Jokes Huge cleavage
She was born in Novo Mesto, Slovenia (then the Socialist Republic of Slovenia within Yugoslavia) on April 26, 1970. Her father, Viktor Knavs, was from the nearby town of Radeče, and managed car and motorcycle dealerships for a state-owned vehicle manufacturer. Her mother, Amalija (née Ulčnik), came from the village of Raka and worked as a patternmaker at the children’s clothing manufacturer “Jutranjka” in Sevnica. As a child, she participated in fashion shows featuring children’s clothing, along with other children of workers at the factory. She has an older sister, Ines, and an older half-brother, whom she reportedly has never met, from her father’s previous relationship.
She grew up in a modest apartment in a housing block in Sevnica, in the Lower Sava Valley. As the Communist Party in Slovenia upheld atheism, her father did not publicly sponsor her Christian sacraments of baptism or first communion. For that reason, she was secretly baptized by Franc Čampa, the Roman Catholic parish priest of St. Lawrence’s Church in Raka, on June 14, 1970.
When she was a teenager, she and her family moved to a two-story house in Sevnica. Then, as a high school student, she lived in a high-rise apartment in Ljubljana. She attended the Secondary School of Design and Photography in Ljubljana, and studied architecture and design at the University of Ljubljana for one year before dropping out.
She began modeling at five years old and started doing commercials at sixteen when she posed for the Slovenian fashion photographer, Stane Jerko. When she began working as a model, she translated the Slovene version of her last name “Knavs” to the German version “Knauss”.
At eighteen, she signed with a modeling agency in Milan, Italy. In 1992, she was named runner-up in the Jana Magazine “Look of the Year” contest, held in Ljubljana, which promised its top three contestants an international modeling contract.
After attending the University of Ljubljana for one year, she modeled for fashion houses in Paris and Milan, where, in 1995, she met Metropolitan Models co-owner Paolo Zampolli, a friend of her future husband Donald Trump, who was on a scouting trip in Europe. Zampolli urged her to travel to the United States, where he said he would like to represent her.
In 1996, she moved to New York City, living in an apartment in Zeckendorf Towers on Union Square, with roommate, photographer Matthew Atanian, per Zampolli’s arrangements. She initially worked in the United States prior to receiving a legal work visa. According to Atanian, then shooting for Marie Claire, the then-26-year-old Knauss was getting second- and third-tier modeling work, and asked him to help her get in the magazine, but her prospects were limited, because her movements were not particularly graceful.
Originally posted 2017-11-20 14:55:35.