Being Melania - The First Lady Part 1: Melania Trump on becoming the first lady

Melania Trump sat down for her first extensive sit down interview since becoming first lady with ABC News Chief National Affairs correspondent Tom Llamas.
8:51 | 10/13/18

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Transcript for Being Melania - The First Lady Part 1: Melania Trump on becoming the first lady
Ah. ??? Washington, people don't really know her like we know first ladies. She is the most private first lady that we have seen in the modern era. Reporter: She's one of the most recognizable faces in the world. A stylish first lady, a devoted mother. But beyond that, Melania trump remains, for many Americans, an enigma. She's a person of few words. She has that quality of mystery a little bit of distance, almost regal. Reporter: Once a private woman, now the most deeply personal details of her life on full display. Finish this sentence for me. Melania trump is -- Ooh, that's so many stuff. A mother. A wife. A daughter. A sister. A friend. The first lady of United States. Caring. Compassionate. Strong. Independent. Very detail-oriented. And staying true to herself. Reporter: We set off with Melania trump on her first solo trip on the world stage. For the next hour, the ground rules will be simple. No topic is off limits. This scenic wildlife preserve in Kenya serving as the backdrop for her first extensive sit down since becoming first lady. Mrs. Trump, first off, when you look at this view out here in beautiful Kenya, is this one of the best parts about being first lady? It's one of the best parts, yes. But it's also, when I travel across the world and across the country and meeting people, and helping them as much as I can. Reporter: Her choice of Africa raising its own questions. She announced her trip after her husband, the president, reportedly made derogatory comments about African countries. According to two people in the meeting, the president asked, why don't we have these people from these Countries. He didn't say hole, he said house. That changes everything! Reporter: Whatever words the president may have used, the first lady admits his politics sometimes makes her job more difficult. What the hell are we dealing involved for? Drain the swamp. Build that wall. Build that wall! Reporter: What's the most surprising thing about being first lady for you? It's sad to see that organizations and foundations that I want to partner with choose not to because the of administration. And I feel they choosing the politics over helping others. Reporter: Can you give me any examples? I would not talk about it. They know who they are. What would you say is the toughest part about being first lady? Sometimes it's -- you know, losing the privacy, that's maybe the part that you always under the microscope. And I cannot freely move anymore. Give me an example of something that you could do before that now you can't do because you are first lady, as far as just everyday kind of living. Well, before I could easily move, like, in a minute I could go somewhere. Now it's bigger production. You need to -- wherever you go it's a big, big production. You know, our first first lady, Martha Washington, famously said the role of first lady can sometimes feel like a state prisoner. Can you relate to that? I don't feel like a prisoner. No. I enjoying it, and this will not last forever. And it's very special time. Reporter: Less special are the constant headlines that speculate on all things Melania including where the first lady lives to her relationship with the president. We've seen her swat his hand away at events. She wore that pink pussy bow blouse to the debate, where Donald Trump was talking about Bill Clinton's accusers. She wore an all-white pantsuit to his first state of the union that made it look like this was a message of solidarity to Hillary Clinton, who had championed the white pantsuit. What's been the worst thing you've had to read about yourself since you've been in the white house? Well, it's all the things that people say, that I'm not happy in the white house, that I don't even live there. And that I'm miserable in my marriage, that I'm out of touch. There are so many things. I don't know where to start. Reporter: Born Melania Knauss in 1970, in a small town in Slovenia she worked as a fashion model in Italy and France before moving to New York City in 1996. Shortly after that, she met a real estate developer with big buildings and an ego to match. The couple spoke about it with Barbara Walters during his campaign. Let's go back a bit. You first met Donald Trump at a party in 1998. He came up to you. What is your first impression of Donald Trump? Well, he was very charming and we had the great sparkle. He came with a date. So he asked me for the number, and I said "I will not give you my number. So if you give me your numbers, I will call you." So I see what kind of numbers he will give me. Because I don't want to be one of the ladies. And he was known as kind of a lady's man. Reporter: The mogul and the model would marry in 2005. Your husband has been married twice before. Do you have any concerns that it might not work out? No. I didn't have any concerns. We have a great chemistry and to be with a man like my husband is you need to know who you are, you need to have a very independent life as well and supporting him, you need to be very smart and quick and be there for him when he needs you. Is yours a marriage of equals? I would say yes. I would say no. I would say she's far greater than the 50%. Reporter: But the billionaire real estate developer always talked of being president and Melania knew long ago, his dream could one day become her reality. Can you picture yourself the first lady? Yes, I would be very traditional like Jackie Kennedy. I will support him, I will do a lot of social obligations. I will stand by my man. Reporter: Less than 20 years later, that famous escalator ride would take her from her fifth avenue penthouse all the way to the white house. So these are photos. Yes. From your Twitter account. This is when you lived in New York before you were first lady. When you see that person, that woman. What's different about the woman in those photos and the woman that is now sitting across from me? No difference. The same? The same. I'm staying true to myself. I want to live meaningful life, and that's the most important to me. I know what my priorities are. And I'm focused on that. You looking at the photos? Yes, I do. So you loved your life in new York and in trump tower. Washington has been an adjustment. Have you made good friends in Washington? I have the same group of friends I had before. And I always prefer quality over quantity. I have a small group of friends, and I stay in contact with them through the phone and text messages. Do you find that Washington is a place that you couldn't make friends as far as trusting people? Sometimes you need to be careful. There is a famous quote about making friends in Washington. Yes.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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