By Julie Earle-Levine
Donald Trump, the brash American property tycoon and aspiring president likes to shout, a lot. He also is known to hurls obscenities in the boardroom. His office is on the 26th floor at Trump Tower, his spectacularly glitzy Fifth Avenue skyscraper, where the song Big Spender can often be heard booming out in the pink and white marbled foyer.
Donald is a roaring lion compared to his more reserved children, three of whom work for him, a floor below. But don’t be fooled, Ivanka, 29, and her brothers Don Junior, 33 and Eric, 27 are fierce overachievers. They just don’t rub it in our faces like Papa Bear.
The Trump kids appear to be well-adjusted and industrious as they travel the world eyeing real estate deals and snapping up hotels at a feverish pace.
Their normalcy appears surprising, even to them. Ivanka, who is six months pregnant (at March 14) with her first child to her husband publisher Jared Kushner once said, “You look at your brothers and yourself and are proud of the fact that nobody’s, like, totally fucked up. “ “Nobody’s a drug addict, nobody’s driving around chasing women, snorting coke.”
Ivanka is looking utterly gorgeous at 9am. She’s blonde with piercing eyes and pale, glossy lips. She’s in all-black, her earlobes glittering with rock crystal drop earrings with black enamel and diamond accents (her own jewelry collection) and wearing heels (from her own shoe line – they are not her usual five or six-inch heels) She takes a sip of her Tazzo passion tea and then laughs. “We try to walk the straight and narrow. We are young, but we don’t have crazy outlandish lifestyles,” she says, noting it’s a combination of how they grew up, having a close family and the way they supported each other.
“Don and I are married, very happily so. But we also have jobs we love waking up to, and going to and feel very fulfilled professionally. If I hadn’t found work which makes me happy in the daylight hours, maybe I would be out late at night.”
Ivanka also thanks her mother, Ivana, Donald’s ex-wife and Czech-born former model and Olympic skier who we saw recently rocking it out on the dance floor at Round Hill Hotel & Villas in Jamaica. “She is amazing. She has more energy in her pinkie than most people have in their whole body.”
The Trumps have been closely scrutinized since working for their father, who has made clear his dream for his family is to build on the Trump success.
Most speculation has focused on who will snare the top job: Ivanka, the former model who joined her father’s business in 2005, Don Jnr who has worked for Trump since 2001 or Eric, who began at Trump in 2006.
Initially, they worked on all projects together. “We were all young and didn’t want to forgo the opportunity that each project afforded us to learn something new.” Now they tend to divide up work projects. They consult each other each day, and have lunch once a week to talk about all projects.
How much does Donald weigh in? “Obviously, my father is still the ultimate boss, and for high level issues, challenges and questions, we always seek his counsel.”
Ivanka has long been touted as heir apparent. She denies it. “I think I’m the most publicly prominent of my siblings only because there is some novelty to being a woman in the business.” “We are far too young to know what 30 years down the track will look like.”
So who makes the decisions? “We disagree a lot, but in a constructive way. I would say we discuss and debate things. I don’t think there has ever been a high level disagreement where one of us is very bullish on an opportunity and the other is not.”
Their father has mentored each of them. Eric says:“He put us in the best schools, but he made us work. There was no free time in the Trump family. We either studied or worked.” Don Jnr like Ivanka, also spent a lot of time working in his father’s office, and following him around construction sites.
Ivanka says she has lost count of the number of projects they are managing, but in classic Trump style “all our projects are going phenomenally well.” After opening a string of Trump hotel properties in the US including Trump International in Chicago three years ago, Vegas a year later, Waikiki, Honolulu and then Trump Soho, they are now starting to open properties under the Trump International Hotel & Town brand. They have a large project under construction in Scotland, and will open a hotel and residential project in Panama, and in Toronto in the fall of this year. They just announced a deal in Mumbai, India and in the Philippines and Trump is starting to explore growth in China, the Middle East and Brazil.
Trump’s possible presidential run is not unexpected (he previously pondered a presidential bid in 1998, and again in 199 but dropped the idea) and would allow the next generation of Trumps to march full steam ahead, without him.
“My father loves having three children in the business. It enables us to divide and conquer.”