Melania Trump’s journey towards becoming the First Lady of the United States has been extraordinary. As a teenager growing up in Slovenia she was discovered by a photographer, and not long afterwards, the up-and-coming model made it big in the US.
Her parents, Viktor and Amalija Knauss have always supported her. When she became a famous model in the US, they decided to move close to her. But in fact, Melania isn’t their only child. Melania Trump has a sister, Ines, who initially wanted to walk the same career path as her sister.
Much about Ines’ life is a mystery as she has only been seen with her sister in public a few times. Let’s take a closer look at what we know about the sister of the former first lady.
Melania Trump became famous worldwide when she married the then-real estate mogul Donald Trump. Today, as we all know, he is renowned for more than just his hotels and estates, and the same goes for Melania, who written herself into history as a First Lady of the United States.
However, before she met Donald for the first time, Melania was already famous. Her modeling work spoke for itself, and she was on her way to becoming a world-famous model when her romance with Donald Trump started. When they began dating, her life changed forever.
Melania Trump & sister Ines Knauss – early life
Melania Trump has always had the support of not only Donald Trump but, most importantly, his parents. Viktor and Amalija Knauss have always been by her side, and many years back, they, too, lived in the United States. But Viktor and Amlija are not only supporting Melania but also their second daughter and Melania’s sister, Ines Knauss, who is three years older.
So, where do Melania and her sister, Ines, come from? Naturally, little is known about her childhood. However, more has been written about Melania’s.
Melania – born Melania Knauss – was born on April 26, 1970, in Novo Mesto, Slovenia. She and her older sister Ines grew up in the small railway town of Sevnica, but later, the family moved to the capital of Ljubljana.
Her father, Viktor, was a car mechanic and chauffeur, and her mother, Amalija, worked as a pattern-maker at a clothing factory. Amalija had a great passion for design and spent hours and hours making clothes for Melania and Ines.
“I grew up with a beautiful family and had a wonderful childhood,” Melania Trump previously said. “My mother and father taught us the importance of education, hard work and family.”
Amalija met Viktor in 1966 while he was the driver for a nearby town’s mayor. They fell in love and married. While Slovenia was part of Communist Yugoslavia, and money was a big issue for many, Amalija and Viktor lived a very good life.
“[Amalija] was very pretty,” Vladimira Tomsic, Melania’s classmate and later in charge of a local hospital to which Melania donated $25,000 after marrying Donald Trump, told GQ in 2016. “She was always very fancy.”
“She was tall, slim, with long hair”
When she became a mother, Amalija sewed clothing for herself and her two daughters, Ines and Melania, which would inspire the then-future First Lady. When growing up, Melania did her own designs, and Amalija sewed them.
Viktor and Amalija brought Melania and Ines to France, Italy, and Germany on vacations. Meanwhile, in their hometown of Sevnica, Melania’s parents still own the same house, which they visit several times a year.
Melania went on to study at a particular high school for industrial design and photography, but at the age of 16, her life would change. And it was purely down to coincidence.
While leaving a fashion show at the Festival Hall, fashion photographer Stane Jerko noticed Melania leaning on a fence.
Then – in 1987 – photographers didn’t have the opportunity to find new faces for their work through the internet. Instead, chancing upon someone in real life was how it was sometimes done.
“By the staircase at the entrance, I saw this girl,” Jerko recalled. “She was tall, slim, with long hair. I told her who I was, what I did, and why I would photograph her.”
At that point, Melania wanted to study to become an architect. But at the same time, this was a big opportunity. Meanwhile, Jerko thought the girl had something special.
Melania ended up studying at the University of Ljubljana. After just a year, though, she decided to pursue her dream of being a model. She hired a photographer to put together a portfolio for her.
Melania Trump & Ines Knauss moved to Milan together
A year later, at 18, she signed with a modeling agency in Milan. She spent a couple of years doing modeling work in Milan and Paris and was doing very well. However, she didn’t go there by herself. The aspiring model inspired her sister, Ines, who also wanted to enter the business.
In the early 1990s, Melania Trump and Ines Knauss set their sights on Milan a the place where they could begin a long and successful modeling career.
However, going out for drinks wasn’t quite Melania’s cup of tea. Instead, she preferred to go home after work to spend time with Ines.
“She kept to herself, she was a loner. After a shoot or a catwalk, she went home, not out. She didn’t want to waste time partying,” Jerko said.
While Melania was a fashion model, Ines wanted to pursue a career in fashion design, Paris-based photographer Ale de Basseville told the New York Post. He would work with Melania in the mid-1990s, as he took nude pictures of her for a French men’s magazine when she had moved to New York.
“She really wanted to be in fashion but didn’t know how to break in,” de Basseville said of Ines Knauss. “Ines wasn’t like the other girls you would meet there, who behave like queens. She was really polite and very mellow.”
However, Ines had a hard time breaking into the fashion design industry. When Melania Trump moved to New York, after contacting the wealthy Italian businessman Paolo Zampolli – who helped Melania get a modeling contract and a work visa to travel to the US – Ines joined.
Melania Trump went on to have a very successful modeling career. Also, thanks to Zampolli, she met Donald Trump in 1998, and what happened next, we all know. But what ever became of Ines?
Ines Knauss defends Melania Trump on social media
Not much is known about the rest of her life, and when trying to find pictures of her, only one from a fundraiser in Palm Beach in 2005 shows up. The same year, Ines was maid of honor at the first lady’s wedding to Donald at Mar-a-Lago.
It certainly appears that she prefers to live a private life without having the press go near her. Still, she doesn’t stay quiet when there are things involving her family that she doesn’t like.
As the New York Post reported, Ines Knauss has used her Facebook page to protect her sister several times, giving people insights into her and Melania’s early life. Meanwhile, she used her social media platform to dismiss false rumors about, for example, Melania’s ex-boyfriend who wanted to profit from tell-all stories in Slovenia when Trump ran for president the first time around.
When some ex-boyfriends of Melania gave interviews to the Slovenian press, Ines posted on Facebook, “We all have good memories & lies are not good karma,” the New York Post reported.
“Ines is a very dedicated sister,” Milan-based fashion designer Luisa Beccaria, who’s met Ines several times, told the news outlet.
In 2006, Louisa Beccari visited Melania and Ines after Barron Trump was born. At that point, she was fascinated by their strength as a family.
“I realized that Melania was very close to her family when I saw them all there supporting her after Barron’s birth,” Becarria said. “Melania had all the professional help she needed at that point, but it was her sister she trusted.”
Melania Trump is living at Mar-a-Lago with Donald and their son, Barron, as he will soon graduate and move on to college studies. However, in New York, she lives only minutes away from Ines.
“Melania’s core family is really her family”
According to public records, as of 2017, Ines has lived in a one-bedroom apartment on Park Avenue in a building owned by the Trump Organization. It’s said to be worth around $2 million. It’s the same building where ODnald Trum+p’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, and her husband, Jared Kushner, lived before moving to Washington DC.
Meanwhile, she often has he parents around, as Viktor and Amalija also moved to the US. When Melana was first lady, they were at events at the White House several times.
A source close to People Magazine stated that Viktor and Amlija lived with Melania and Barron, no matter where they said they were home. It included their huge apartment at Trump Tower in New York and their Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. That also included Donald Trump’s club in Bedminster, New Jersey, where the family often relocated for the summer.
“Melania’s core family is really her family. They are a big part of her life,” the source told People and stated that her family “of course not” enjoyed the scrutiny and scandals surrounding Trump.
“But they make the best of the situation, the source added. “They have no other choice, and they have chosen to stay here and support their daughter and grandson.”
Melania has previously shared some artwork made by Ines, but what she is doing day-to-day, no one knows. However, seeing her picture, it’s obvious they are siblings.
For years, they have been best friends. Palm Beach philanthropist Audrey Gruss met Ines and Melania during a fundraiser for the Boys’ Club of New York at the Trumps’ Mar-a-Lago estate in 2005. It was obvious that they had a strong bond.
“They are very close,” Gruss told the New York Post. “She struck me as a lovely person, and extremely creative.”