Eating supper at the campus dining hall, showering in a communal bathroom, and washing clothes at the laundromat isn't the type of lifestyle typically associated with the name "Trump." But that's just a normal day for Tiffany Trump, the 19-year-old daughter of actress Marla Maples and real estate tycoon Donald Trump, who's navigating her freshman year in college as a girl who just happens to have one of the most famous names in the world.
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"I love school," Trump told Shine. "I toured 31 colleges with my mom before deciding on UPenn. My dad went here, it's close to New York, and the people are awesome." That's not to say that navigating the social scene has been easy. "When I got here, I was a little nervous about how people would perceive me because of my last name. There will always be people who judge me as a spoiled L.A. rich girl like when football players, who shall go unnamed, shout 'Look, there's the Trump!' when I walk by but I'm used to it. You just have to develop a thick skin."
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She's done that by surrounding herself with a close group of friends at school, including a bestie who lives in her dorm. And she has plenty of homework to keep her busy. Although Trump's major is undeclared, she's taking classes in international relations and, of course, international real estate but she's also finding time to tap into her creative side with writing song lyrics and singing which she says both her parents fully support. "I've always been creative; I used to run around when I was little singing show tunes and opera songs and writing poetry," says Trump. "I just wanted to put writing and singing together."
In 2011, Trump released a pop-trance single "Like a Bird", a musical collaboration with a songwriter named Sprite, but despite recent reports that she wants to be a pop star, she insists that music is just a hobby. "Because there's no pressure to join the family business, I'm exploring my options," says Trump. "I'm only 19. Who knows what I'll do."
And that's fine with dad, "My father just wants me to be happy and get my education. He's always saying, 'How are the grades, Tiff? Going for those A's?' and he tells my little brother Barron, 'When you grow up, you better study as hard as Tiffany.' Education is really important to him."
Trump credits her work ethic to having been raised far away from the big city lights. "I feel fortunate to not have lived in New York; it gave me a chance to have a normal life," she says. "The paparazzi don't bother me in LA and my mom, who I am super close with and talk to every day, gave me a set of values I may not have today if I had lived in New York. I'm thinking about moving to the city after college because I'm ready and mature enough to handle what that means."
Father-daughter bonding will definitely be in order. Because Donald Trump and his daughter lived on separate coasts throughout her life they've always kept in touch through bi-weekly phone calls and sporadic visits. "I would come to New York whenever I had a break from school and he'd have lunch with me when he was in LA on business. Now that I'm older, we relate to each other better."
The same can be said for her relationships with her siblings, Donald Jr., 35, Eric, 29, Ivanka, 31, and Barron, 7, whom she's gotten to know better throughout the years. "I've grown close to my brothers and sisters and am obsessed with Barron," she says. And big sister Ivanka, mom to toddler Arabella Rose, business mogul, and fashion designer has been a role model ("She's gone through the whole Trump kid thing and gives me advice") even helping her little sister land an internship at Vogue in 2011 where Trump says she got no special treatment. "That wasn't a cushy job. I spent hours at that office, packing up boxes in the fashion closet, and assisting on shoots where sometimes I had to wake up at 3 a.m. and not return home until 3 a.m. I really wanted to do the gritty work." She did however, get one special perk: Access to the elusive Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour in the form of a lunch date. "I really respect Anna," says Trump. "That woman is a genius, no matter what anyone says."
The same sentiment can be applied to her father who's no stranger to the rumor mill, whether it's demanding to see proof of President Obama's college records or picking fights with celebrities such as Robert DiNiro, Cher, and pretty much everyone else, how does the 19-year-old-deal? "He's just my dad and I don't let what people say bother me. He's a great person and many people say he's controversial but it's better to have beliefs and be controversial than to not have any opinion at all."
Fortunately, school provides a distraction and sense of normalcy. "I spend hours and hours in the library studying and I'm obsessed with painting my nails with the 40 bottles of polish I I brought to school," she says. "Maybe I'll become a manicurist."
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