The Trumpette; Business Brains, Model Looks and an Unexpectedly Thoughtful Attitude to Her Parents' Dramas, Ivanka Is Donald's Trump Card, Says Annabel Rivkin

The Evening Standard (London, England), June 23, 2006 | Go to article overview

The Trumpette; Business Brains, Model Looks and an Unexpectedly Thoughtful Attitude to Her Parents' Dramas, Ivanka Is Donald's Trump Card, Says Annabel Rivkin


Byline: ANNABEL RIVKIN

Ivana and Donald Trump, the epitome of Eighties excess whose divorce trial was a case paralleled in coverage only by the OJ Simpson fiasco, had three children together: two sons and a daughter. Do you know the sons' names? But I bet you know the daughter's. Firstly, Ivanka is a name so original that Ivana talked of patenting it as a brand and, secondly, the little girl who appeared at her father's side in a miniskirt and gold jewellery aged nine, and who modelled for Thierry Mugler at 15, has enjoyed a visibility unprecedented by any child who isn't Prince William or Athina Onassis. Even Athina was tucked away in a desperate bid to afford her a 'normal' childhood.

But Athina, for all the protective energy expended on her, is the one who fell for a married polo player with a dodgy reputation. Ivanka, for all the exposure, is possessed of so forceful a personality that, it seems, nothing has been able to sway her focus.

Who really knows if she is the product of good therapy, good parenting or good genes.

The resulting woman, now 24, is remarkable. She strides into Trump Park Avenue in a white Ralph Lauren shirt and blue jeans and greets everybody with a firm handshake and a broad smile. Her voice is deep and her vocabulary so steeped in business vernacular that she puts across a startling masculinity.

But she's not butch.

We gaze up the blindingly white, sweeping staircase in the $31 million penthouse where we're taking the photographs and, unprompted, she goes into her sell: 'This is Trump Park Avenue; it is our most recent New York City development. It's a building that has been through many incarnations; most famously it was the Delmonico Hotel which was the home of Baked Alaska, a dessert that was invented here.' Nice homely touch, a bit of history and pauses left for the requisite oohs and aahs that I find myself providing.

'Christie's, the auction house, was one of the major tenants at one time but we took it over, redid all the layouts and have had amazing success.

We achieved the highest price per square foot ever in a New York building.

I live downstairs.' 'We' is the Trump Organization headed up by Donald, he of the lustrous hair and phenomenal property portfolio. His personal wealth is calculated at billions and the heiress sitting before me is, first and foremost, vice president in charge of real estate development. Because the Trump Organization has many arms. There is the Trump Ice that is keeping the ES team hydrated on this warm Manhattan morning - a bottle of water embellished with a close-up of Donald glaring out from the green label. 'Yes, the water is interesting,' says Ivanka. There is a Trump modelling agency (naturally); Go Trump, which is a travel company; a Trump University; a Trump clothing range and a Trump men's fragrance that 'embodies the confidence, success and character of Donald J Trump'.

There are Trump books with titles such as Trump: Think Like a Billionaire and there are even Trump restaurants, from the casual Trump Buffet to the elegant Trump Grille. This is branding Trump style - it's ruthless.

The family are more famous now than they have been since Christmas 1990 when the divorce proceedings began with Ivana screaming, 'You bitch!

Leave my husband alone,' at Marla Maples on the slopes in Aspen where, while on a family holiday, she discovered Donald and his mistress skiing in matching suits. This is largely due to Donald's enormous success in fronting the original American version of The Apprentice which has won him armies of eager fans. It is now in its fifth season and its popularity only grows. 'I was asked to be on the show and for a while I chose not to,' says Ivanka.

'But when I joined my father in the company [last September after graduating from Wharton Business School and a year of working for a rival property firm], I realised the power of television as a medium. …

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