Ivanka Trump: What it was like growing up Trump
Growing Up Trump: Ivanka Trump Tells All
She is standing like a statue, a magnificent statue, in a Carolina Herrera gown, with a baby on one shoulder and a cell phone on the other. Cooing to her five-month-old son, Theodore, one minute and barking orders the next. Though I shouldn't say "barking." Ivanka Trump doesn't bark. She coos, even to business associates, but very, very firmly. "So I can count on you to be at the site 24-7," the 34-year-old is saying, not asking, part of her duties as the de facto head of the Trump Organization while Daddy runs for president. She hangs up the phone. She cuddles her baby.
This, in a nutshell, is Ivanka. Daughter of Donald Trump and Ivana Trump, who, even long before her father somehow snatched the Republican nomination for president, was a bit of a Wonder Woman: running a multibillion-dollar empire, her own hugely successful business, three kids and a hottie husband, et cetera.
"Are you comfortable here?" she asks. We are sitting in an empty room in an enormous duplex penthouse apartment. She lives in another penthouse in the building, which, of course, is a Trump property. "It's spectacular, it's really special, and it's for sale!" she notes.
Ivanka, the entirely devoted daughter, is, by most accounts, her father's greatest campaign asset—and one who is not going to go off-message about him. Those who try to get her to do that do not know what they're messing with. When I tell her that my friends supporting Trump hope to hell that she is the one calling the shots, she raises a perfect eyebrow.
"Really? I'm definitely not," she insists. "His campaign is his campaign. We have worked together for over a decade, and I love my father, I respect my father. I also understand him and how he thinks."
So what is her role? "My role is daughter. I'm his daughter." She continues: "He undertook something incredibly daring, which required a lot of self-sacrifice," she says of his run for the presidency. Before that, "he worked alongside his three adult children at a company he built himself and that he's deeply passionate about. He put all of that aside for what he's doing today, and I, as a daughter, am very proud of him."
But surely, being so supportive of your dad, I suggest, you are going to jump in now and then. "My siblings and I volunteer our opinions, solicited or not," she says. "And I think most children do that with their parents. I think there's something unique in that we're colleagues." Few believe that Ivanka is not in charge of the Trump Organization now, with her brothers Donald Jr., 38, and Eric, 32, tagging along. (All three are executive vice presidents of development and acquisitions.)
"We work alongside one another," she says. "I don't even know what my title is. We said to each other when we first got into the business that collectively we could do much more than any one of us could do individually."
But here's the thing. She will never misspeak. She will never misstep. And it certainly raises the question: Would she ever go into politics?
"I made the mistake of once saying, 'Never say never,' " she says. "I do believe that in life there are so many things I'm doing today that I never thought I'd be doing, so I generally take that perspective. But I said that, and the headline was IVANKA MIGHT RUN FOR OFFICE, so … But, no, it's not something I think I would ever do."
She is more forthcoming about what she will do if her father wins. Ivanka most definitely would have a role in a Trump White House, she tells me. "The presidency of the United States is an incredible thing. You have an ability to effectuate change at the highest level. There are issues I am deeply passionate about." Such as? "Well, obviously, I'm a huge advocate for women and women's issues, like child care. The cost of child care is incredibly onerous. In half the country, the cost of child care exceeds the cost of housing. It's the largest expense for households. It's not sustainable or appropriate." Clearly she has her platform thought out.
Presumably Ivanka's husband, the real-estate developer and owner of theNew York ObserverJared Kushner, will also be involved. The two are a golden couple by all estimations, but it couldn't have been easy to find the guy not be intimidated by her. "I can't imagine that I would be the person I am today if, over the last seven years, I had been married to somebody who didn't feel 100 percent comfortable with my drive, my ambition, my interest in thinking big and swinging for the fences."
Ivanka tells me, "From the first time Jared and my father met, they liked each other. They initially bonded over me, and then they bonded over real estate."
And when your dad says something like "If she weren't my daughter, perhaps I'd be dating her," does Jared laugh?
"Well, you do know that was not a serious comment, for sure. I would hope somebody would laugh or dismiss it. I've never asked Jared that question about what he thought. That's a very weird question."
She would rather talk about her own future. As if she doesn't have enough on her plate already, she is writing a book due out in the spring, stemming from her existing initiative, #WomenWhoWork.
Q:When your dad says something like "If she weren't my daughter, perhaps I'd date her," does your husband laugh?A:"Well, you do know that was not a serious comment, for sure."
"What I wanted," says Ivanka, "was a conversation with women celebrating the fact that we're multidimensional, we're not all cut from the same cloth. The definition of success varies dramatically between each of us."
She is also fully aware, and will explore in her book, that she could never do the things she does without a lot of money and a lot of "help." But really it's a clarion call for women to make their own choices, something that would be kind of fun in the Trump platform. "There's a certain caricature that comes to mind when someone says 'working woman,' " says Ivanka. "Yet that doesn't exist for men. In fact, I've never heard anyone say 'working man.' Ever. Because there's an assumption that they work. But that doesn't mean we should all work 100 hours a week. It may mean for some of us staying home and taking care of our children. It's about celebrating women and their personal choices."
So is she a real feminist?
"Yeah, I am. Absolutely."
"I don't talk politics. I made that decision at the beginning of this campaign because I am not the candidate."
We move on to the women in her life. Starting with her sister, Tiffany. It's easy to forget that Ivanka was the eight-year-old stalked by paparazzi when her father's affair with Marla Maples became public. Then there was the pregnancy. And yet Ivanka and her half sister, now 22, are remarkably close. "I judge people based on the person, not based on circumstances outside their control," she says. "Tiffany is an amazing young woman. She's smart, she's hardworking, she's focused."
But speaking of women friends, what happened with Chelsea Clinton? Reports said they "suspended" their friendship because of the campaign. That had to be rough.
"Why has it been rough?!" she replies. "I still consider her a very close friend, and she considers me as well. We have a great relationship." Really? "I'm not running for public office, and neither is she, so of course we're still friends." Have you seen the new baby? "Not yet." But she sent "a cute gift. More for the mother than the baby."
Suddenly a little ball of excitement runs into the room. Ivanka brightens noticeably.
"Hey, buddy! Come here, monkey! This is my little boy." Joseph is three and has just come back from day camp. "Did you go on the duck slide? Can you say hello?"
Her oldest child, age five, is Arabella, whom her mother describes as "strong and manipulative in a cute childlike way. She knows exactly what to say to get what she wants."
Hmm. Who does she remind you of?
Ivanka laughs. "Yeah, she's like me. Everything's a negotiation."
Hair and makeup: AlexaRodulfo.com for Scott Wells MD and Ouai Haircare; Manicure: Maki Sakamoto for Dior Vernis; Prop Styling: Rob Strauss Studio.
Lead Photo:Carolina Herreragown, ,990, 212-249-6552;Manolo Blahnikshoes, 5, 888-774-2424.
This article originally appeared in the September 2019 issue of Harper's BAZAAR.
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