Donald Trump made immigration the cornerstone issue of his presidential campaign, promising to strengthen US borders and toughen up immigration laws.
However, Mother Jones has released a report based on interviews with three former models from Trump Model Management. Model Rachel Blais and two others who requested anonymity spoke at length on overwhelmingly negative views of their former employer.
From the report:
Founded in 1999, Trump Model Management “has risen to the top of the fashion market,” boasts the Trump Organization’s website, and has a name “that symbolizes success.” According to a financial disclosure filed by his campaign in May, Donald Trump earned nearly $2 million from the company, in which he holds an 85 percent stake. Meanwhile, some former Trump models say they barely made any money working for the agency because of the high fees for rent and other expenses that were charged by the company.
Canadian-born Rachel Blais spent nearly three years working for Trump Model Management. After first signing with the agency in March 2004, she said, she performed a series of modeling gigs for Trump’s company in the United States without a work visa. At Mother Jones’ request, Blais provided a detailed financial statement from Trump Model Management and a letter from an immigration lawyer who, in the fall of 2004, eventually secured a visa that would permit her to work legally in the United States. These records show a six-month gap between when she began working in the United States and when she was granted a work visa. During that time, Blais appeared on Trump’s hit reality TV show, The Apprentice, modeling outfits designed by his business protégés. As Blais walked the runway, Donald Trump looked on from the front row.
Continuing with the other two models:
Two other former Trump models—who requested anonymity to speak freely about their experiences, and who we are giving the pseudonyms Anna and Kate—said the agency never obtained work visas on their behalf, even as they performed modeling assignments in the United States. (They provided photographs from some of these jobs, and Mother Jones confirmed with the photographers or stylists that these shoots occurred in the United States.)
Each of the three former Trump models said she arrived in New York with dreams of making it big in one of the world’s most competitive fashion markets. But without work visas, they lived in constant fear of getting caught. “I was pretty on edge most of the time I was there,” Anna said of the three months in 2009 she spent in New York working for Trump’s agency.
“I was there illegally,” she said. “A sitting duck.”
Both Trump’s spokesperson and representatives from Trump Model Management declined to comment on the situation, with the campaign spokesperson remarking that this issue has “nothing to do with the campaign.” Except, it has everything to do with the campaign. When your entire campaign is built on keeping out foreigners and toughening up immigration laws and keeping jobs for Americans, it’s troubling when you run your businesses in a completely opposite way.
The models continue their stories with tales of the horrors of working for Trump’s modeling agency, including going as far to call it “a sweat shop,” “like modern-slavery” and having to pay Trump’s agency $1600 to share a crappy room with 5 others and get urinated on by a bum.
This is how Donald Trump runs his companies: Hypocritically using illegal, undocumented immigrants and forcing them to work in abhorrent conditions.