Zac Posen, Christian Siriano, and Marc Jacobs, have refused to dress her.
Even if Melania has aspirations to be a cover star, the first couple’s distrust of certain media outlets might be problematic. In November, Melania criticized Vanity Fair for suggesting that she didn’t enjoy her role as first lady, and her communications director issued this statement:
“Once again, part of the liberal media, this time Vanity Fair, has written a story riddled with unnamed sources and false assertions. As a magazine tailored to women, it is shameful that they continue to write salacious and false stories meant to demean Mrs. Trump, rather than focus on her positive work as First Lady as a supportive wife and mother.”
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