Ex-First Lady Melania Trump Returns to Public Eye With NFTs Aimed at Helping Children in Foster Care

© HANNAH MCKAYU.S. first lady Melania Trump departs after welcoming the arrival of the White House Christmas Tree outside the White House in Washington, U.S., November 23, 2020.
U.S. first lady Melania Trump departs after welcoming the arrival of the White House Christmas Tree  outside the White House in Washington, U.S., November 23, 2020. - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.12.2021
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Unlike her husband, the 51-year-old has kept a low profile ever since Donald Trump failed to get re-elected to a second term. Media outlets speculated that Melania's antisocial behaviour has to do with the strained relationship with her spouse. Some even suggested that she may divorce Donald Trump due to reports of his alleged extramarital affairs.
Former First Lady Melania Trump has returned to the public eye in an unusual fashion – by selling non-fungible tokens (NFT) in order to help children in the foster care system. The first NFT in the series, entitled "Melania's Vision", features a watercolour image of the ex-model's eyes created by artist Marc-Antoine Coulon. The NFT costs 1 SOL, a cryptocurrency from the Solana blockchain platform, which at the moment of writing is $172.

In a statement posted on her social media the former first lady said that the new project will further the initiative she began during her White House tenure, namely Be Best, which focused on physical and emotional well-being, and also advocates against cyberbullying and opioid abuse. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to charity, but there was no mention of the amount.

"I am proud to announce my new NFT endeavor, which embodies my passion for the arts, and will support my ongoing commitment to children through my Be Best initiative. Through this new technology-based initiative, we will provide children computer science skills, including programming and software development, to thrive after they age out of the foster care community", Trump wrote.

It seems "Melania's Vision", whose sale ends on 31 December, is one of many NFTs the 51-year-old plans to sell, another one will be revealed on 4 January, with the former first lady saying she plans to sell digital artwork as well as physical artwork and one-of-a-kind physical accessories.

From Recluse to Social Media Influencer?

Melania Trump's project coincided with her heightened activity on social media. The model-turned-businesswoman has kept a low profile since leaving the White House and the recent stark change has puzzled pundits and former associates.

"I'm confused by it. It's very random as a project and seems tone deaf to release online artwork of yourself for [$170]. The timing seems odd too - COVID and natural disasters are impacting the country, and many people are struggling financially", a former White House official who worked with Melania Trump told CNN, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Another person who worked with the ex-first lady said the following: "With Melania's personal wealth, I certainly hope the 'portion of proceeds' going to help kids is significant".

Other acquaintances and associates, who too spoke on condition of anonymity, suggested Melania Trump is seeking attention and trying to promote the family's brand.

"To some degree she thinks she's an influencer. This is a way to stay relevant. If you think his fans love President Trump, they worship Melania. There is nothing she can do or say that they won't support", said one individual.

Another acquaintance of the former first lady said the project is not a platform for larger global or domestic impact. "This is ostensibly a quick moneymaker. It's a classic Trump move, using their brand and their supporters to cash in", the person said.

Incidentally, Melania Trump's decision to launch an NFT platform is at odds with the stance of her husband. Donald Trump has repeatedly criticised the use of cryptocurrencies, which he called a "scam against the dollar". However, it seems the world of digital currency has started growing on the ex-POTUS. After his wife launched the project he posted the following statement from his office.

"Congratulations to my wife, Melania. The launch of Melania's new NFT business epitomizes our American Spirit of ingenuity, creativity, and entrepreneurship. By leveraging blockchain technology, MelaniaTrump.com will provide Melania's fans, connoisseurs of the arts, and the public at large the ability to collect rare and limited edition pieces while benefiting children in the foster care community".

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