Paris (AFP) – French first lady Brigitte Macron has heaped praise on her “fun” and “intelligent” American counterpart Melania Trump after her three-day visit to Washington.
Speaking to Le Monde newspaper and RTL radio, Brigitte said she and “kind, charming, intelligent” Melania had bonded further this week after their first meeting in Paris last July.
In Brigitte’s telling, Melania in very different in private to in public, where the 48-year-old former model from Slovenia displays little emotion during appearances with her husband.
“On the contrary she is really fun,” Brigitte said, Le Monde reported in its Friday edition. “We have the same sense of humour, we laugh a lot together.
“Everything is interpreted, over-interpreted. She’s someone who has a strong personality but she makes an effort to hide it. She laughs very easily at everything, but she shows it less than I do,” said Brigitte, who recently celebrated her 65th birthday.
Macron’s wife, his former drama teacher from high school who is 25 years older than him, said she was still adjusting to the constraints of life as France’s first lady, but she was still able to find moments of freedom.
“Melania can’t do anything, she can’t even open a window at the White House. She can’t go outside. Every day, I go out in Paris,” she said during the interview on Wednesday during the final day of the Macrons’ US trip.
Brigitte also played down her role as a fashion icon, with each of her outfits widely commented on during her trips abroad.
She said the tailored outfits, which are usually provided by French fashion house Louis Vuitton, were a sort of “skin” that helped shield her from all of the attention.
“I don’t really have that many ideas about what to put on,” she said, adding that Louis Vuitton artistic director Nicolas Ghesquiere was in charge of her wardrobe.
As for her public responsibilities, she said she did her best not to be a “vase of flowers” in the background of her husband while abroad and joked about the need to respect the choreography of the US state visit.
This often involved following stickers on the floor to her position during the ceremonies. “Can it be any other way? I don’t know,” she said.
Brigitte insisted that only her clothes had changed, not her — reinforcing her down-to-earth image which has made her a more popular figure than her husband, according to polls.
“In my head, I’m Emmanuel Macron’s wife, not the president’s wife. I don’t feel like a first lady even though I’m aware of my responsibilities,” she said.