Outrage over Melania Trump magazine cover

WASHINGTON/MEXICO CITY • Mrs Melania Trump's first glossy magazine cover as First Lady of the United States is on Vanity Fair Mexico - but the timing (just as her husband's border-wall plans are souring the United States relationship with Mexico) and the pose are just a little... well, off.

In the photo, an immaculately made-up and bejewelled Mrs Trump, 46, poses before a bowl of glittering baubles, twirling a sparkling silver chain with her fork as if it were pasta.

The cover promises a look at the First Family, how she deals with her husband and how she plans to become the new Jackie Kennedy.

The photo shoot and the accompanying interview are recycled content - they originally ran in sister publication GQ last year.

US First Lady Melania Trump on the cover of the next issue of Vanity Fair Mexico. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

The cover, released by the Mexican edition as a preview of its February issue, has infuriated many Mexicans, coming in a week that saw the nations plunge into the biggest diplomatic crisis in decades.

Mr Donald Trump has insisted Mexico pay for his planned border wall, which Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto has said will never happen.

The dispute prompted Mr Pena Nieto to scrap a meeting with Mr Trump in Washington that had been scheduled for next week, while the White House raised the possibility of slapping tariffs on Mexico to fund the wall.

Many social media users have called the Vanity Fair cover "humiliating" and in "bad taste", considering Mr Trump's criticism of Mexico.

"Thank you @VanityFairMX for putting Melania Trump on the cover. Great example of sensitivity, empathy, patriotism and editorial intelligence," tweeted Ms Denise Dresser, a well-known Mexican intellectual.

"We understand the complicated moment that has coincided with the appearance of our cover," Vanity Fair Mexico said in a statement published on its website following the initial backlash.

"But our intention is simply to contribute, as always, an independent and critical point of view about current affairs and the characters involved."

The magazine and Vanity Fair are owned by the same parent company, Conde Nast.

Last month, the American President blasted the US edition of Vanity Fair after the magazine published a snooty review of one of his restaurants.

Following the Republican's Twitter barb, the magazine's subscription numbers broke a company record.

The Mexican edition of Vanity Fair sparked past controversy after featuring actress Angelica Rivera, the Mexican President's wife, who has faced corruption allegations.

The magazine cover is hardly likely to be Mrs Trump's last: First ladies as cover models on glossy magazines have become a time-honoured tradition. Mrs Michelle Obama appeared on the front of Vogue three times and had graced covers of magazines as varied as Seventeen and Good Housekeeping.


A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2017, with the headline 'Outrage over Melania Trump magazine cover'. Print Edition | Subscribe