Ivana made me dream, and I’ll never forget her

With the sudden death of Ivana Trump and all the photos that accompanied her online memorials, I couldn’t help but remember the glorious 1980s.

Living in Manhattan during that time was a sensational experience. I had no money, was in my 20s, and Reagan’s election kicked off a euphoric, pro-capitalism era that can only be described as pure fun and optimism.

Emerald Lisa Furnari
Emerald Lisa Furnari 1980s
Ivana Trump 1980s
Ivana Trump circa 1990 credit: Shutterstock

As seen in Ivana’s photos from that time, no color was too bright, no shoulder pad was too broad, and no hairdo was too high. Chanel was king, and I remember many a day walking by the Chanel boutique and dreaming of the day I could afford something. But there was always a Chanel eye shadow palette as a less expensive purchase to satisfy your Chanel envy. I still get a slight thrill when I see the Chanel makeup packaging with its distinctive and original black case.

Ivana Trump 1980s

President Reagan made us believe in our future again after the dismal and depressing Carter sunk the country into economic malaise. The Carter years were dull and sad, the White House didn’t serve alcohol, and the country felt lost. The final insult was the kidnapping of fifty-two U.S. citizens at the American Embassy in Iran, released on the day of Reagan’s inauguration.

The Reagan optimism ushered in the unique marriage of Ivana and Donald Trump with their picture-perfect three children. The thing about the Trumps (of the 80s) is they were brash, successful, and sexy, more like Jay Z and Beyonce than the older folks you think of now.

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Series: Reagan White House Photographs, 1/20/1981 - 1/20/1989 Collection: White House Photographic Collection, 1/20/1981 - 1/20/1989, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons
Series: Reagan White House Photographs, 1/20/1981 – 1/20/1989 Collection: White House Photographic Collection, 1/20/1981 – 1/20/1989, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Constantly in newspapers, magazines, and on television, they owned the town, and they were a smash. No leggings, Birkenstocks, or an unadorned look for Ivana; she was always impeccably dressed and made up, ready for the paparazzi.

So, thank you, Ivana, for making a young girl dream.

I’ll never forget you.

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