Elizabeth Pipko, a 23-year-old model who has appeared in Maxim, has kept a secret from her industry colleagues out of fear it could derail her career: She was a Donald Trump supporter and worked full-time on his 2016 presidential campaign.
Here, the Midtown West resident tells DANA SCHUSTER the lengths she went to hide her political affiliation from the liberal-leaning fashion world — and why she’s finally coming clean about loving Trump.
I decided to volunteer for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign in the spring of 2016. I never leaned liberal or conservative, but there was something about Trump — the way he spoke and his honesty — that had me convinced he was our next president. I worked in a call center in Trump Tower. Within eight weeks, I was hired as a national volunteer services coordinator for the data team and paid $4,000 a month.
It was clear from the start that, if I wanted to survive in modeling, I couldn’t tell anyone about my new job.
Once, after working a 10-hour-day on the Trump campaign, I went to meet with my manager (who was not affiliated with a modeling agency). He and a colleague were enraged, screaming about how much they hate Trump. My manager kept saying how evil the people who work for him must be and that he would never work with anyone who supported him.
I was terrified they would find out that I was one of the so-called evil people.
So I lied and told people I was coaching ice skating — I was a competitive figure skater for seven years — whenever I was really hard at work in Trump Tower. When I ran into a modeling friend on my way there one day, I immediately hid my badge and said I was running errands.
But at every modeling job or meeting, the talk inevitably turned to Trump, and it was always high-stress.
At one shoot, the photographer came in wearing a black T-shirt with a gigantic red slash over Trump’s face. I was so unnerved, I could barely concentrate on the job at hand.
Another time, in July 2016, Trump had said something controversial and it was all over the news. I was at Miami Swim Week for fashion shows, and the 15 other models were bashing him. I just sat in the corner and pretended to be on my phone. I didn’t want to be ostracized.
Once, when I was at Trump Tower, I ran into a big-time male model I knew from Wilhelmina, the agency that first signed me when I was 17. He was volunteering for the campaign, but he asked me not to tell anyone that I had seen him there — and I said the same.
After the race, because it was public record that I worked for the President, every time you started to type “Elizabeth Pipko” into Google’s search bar, Trump’s name would pop up alongside mine. A booker at my current agency, DAS, asked me about it, confused and a bit concerned. I told him had no idea! My brother created a program that would continuously search my name with other keywords to get “Trump” bumped out.
But now that it’s been two years since the election, I don’t want to keep silent any longer. Even if that means saying goodbye to modeling forever.