Anna Wintour. The editor of Vogue. An icon to millions of women—and quite a few men, too. Someone I'd known for years through my parents—and, later on, through my work as a model. I thought, why on earth is she calling?
"Of course," I said, trying to shake the tiredness from my voice. "How are you, Anna? It's so nice to hear from you."
Anna explained that she'd heard I was about to graduate but she wasn't calling to offer her congratulations. She was calling to offer me a job. Just like that. She didn't know my plans, but she knew all about my interest in modeling and fashion. "I could only offer you an entry-level position to start," she said, "but if you're serious about fashion it would be a great way to launch your career."
It was an amazing opportunity and an amazing call—a real pinch me! Sort of moment. Even then, I knew full well I would never have gotten such a fantastic offer if my last name hadn't been Trump, but that didn't make it any less thrilling. Anna Wintour had always been one of my heroes—an intelligent, dynamic, sophisticated woman, a true giant in both fashion and publishing. As an aspiring female entrepreneur, I couldn't imagine a better mentor than Anna. She could teach me a lot, no question. There was even a lesson in the fact that she was reaching out to me with the offer of a job. As an executive, I'd soon learn, you're constantly on the lookout for good young talent. you can't sit and wait for interested applicants to come to you looking for work; you have to go looking for them, and Anna must have seen some potential in me during our previous meetings—so it was flattering and illuminating, all at once.
But I'd already accepted the job at Forest City Ratner, and I wasn't about to give up on my lifelong passion of building a career in real estate. It was nice to be wanted, and I suppose there was a time in my life when it would have been a nice prospect to consider, but it wasn't for me.
"Anna," I said, "I'm so, so grateful for your call and for your generous offer, but I'm afraid I can't accept. I've already agreed to take a job with a real estate development company after I graduate. My plan is to work there for a year or so and then join my father. Real estate is my passion."
I'd bumped into a tough spot: how do you turn down a job without burning a bridge you might need at some later date? I was flattered that Anna Wintour had sought me out in this way, but I didn't want to insult her by rejecting her offer. Granted, it wasn't a job I was looking for and it wasn't a job I particularly wanted at that stage in my fledgling career. Moreover, I couldn't see myself ever being in a position where I'd want to switch careers from real estate to fashion. Still, Anna was a good person to have on my side, and I knew enough to treat her offer with respect. So I answered her the only way I could—with complete honesty.
Anna was understanding and graciously wished me luck. She said she'd heard I was leaning toward real estate but thought I might want to give the fashion industry another look. I thanked her again for the call and the thought, we exchanged another few pleasantries, and that was that.