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New York Mag Reveals Model Kissing a Firefighter On ‘Love After 9/11’ Cover Was None Other Than … The First Lady

For its 2002 Valentine’s Day issue, New York magazine sought to recreate the iconic 1945 photograph of the sailor and the nurse kissing in Times Square on V-J Day. The idea for this cover shoot, just four months after 9/11, was to feature a model kissing a firefighter — as a tribute, of sorts, to first responders. It turned out, however, that the then unknown model who graced that cover would go on to become First Lady of the United States.

New York magazine revealed, Thursday, (after it was first uncovered by journalist Matt Haber), that it was none other than Slovenian model Melania Trump — then Melania Knauss — who kissed the fireman in Times Square for that 2002 cover. At the time, Melania had already begun seeing her future husband, Donald Trump.

But she was completely unknown to the fireman, Daniel T. Keane.

“The person who was doing my hair and makeup, they said, ‘Do you know who that is?’” Keane told Haber — in an interview recalling the shoot. “And again, I don’t know any models, I really wasn’t into the scene. And they said, ‘That’s Melania Knauss… That’s Donald Trump’s girlfriend.’ And I said, ‘Oh, OK.’”

After posing a “couple hundred” times, according to Keane, this was the photo selected for the cover:

Incidentally, Melania spent Valentine’s Day 2002 out on the town with the man she would marry three years later. Here are the Trumps seated on the runway for a fashion show.

George De Sota/Getty Images

Amazingly, the event had a strong PETA theme, as the designer, Mark Bouwer, tiled his showcase “A Love Affair with Faux.” In this photo, the Trumps can be seen posing with Bouwer and an unidentified member of PETA.

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Joe DePaolo is a Senior Editor at Mediaite. Email him here: [email protected] Follow him on Twitter: @joe_depaolo