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January 29, 2007

Trump Power

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Model Student

Ivanka wasn't a rebel, but had her moments. "I think my mom threatened to put me up for adoption a few times," she says. At 15, she transferred to tony Choate Rosemary Hall in Connecticut. "I was all of a sudden in the prison of boarding-school life, and all my friends in New York were having fun," she recalls. Plus, her mother made her pay her own phone bills. To escape and make some extra scratch, she started modeling for Versace and Thierry Mugler; in 1997, she appeared on the cover of Seventeen.

"Modeling was not an endgame for me," Ivanka says. "I didn't particularly enjoy the act of it. It's as ruthless an industry as real estate — the people you meet in that business are just as fricking tough." She scrunches her velvety brow. "I used it as an excuse to travel. I used it as a way to break up the monotony. It was great, but it is an annoying source of confusion at this juncture in my life. People still constantly ask me, 'How's modeling going?' That's how they remember me, and I want to be a little bit more serious than that, ha ha!"

Ivanka recalls a day during high school when she was looking out of a friend's window. "It was this gorgeous cityscape, and there was this sort of gap where there should have been a beautiful tower," she recalls. At that moment, she declared that one day she would rule the New York City skyline.

After graduating summa cum laude from Wharton with a B.A. in economics, she took a job working for billionaire developer Bruce Ratner but left after a year to join the family business. She avoided appearing on The Apprentice, despite the urgings of her father and producer Mark Burnett, but eventually gave in.

"I knew that for 'Trump' to be sustainable it couldn't just be about my father," she says. "It has to be about us as a family in some broader context, and the vehicle for that is shows like The Apprentice. That's why I did it."

She tells me that until recently, she thought she'd be hitched by 25 and have three kids and her first major building completed by 30."Totally unrealistic!" Ivanka says, laughing. "Someday I want a house full of small, adorable brats. But this is where I want to be now, working in this company, building buildings."

In November 2005, Ivanka exited a three-and-a-half year relationship with documentary producer and playboy James "Bingo" Gubelmann. She says that she's attracted to strong guys. "Typically a little bit older than myself — someone who knows what he wants. Aesthetically, Christian Bale is like a god — I find him to be so good looking. I mean, he was great in American Psycho. Very attractive."

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