US Pres­i­dency: Ivanka Trump claims her fa­ther, Don­ald, is a fem­i­nist

Next stop, the White House? Chrissy Iley meets Ivanka Trump, savvy busi­ness­woman, el­dest daugh­ter of ‘The Don­ald’ and the se­cret weapon in his bid for the US pres­i­dency.

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - CONTENTS -

I’m on the 25th floor of the Trump Tower in the heart of New York City, sit­ting op­po­site Ivanka Trump. She’s a daz­zling pres­ence – tall and el­e­gant. At 34, she’s the el­dest daugh­ter of Don­ald Trump – the bil­lion­aire busi­ness­man and would-be US Pres­i­dent – and his first wife, 67-yearold Ivana, Czech-Amer­i­can so­cialite and for­mer model.

Ivanka’s skin is lu­mi­nously mois­turised. Her hair, though silky, golden and long, is con­tained. Let’s not for­get that in the world of hair­styles, few have had as much im­pact as her mother’s rock-hard bee­hive or Don­ald’s swoop-over. Ivanka looks more like her mother, but has in­her­ited her fa­ther’s su­per­hu­man work ethic. She sleeps, she says, only “about four and a half hours a night”. In March this year, she gave birth to her third child, Theodore. Just a week later, she was back and busy on her dad’s cam­paign trail, look­ing poised, super-slim and ready to take on the world.

“As a young girl grow­ing up, my fa­ther told me I could do any­thing I set my mind to,” Ivanka says and that’s ex­actly what she did.

She was a model for a brief time, before grad­u­at­ing with an eco­nomics de­gree from the pres­ti­gious Whar­ton busi­ness school in 2004. Along with her two el­der brothers, Ivanka is an ex­ec­u­tive vice-pres­i­dent at the Trump Or­gan­i­sa­tion. She has her own suc­cess­ful fashion brand and she’s writ­ing a book ti­tled Women Who Work. Oh yes, and she and her sib­lings are very in­flu­en­tial in their fa­ther’s bid to win the US elec­tion in Novem­ber.

Don­ald, 70, now with his third wife, Me­la­nia Knauss, helmed the US edi­tion of The Ap­pren­tice, and is taken more se­ri­ously in his home coun­try than in other parts of the world. In Amer­ica, a grow­ing num­ber of peo­ple look up to the man who isn’t afraid to say what many think.

Don­ald has five chil­dren – three from his first mar­riage plus one each from his second and third, the youngest of whom, Bar­ron, is 10. Yet it is the el­der three who wield the great­est in­flu­ence over their fa­ther’s po­lit­i­cal am­bi­tions.

Ivanka and her brothers Don­ald Jr, 38, and Eric, 32, are all ma­jor players in the Trump pres­i­den­tial cru­sade, trav­el­ling on his cam­paign plane and sit­ting with him at his con­fer­ence table.

In June, Ivanka and her sib­lings suc­cess­fully pressed their dad to sack one of his top aides, cam­paign chair­man Corey Le­wandowski, who they wor­ried had be­come a con­trol freak. Re­ports sug­gest it was Ivanka who de­liv­ered the ul­ti­ma­tum to their fa­ther, threat­en­ing to dis­tance her­self from the cam­paign if Le­wandowski was not re­moved.

She was right, of course. Peo­ple were com­plain­ing that Corey was be­com­ing too abra­sive – par­tic­u­larly to­wards women.

All three chil­dren work at Trump

Tower, on the floor be­low their fa­ther’s of­fice. When we meet, it is clear Ivanka in­tends to re­main above the fray. While her fa­ther thrives on the buzz of say­ing the first thing that comes into his head, Ivanka care­fully man­i­cures her thoughts. In per­son, she’s mea­sured, im­pres­sive and ath­letic-look­ing. A gi­ant desk sep­a­rates us. It’s filled with books, notes, her mag­a­zine cov­ers and a printed card with what ap­pears to be the Trump man­i­festo – it reads:

“We are De­ter­mined, Re­spect­ful, En­gaged, Am­bi­tious, Motivated, Ded­i­cated, Op­ti­mistic”.

I’m flus­tered as I grap­ple for my tape recorder. Ivanka’s voice is sooth­ing as she rec­om­mends one of her own hand­bags to me. It has many com­part­ments and a charger for your phone.“It’s com­ing in the new col­lec­tion,” she says.

The fashion line is only a small part of what’s oc­cu­py­ing Ivanka’s time along­side the Trump cam­paign, the fam­ily’s real es­tate deals and, of course, her three kids. She tells me she’s lit­er­ally al­ways run­ning home to check on them. There’s a cam­era linked to the of­fice, too, so she knows what they’re up to.

Ivanka re­cently tweeted that baby Theodore started sleep­ing through the night at two months. “With each child, we got them on a sleep sched­ule in a quicker fashion,” she ex­plains. “Arabella [her el­dest daugh­ter, aged five] was a dis­as­ter be­cause we didn’t know what we were do­ing. It tooka year. Joseph [aged two] was half that, but with Theodore, we’re learn­ing.”

Her hus­band, Jared Kush­ner, is also in­volved with Don­ald’s cam­paign.

He’s a busi­ness­man – the pub­lisher of the New York Ob­server and head of his fam­ily’s real es­tate devel­op­ment ven­ture, Kush­ner Com­pa­nies.

The pair mar­ried in 2009 after Ivanka con­verted to Ju­daism for him. “I’m in­cred­i­bly in love with him and he’s my best friend,” she says.

Jared was raised Ortho­dox. Ivanka is ob­ser­vant of the Sab­bath and has learnt to cook kosher. “I was a ter­ri­ble cook. I’ve al­ways loved en­ter­tain­ing and hav­ing peo­ple in my home, but I would nor­mally or­der food. When I got mar­ried, I de­cided that was some­thing I would learn how to do,” she says.

As well as an apart­ment in Man­hat­tan, the pair has a cot­tage at one of the Trump golf clubs in New Jer­sey, next to her fa­ther’s. She and her fam­ily es­cape there at week­ends. She says Don­ald is an “ex­cel­lent” grand­fa­ther. “My kids love him and we spend a lot of time to­gether, es­pe­cially dur­ing the sum­mer. It’s very cute that my daugh­ter has picked up lit­tle things from him. A cou­ple of months ago, we were walk­ing down the street and she spot­ted a pot­hole in the road. She points at me and looks at it, and says, ‘Grandpa would not like that.’ We laugh and then she goes,

‘You know, that sort of metic­u­lous­ness that he has.’ He is in­cred­i­bly close with my chil­dren.”

Ivanka’s eyes light up when talk­ing about her dad. “My fa­ther has tremen­dous warmth. He is a fiercely loyal per­son to his fam­ily and friends. He has an amaz­ing – and al­beit some­times wicked – sense of hu­mour. He has been an un­be­liev­able fa­ther.”

Don­ald doesn’t re­alise that his ‘jokes’ can often be taken out of con­text – and Ivanka hasn’t al­ways been shielded from them her­self.

A for­mer Miss Uni­verse con­tes­tant re­called the time the mag­nate drew at­ten­tion to Ivanka’s ob­vi­ous vis­ual ap­peal, ask­ing, “Don’t you think my daugh­ter’s hot?” Ivanka was 16 at the time...

Does she think his sense of hu­mour has been taken in the wrong way? “Po­ten­tially,” she says, cau­tiously. Per­haps he shouldn’t joke so much in pub­lic, I sug­gest. Ivanka de­murs, as she does about all his con­tro­ver­sial pol­i­tick­ing. Rather than try to de­fend him, Ivanka says, “He is also au­then­tic. A com­po­nent of his suc­cess has been that peo­ple re­spect the fact that he’s in­cred­i­bly hon­est with his opin­ions and in pol­i­tics that’s re­mark­ably rare, if not un­heard of. So I think that’s a re­fresh­ing qual­ity. Re­gard­less of whether peo­ple agree or dis­agree with a cer­tain po­lit­i­cal stance, I do think there’s an ap­pre­ci­a­tion that he is not afraid to say where he stands on a given is­sue.”

My fa­ther has tremen­dous warmth. He is a fiercely loyal per­son.”

Peo­ple who are the most suc­cess­ful are the most pas­sion­ate.”

So, Team Trump. Would she, could she, join his po­lit­i­cal team? It has been sug­gested she would be his per­fect foil. “Oh, gosh, he’s keep­ing me busy here at Trump. I also have my own busi­ness and a young fam­ily. Quite a few things on my plate and I’m very happy.” It’s not ex­actly a de­nial.

Then there are Don­ald’s con­tro­ver­sial pub­lic state­ments. So what does Ivanka think about her fa­ther’s sug­ges­tion to build a wall to keep Mex­i­cans out of the US and banning Mus­lims from en­ter­ing the coun­try? She’s not go­ing to tell me – those ques­tions are off lim­its. She sails on un­ruf­fled, super-con­trolled, im­mune to his tur­bu­lence. The best I can do is ask how things would change if she was to get the ti­tle First Daugh­ter. “You’ll have to ask me in a year from now. I’m an adult now, so it would be a dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ence than if I were a child. But I’m still a daugh­ter.”

She is also close friends with the for­mer First Daugh­ter Chelsea Clin­ton. “Yes, we’ve known each other for years and she’s a won­der­ful per­son, and a very good friend.” So de­spite their par­ents run­ning against each other, their bond re­mains.

Ivanka is very much a fem­i­nist. “I 100 per cent be­lieve in gen­der equal­ity, so by def­i­ni­tion, that makes me a fem­i­nist, which I’m very proud of.”

She also thinks her fa­ther is a fem­i­nist – de­spite ac­cu­sa­tions against him of misog­yny, ob­jec­ti­fy­ing women and gen­er­ally cussing them out. “I do, yes, and it’s a big rea­son I am the woman I am to­day. He al­ways told me and showed me that I could do any­thing I set my mind to if I mar­ried vi­sion and pas­sion with work ethic. He also sur­rounded me with strong fe­male role mod­els who have done just that since I was a lit­tle girl. Peo­ple talk about gen­der equal­ity – he has lived it. He has em­ployed women at the high­est lev­els of the Trump Or­gan­i­sa­tion for decades, so I think it’s a great tes­ta­ment to how ca­pa­ble he thinks women are and has shown that his whole life.”

I think Ivanka has al­ways been a daddy’s girl. She used to watch

Don­ald in the of­fice and on con­struc­tion sites when she was lit­tle. She be­comes more hes­i­tant at this. You can see her choos­ing words care­fully. “Yes, I did. I think there’s a ge­netic com­po­nent as well as an ex­pe­ri­en­tial com­po­nent to my love for real es­tate. Both my par­ents re­ally loved what they did pro­fes­sion­ally and shared their pas­sion with us start­ing from a young age. It’s no co­in­ci­dence that my brothers and I like show­ing up for work. That’s what they mod­elled for us, but they didn’t force it upon us.

“The num­ber one thing my fa­ther said to me my whole life was that you need to find what you’re pas­sion­ate about be­cause life is too short to do some­thing you don’t love, and if you are not pas­sion­ate you will never be great.

And I’ve no­ticed that to be true. Peo­ple who are the most suc­cess­ful are the most pas­sion­ate.”

Born and raised in New York, Ivanka was a straight-A stu­dent and re­spon­si­ble for earn­ing her own spend­ing money, which is why she took up mod­el­ling. In her book The Trump Card, she writes, “Mod­els were the mean­est, cat­ti­est, bitchi­est girls on the planet. En­ti­tled, un­su­per­vised, un­der-ed­u­cated and pam­pered teenagers whose ev­ery suc­cess came as the di­rect re­sult of some­one else’s dis­ap­point­ment.”

She got out of that fast, went to uni and worked before join­ing Trump.

Ivanka isn’t some­one who thinks a fa­mous fam­ily is a curse – de­spite what she went through when her par­ents di­vorced in 1992 and she learnt about her fa­ther’s mistress, the ac­tress Marla Maples, who be­came his second wife.

Re­porters would ask about her fa­ther’s sex­ual prow­ess and she was hounded by the pa­parazzi. Yet, the Trump name is, she says,“a tremen­dous bless­ing”, adding, “I look at the great for­tune I’ve had my en­tire life. Some peo­ple think hav­ing a suc­cess­ful or fa­mous par­ent can be paralysing, in that they feel they could never live up to what was ac­com­plished by the gen­er­a­tion before them. The flip side is that it can be a great mo­ti­va­tor if you har­ness that en­ergy and use it pro­duc­tively.”

She is close to both her par­ents and be­lieves their di­vorce “brought me closer to my fa­ther, not be­cause I was tak­ing his side, but be­cause I could no longer take him for granted”.

So she sup­ported him, a week after giv­ing birth, on the podium in New York. Wasn’t that hard? “I try to live my life in ac­cor­dance with my pri­or­i­ties,” Ivanka in­sists. “My fam­ily is al­ways my first pri­or­ity.” She be­lieves her at­ti­tude to rais­ing chil­dren is very dif­fer­ent from that of her mother’s gen­er­a­tion. “There used to be a work life and a home life. Now there is one life,” she says. “No one I know has a work wardrobe any more, or an area of their closet that’s des­ig­nated for work. We tran­si­tion through roles more flu­idly. Tech­nol­ogy has been a huge en­abler of that be­cause it be­came nor­mal to re­spond to work emails at 11 at night and there­fore per­mis­si­ble to pick up the phone when your child was call­ing at the end of the school day.

“I don’t do it all my­self. I’m very for­tu­nate to have child­care to help me while I’m at work.”

In fact, she re­jects “the con­cept of ‘hav­ing it all’ be­cause that’s the wrong way to look at things. It im­plies there’s one def­i­ni­tion for personal and an­other for pro­fes­sional suc­cess, and I don’t be­lieve that to be true. And I think peo­ple are try­ing to cast women as uni­form and one-di­men­sional. A bet­ter way to look at it is, you are the ar­chi­tect of your own life and you have to live in ac­cor­dance with the things you pri­ori­tise.”

Ivanka has re­cently em­braced run­ning. “I ab­so­lutely hated it,” she says. “Then I trained for a half marathon. Now I run with my hus­band on Satur­day morn­ings. I’m prob­a­bly the only per­son who runs with­out mu­sic, with­out a phone. It’s great to be able to talk to him.”

Ev­ery year, she and Jared like to go to Turnberry in the UK, which she says “is with­out doubt the great­est golf re­sort in the world”. She thinks the only way to re­ally get to know some­one is on a golf course.

She claims not to be a “par­tic­u­larly good” golfer, though I doubt there’s much that she’s not ex­em­plary at. She dis­agrees and wor­ries that I might think she’s too per­fect. “You know, I get very messy. I don’t want to pro­ject an im­age that ev­ery­thing is easy be­cause that’s not help­ful to women, be­cause rais­ing chil­dren is re­ally tir­ing and ex­haust­ing. I sleep very lit­tle and I don’t ad­vo­cate that, but there are things that I want to ac­com­plish. I will leave the of­fice early to have din­ner with my kids, put them to bed and get back to work rather late. It’s a choice I feel good about. I’m okay about los­ing a lit­tle bit of sleep to cre­ate a sched­ule that works for my life.

“I’m also of my gen­er­a­tion, a mil­len­nial woman who is am­bi­tious. I have a lot of things to ac­com­plish pro­fes­sion­ally. And I swing for the fences.” What does that mean? “It’s a base­ball ex­pres­sion. It means I dream big.” And live big? “No, I don’t. I don’t live to ex­cess.”

In­deed. Ev­ery­thing about her is con­tained, bal­anced, the an­tithe­sis of her fa­ther. I like her, but I still don’t feel I know who she re­ally is. I put it an­other way – if she were a shoe, what kind would she be? “Oh, I’d be my Carra pump.” She takes off a co­ral stiletto from her own col­lec­tion and shows it to me. “It’s my go-to. Re­mark­ably com­fort­able – I could run a marathon in these.” But that heel is four or five inches high... “They’re com­fort­able. I would never wear a shoe that would re­quire me to teeter around.” Mys­tery still un­solved. A woman in stilet­tos can only run a marathon if she’s Ivanka Trump.

I’m of my gen­er­a­tion, a mil­len­nial woman who is am­bi­tious.”

Right: Don­ald Trump with his fam­ily (from left) Tif­fany, Don­ald Jr, Me­la­nia, Ivanka, Eric and two of his grand­chil­dren.

Above: Ivanka with mum Ivana and brother Don­ald Jr (right). Above left: After her fa­ther mar­ried Marla Maples (left), Ivanka says she grew closer to him be­cause she could no longer take him for granted.

Left: Ivanka is lov­ing life with her hus­band Jared, their daugh­ter Arabella, son Joseph and cute baby Theodore.

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