‘Big money’: Melania’s genius new plan
The Trump administration is now in its dying days - and it seems First Lady Melania Trump is wasting no time in plotting her next move.
Over the weekend, reports emerged that Ms Trump was planning to pen a memoir and cash in on her time in the White House.
An insider told Page Six talks were already well underway, and that the alleged deal could be worth "big money".
Given former presidential couple Barack and Michelle Obama inked a staggering $US65 million ($A87.9 million) book deal - believed to be one of the most lucrative in history - many are certain a Melania tell-all would be incredibly profitable.
The relentless fascination with the Trump family has already spawned a string of books, including the explosive Melania and Me, which was released by the First Lady's former best friend and adviser Stephanie Winston Wolkof, and Mr Trump's niece Mary Trump's scathing Too Much and Never Enough, and there have already been reports that the outgoing President could score a multimillion-dollar deal of his own.
If his wife followed suit, it would give Ms Trump the chance to present her side of some of the biggest scandals of her time in the White House, such as her notorious "I really don't care, do u?" jacket, recordings of her profanity-filled rant and persistent rumours regarding the state of the Trump marriage.
According to Aussie public relations expert Nicole Reaney, a Melania memoir would be a smart move - although it also had the capacity to backfire.
"During the time of her husband's presidency, Melania has been subjected to rumours and media scandals," Ms Reaney said.
"Creating her own memoir gives her an uninterrupted platform to address these and control the messaging around her personal brand.
"It also empowers her to stand on her own, rather than be continually portrayed as walking a foot behind Donald Trump."
Ms Reaney said the first lady had become an "easy target" over the past four years, with news outlets scrutinising her "every move".
In that time, she said the media had covered endless "lighthearted" Melania stories including rumours of a body double and her infamous swatting away of her husband's hand as well as more serious reports such as the accusation of plagiarism of one of Michelle Obama's speeches.
Ms Reaney said a memoir could help Ms Trump reclaim her power and control the narrative - but that on the other hand, it was a gamble which had the potential to stir up fresh controversy for the 50-year-old mother-of-one.
"The dangers with any memoir come from subsequent news stories and any commentary from anyone profiled or with a view on her," Ms Reaney explained.
"Her best method of avoiding the distortion of her image is to ensure she actively engages in the media circuit on its release and makes herself available for interviews."
'NOTHING OF SUBSTANCE'
But those hoping for a juicy tell-all could be left disappointed, with advertising guru and Gruen regular Dee Madigan telling news.com.au she would be "very surprised" if any book deal actually went ahead - and that if it did, it would probably be light on stunning revelations.
"There's no way Melania is going to do anything (critical of Donald Trump) - she's the mother of his son Barron and she's reliant on him for money, so there's not going to be anything interesting coming out," she said.
"Also you just know it would be ghostwritten - given she stole Michelle Obama's speech, I'm guessing originality is not her strong point.
"If a book did come out there would be nothing of substance in it."
Ms Madigan said she also believed Ms Trump had little motivation to try and clear up her image.
"She clearly places no particular value on what the general public thinks and she doesn't need the money," she explained.
"Usually people write memoirs to try and change their image, but the only reason Melania would was if she was running for politics, which she's not, and her son is obviously still too young for that, so there isn't that factor.
"I just can't see what's in it for her and it would more likely be risky as the public is ready to ridicule it. She's not going to tell any secrets and she will protect her son's father, and she won't write it herself, so a memoir would be no win for her."
Ms Madigan said those factors meant that even if a deal was struck, Ms Trump would likely score a far smaller pay cheque than her predecessor.
"Although there are diehard Trump fans, I don't think Melania is held to the same high regard as Michelle Obama and she never seemed to play a particularly big role in the administration like Ms Obama did," she said.
Ms Madigan added that the "real money" was made via speaking deals which arose off the back of a book deal, with the Obamas offered hundreds of thousands of dollars to speak at events.
"I just can't see anyone paying Melania Trump hundreds of thousands of dollars to speak," she said.
MELANIA'S NEXT MOVE
In the wake of the November 3 election, attention has turned to what the Trumps will do after leaving the White House.
After Joe Biden's inauguration on January 21, Melania could return to the Trump Tower penthouse in New York City, the Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, or opt for the Seven Springs estate in Westchester and the Trump National Golf Course in Bedminster.
But experts say it could be Florida because she voted in person at Palm Beach County - registered as the Trumps' official residence.
Historian Katherine Jellison of Ohio University told USA Today she assumed Ms Trump would either go back to Florida or New York and "continue the kind of life she led before the White House".
Journalist and author of First Women, Kate Andersen Brower, agreed telling USA Today she believed the First Lady would be "secretly relieved" her husband was no longer President and keen to "return to that lady-who-lunches lifestyle".
"Which is totally her right to do, but if she wrote a book she could make a lot of money," she said.
Meanwhile, the end of the Trump presidency has also fuelled speculation of a potential divorce, with former The Apprentice contestant and ex-White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman claiming Ms Trump was "counting every minute until he is out of office and she can divorce".
US divorce lawyer Jacqueline Newman, managing partner of Berkman Bottger Newman & Rodd, told Town and Country Ms Trump could expect to receive a divorce settlement of as much as $US50 million ($A68 million).
Originally published as 'Big money': Melania's genius new plan