Melania Trump names Anna Cristina Niceta Lloyd as her social secretary

First Lady Melania Trump at the 60th Annual Red Cross Gala at Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida on Feb 4, 2017.
First Lady Melania Trump at the 60th Annual Red Cross Gala at Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida on Feb 4, 2017. PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (NYTIMES) - Melania Trump has chosen Anna Cristina Niceta Lloyd, a Washington event planner who helped coordinate President Donald Trump's Inauguration Day celebrations, as her social secretary, the White House said Wednesday.

The appointment is a step forward for Melania Trump, who has remained out of sight in Washington and seems to be staffing the East Wing from afar.

According to a statement from the White House on Wednesday, Niceta Lloyd, who is known as Rickie, will be immersed in overseeing all social events and gatherings, including state dinners and the White House Easter Egg Roll.

Niceta Lloyd, 46, has worked for over two decades as an account executive at the Washington event planning business Design Cuisine, where she has been the main coordinator of events at the State Department and for previous Republican and Democratic inaugurals.

"Rickie brings with her over 22 years of solid diplomatic, political and social entertaining experience," Melania Trump said in a statement. "I am looking forward to sharing my ideas and traditions of entertaining and social hospitality to America's house, my new home as well. That, along with Rickie's vast experience, I am even more excited."

Melania Trump is selecting as her envoy to the city's social scene someone whose family has deep ties to the Washington establishment, a point the White House emphasised in its statement.

In 2006, Niceta Lloyd married Thomas Lloyd, the grandson of Rachel Lambert Mellon, in Washington. Mellon, known as Bunny, was the heiress, philanthropist and art collector who became famous for helping redesign the White House Rose Garden with Jacqueline Kennedy.

So far, Melania Trump has offered few clues about her ambitions as first lady, although her debut fashion choice reflected a reverence for American design. On Inauguration Day she wore a Tiffany-blue dress and matching jacket by Ralph Lauren that channelled the classic American style closely associated with Jacqueline Kennedy.

Last week, Melania Trump named Lindsay Reynolds, who worked in the White House under President George W. Bush, as her chief of staff.

Kate Andersen Brower, the author of the book "First Women", an examination of first ladies throughout modern history, said Melania Trump was nodding to the Washington establishment and, once again, referencing Jacqueline Kennedy.

"I think along with Lindsay Reynolds it's definitely a sign of them kind of bowing to the traditional people who work in this job," Andersen Brower said.

"I think it's interesting that she's chosen someone who has ties to Jackie Kennedy, who she clearly admires, and who could be a modern day Letitia Baldrige," she added, referring to Kennedy's social secretary.

Niceta Lloyd's mother, Hope Niceta, said her daughter's hiring plans "all started evolving" after she organised an Inauguration Day lunch at the Capitol.

On the day of the lunch, Niceta Lloyd posed with a head chef and a floral designer in a rose-filled room, where Maine lobster and Gulf shrimp were on the menu.

"For the past 20 years," Niceta said, "every time there's been an inauguration, her company did the luncheon and she was in charge."

Niceta said her daughter, a graduate of Hollins University who has two young children, is good at handling large-scale events and staying organised.

"She wouldn't get the job if she wasn't," Niceta said.