We Made a GIF of Donald Trump's Never-Ending Quest to Be Very, Very Orange

Getty Images

In 1946, the year Donald Trump was born, he was known simply as the son of a real estate developer and a homemaker — but then his life happened. 

By the 1990s, he was known as a millionaire businessman with a taste for models. By the 2000s, he was known as a reality TV star who made an empire from firing people. By the 2010s up until now, he's known as a politician that has encouraged not just building a wall between Mexico and the United States, but also banning Muslims from traveling to the U.S. and punishing women who seek abortions, and has made it all the way to being the presumptive Republican presidential nominee with such rhetoric. 

June 14, 2016 marks Donald Trump's 70th birthday. Throughout those seven unpredictable decades, he has gone from a boy growing up in Queens (with a millionaire father) to a man trying to make his way to the White House. But what has remained a near constant for the past 20 years is his look. His hair, of course, has sparked hundreds of metaphors, including "a decomposing ear of corn," "a hairspray labyrinth" and "the hair of 33 Barbie dolls." Then, there is his skin, which has taken on various shades of brown and orange (depending on the light), and has been compared to the color of a corndog

So, to commemorate his 70 years on planet Earth, we traced through images from Trump's past that illustrate his many shades, and his quest and evolution to being as orange as possible. 

And don't worry, we also created a GIF. (See way below.) 

1990

Donald Trump in 1990Source: Getty Images
Donald Trump in 1990  Getty Images

Ah, the early nineties. A purer, simpler time when Trump wasn't orange at all. No, he was just a very pale man with blonde, whispy locks. At this point, he was already considered a real estate magnate, and a multi-millionaire. 

This would be the year that he would open Trump Taj Mahal, a casino bearing his name in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This would also be one of the rockier years of his relationships, with his impending divorce from Ivana, who bore three of his children, while he carried out an affair with actress Marla Maples. 

1991

Marla Maples and Donald Trump in 1991Source: Getty Images
Marla Maples and Donald Trump in 1991  Getty Images

And hereee's Marla! This is the two of them, Trump and his then-fiancée Marla Maples, at the U.S. Open in 1991. As seen before in 1990, Trump isn't the least bit orange, but looking more like a flushed Caucasian male who's been sitting out in the sun just a tad too long. Just a regular ol' guy clearly overdressed for a tennis match. 

This was the year that brought the Trump Taj Mahal into bankruptcy, and the year that his divorce to Ivana was finalized so he could now officially bounce around town with Ms. Maples. 

1999

Donald Trump and Melania Knauss in 1999Source: Getty Images
Donald Trump and Melania Knauss in 1999  Getty Images

Here is Trump and his new boo, Melania Knauss. They met just one year earlier at a party that Trump had actually arrived to with another woman. But that's besides the point. 

The point here is that Trump's face at this New York Knicks game in 1999 is normal colored, with a mockingly impressed face that would become all too familiar to us in 2016. 

2001 

Donald Trump and Melania Knauss in 2001Source: Getty Images
Donald Trump and Melania Knauss in 2001  Getty Images

In 2001, Trump was just a billionaire with good Broadway taste, taking Knauss to the Broadway opening of 42nd Street in New York City. And he's not wearing a speck of bronzer. Knauss, on the other hand, probably is. 

2002

Donald Trump and Melania Knauss in 2002Source: Getty Images
Donald Trump and Melania Knauss in 2002  Getty Images

Doesn't this look like Donald Trump rendered in sculpted wax? Regardless, this is Trump in 2002 at the NBA Finals with his then-girlfriend, Melania, four years into their relationship. 

His hair looks slightly thicker, with a sturdy combover darkened by the light as it frames his slightly reddened face, that could be the result of two things: A humid atmosphere or slightly high blood pressure. 

We'll let you be the judge. 

2004 

Donald Trump in 2004Source: Getty Images
Donald Trump in 2004  Getty Images

Oh, well. Here we are. This is where it begins. The year is 2004 and Trump has just begun filming his show The Apprentice. Did TV make this man orange? This is, after all, the viewing party for The Apprentice, and this is one of the very first instances that Trump stepped out looking like he just sneezed into a bag of Cheetos. 

Maybe it was the stage makeup. Maybe it was the egomania that comes from knowing that your face is now going to be seen by millions of people a week. Maybe it was Melania's makeup talent rubbing off on him, quite literally. 

2005

Donald Trump and Melania Trump in 2005Source: Getty Images
Donald Trump and Melania Trump in 2005  Getty Images

One year later and Trump is still a muddy shade of tangerine. This is him and Melania, whom he had just married in a $1 million ceremony, in 2005 at the season four finale of The Apprentice. As per usual, his bronzer (or whatever it is) is left unblended around his eyes and hairline, and, as per usual, his hair is coifed backwards. Oh, Donald. 

2008

Donald Trump and Melania in 2008Source: Getty Images
Donald Trump and Melania in 2008  Getty Images

Yeah, this seems about right. Here is Trump and his wife, Melania, at a UNICEF benefit hosted by Gucci in 2008. While the bags underneath his eyes and his hairline remain pale, his face is the color of a man from Minnesota who has just gone to Florida for the very first time. It almost hurts to look at. 

2012 

Donald Trump and Miss Universe in 2012Source: Getty Images
Donald Trump and Miss Universe in 2012  Getty Images

This is Trump in 2012. Let's just look at the color differences here for one second. Look at Trump's face. Now look at his hands. Look back at his face. Now look at his ears. Something is off, and that something is either intense bronzer or self-tanner gone horribly, terrifyingly wrong. 

To see how to do bronzer and self-tanner right, please see the woman on the right, who just happens to be Miss Universe 2010, Ximena Navarrete. 

2014

Donald Trump in 2014Source: Getty Images
Donald Trump in 2014  Getty Images

Huh, so this is the decomposing ear of corn they were talking about. Here is Trump in 2014 at a Politics & Eggs forum in New Hampshire, which is a common stomping ground for potential presidential candidates. 

This is when, for one of the first times this election cycle, people saw and heard Trump speak and thought, "I want this man with this face to be my president" and "This man seems capable and sane." 

2016

Donald Trump in 2016Source: Getty Images
Donald Trump in 2016  Getty Images

Here we are, at the end of Trump's quest to be as tan or orange (depending on the light) as humanly possible, come rain or shine. Come winter or spring or summer or fall. Trump is a man with a perpetual tan, and Trump is a man who is in the running to be the next President of the United States. 

Here he is in June 2016, after he officially became the presumptive Republican nominee. Just like in 2004, he is far beyond flush, probably talking at an elevated level and thinking about how else he can try to rule the free world. 

Now that you may be officially disturbed, here is a GIF of Donald Trump's skin transformation, from pasty white to intense, burning orange. 

A photo posted by (@) on

Read more: 
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• Melania Trump vs. Bill Clinton: Why the Way a First Spouse Dresses Really Matters