'I was the best apprentice to Donald Trump!'

Ivana Trump, former Olympic athlete, fashion model, most famous for being married to real estate mogul Donald Trump, was in Dubai to unveil property developer Damac's latest project. She took time off to talk to City Times

By Shashi Joshi (Contributor)

Published: Sat 28 Apr 2007, 10:31 AM

Last updated: Sat 4 Apr 2015, 11:50 PM

Do you watch your children Don Jr and Ivanka on television in The Apprentice?

You know what, I don't have time to watch television. I spend more time in airplanes, than on the ground. If at all I do manage to catch it on TV, I know exactly what my children are going to say. I have been the best apprentice of Donald Trump!

While running the hotels, Donald and I were a team. He was the visionary and would get the finance, and I would build and manage the project. In this way, he was running 3-4 years ahead of me. So though we worked together, we really worked apart as our roles were quite separate.

How would you describe you design aesthetic?

I like cosy homes. I am not a fan of the modern look. I like velvets, silks and nice fabrics. My New York home is very grand - it's done in the Louis XV style, with lots of mouldings and columns. My Palm Beach home is on the ocean, so there are a lot of turquoise, peaches and blues in that home - very light and fresh. The casinos I have designed have a lot of glitz - because this is what the customer wants. In my St.Tropez home, I have a lot of hand painted furniture and tapestries from Provence. I have also used a lot of ironwork and stained glass. In London I went for a pastel colour scheme, which was very relaxing and soothing. In Dubai, we have used a lot of elements from Arabic culture and are even able to use strong colours. In my condominium project on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, we have used a lot of natural stones and woods because we are in the middle of a rainforest.

How important is money to you?

Anybody who tells you money does not matter, is lying. It does matter. You can have a better lifestyle, bigger houses, cars, and better education for your children. But at the end of the day, you really come back to your values.

This is your first visit to Dubai, and what are the memories you will carry back with you?

The progress of this city is incredible, especially the Dubai Marina. There are over 100 buildings going on at the same time. I loved the people who have been very warm and friendly. From the business point of view, I do appreciate the architecture, which is my kind of business. Architects and designers here can realise their vision and create buildings that may not be possible in other cities.

I have heard a lot about Dubai. It was an incredible surprise to see how the city and the UAE have grown.

My association with Damac started with the spectacular La Residence project in Beirut. Unfortunately the war started and we had to halt our work there. I would not go around promoting a project when people are dying and missiles are flying. But the moment the situation stabilises, I will be there. I am looking forward to building the tower there.

What I appreciate about Damac is that they select excellent locations for their projects. We are going to Turkey, Egypt and some other countries as well.

I am a businesswoman who has operated casinos and managed major hotel properties like the Plaza Hotel, NYC, so my expertise is with management, design and architecture. People look up to me and associate my name with sophistication, glamour, elegance and definitely luxury.

What is your best business tip?

I never follow the herd, I always follow my instincts. I do what I think is right, and move ahead. I have not regretted any of my business decisions. I surround myself with professional people. Once you do that, you cannot fail.

Trump towers

  • At the age of six, she joined the ski circuit and won the first downhill race she competed in.
  • While she was married to Donald, Ivana became the Vice President of Interior Design for the Trump Organization. She was responsible for all of the interior design of Trump's real estate : the Grand Hyatt Hotel, Trump Tower, Trump Plaza Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City where Ivana supervised construction and interior designed and eventually managed the project for the Trump Organization.
  • Today, she has established two companies - Ivana, Inc. that manages her appearances and Ivana Haute Couture which markets Ivana's products with sales of Ivana's line of cosmetics, accessories and fragrances sold over the internet. Ivana's company has matured into a multi-million dollar business.
  • Ivana gives many speeches throughout the year. She speaks about being a mother, the role that holds absolute importance in her life. her motivational speech "Woman Who Dare" is about having confidence in yourself and being a woman who has to balance her life between.

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