Throughout this last year’s presidential election, all eyes have remained glued on the outspoken Republican, Donald Trump.
But as the world turns their attention to her father, Ivanka Trump single-handedly remains the quiet strength behind the Trump empire.
You may think you know Ivanka Trump, but there’s a few things about the hopeful First Daughter many don’t know.
Ivanka Marie Trump was born in Manhattan on October 30, 1981, and is one of Donald Trump’s three children with the Czech-American socialite and former fashion model, Ivana Trump.
Ivanka Trump is no stranger to the pressures that come with being born into fame and fortune. She’s the middle child — sandwiched between her two successful brothers, Donald Jr. and Eric.
Ivanka was raised in the shadows of one of America’s greatest real estate patriarchs, but Ivanka Trump shines in her father’s shadow.
Ivanka wrote, “The fact is that I’m absolutely proud to be a Trump. For a while I was worried for my whole life, I’d be under my parents’ shadow, but it’s not a bad shadow to be under…”
Among the Trump children, Ivanka is the acknowledged favorite: “Daddy’s little girl,” as her older brother Donald Jr. once described her. To this day, when she’s not with her dad, Ivanka shared that she and her father “speak as often as five times a day.”
But Ivanka’s childhood wasn’t easy. At just eight-years-old, the world came crashing down on the young heiress. In 1989, Ivanka walked out the front doors of her elementary school on the Upper East Side to find hordes of photographers waiting to capture her picture.
“Best Sex I’ve Ever Had,” read the front page of the New York Post in one of the many stories about her parents’ horrendous split. Her father’s very public affair with Marla Maples would proceed to destroy the beautiful, young family. And just like that, Ivanka’s life was changed forever.
Looking back on those heart-wrenching days, Ivanka told Politico, “You couldn’t control the other girls bringing a copy of the newspaper to school. People knew. They heard their parents talking about it at the breakfast table, so they would ask me.” Ivanka sounded like she was straining as she sought the most positive light for this dark moment. She shared that the scandalous episode probably made her appreciate her parents more. But in the end, she concluded, “I actually view it, all in all, as a thing that obviously was negative.”
In the public’s opinion, Donald Trump had become a symbol of the dark side of success in America — a frightening example of what pride and greed will do to a man.
But to Ivanka, Donald remained a doting father. And unlike Donald Jr., who did not speak to their father for over a year, little Ivanka refused to hold a grudge against her beloved father, and in turn, chose forgiveness instead.
A close family friend shared that while in boarding school, young Ivanka was so close with her father, she would check in with him almost every day, calling him — collect — from a pay phone in a janitor’s closet.
Growing up the proud dad often brought Ivanka to visit his various construction sites, or treated her and her friends to a private plane ride to one of their many favourite vacation spots across the country.
But despite the great privileges that came with holding The Trump Card, Ivanka didn’t coast on her parents’ success. Instead, she was determined to build a name for herself.
“It was always very clear,” Ivanka said. “I wanted to be a businesswoman from as early as I can remember, and specifically, my real passion was real estate.”
Ivanka Trump may have lived through the dreaded ‘awkward stage.’ But in sharp contrast to other Hollywood kids in the limelight, a ‘rebellious streak’ was never a part of Ivanka’s story.
While attending college, young Ms. Trump was featured in the 2003 documentary “Born Rich.” The popular TV show featured several heirs and heiresses with personalities that oozed with obscene privilege, an obnoxious pride, and a toxic obsession with self.
Then there was Ivanka. While most of her co-stars bragged on the wealth of their young lives, Ms. Trump shared what was truly important to her: her family.
“There was no hint of teenage rebellion on or off the screen,” recalled the film’s producer, Dirk Wittenborn. “She had a message to deliver and she delivered it.”
Despite having the world at her fingertips, Ivanka made no time for partying or foolishness. Instead, the young heiress dedicated herself to her schooling. Throughout her formative years, Ivanka showed the world that regardless of who her parents were — she was determined to work hard, earn her keep, and write her own story.
She was young yet determined, and Ivanka went on to prove that she possessed both beauty and brains. The Trump sweetheart attended Choate Rosemary Hall in Wallingford, Connecticut, and eventually went on to graduate Summa Cum Laude in 2004 with a Bachelor of Science in Economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
Ivanka shared: “When I was graduating from college. I had been sure for so long of what I wanted to do, and I was graduating from Wharton with a degree in finance and real estate and a minor in history and art history. I was thinking, ‘Everyone else around me is so uncertain and I’m so sure.’ And it occurred to me for the first time, have I had blinders on to possibilities outside of the family business and what I have always known? That panicked me for around a week. I think, truthfully, I just wanted to commiserate with my peers, who were suffering. The stress of uncertainty. But then that cleared and I was pretty darn certain this is what I wanted to do.”
Throughout her college career, Ms. Trump also managed to gain a degree in independence when she began modeling to “earn her own spending money” as she eloquently put it. Ivanka first graced a magazine cover on a 1997 issue of Seventeen magazine. The brilliant heiress went on to walk the runway for Versace, Marc Bouwer and Thierry Mugler.
Ivanka’s face has adorned magazine covers for years, from Forbes, Golf Magazine, and Elle, to Top Choice Magazine, and Harper’s Bazaar. Additionally, the young Trump model shot advertisement campaigns for Tommy Hilfiger, and Sassoon Jeans.
It’s been said that early on in Ivanka’s career, she even politely turned down a job offer from Vogue’s Anna Wintour. To say that Ivanka ‘made it’ in the modeling world, would be a profound understatement.
As her proud papa shared, “She made a lot money as a model — a tremendous amount.”
But contrary to popular belief, Ivanka didn’t go straight from graduation to an office at Trump Tower. Instead, she worked for real estate developer, Bruce Ratner, for a year after college.
Ivanka shared, “I was doing grunt work along with 15 other fresh out of college kids.” This experience, outside of the family organization, gave Ivanka a sense of confidence about her own abilities.
Specializing in deal-making and design, Ivanka joined her dad’s company in 2005. Ivanka quickly became Donald Trump’s secret weapon and skilled ‘closer’ when it came to negotiating.
Today, the avid runner and former runway model is the executive vice president of acquisitions and development for The Trump Organization.
The same year that she and her brothers founded the Trump Hotel Collections, and Ivanka launched a jewelry line.
Ivanka’s keen eye for detail and style was the secret behind her jewelry collection’s astronomical success. And before long, Ivanka also launched a shoe and accessory line which is currently carried by the likes of Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, and Zappos.
In addition to being a former model, successful business woman, and former Apprentice judge, Ivanka also wrote one of New York Time’s bestselling books, “The Trump Card.”
Ivanka’s accolades are simply astounding. Because of this, it’s no secret that Ivanka — who grew up playing in her father’s office — is Donald Trump’s most influential, trusted advisor. She was the first person Trump mentioned by name when Sean Hannity asked last August, “Is there anyone close to you that you count on most?”
And when Trump announced his candidacy last year, his proud daughter was the one tasked with the privilege of introducing him.
But despite her beauty, brains, and undeniable personal success, Ivanka was very insecure growing up. And with plenty of negative opinions surrounding the Trump family, Ivanka often felt like a burden-bearer.
Ivanka shared that she used to be very aware of people’s negative opinions: “I think that was where I was in my late teens and early 20s. It [was] very useful because it allows you to use sort of any negative prejudices against you as almost a motivating factor. It’s not something that’s sustainable in the long run because, you know, if I was still influenced by the opinions of people who didn’t know me. I think that’s not a good way to live.”
Over the years, several men managed to capture Ivanka’s attention. The flawless heiress briefly dated cyclist Lance Armstrong, That ’70s Show star Topher Grace, and actor/producer Bingo Gubelmann.
But in 2007, God’s sovereign plans finally unfolded when one of Ivanka’s trusted friends introduced her to a handsome young man by the name of Jared Kushner.
Ivanka told NY Mag, “We met through mutual friends, we started dating pretty quickly after we met. It still felt like a slow process — a courtship, if you will.”
Twenty-eight-year-old Kushner was the successful and notorious owner of the New York Observer, but the gorgeous couple shared a common bond: real estate. Like Ivanka, Jared was raised in a wealthy family who made their fortune in real estate.
Ivanka shared, “Jared and I are very similar in that we’re very ambitious. That’s what makes it so amazing to be in a relationship with someone who is supportive of that.”
They were a match made in heaven, except for one thing: their religion. Ivanka considered herself a Catholic, while Jared came from a strong Orthodox Jewish background. Jared’s grandparents were Holocaust survivors who had traveled to America from Poland.
But the more time Ivanka spent with Jared and his family, the more she felt called to convert to Judaism.
Throughout their courtship, Ivanka worked hard to show Jared’s parents that she had whole-heartedly embraced Judaism. In 2009, after studying under Rabbi Lookstein of Congregation Kehilath Jeshurun on the Upper East Side, Ivanka officially converted to Judaism and shared that they observe the Sabbath and keep kosher.
In terms of their time together, Ivanka shared they mostly like spending weekends at home. “It’s very rare we’re featured out at some fancy restaurant on a date. We’re very mellow. We go to the park. We go biking together. We go to the 2nd Avenue Deli. We both live in this fancy world. But on a personal level, I don’t think I could be with somebody — I know he couldn’t be with somebody — who needed to be ‘on’ all the time. I don’t think we’ve ever been to a nightclub together in two years. I’m really thankful for that. I have a lot of stamina, but I don’t think I have the stamina to work as hard as I do and play that hard. I’ve learned how to cook. Once a week, we have a night in and I cook for just the two of us. We turn everything off and spend time together and talk about what we’re working on.”
On July 16, 2009, Kushner presented a 5-carat cushion-cut stone to his girlfriend of over two years and finally popped the question.
“I got engaged last night,” the 27-year-old tweeted. “Truly the happiest day of my life.”
The glowing bride-to-be gushed about her fiancee, “Jared is my best friend for many reasons, largely because I’ve allowed him to see who I truly am and he still loves me. I don’t feel like I have any defensive walls built up around me. He’s so kind as a human being, I look up to him. He’s a bit of a hero of mine. His ability to remain focused — he lacks an anxiety that’s natural for someone his age handed so much responsibility. Sometimes I catch myself looking at him and being thankful that I have grown to a level of personal maturity that I would value so much the qualities he has.”
“I’m very happy about it. They make a magnificent couple.”
On October 25, 2009 — just three months after announcing their engagement — the flawless couple tied the knot at the Trump National Golf Club in New Jersey. It was a flawless Jewish ceremony that was a picture-perfect image of unconditional love and commitment.
Together, Mr. and Mrs. Kushner have three children. Their daughter, Arabella Rose Kushner was born in July 2011. And two years later, the adorable trio welcomed their first son, Joseph Frederick Kushner in October 2013.
On March 27, 2016, the beautiful family of four welcomed their fifth little member, Theodore James Kushner.
While Ivanka is a successful business woman, she considers her roles of ‘wife’ and ‘mother’ to be her greatest privileges.
It’s not uncommon for Ivanka to bring her children to her workplace, or surprise her hunky hubby with an impromptu date at his office.
In fact, Ivanka is so family oriented, she proudly brought the entire clan to her recent catalog shoot for her clothesline. Employees shared that in between takes, Ivanka stole a kiss from her husband, played hide-and-go-seek with their children, and kindly introduced her family to the crew members.
Ivanka shared: “I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have a career that I am deeply passionate about, but, at the end of the day, it’s my family that is at the center of my life – and adding another baby to our family is a tremendous blessing. Jared and I are so thankful, and so excited!”
When it comes to her father’s presidential campaign, Ivanka remains Donald Trump’s most powerful ally. Ivanka’s polished poise, flawless example to women across America, and devotion to her family brings credibility to Trump’s campaign.
She recently stood up for her beloved father saying, “What bothers me is how rash people are to make claims as if they knew him and they knew his viewpoint on certain topics,” she said. “My father has an enormous heart and truly loves people — all people.”
Regardless of who had your vote, one thing is simply undeniable: Donald Trump raised one classy lady. Ivanka’s life is a shining example of all that the American woman can become.
Thank you, Ivanka, for your beautiful example of humility and grace, unconditional love, and commitment of putting your family first. Your character and integrity speaks for itself. America needs more women in Hollywood — and in the business world — like Ivanka Trump! Please share if you agree.