We asked a body language expert to analyse what Melania Trump really thinks of Donald and Ivanka
Body language is the new black in 2017.
Despite the fact we live in a time where there is greater access to information than ever, US President Donald Trump isn't exactly a fan of transparency. His wife, first lady Melania Trump is almost mythically private and first daughter Ivanka only shares with the world the image she wants us to see.
We caught up with body language expert Tracey Cox during her recent trip to Dublin to celebrate the launch of the new HTC U11, but mostly to analyse the Trumps.
Melania's alleged disdain for her husband is no secret, from videos of her knocking his hand, her visible scowl or the infamous #FreeMelania memes from inauguration weekend.
Cox believes the entire dynamic of their relationship changed when he was elected president, namely that being a trophy wife wasn't good enough anymore.
"Before he became president, she was incredibly natural and spontaneous; she was used to being in an adored role, she was great for him because she’s pretty, but she’s not a first lady and he’s punishing her," she told Independent.ie.
"When you compare them with the Obamas, when they look at each other and smile, the expression on their faces is completely different to anyone else. I think she just radiates anger with every possible pore."
As for the hand slap heard round the world during their trip to Tel Aviv, Cox explains: "They are well aware people are watching them, she’s basically saying F you. He treats her like a child now, it’s a definite power move. She’s not making it easy, she was sidelined before she even got there [the White House] and there was no including of her because it’s all about her looks. She knows it and she’s showing it in her body language."
Before Trump's presidential campaign, the pair were often pictured together side by side on the New York social scene - at the Met Gala or a premiere of The Apprentice, but she retreated from public life during his initial foray into politics.
"I don’t think I’ve ever seen such awkward body language between two public personas, it’s just embarrassing," she added.
"I think beforehand his body language was very much like, ‘look at this woman, here I am with this delicate model'. He would touch her in inappropriate places telling the world, ‘I can touch her wherever I want’.
"The minute he got to be president, he put her in her place as this subservient person. She’s really angry, you can see the tension: her shoulders are slumped and fists are always clenched. She’s unhappy, she doesn’t look towards him or ever lean towards him, it’s a public battle of who is going to come out on top.
"He can’t even compete with that, he’s given her no power whatsoever. She looks absolutely miserable."
So, we're confident that all isn't well between Melania and Donald, but how does the enigmatic first lady interact with others? She's often pictured laughing and joking while meeting her international counterparts - with Japanese Prime Minister's wife Akie Abe or Queen Rania of Jordan - and she's a far cry from her stony-face exterior while spending time with children.
"When you look back at all these pictures and you see her with other people, you get a good benchmark of what her normal body language is.
"She looks lovely and really happy, her arms are crossed in front of her again but she’s mirroring the girl next to her which people sometimes do to make the other person more comfortable. We’ve forgotten she can smile," Cox explains.
Cox also thinks her relationship with Ivanka is strained, which has been largely reported due to Ivanka's unofficial role as substitute first lady with her own office in the White House and living in Washington D.C., while Melania still remains in New York with 11-year-old son Barron.
"There is absolutely no love lost there, Ivanka is sitting there legs crossed, Melania is sitting with her legs crossed and her hand down, she looks like she wants to get up and walk away. Ivanka is very closed off, her face is turned away with an unwelcoming expression and everything is crossed. There’s no affection, they're sat as far as possible apart."
It was the same case at the inaguration, although, admittedly, you didn't have to be an expert to see the wall between Melania and her stepdaughter. "She’s not so comfortable with Ivanka, who is just as moody. That’s called blocking, her arms are crossed in front of herself as if to say, ‘keep away from me’, it’s a self-protection gesture; Ivanka’s hands are like a steeple with her fingers and thumb intertwined saying, ‘I’m the dominant one here so don’t try to pretend that I’m not’. You can imagine the relationship between the two."
The HTC U11 will be available to purchase across all Irish phone networks in the coming weeks. The Sapphire Blue is available exclusively on the Vodafone network, while the Brilliant Black will be available on Three Ireland, Meteor and Carphone Warehouse. The HTC U11 can be purchased now, sim free on www.htc.com/ie from €749 and in a range of five colours.