The US presidential race continues to plumb new depths as, in another first, a popular tabloid in New York City has published explicit images of a presidential candidate.
The New York Post, owned by conservative icon, Rupert Murdoch splashed several nude pictures of Melania Trump across its pages in an edition that has readers stunned.
The paper said the images were shot when the then Melania Knauss was a model. She posed nude in a photoshoot that was used as a photo spread for the January 1996 issue of a now-defunct French men’s magazine, Max.
“The leggy, Slovenian-born model — then 25 years old and known by her professional moniker Melania K. — did the steamy photo session in Manhattan in 1995, according to Alé de Basseville, the French photographer who shot the sexy snaps,” The Post wrote.
“The bombshell photos show Melania wearing nothing but high heels and pouting for the camera, in a series of images shot from the front, the back and the side.”
Mr Trump however told the newspaper he was not concerned with the images.
He said: “Melania was one of the most successful models and she did many photo shoots, including for covers and major magazines. This was a picture taken for a European magazine prior to my knowing Melania. In Europe, pictures like this are very fashionable and common.”
The two met in 1998 during a New York Fashion Week party at the Kit Kat club hosted by Paolo Zampolli, who was then representing Melania through his company ID Model Management. They got married in 2005 in a ceremony at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida.
“Melania was super-great and a fantastic personality and she was very kind with me,” de Basseville told The Post, adding the former model never once felt uncomfortable posing for the nude pictures.
“I was quite surprised when I saw the pictures because it was . . . a racier shoot than I expected,” said a fashion-industry insider who was present for one of the photo sessions.
“But Melania seemed very comfortable with the whole thing, and she was very professional.”
Basseville also told The Post the inspiration for the pictures was the Renaissance and a celebration of the female body.
“I think it is important to show the beauty and the freedom of the woman, and I am very proud of these pictures because they celebrate Melania’s beauty,” he said.
When she relocated to the US, Melania did a lot of modelling for mostly commercial work and was later featured in an ad for Camel cigarettes.