When her parents went through their messy divorce as the ‘Imperial Couple’ of New York City in the early ‘90s, Ivanka Trump could have gone one of two ways. It turns out her great ambition matches her father’s, and in the years since she has gone from creating a global fashion brand to the the most powerful first daughter ever.
The former fashion model has come a long way since she graced the cover of “Seventeen” and grabbed the public’s eye.
With her father becoming the president-elect, and his third wife remaining at home with their son in the penthouse atop Trump Tower, Ivanka has positioned herself to become a premier player in the shaping of world affairs by taking on the role traditionally played by first ladies.
She has already delivered powerful speeches, sat by her father’s side on important meetings, and weighed in on Cabinet appointments where her advice has been asked for.
Taking that into account, here are five ways Ivanka Trump is positioned to be a first daughter the likes of which we have never before seen:
She traded in a broken family for a global brand
While divorce can cause suffering and cracks in the character of some of children, Ivanka and her brothers took their parents’ public split and turned a crisis into opportunity. During the squabble and expensive family breakup, a lengthy dispatch published in Vanity Fair recounted that “the children are all wrecks.”
Of her parents at the time, Ivanka told People, “They made a real effort to ensure that we knew that they would always be there for us and accessible to us and it helped us through a difficult time.” She also credits her father for instilling the ambition and work ethic in her during her youth, and encouraged her to go on and do business for herself — something she would accomplish just six years later, when she would enter the fashion business as a model.
Business school would follow, she met Jared Kushner, the rest is history. And while nepotism certainly is a factor, her international fashion line amounted to a cool $100 million in revenue year — twice that of fashion starlets Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen.
She was Donald Trump’s ‘secret weapon’ on the campaign trail
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With grace, poise and careful consideration for her audience, Ivanka was often seen as Trump’s “best surrogate” due to her ability to effectively bring the family’s pro-business message to people left feeling disparaged by her father’s brash style and pointed rhetoric.
That might help explain how the real-estate mogul was able to unify the GOP down the stretch, and capture 41 percent of female voters (and a majority of support among white women). And while her appearances on television helped personalize her father, it might be the closeness she retains with the president-elect behind the scenes that grants the biggest net positive on the Trump name.
“His best running mate, by the way, would be Ivanka,” Sen. Bob Corker told MSNBC on the campaign trail. “I know that wouldn’t pass muster, probably, but I don’t know if I’ve ever met a more composed, brilliant, beautiful-in-every-way person.”
She’s already a big influence on the future president’s decisions
Not long after potential Cabinet members began strutting in and out of Trump Tower, Ivanka’s name surfaced alongside her husband as an influential figure in the meetings and one who would help decide important government positions moving forward.
Meanwhile, Melania Trump has not surfaced into public view.
As POLITICO reported earlier this month, Ivanka will be moving from Manhattan to Washington, D.C. in order to assume duties traditionally held by the first lady. And for those prominent members of liberal elite — whose passions include combatting climate change, gender equality, and pay equity — there may be no better bridge to President-elect Trump than Ivanka herself.
That gives her the unique power to implement some of her own ideas into policy.
She will have an agenda of her own in Washington
Although it remains unclear how comprehensive it may be, there are already underpinnings of the issues Ivanka may bring to light over the course of her father’s presidency.
In the past, she has been linked to advocacy for a more left-leaning climate agenda, and on the campaign trail stood alongside her father to promote paid family leave and lower child-care costs. Standing beside his daughter, the President-elect said, “We need working mothers to be fairly compensated for their work, and to have access to affordable, quality child care for their kids.”
“Are Ivanka and Jared Kushner concocting a House of Cards-style game of their own?” Vanity Fair asked, following the election. But with all the noise surrounding the transition team, exactly what the future first daughter and her husband have in store during their time in Washington will has in store will have to wait until after Jan. 20.