Melania Trump's birthday photo shows how sad and alone she is: body language expert
First lady Melania Trump sits on Oval Office sofa surrounded by media (Photo: White House)

First lady Melania Trump turned 49 years old on Friday and the White House Twitter account celebrated with a photo of her that revealed more than her youthful glow. According to one body language expert, Mrs. Trump looks miserable.

A Refinery29 post explained that the photo was a second angle of an image with the president and Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš. She appears to be scowling and in a room alone. Not exactly a celebratory image. Contrast that with former President Barack Obama's White House wishing a happy birthday to first lady Michelle Obama in 2016. The photo showed her laughing as she tries to finagle first dogs Sunny and Bo.

Body language expert Patti Wood, author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma told the site that the selection of the photo was "a telling point about what Trump is trying to communicate."

"From what I’ve read, this was their selection … That’s the most interesting [thing], because she’s communicating to the world that she’s all by herself on her birthday,” Wood explained. “That’s the most dramatic aspect of this whole story. If you’ll look at her facial expression, with the tight lips, and the fact that she’s not looking directly at the camera, that is suppressed anger.”

She went on to say that even if the president and other aides and leaders were in the room, she looks isolated.

“It’s the fact that she’s sitting on the corner of the couch, to make it clear she’s by herself. That’s the most significant part,” Wood said.

The crossed arms and crossed legs shows she's closed off, something Wood nailed as "the double-cross."

Her finger under her raised knee says “she’s totally closed down on what is called the knee window and the pelvic window.”

Her arm placed over her stomach shows she's protecting herself, according to Wood.

“If you’ll look at where her arm is placed, it’s over her vulnerable belly. It’s very, very protected,” Wood continued. “There’s nothing in there that she’s open to, the media, open to the others, joyous or happy — there’s no what I call ‘up’ body language that you’d typically see in celebratory photos.”

To make matters worse, the Trump White House photographer seems to have ignored a similar photo from 2018 showing an isolated first lady in the corner of the Oval Office couch.

The first lady has long been rumored to be displeased with her thrust onto the national stage. The notoriously private former model frequently seems uncomfortable when delivering speeches. She generally looks most at ease when she is with groups of children.

Read the full take at Refinery29.