News & Politics

Gossip-Column Star Paolo Zampolli and His Giant Donald Trump Oil Painting Have Moved to DC

10 fascinating things about the guy who introduced Donald to Melania.

Photo courtesy of iStock

Page Six, the gossip column in the New York Post, reports that Georgetown has a new resident: Paolo Zampolli. Never heard of him? Then you probably don’t read the belovedly trashy column, where Zampolli has often been a flamboyant and prominent character in its fizzy New York universe.

And now he’s in ours! Here’s what to know about him:

  • Zampolli is famous-ish for founding ID Model Management and making bank in real estate. But his real claim to fame is that a few decades ago, he zeroed in on Melania Knauss at a casting call in Milan. He secured a Visa for her, brought her to the States, introduced her to Donald Trump, and…you know the rest. He really likes to talk about that! But he really didn’t like it when Jeffrey Epstein claimed he was the one who brought the pair together.
  • Speaking of Epstein, Zampolli once partnered with Ghislaine Maxwell on a save-the-oceans charity.
  • Zampolli and his family are reportedly living in a $17 million Georgetown home.
  • He has a giant oil painting of Trump in his new home. Like, seriously huge. He also sometimes sports Trump cufflinks.  
  • His wife is Brazilian model Amanda Ungaro. The couple split up for a time in 2018, and who gets the credit for bringing them back together? One guess (okay, it’s Trump).
  • In 2013, he was made an honorary ambassador to the UN for Dominica. Ungaro is an honorary ambassador to the UN for Grenada. 
  • The couple have a young son. He was given an AmEx black card at birth.
  • Zampolli reportedly brought along a chef from Cipriani in New York—think Cafe Milano North—where he used to eat twice a day. 
  • He grew up in Milan, where his father ran a toy company that is known for bringing Star Wars characters and Easy Bake Ovens to Italy.
  • He throws parties filled with models. So many models that Bill Clinton once told him he was “not coming to parties with me and the models.” Sometimes he invites crocodiles and tiger cubs, too.

Welcome to DC!

Ann Limpert
Executive Food Editor/Critic

Ann Limpert joined Washingtonian in late 2003. She was previously an editorial assistant at Entertainment Weekly and a cook in New York restaurant kitchens, and she is a graduate of the Institute of Culinary Education. She lives in Petworth.