Have you heard about Jexodus, the new, totally laughable “movement” trying to steer millennial Jewish Americans—who are, as its website states, “tired of living in bondage to leftist politics”—away from the Democratic Party and into the arms of Republicans? (Good luck with that, by the way; as my Splinter colleague Rafi Schwartz pointed out, it’s not likely to happen, especially when a vile antisemite is currently occupying the White House.)
Jexodus apparently sprang from the brain of longtime Republican operative Jeff Ballabon, the man who, if you recall, recently called Representative Ilhan Omar “filth.” By the time Ballabon announced the creation of Jexodus at CPAC at the end of February, there was a website, a Twitter account, and one woman listed as its national spokesperson—Elizabeth Pipko, a 23-year-old whom Jexodus’s website describes as an “international model, Trump 2016 campaign staffer, poet, patriot, and fiercely proud millennial Jew.”
On Tuesday, Pipko was a guest on “Fox & Friends,” where she promoted the organization. “We left Egypt, and now we’re leaving the Democratic Party,” Pipko said. It almost immediately led to an approving tweet from Donald Trump:
And he tweeted about Jexodus again on Friday:
Republicans are clearly trying to make Jexodus a real movement by lifting up Pipko as its face. Pipko is, from her bio on the Jexodus website, a devout Jewish American and the granddaughter of the Jewish artist Marc Klionsky, a painter and sculptor who painted portraits of luminaries like Elie Wiesel and Dizzy Gillespie. We’re clearly going to be hearing and seeing a lot of Pipko in the coming months—but just who is she?
Here’s one excerpt from an interview she gave a website called “Headlines and Global News” in 2015:
As if juggling figure skating and modeling wasn’t hard enough, she’s currently enrolled in one of the most prestigious and difficult schools in the country: Harvard. She took a year off between high school and college to focus on figure skating and recuperating from her injury, but got right back to studying every single day. She majors in religious studies and is double minoring in math and legal studies.
“I don’t sleep, that’s for sure,” she joked when asked how she manages to study all three subjects. “It’s really hard, but again, even that helps me because of the confidence you gain. Everything you gain is knowledge that you can’t get anywhere else. Without that, I definitely wouldn’t be the person I am. And I don’t think I’d want to be growing up in this world and not learning while I’m doing all these other things.”
But there should be a big asterisk next to Harvard—her LinkedIn profile states that Pipko didn’t attend Harvard University, but rather Harvard University Extension School. There’s a big difference, in that courses at the Harvard Extension School are open to everyone, without an application—separate from the University’s rigorous admissions process and stringent academic requirements.
Her bio on Jexodus, incidentally, makes no mention of Harvard, and it’s unclear whether she received a degree from Harvard University Extension School, which does require an application. While I don’t want to ascribe any malicious intentions toward Pipko, it certainly seems like she was just fine with people assuming she went to Harvard University and never corrected them!
International model and figure skater
My mom was walking her dog and met a photographer in the park and the photographer asked if she could borrow the dog for the shoot. To return the favor, she did a photo shoot with me. She loved my pictures, sent them to a big agency, and that was where it all began. It was crazy.
In 2015, possibly when Pipko was still a teenager (???), she was featured as Sports Illustrated’s “Lovely Lady of the Day,” in a series of photos, largely provided by Pipko herself, that feature her in bikinis and various stages of undress. The next year, she was featured in Maxim, which described her as “a dedicated competitive skater who’s training for the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympics,” despite a serious injury she suffered in 2013. Pipko had previously spoken of her love for figure skating to Esquire, claiming that she practices “six days a week, five hours a day.” She also helpfully explained the process of making it to the Olympics:
There are a lot of steps. Every country is different. Mostly you have to get onto the national team by competing at your own country’s national championship and making the top three. Then competing at European championships. And then you’re chosen only two months before the Olympics. It’s terrifying. You work your entire life, and then you have about six weeks before the actual Olympics that you know you’re going.
“I’m the biggest girl in modeling and the skinniest girl in figure skating. I’m figuring it out,” she told Esquire. It’s unclear what happened to her dreams of skating in the Olympics. A quick perusal of her Instagram shows that she continues to skate:
Her love of skating is perhaps tied to her obsession with flying:
Or maybe her obsession with flying is really about birds?
While the majority of her modeling appears to be of the Instagram variety, in 2018, she landed the cover of L’Officiel Baltics’s wedding issue, and in 2017, Pipko was featured in Spain’s DT magazine, posing in a yellow bikini and a quote from her that reads, “The key to writing good poetry is to break your heart.”
Which brings us to her poetry. In 2013, Pipko published her first book of poems, titled Sweet Sixteen, which was followed last year by her second book of poetry, About You. Here’s “puppeteer,” one of her poems from her latest book, which she has said is inspired by her skating injury:
I’m not awake without you
The days just float on by
I’m not alive without you
Haven’t lived since we said goodbye
I can’t breathe without you
Knowing that you’re not around
I can’t live without you
The day you left, I drowned
I can’t see without you
Nothing looks the way it should
I can’t hear without you
There’s no point in life without you
There’s no life if you’re not here
I’m simply lost without you
You’re my puppeteer
Just like modeling, Pipko also says she got into poetry on accident. “I first got involved in poetry completely by mistake,” she said in an interview from July 2018. “My first book was basically my diary. I was dealing with a lot and needed to find some kind of release– that ended up being poetry. In terms of influences, I would say I really love both Lang Leav and Shel Silverstein.”
Here’s Pipko on what inspires her poetry. In a word, love:
I think my own emotions are the only real inspiration for me at this point. I hope to eventually be able to draw from my imagination, but for right now I find it easiest and most rewarding to be able to sit down after a really difficult day and let my emotions out on paper. I think most of my poetry is and always will be about love.
And here she is explaining how poetry is a way for her to process the only two emotions that apparently exist:
I definitely don’t think poetry is for everyone, I certainly wasn’t a huge fan before I started writing! But I think poetry has a way of accessing your deepest emotions faster than anything else whether those emotions are happiness or misery. And, I think if you want to be in touch with any of those true feelings you should really give poetry a chance.
From figure skater, model, “Harvard student,” and poet to Donald Trump supporter
So how did Pipko become enmeshed with Donald Trump? A month before the launch of Jexodus, Pipko told the New York Post why she joined the Trump campaign in 2016:
I never leaned liberal or conservative, but there was something about Trump — the way he spoke and his honesty — that had me convinced he was our next president. I worked in a call center in Trump Tower. Within eight weeks, I was hired as a national volunteer services coordinator for the data team and paid $4,000 a month.
Working for Trump led to her meeting her current husband Darren Centinello, who was some sort of social media manager for the campaign. She once gifted him a truly hideous tie; perhaps in return, he gave her a ring. Their wedding was held at Mar-a-Lago, and naturally, their guest invites consisted of red MAGA hats. “We weren’t worried about offending our guests,” Pipko told the Post. “At this point, I’ve already lost so many friends because of my Trump affiliation, the ones left standing are here to stay.”
But for a while, Pipko felt forced to hide her work on Trump’s campaign from her fellow models, because she “was terrified they would find out that I was one of the so-called evil people.” And even after he won, she continued to lie about her work with Trump:
After the race, because it was public record that I worked for the President, every time you started to type “Elizabeth Pipko” into Google’s search bar, Trump’s name would pop up alongside mine. A booker at my current agency, DAS, asked me about it, confused and a bit concerned. I told him had no idea! My brother created a program that would continuously search my name with other keywords to get “Trump” bumped out.
But in recent months, Pipko has made the brave choice to out herself as a Trump supporter, “even if that means saying goodbye to modeling forever.” Trump is, Pipko said, “great for women.”
Good luck with Jexodus.