Hourglass Figures: The Urban Executives, Amanda Burden And Ivanka Trump

by SUSANNAH LONG · March 16, 2010

[Photo of a young Amanda Burden from the Huffington Post] Next up in Hourglass Figures, our Cliffs Notes about those big-name socialites past and present: Real Estate Powers That Be Amanda Burden and Ivanka Trump.

[Hourglass Figures: Nan Kempner And Tinsley Mortimer]

[Hourglass Figures: Eleanor Lambert And Carine Roitfeld]






Amanda Burden

Born 1944 Alias: Um. Boss? Juggernaut Jane?

Unlike many socialites, Amanda has a flourishing career outside the familiar confines of modeling, fashion, and guest editing. She currently serves as Bloomberg's director of the New York City Department of City Planning, and as the chair of the City Planning Commission. That means she’s kind of a big deal. Rather than leaving a trail of soiled designer gowns and incriminating facebook photos in her wake, she’ll be leaving a legacy of open Brooklyn waterfronts, commuter rail lines, and rezoning laws.

Amanda has shown a zeal for even the dirtiest aspects of urban infrastructure. Her award-winning urban planning masters thesis was on solid waste management; She trudges city streets herself to understand accommodations for high rises; She examines the dimensions of public spaces with tape measure in hand. I mean, she also goes to galas and is on the International Best Dressed list, but I'm making a point.

Not that Burden doesn't have her critics - A fair number of real estate developers despise her, calling her tyrannical and arbitrary . Conversely, the many community members who oppose Columbia University's massive Harlem redevelopment plans accuse her of elitism and disregard for the displacement of the poor.

One definite fan of Ms. Burden's, however, is Charlie Rose, with whom she has been involved since the early 90’s. The Charlie Rose. The Charlie Rose who is the biggest star in the PBS stable, with the exception of Arthur the reading anteater. The Charlie Rose whose silver-foxness is second only to that of Anderson Cooper.

[Photo from Life Magazine]

Hott. Two t's.

And now?

Ivanka Trump

There isn’t a “new” Amanda, because there isn’t an old one; Amanda Burden is still green-lighting high rises and, um, red-lighting Charlie Rose. Not traffic light-style. The other one. Heh. However, Ivanka Trump has assumed an equally influential position in city business, though her undertakings lean much more toward the corporate and less toward the city.

Ivanka, despite her youth, is a shrewd businesswoman: she's adamant that, despite her father, The Donald, she pays her way and strives to excel of her own accord. This certainly seems to be born out by her resume: After graduating summa cum laude from Wharton and proving herself at a non-Trump company, she took on the position of Executive Vice President of Development and Acquisitions at the Trump Organization, and now has her own line of diamond jewelry and an eponymous store on Madison Avenue.

[Ivanka Trump Celebrates Launch of Her Fine Jewelry Collection]

Like Amanda Burden's insistence on hands-on research, Ivanka's desire to directly oversee hotel china patterns and flatscreens indicates a particular brand of micromanagement.

In addition, both women share larger-than-life parents and very public families. Amanda's mother was Babe Paley, the übersocialite noted for her “flawlessly elegant style,” and many have speculated that her storied career is in part an effort to distance herself from her mother's identity. Ivanka is, well, a Trump, which means that we've all seen her father dressed in a chicken suit on SNL, shaking his fingers at just-fired reality show contestants, and cheerily flaunting his "hair."

Babe Paley                                                     Ivana Trump

Yet an enormous difference between the two is their divergent view of their own glamour and socialite status. "It's horrible, really, the socialite thing; it's like some kind of tattoo you can't rub off," the Huffington Post quotes Amanda as lamenting; Ivanka, in contrast, spent her teen years modeling and is happy to use her considerable beauty to garner free publicity for the Trump Corporation's business ventures. There are advantages, she told the New York Times a few years ago, to "being young, blond and, if you will, looking a certain way . . . . Why not have a little fun with that?"

Her strategy seems to be working. The only thing Amanda Burden would probably like about the photos below is the construction equipment.

[Photo from Harper's Bazaar]                [Photo from Maxim]

Sadly, Ivanka only squeaked in at Number 99 on AskMen.com’s Top 99 Women of 2007 list. That was a close one, Ivanka. Thank God that worked out.

Finally, a fun (ie weird and a creepy) fact about Ivanka: wikipedia lists her measurements.

Oh wait, guys. If Amanda Burden often plays hard-ass with developers, and Ivanka Trump is a real estate magnate, do they hate each other? Manufactured dramz! We’ll close out this installment of Hourglass Figures with a stare-down between the two.

Stare.                                                          Stare.