Two Degrees of Ivanka Trump

Deborah Friedell

I haven’t talked to my college roommate in a while, but a mutual friend reminded me that her sister had roomed with Ivanka Trump at Georgetown. This would have been before Ivanka transferred to the Wharton business school at the University of Pennsylvania, her father’s alma mater, from which – until recently, when someone checked the records – she said she graduated summa cum laude. I wrote to my old roommate immediately. What was Ivanka really like? Had she revealed anything about her family’s Russian banking interests? My old roommate wrote back: ‘Didn’t you mean to write “Happy Birthday”?’

It's not the kind of solecism that Ivanka would ever make: in Women Who Work: Rewriting the Rules for Success, her new book, she describes her infallible colour-coded digital calendar system. But she otherwise says little about herself or her father: this is a book that someone else could have written, and of course someone else almost certainly did. The advice to women who want to be more like her is worn and obvious: ask for feedback (‘criticism may be hard to hear, but in the end, it will make you better’); don’t burn bridges; 'success is a team sport’; ‘make eye contact’; work smarter not harder; ‘become indispensable’; get enough exercise; get enough sleep. (She doesn't say 'be born rich'.)

Ivanka has pledged to give her royalties to charity – half to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, half to the National Urban League, a civil rights organisation. It’s a worthy cause. Last week, the director of the NUL said that 'it would be difficult to pinpoint any moment in recent history where so much of our economic and social progress stood at dire risk as it does today.'


  • 8 May 2017 at 11:44am
    renlau says:
    A friend recently confessed to being at college at the same time as Theresea May, but he'd completely forgotten about her. He also had a room in college right next door to Theresa's husband Philip May. My friend says he listened to The Velvet Underground while May was an Abba fan.

    • 16 May 2017 at 7:18pm
      Mat Snow says: @ renlau
      "Kiss the boot of shiny, shiny leather
      Shiny leather in the dark
      Tongue of thongs, the belt that does await you
      Strike, dear mistress, and cure his heart…"

      Yes, it all makes perfect sense now.

  • 9 May 2017 at 10:14am
    listenfriend says:
    Ivanka Trump appears in the 2003 documentary 'Born Rich' as a friend of the film maker. Here is the IMDB listing:

    I thought she came across as likeable and intelligent with more awareness of the absurdities of her life than some of the other rich kids in the film.

  • 9 May 2017 at 7:41pm
    Stu Bry says:
    According to news reports Ivanka has been tasked with leading the working group into whether or not the USA should withdraw from the Paris climate accords. The fate of the world rests in her hands....

    We live in interesting times.