Over at New York magazine’s vertical the Cut, Vanessa Grigoriadis has written a deeply reported piece, timed to coincide with the release of a new podcast, on Ivanka Trump’s past, present, and, god help us, her future.
While the article treads some common ground—her childhood as a Poor Little Rich Girl, her narcissism (she follows no less than 35 “fan” accounts on Instagram), her inflated sense of her own worth and abilities (“She really has no idea she’s privileged,” a “friend” told Grigoriadis)—we did learn some new-to-us facts about Ivanka. Let’s review.
This is, of course, extremely on brand:
In her rebellious phase, she dyed her hair blue, listened to grunge and country music, and cried over Kurt Cobain’s death, none of which her parents were excited about. She also developed another habit that friends say her father did not like — she became a prodigious reader of great novels, burying her nose in Fitzgerald, Hemingway, Austen, Morrison. In her 20s, she said her favorite book was Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and she had modeled herself on its capitalist heroine, Dagny Taggart.
How much do you want to bet that Ivanka has this quote—“You don’t have to see through the eyes of others, hold onto yours, stand on your own judgment, you know that what is, is–say it aloud, like the holiest of prayers, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise”—printed out and laminated in her wallet?
She said what truly affected her, the trauma she carried, was her Irish nanny Bridget Carroll’s sudden death in the basement of her parents’ country home. Her friends were flummoxed by this and thought it was a smoke screen of some kind. But perhaps if Ivanka thought too hard about her parents’ divorce, she would have to blame her father for the split, and that was not a path she was willing to tread.
If my parents were Donald and Ivana Trump, I might feel the same way? I’m really trying to be charitable here.
Even her dad encouraging her to release a sex tape a la Paris Hilton wasn’t enough to make her think he’s a misogynist
Excuse me while I barf the entire contents of both my body and soul and bleach my eyeballs:
In 2003, when Paris Hilton’s sex tape was leaked on the internet, Donald wouldn’t stop talking about it, saying, “Paris is laughing all the way to the bank, she’s got the last laugh, she’s marvelous.” Ivanka could not believe her father was not only idolizing an airhead heiress caught blowing a guy on a night-vision video but encouraging her to follow Paris’s lead. (Speaking from the White House, [press secretary Stephanie] Grisham says, “This is untrue and is disgusting.”)
“The thing with Paris hurt Ivanka a lot,” says a friend. “He was heartbreaking to her at times.” But as with so much of her father’s behavior, she buried her feelings and moved on. She told herself that the story of her father’s attitude toward women was, simply, complicated, according to friends. Donald hired many women at the Trump Organization, she knew, and these women weren’t universally pretty; he wanted to employ women with traditionally masculine attitudes and almost enjoyed feeling discomfited by them, having them boss him around. Her father may have had issues with women, she felt, but he did not meet the textbook definition of a misogynist — a belief she seems to hold to the present day.
Honestly, you lucked out in this situation, James:
Some people in New York bought what she was selling, and some found it fake. “She’s so polite it’s actually uncomfortable — her whole thing is ‘My father may be tacky and horrible, but I am elegant and refined,’ ” says a fashion editor who dined with her several years ago. And here and there, she has been caught acting less than perfect. “My place card was next to Ivanka’s at a small dinner, and during cocktails I looked over and saw her switch mine with someone else’s,” says architect James Ramsey. “I guess I wasn’t important enough.”
After her father’s election, Ivanka, although excited by the win, told friends she wanted to stay in New York. Jared argued for D.C., saying they needed to protect her father, and, by the way, now anything — everything! — was theirs for the taking. At their synagogue, at least a few people began referring to Ivanka, the first Jewish member of an American First Family, by a new nickname, that of a savior. Grisham confirms that they called her Esther, after the beautiful Jewish wife of a Persian king who convinced him to cancel an order to annihilate the Jews.
The profile is worth reading alone just for extremely on-point lines like this: “She’s a frum Donatella Versace, her platinum hair parted severely down the middle, clad in increasingly conservative floor-length dresses, with an uncanny-valley beauty that’s the inverse of her father’s slack meat sack, and speaking in the ever-huskier whisper of a phone-sex operator who went to boarding school.”
You can read the full profile here.