While Melania Trump tries to keep a low profile and is extremely private, with few people being granted access to her personal life, one man is spilling details on what the future first lady is really like.
In an interview with New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, André Leon Talley shared intimate details about Melania, whom he describes as “a high, super, superglamorous Stepford Wife.” Talley also gives his take on the former model’s future place in the fashion industry and the White House, the intersection between fashion and politics, and the 45th president of the United States.
Vogue’s former editor-at-large holds a unique perspective on the incoming first lady, having spent time with her while on assignment for the famed magazine and eventually becoming one of her friends.
He even helped her pick out the stunning Dior gown she wore for her 2004 wedding to the businessman at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida and appeared on the cover of Vogue a month later in her dress. The accompanying piece compared Melania to a Bond girl, and writer Sally Singer said she refused to pose for photographer Mario Testino without her makeup done or hair perfectly styled.
Check out some of the highlights from Talley’s conversation with Dowd.
On the flak he received from friends in the industry when he recently said Melania would be a “wonderful first lady”:
“I’m not a big person in the world. I’m maybe a big figure in the fashion world. I mean, sort of iconic. But I don’t want to get phone calls in the middle of the night, telling me I’ve gone over to Trumpland and I’m going to Darth Vader because I said nice things about Melania.”
On his own political beliefs:
“I voted for Hillary Clinton. I registered in North Carolina because it mattered. I went through hoops of fire to get my absentee ballot.”
On the critics who judge Melania for her husband’s actions that they don’t agree with:
“Listen, Melania made her choice. She married the man, so she’s got to go with the territory. She’s Mrs. Trump.”
On how his opinion of President-elect Trump has changed since calling him a “cool guy” in 2005:
“He became the master of darkness, the master of the dark empire, as he became more powerful, as he started with birtherism and in the campaign. Birtherism is terrible. It was a terrible thing he did to Obama. And he never let go. ‘Make America great again.’ A lot of people think that means make America white again.”
On one writer now calling the White House the “Whites-Only House”:
“People are really afraid of these dark, dark institutions of bigotry and anti-Semitism that have come out from under the rocks like creepy snakes and come up to rear their heads up like cobras. People seem to have put all their egregious things on the back burner. Melania plagiarized Michelle Obama’s speech. Let’s just wait and see what happens on Jan. 20. I don’t want Trump to fail, and I don’t want Melania Trump to fail. But I’m not going to sit here and say any more positive things, because I’d get crucified from personal friends.”
On whether or not the Trumps deserve respect in the White House:
“Did the Congress ever treat Obama as a president?” Talley snaps back. “Did they plot in a restaurant the night he was inaugurated to filibuster everything for eight years? This country has elected a president who is on audiotape saying I’m a star and I can do whatever I want with women, grab them in the vagina. Dignity has gone out the door. He’s causing me much ire. He just said, ‘My cabinet has the highest I.Q.’ His cabinet of mostly white men. That’s a dog whistle.”
On Melania’s history with racy pictures:
“You can’t judge a person by pictures. She was a model. She took pictures.”
On her election night look:
“Melania, who opted at 3 a.m. for a palazzo jumpsuit, with one arm exposed and a flounce over the other — it seemed to me too Mar-a-Lago, a huge, full-volume jumpsuit. Trying too hard. And I am so tired of the long hair falling on both sides of her face. She has to upgrade her coiffure.”
On Melania’s future fashions in the White House:
“She has those impossibly high four-inch, towering stilettos. Clearly, her clothes will cling in the right places, accentuate her figure and her model-style long tresses. Get ready for super-cinched waists, hourglass silhouettes,. and pencil skirts. She is already into one-shoulder, which Jackie Kennedy wore by Oleg Cassini. Melania likes monotone matching coats and beige dresses, but that hair will always be flying once she goes down the stairs of Air Force One.”
On the future first lady’s role in the White House:
“She’s very private. She just wants to be a mother. It’s very similar to Jackie O, who also wanted to keep her kids out of the fray. When Barron was first born, she used to say: ‘I’m going off to play with Barron. I just want to spend time with Barron.’ So, in a way, I think that she’s maintaining her privacy with him and maintaining a kind of dignity because she’s not making statements. I don’t think that she would try to change the White House in any way. I don’t think that’s what she’s interested in.”