We met at an all-girls college on the Upper eastern Side and were inseparable for much more than a decade. Gradually, though, our differences divided us—“Why would you tell me to check out a book about fucking bad people?” she once asked—and i watched her punch up her closely curated picture of refined privilege to adopt her father wholesale.

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Ivanka Trump to be my finest friend growing up. We an initial met when I joined her seventh-grade course at Chapin, an all-girls college on Manhattan’s Upper eastern Side that had actually a reputation for attracting a blue blood, feminine, however ambitious cohort of young girls, not unlike the most renowned alumnus, Jackie O. After ~ spending the previous four years in social isolation in the suburbs, i was eager to land on the famous side of the classroom, ruled over by Ivanka and about five other wild, entitled, precocious preteens. It to be the grunge era, so us moshed roughly the classroom in performative angst, wearing ours uniforms of environment-friendly plaid kilts (tailored much shorter the more popular friend got) and stacked-heel Steve Madden loafers as the dystopian wails of Nirvana blared native a eight box. By that time most of united state were enabled to roam freely around Manhattan above 57th Street by bus or taxi prior to dark, and also we rebelled by taking the subway to Patricia Field’s in the town or dyeing ours hair through blue Manic panic from Ricky’s. Several of us also went to sheep Meadow come “dye ours hair green,” which to be the code supplied by the entire classroom in recommendation to a certain forbidden activity. 


Ivanka and I hung out periodically at first. I acquired a last-minute invite to her 13th birthday party, where about 15 of united state caravanned come Atlantic City in a trio the limos and also camped out in the penthouse suite that the Taj Mahal for the weekend under the supervision of two wary members of she dad’s security team. She called me come pose in a picture spread for Sassy magazine because none of she usual group was available. I remember swinging by she dad’s office in ~ Trump Tower therefore she could borrow his credit transaction card to walk shopping. Once we were no in our uniforms, the look at was baby tees and also Carpenters from metropolitan Outfitters; floral, boudoir numbers from Betsey Johnson for the interschool Goddard Gaieties dances, or the sixth floor of Barneys if us were splurging. 

Mr. Trump always handed end the credit transaction card ~ a tiny feigned outrage about how lot money that was providing her mother. He would certainly barely acknowledge me other than to questioning if Ivanka was the prettiest or the most famous girl in our grade. Before I learned that the Trumps have actually no sense of humor around themselves, ns remember comment honestly that she was more than likely in the optimal five. “Who’s prettier 보다 Ivanka?” ns recall the asking once with actual confusion, before correctly specify name the 2 girls I’d had actually in mind. He defined one as a young Cindy Crawford, when the other he said had actually a an excellent figure. 

Though he never ever remembered mine name, he seemed to have actually a photographic memory for changes in my body. I’ll never ever forget the moment Ivanka and also I were having lunch through her brothers at Mar-a-Lago one day, and also while Mr. Trump was saying hi, Don Jr. swiped fifty percent a grilled cheese sandwich turn off my plate. Ivanka scolded him, yet Mr. Trump chimed in, “Don’t worry. She doesn’t require it. He’s doing she a favor.” whereas he’d commonly congratulate me if I’d lost weight.


Ivanka and I really bonded one summer once a group of Chapin girls checked out Paris because that a language program in what would be the very first of countless trips she and also I take it together. That summer, we appreciated breaking the rule in unauthorized ways. Once we took ar trips into the city, us pretended to get lost ~ above the metro and also went to the movies on the Champs-Elysées or the Picasso museum instead. Once, we all determined to wake up in ~ dawn, sneak to London on the Eurostar because that the day, and also make it home in time for the 11 p.m. Curfew, yet everyone acquired scared and also bailed other than for me, Ivanka, and one various other girl. After that trip, Ivanka and also I to be inseparable.

We remained that means for much more than a decade, an ext sisters than ideal friends. Sure, she loved to talk about herself and also was shamelessly vain, but she was likewise fun, loyal, and also let’s challenge it, pretty exciting. In our so late teens and also early 20s, that felt favor Ivanka and also I were always on the same web page or up for the very same adventure, even if it is it to be leaving Bungalow 8 early on to watch a lifetime movie, or horseback riding with a town in Nicaragua because we had never been there before. ~ college, we started relocating on significantly divergent tracks. I visited Beirut for my an initial reporting job, and also Ivanka experimented with her own type of post-collegiate rebellion: commuting to Brooklyn because that a job with actual estate developer woodland City Ratner. Still, we continued to be close. Climate in 2009, soon after i was one of two maids of respect in Ivanka’s wedding, ours friendship finally damaged under the load of our differences. 

It was straightforward to ignore the dozens of push inquiries that flooded my inbox as soon as Donald trump announced his candidacy due to the fact that I didn’t think the had any chance of winning. Then, as soon as Ivanka joined she dad’s administration, i was sure she would step in come moderate her father’s most regressive, racist tendencies—not out of any moral commitment, but since caging young children and ripping up global climate agreements was no a great look in the halls of Davos. The Ivanka i knew invested her job developing and embodying a an ext polished and also intellectual offshoot of the trump brand, which mixed the language and also look the white millennial feminism with the mythical rigid of the business acumen and also entrepreneurial spirit she asserted to have inherited from she dad. Her objective was always a an ext refined brand that celebrity 보다 the bombastic, nouveau riche selection her dad had perfected—the kind that permitted her to it is in graciously got by the B&T and also Maidstone set, and invite Blake Lively over because that a girls’ dinner, but also serve as an inspirational example of a “woman who works” to the middle-class housewives to who she peddled her fashion brand. 

Instead, i have watched together Ivanka has laid waste to the picture she operated so hard to build. In private, i’ve had numerous conversations v friends who also grew up v Ivanka around how appalled we space that she no publicly oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s supreme Court nomination, or any of she dad’s especially repugnant policies. Yet in public, we’ve stayed silent because that’s what we are taught to do. I told myself that wouldn’t make a distinction if I common my bird’s-eye watch of the very first family due to the fact that the public had actually long ago grown inured to the run-of-the-mill instances that misogyny, elitism, and also poor character that I might recollect. In reality, i was afraid I’d shed friends and also get skewered from every sides as a hypocritical, privileged elitist looking to capitalize on she Trump connection. My disgust v the Trumps to be outweighed by my fear of gift dragged with the mud, dismissed through the family members as a nasty loser. Even now, together self-proclaimed previous friends vow that Ivanka deserve to never display her confront in Manhattan again, few of this detractors space quoted by surname in the numerous takes about her future.

A few weeks ago, after i voted early against her dad, i sat under at mine computer and also began come write about my friendship with Ivanka with no eye toward publication. Yet the an ext I wrote, the surer I came to be that i did no owe her my silence. Although friends and family have warned that this short article won’t be got the method I want, i think it’s past time that among the many critics from Ivanka’s childhood come forward—if only to ensure that she really will never ever recover from the decision come tie she fate to her father’s.


As she’s touted the achievements the Trump management has created the middle class while not-so-covertly follow a enormous wealth carry to that company America, I’ve been reminded of a phone contact we had actually in ours mid-20s. Ivanka constantly solicited book suggestions from me, and I had recently recommended Empire Falls, Richard Russo’s 2001 Pulitzer Prize–winning novel about the life that a diner manager in a working-class community in Maine. “Ly, why would you call me to read a book around fucking negative people?” ns remember Ivanka saying. “What part of you thinks I would be interested in this?”

When Eric Trump post a photograph on Twitter that a mansion supposedly belonging come Joe Biden and also wondered how a politician might afford together a house, i thought about how Ivanka supplied to point out inconsistencies between a character’s profession and also their way of life when we went to the movies. “Since when can a teacher purchased a BMW?” she would certainly ask, munching on her usual small popcorn, coated in what would certainly be an unpalatable amount of salt come a normal person. Or, “Why is a police officer life in a residence like that?”

Another storage that often occurs to me is the Mr. Trump carrying a toast come a room complete of diners at Mar-a-Lago, who watched him as devotedly then as his red-capped followers perform today. Castle laughed when he addressed them as the wealthiest Jews in the world, complimented the range of deluxe sports cars in the parking lot, and also gleefully recounted the fight he was waging versus the Waspy club throughout the street, which that dismissed together a dump. Beneath the taunting, it was obvious that Mr. Trump to be insecure; ago then, Palm Beach’s old-guard communities were among the few not seduced by his wealth. 

In contrast, it took no time because that Ivanka come be adopted by old money. Throughout summers in high school she would usually come visit me in Newport, whereby I grew up in a Waspy beach neighborhood frequented by plenty of of the same sort of civilization who patronized the club across from Mar-a-Lago. This set also used to deride human being like the Trumps, but Ivanka won anyone over. She was polite, refined, and also fun to it is in around. She subscribed to The Atlantic and also spoke ambitiously around her lifelong dream of leaving her mark on the Manhattan skyline. After ~ every conversation, strangers would marvel at exactly how she had actually turned the end so unlike her parents. There to be a moment at the end of university or just after as soon as it seemed like this much more understated life of wealth and also privilege could appeal come Ivanka—like she can actually veer turn off the track her dad had laid for her.

But in private, rougher, much more Trumpian edge still sometimes poked out. Ivanka would regularly relay stories of teachers or observers who had commented that she had the most natural talent they had ever seen for whatever brand-new pursuit she was acquisition up. She never ever wore a Halloween costume that wasn’t flattering, which way she usually verified up at costume parties looking beautiful and also boring. She always stopped in ~ McDonald’s because that cheeseburgers. She cursed. And also of course, she had actually the trump radar for status, money, and power, and also her dad’s instinct to litter others under the bus to save herself. 

One that the earliest memories I have of Ivanka from prior to we were friends is when she blamed a fart top top a classmate. Some time later, she goaded me and also a couple of other girls into flashing ours breasts the end the home window of our classroom in what has since been labelled the “flashing the warm dog man” incident in Chapin lore. Ivanka had actually basically been the ringleader, however she pleaded she innocence come the headmistress and got off scot-free. The remainder of united state were suspended. 

While Ivanka was laying the structure for her occupation of Manhattan, ns was experiencing a brand-new reality in Lebanon together it was rocked by a cable of politics assassinations and also bombings and a decimating war with Israel. The gulf between us came to be increasingly apparent. During my an initial two-year insignificant in Beirut, Ivanka on regular basis emailed me message like, “When room you acquiring your ass back to NYC? You’re going to be replaced.” ns remember her being the only person I knew that didn’t ask me what the war was like. By the time I go return home, she had actually started date Jared Kushner, whose family members has an individual and company ties to Israel, and my pro-Palestinian stance started to chafe. Due to the fact that 2007, i’ve worn a necklace with my name written in Arabic, and also Ivanka flourished increasingly irritated by it. Sometimes, she would randomly say, “I hate that thing.” then one night in the center of dinner, she glanced at the necklace and also said, “How does her Jewish friend feel as soon as you are having actually sex and that necklace access time him in the face? How have the right to you wear that thing? It just screams, ‘terrorist.’” 

But Ivanka was experienced at blunting her more Trumpian comments with equally usual acts of generosity. Once, she lent me her apartment for about six hours during a trip home from Lebanon so I might rendezvous with my boyfriend throughout one of his layovers. She associated me v Peter Kaplan, the so late editor of the New York Observer, who hired me as a freelance writer between 2007 and 2009. As soon as I to be single, she and also Jared often tried to set me up through a roster of eligible bachelors in what I always felt was an effort to elevate me come the ranking of world they want to socialize with. Once I to be an intern in ~ Al Jazeera English, I finished up on an awkward date with a close associate of Rupert Murdoch’s; ns sat through a team dinner while Jared, Wendi Murdoch, and also the New York Post higher-up they had actually their eye on for me disputed the expendability that journalists in the digital age and ignored me completely.

One time, us were driving come Manhattan from Bedminster, and I think we were having some kind of disagreement around affordable housing in Manhattan. I distinctly mental Ivanka saying something follow me the present of, “Ly, i can’t talk about this stuff v you anymore because you’ve yes, really turned into a Marxist.”

Still, Ivanka request me and one other friend to be in her wedding party in 2009. The months in between her engagement and also wedding to Jared to be a flurry of activity in which i was honored to participate. When I began a new job in a various field the day after your wedding, however, I expected my best friend to ask just how it to be going. After ~ what might have to be a few days or weeks, ns remember sending out her a text that said something like, “Hey, I started a new job the day after her wedding, and you haven’t inquiry me a solitary question around it.” 

I don’t remember her precise reply, yet it was something follow me the currently of, “Ly, I’m too busy because that this shit.” 


A picture of the author and Ivanka in Sassy magazine’s December 1996 issue.

Photograph by Scott Teitler. Courtesy that the author.

That was more or less the end. She still sent out presents on my birthday and invited me to her Halloween date of birth parties at Trump SoHo. Once my son was born, she sent out me a gold-plated bracelet engraved v his name. She was never impolite, yet we no longer belonged to each other’s inside circles.

For the past 4 years I have actually tried to track out the conversation that conquered international media, yet it is practically impossible to disregard when the human being who provided to pluck ingrown hair from her bikini line suddenly appoints herself to the duty of unelected windy official and begins come torch democracy. As soon as Ivanka newly posted a photo of it s her on phase with her youngsters at a trump rally, i wondered to one more friend native the Manhattan private school human being what she endgame might be. Ivanka had deigned come dress middle American housewives as soon as I knew her, however did no pretend to want to hobnob through them. Predictably, together she began moving through the genuine power brokers the the world, Ivanka came to be increasingly certain that she and the rest of the capitalist elite had far better solutions to the plight the America’s struggling working course than elected officials and also the creaky administrations they presided over. Yet aligning herself with her dad’s banana republic-style management made no sense to me, until my friend suggested that Ivanka took her children to the rally to show them the they are American royalty. This explanation seemed many plausible. What is much more royal than presiding over topics that friend disdain?

I’ve to be a an excellent Wasp and also kept quiet till now, even as i have grown progressively repulsed by Ivanka’s capacity to assist and abet she father. I’ve to be comforted by the certainty the the backlash indigenous those whose respect she craves many must sting. Still, I miss out on my old friend. I miss out on going to green Kitchen on an initial Avenue at 1 a.m. Because that “mozzarazza,” hailing down a gondola in Amsterdam because that a tour, belting out “Anna Begins” and also songs native Les Mis on a roadway trip. Yet most the all, I miss out on the time when the Trump family quest for strength was not dangerous come the country. 


Though I execute hope that fantasy comes true—the damages the Trump family members has done is unforgivable, even if perpetrated by mine childhood ideal friend—I mean Ivanka will find a soft landing in Palm beach instead, where casual white supremacy is de rigueur and most misdeeds room forgiven if you have enough money. That the perfect point out for she to lie low, shielded indigenous the economic and also social results of the policies she pursued for the past 4 years, the backlash versus them, and also from having actually to communicate with she MAGA following. Surely Ivanka will still market every little thing branded assets she can sell them, and many whisper the she will certainly harness their commitment in a future run for president. 

Whether Ivanka is able come rehab her stained photo or not, ns hope she wasn’t able come drown out the applause that the city she when aspired to rule, cheering and celebrating she political downfall. I was with them, crying v relief, matched only by the regret and also shame i feel for not holding my previous friend come account sooner.

Lysandra Ohrstrom (
) is a Brooklyn-based freelance journalist who covers the U.S. And also the center East. This write-up has to be updated.

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