It’s 2018, and selfie is an actual word in the dictionary—so it’s safe to say you likely have a preferred method for posing for the camera. Maybe you’re the friend who prefers the left of the group pic to show off your good side, or maybe you’re a firm believer in Tyra Banks’s “smizing” philosophy. For Melania Trump, it’s all about the fish gape. At least that’s what we noticed after analyzing photos of her public appearances over the past 15 years.
Regularly used by celebrities on the red carpet, the fish gape is a facial pose where the top and bottom lips are ever-so-slightly pursed and separated. It gets its nickname because it slightly resembles the mouth shape of, say, your first pet goldfish. Shockingly, it happens to be one of the more flattering, appealing looks the camera can capture.
"It’s a more sexy look when your mouth is open just a tad," explains body-language expert Traci Brown. "Your lips are going to appear a little bigger that way." Brown says that models have perfected the look because it's less distracting than a toothy smile and doesn't take attention away from the clothes they're modeling. While we can't say Melania's end goal is to look sexy when she's posing, given her past career as a supermodel, it's only natural that she has the move down.
In addition to the slightly open mouth, she tilts her head down slightly, "so the camera won't see the underside of your nostrils," notes Brown. This pose also makes your eyes look bigger in relation to the rest of your face.
"We’re very attracted to things with bigger eyes. That’s why we like dogs," Brown explains. "That’s why we like babies and puppies. A baby is cuter than a grown-up person. A puppy is cuter than a grown-up dog."
That's not to say she doesn't break into a grin every now and then, though. Sometimes, we see Melania debut a true smile. It's less a beaming expression and more about her eyes. "Smiling doesn’t have as much to do with your actual mouth as what we think it does," says Brown. "You want to look for crow’s feet in there." It's all about your eyes lighting up and showing energy and emotion.
You don't need years of modeling experience to master the move, either. To try it out during your next selfie, Brown says to put your tongue on the roof of your mouth. It instantly creates the look and even draws your face in a little more so your eyes look bigger.