Melania Trump recorded discussing Beyoncé Vogue cover and black photographer

Sophie Gallagher
·2-min read

A recording of First Lady Melania Trump discussing Beyoncé on the September issue of Vogue, and Condé Nast’s decision to use a black photographer for the first time ever to shoot a cover, has been released.

The audio recording of a phone conversation between Trump and her former friend, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, in July 2018, includes Trump talking about the newly-released US issue and other staff movements at the fashion publication.

In the recording, obtained by NBC News, Trump says: “Did you see they’re leaving Vogue? Two from Vogue. Posnick [Phyllis Posnick] and Tonne Goodman they’re leaving. They’re going freelance. You didn’t see it.”

She continued: "Anna [Anna Wintour] gave the September issue of Vogue cover — complete, complete, complete, everything — to Beyoncé. So she hired black photographer and it’s [the] first black photographer ever doing [a] cover of Vogue.”

To the comments, Winston Wolkoff replies: “What, that is insane.” and Trump confirms: “That’s just what I read late last night.”

Beyoncé was on the cover of Vogue’s September issue in 2018. The issue made history as the first time a black photographer had been used to shoot a cover star in the magazine’s 126 years.

The pop star said at the time that she saw the cover as a chance for more opportunities for black creatives like 23-year-old photographer Tyler Mitchell.

In the accompanying interview, Knowles recalled how she was told early on in her career that she would struggle to make it onto magazine covers because “black people did not sell”.

Winston Wolkoff, 50, was formerly a friend and close advisor of Melania Trump, after the pair met in 2003 when she was the President’s girlfriend and they did not yet have a son.

Prior to working in politics, Winston Wolkoff worked in the fashion industry, being a key player in the production of the Met Gala and the expansion of the city’s fashion week. As well as working as a public relations manager at Vogue.

The conversation about Beyoncé took place during one of six recorded telephone conversations between the pair, which lasted more than six hours between February and July 2018.

Despite being close friends, Winston Wolkoff began recording her phone calls with Trump after she was asked to leave the White House. She has now released a book “Melania and Me: The Rise and Fall of my Friendship with the First Lady”.

In a statement to NBC regarding the recordings, a spokesperson for Melania Trump said: "Her narcissism knows no bounds, this woman is a fraud...these audio tapes are hand-picked about nonsense and presented with no context. Shame on her for this continued attempt at character assassination.”

The Independent has contacted representatives for Melania Trump and Vogue for comment.

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