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Melania Trump lookalike who strips in TI video speaks out after White House criticism

Roisin O'Connor

The Melania Trump lookalike who stars in rapper TI's latest video has claimed she has received death threats over her controversial appearance.

Canadian model Melanie Marden is shown in the video dressed to look like the First Lady, wearing a jacket bearing the words "I really don't care, do U?" – in reference to Melania Trump's infamous outfit from earlier this year that she wore during a trip to Texas. As TI sits at the Resolute Desk in the Oval Office, "Melania" begins to strip.

TI shared the video on his social media with the words: "Dear 45, I ain't Kanye," in reference to the US president's close relationship with the controversial rapper.

The First Lady's spokeswoman responded to the video calling it "disrespectful and disgusting".

"Like it or not, she is the First Lady and this is the White House," communications director Stephanie Grisham said. "It's disrespectful and disgusting to portray her this way simply because of politics. These kinds of vulgar attacks only further the divisiveness and bias in our country – it needs to stop."

Marden has now shared a message on Instagram detailing the backlash she has faced since appearing in the video, and following Melania Trump's response.

"I was hired (as an actress) not a stripped to portray Melania Trump," she wrote. "It was a creative choice for me, and also an opportunity to empower women. I stand firmly in my decision to share all of myself in this role."

She continued: "I wanted to be brave, be fearless and for the first time in my life do a role that required nudity. The body is nothing to be ashamed of."

Marden noted how she had felt compelled to accept the role as a means of combatting women victimisation, and said she "felt good about being a strong enough woman to portray a nude First Lady."

She likened her appearance to actor and comedian Alec Baldwin's popular portrayal of Donald Trump on Saturday Night Live.

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"I remind you this is just a music video," she added, addressing the angry Republicans and internet trolls who have been criticising her. "Relax!"

Many of the replies to TI's post about the video accused him of "degrading" women. Others pointed out that Melania Trump appeared entirely nude in a cover story for British GQ, which she has cited as one of her greatest achievements – suggesting that the White House was hypocritical to complain.