Sometime in 1995 when Ivanka Trump is 14 years old, her father signs her up with a modeling gig at his friend John Casablanca’s agency.
In the late 1970s, Donald Trump befriended Elite Model Management founder John Casablancas. They met through Roy Cohn, Trump’s greatest connection to New York’s wealthiest high-profile figures.
Within a few years, the two seemed inseparable, even closer than Trump and Jeffrey Epstein – another associate of Elite.
Throughout the ‘80s, Trump could be spotted at most Elite parties and events, usually chatting up models at the bar despite famously never drinking. Casablancas liked Trump so much that he would threaten to fire models for refusing to have dinner with him.
By 1991, Trump took on a new role as host of Elite’s annual Look of the Year modeling competition, in which girls from around the world competed to win a $150,000 contract with the company.
This was no ordinary competition, though – and these were no ordinary models.
The girls, usually 14 or 15 years old and from low-income households, were allegedly warned that they would be judged on their “sense of cooperation” behind the scenes, and that they could be disqualified for refusing to give private shows to Trump and others.
Trump was also known to watch the girls in their dressing rooms, a hobby he bragged about in the infamous Access Hollywood tape. (All of these claims are verified by contestants who were forced to dance for Trump at ages 14 and 15.)
After Trump’s second time hosting Look of the Year, company president Monique Pillard expressed interest in a new, young model to add to their roster: then-11-year-old Ivanka Trump.
But if an offer was made that year, Trump turned it down. He likely knew the scandals that plagued the company internally: Casablancas and at least three other men in business with Elite were allegedly forcing sex on the underage girls – and loaning them out to friends and clients.
Anderson Boyd told HuffPost in 2018 that models regularly told her about sexual misconduct within the business.
She also recounted witnessing two female executives at the company implore Casablancas and another executive, Gerald Marie, to stop sleeping with underage girls.
Anderson Boyd told New York Magazine in 2000 that Marie simply responded, “We are men. We have our needs.”
Another modeling agent with Elite, Carolyn Kramer, said, “There was a below-the-radar understanding that the [executives] of Elite [Casablancas and Marie] were sleeping with young women.”The Intellectualist
In a 2018 interview with HuffPost, Carolyn Kramer said “The models were basically prostitutes. [The owner] would have parties I would be at with licentious business men who were only there to fuck the models.”
When Elite’s Manhattan offices were searched as part of a fraud case, a New York legal team found a bedroom connected to one of the offices. In the bedroom were “bullets and condoms.” The Elite financial adviser who worked from that office later pled guilty to raping a 15-year-old model he’d met at one of Trump’s events.
In 1983, Casablancas admitted to “having an affair” with one of his 15-year-old models. Years earlier, two models died in sudden accidents after accusing Casablancas of sexual assault. There’s a long timeline of this predator’s abuse of underage girls.
Elite also had a reputation for providing its teenybopper models something most agencies didn’t: hard drugs, alcohol, and (allegedly) abortions after Casablancas got them pregnant.
Despite all of this, nothing stopped Trump from signing Ivanka to model for Elite when she was only 14 years old – or from letting Casablancas act as her personal manager.
The earliest available article about Ivanka’s modeling career was published by New York Magazine when she was still 14. The author described the middle-schooler as a “ravishing mini-babe.” At 15, a New York Times reporter noted that she’d shown up for their interview in “a floor-length see-through white dress.”
Ivanka has been tight-lipped about her time at Elite, but she hasn’t forgotten her years there. She occasionally posts photos from her teenage shoots to social media.
As for “The Donald,” he has repeatedly claimed that he had no knowledge of how Casablancas ran his agency or abused his talent. But we KNOW Trump.
At the time of this writing, there are at least 26 sexual misconduct and rape allegations against the Republican frontrunner and former president. More than half relate to models or pageant contestants.
Photograph: GEOFF WILKINSON/REX/SHUTTERSTOCK