In 2001, I was addicted to New York City nightlife. I went out every night I possibly could, sometimes even alone. I thought my dreams would come true if I just found myself at the right party.
I might have been right. I was at the right place at the right time to almost, possibly, maybe become First Lady.
I look nothing at all today like I did then. I didn't need to watch my diet or work out, and any piece of 10-dollar crap I threw on looked good on me. (Ah, youth.) Now I look better in a more layered ensemble, but back then, the less clothing, the better. Not ponchos like I own today. (How great are ponchos, by the way? Very underrated. Even literal walruses would look hot in ponchos. I'm pretty sure my ex-boyfriend cheated on me with a walrus wearing a poncho.)
I was modeling, partying, having fun, and going to school to study broadcasting when I got invited to a super-fancy party for Playboy's Hugh Hefner in Manhattan. I went to that party, of course, and like every party I went to back then, I collected many, many cards and phone numbers.
But there was one person that got my number: Donald Trump.
The Donald asked for my number by sending a few people over to my table, which was a few tables over from his. Eventually, he got my seat moved to his table. (Very presidential move, if you ask me.)
It was pretty thrilling, and I felt very important. I was so shy, though. I might have said five words the whole evening. I remember him being very excited, talking a lot, and being complimentary towards me. I knew I wasn't interested in him, but it was still cool for the moment.
After that night, he called me a few times. All we spoke about was how good-looking I am (was). He was 54, I was 18 — what else would we even talk about?
Turns out, not much. He invited me to Starbucks near Columbus Circle. (He couldn't invite me to a bar yet, so I guess that makes sense.) I somehow weaseled out of it. He was nice — just like a regular guy. A regular guy who was supposedly already dating his third wife. A regular guy wanting to date someone 36 years his junior.
I hadn't thought about this until recently, but when someone asked me if I would vote for Donald Trump, and I replied "I don't think so," it wasn't because he's egotistical, self-centered, mean, babyish, and in the presidential race for the totally wrong reasons. It's because I wouldn't want to vote for a 54-year-old man who asked me out on a date when I was an 18-year-old baby.
Although the idea of being First Lady is pretty attractive, I look at Trump's wife and wonder about her. Have you ever seen someone who looks like she's having a worse time than Melania? It's like she's constantly at an awkward party standing by the buffet table. Do they even talk? Are they at all interested in making this world a better place? Even though it would be fun to live in the White House, I want to smile. I want to laugh. I don't want to be in a constant state of wincing.
We might never know what Melania's thinking — she doesn't say much. (Although I do wonder what she would think about his pursuing me while she was dating him. They weren't engaged yet, but still.)
However, we do know what he's thinking.
"You know it doesn't matter what the media writes as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass."
"Arianna Huffington is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man — he made a good decision."
"I think the only difference between me and the other candidates is that I'm more honest and my women are more beautiful."
"While Bette Midler is an extremely unattractive woman, I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct."
So I'm not surprised that Donald was the same superficial, sexist man in 2001 when he pursued me, an 18-year-old model who barely spoke a word to him.
When I look back on this experience, I see something congruent with Donald's statements about looks, beauty, ugliness, and women. He seems to base his opinions of women solely on their looks. I hope this kind of behavior isn't celebrated by electing him President.
If Hillary Clinton would have called me back in 2001, I personally think we would've gotten along great. We'd be hanging out right now, smiling, laughing, deporting sexist men. But something tells me Hillary Clinton would probably not be at Hugh Hefner's party, surrounded by playmates asking for an 18-year-old's phone number.