Ivana Trump has created a larger-than-life life on her own.
Since her divorce from tycoon Donald Trump, she has written a successful novel, "For Love Alone," now in paperback (Pocket Books, $6). But well before that, she was making heads turn and earning headlines as businesswoman, expert skier, interior designer, quotable celebrity.
She's modeled and done some bit parts on TV, served as American spokeswoman for the very expensive Roederer Cristal champagne and pitched in for all sorts of philanthropic organizations. She's also designing jewelry and a line of clothing, launching Ivana beauty products and creating an Ivana fragrance.
Ivana was born in 1949 and grew up in a Czechoslovakian manufacturing town. An only child, she excelled at swimming and, especially, skiing.
She moved to Montreal in 1972, became a runway model and, while on an assignment in New York, met Donald Trump in 1976. They married soon afterward.
She participated in Trump's enterprises and was president of the Plaza Hotel in New York as well as chief executive of Trump Castle Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City.
Her 1991 divorce settlement included $10 million, a two-bedroom apartment in Trump Plaza, a home in Greenwich, Conn., and a month's residence each year at the couple's Palm Beach estate.
Ivana, who has custody of their three children, ages 9 to 14, frequently jets to London, Paris and St. Moritz.
A Vanity Fair profile in May noted that some find her opportunistic and a relentless publicity seeker. Others admire her discipline and unpretentiousness.
Q: How do you juggle so many projects?
A: I work from 8 in the morning until noon on my books. We sold 350,000 copies of "For Love Alone" in hardcover in this country; now it's selling in other countries. I'm writing another book, "Free to Love." It will be published in September. Then I'll do a nonfiction book. It will be all about how to get a divorce, how to go on with your life.
Q: What do you want to say in your books?
A: Whether a person is wealthy or poor, the feelings are the same. Life is not a dress rehearsal. We have to live it, to make something of our life.
Q: What kind of image do you have?
A: I'm 44 years old and I'm being told I look very well for my age. I'm a sport person, a socialite, a businessperson. Every woman can look at me and see something of herself in me.
Q: Vanity Fair said you had a complete plastic surgery makeover.
A: I only had my eyes done, not my nose. I lost a lot of weight. I changed my hair, my makeup, I bought a new wardrobe. I wanted a whole new outlook on life.
Q: What differences do you see between American and European women?
A: They say European women accept extramarital affairs. I don't accept that. Trust is the basis for everything.
Q: What do you see as the differences between American and European men?
A: European men take care of themselves a bit more. They take holidays for a month with their families. Companies close for a month. American men work too much; they burn out.
Q: Did your training as a competitive skier give you that confidence?
A: Yes. It gives you a goal. It makes you a team player, an organizer of your life.
Q: Has divorce changed your expectations of male/female relationships?
A: Not at all. I have three beautiful children. I don't need money. I have a career. I need a man for love and sharing. Yes, I have a long-distance romance [with Italian businessman Riccardo Mazzucchelli]. He lives in London. He's a wonderful man, but I will take my time.
Q: Do you see a correlation between yourself and Princess Diana?
A: Somewhat. The big difference is I have never talked against my husband, or in front of the children. I believe you go on with your life.