How an Uptown Girl Gets On: QVC, Foreman Grills, Chocolate

Welcome to the second and final installment of “Unscathed

Broads,” my probing tribute to the gutsy, hand-bag-swinging chutzpah of the

collective New York psyche. Last week, we put Susanne Bartsch-party-promoter,

mom, Nivea devotee and Chelsea Hotel resident for more than 20 years-under the

microscope and found out how she survived the last two decades, and how she’s

coping in post-catastrophe Manhattan. This week, we head uptown to meet former

pouf-skirt-wearing princess royal of 80′s Nouvelle Society, Blaine Trump. The

big shocker? She’s even more uptown than I thought.

Unscathed Broads, Part II: Blaine Trump.

“I go to 125th Street-the Mount Moriah Baptist Church on Fifth

Avenue-every Wednesday at 11 a.m.,” chortled the friendly and glamorous Blaine

Trump, wife of Trump Management chief executive Robert Trump and sister-in-law

of Donald and, formerly, Ivana. “It’s the Hour of Power with Reggie Williams

and the A.R.C. [Addicts Rehabilitation Center] choir.” According to Ms. Trump,

this hour of gospel singing lifts the spirits and leaves an optimistic

afterglow that helps a girl combat post-traumatic stress.

The already incredibly optimistic Ms. Trump and I were seated in

the Sixth Avenue offices of God’s Love We Deliver-the charity that brings meals

to homebound AIDS sufferers, of which she’s vice chair-within yodeling distance

of ground zero. “On Sept. 11, we opened this building,” on the corner of Spring

Street, “to the stampede of people coming up Sixth Avenue. Then the Red Cross

called us to set up food stations. We all pitched in.” Ms. Trump, who was

wearing Celine jeans, high-heeled Celine boots, a kingfisher blue silk shirt

from Pink and a sporty leather Gucci jacket, and whose attractive hands were

kneading the well-clipped torso of Pearl, her Yorkshire terrier, said, “We were

not able to resume normal deliveries until the following Monday.”

Their proximity to the tragedy left Ms. Trump and her team

profoundly traumatized, yet focused and determined. How come-you’re no doubt

asking yourself-a prissy society broad like Blaine wasn’t at home in the fetal

position on her Aubusson rug? I hate to disappoint you, but she’s just not

prissy.

Blaine’s foofy-socialite period started when she careened onto

the Women’s Wear Daily Eye page in

the mid-1980′s. “I look back and think, ‘Oh my God, did I really do all that

crazy stuff? Did I wear that?’ It was all too-oo

insane!” Mrs. Trump said of that period when Christian Lacroix was, justifiably,

the most important designer in the world. Blaine Matterhorned to Park Avenue

prominence in 1987, when she chaired the annual Memorial Sloan-Kettering

benefit. “Yes, I wore a Lacroix dress,” she recalled mistily. “In fact, I still

have it. Christian and I became friends.” The following year, she hosted the

American Ballet Theatre gala of La Gaieté

Parisienne , the ballet for which Lacroix designed brilliant costumes.

Monsieur Lacroix also dressed a phenomenal number of attendees in his signature

lampshadey folklorica, with hilarious results. This seminal event is etched

into my unconscious: It was the last big blowout before rich ladies eschewed

szhooshy junk-bond opulence and went all modern and slick. Quel drag!

The poufs didn’t survive, and neither did the Mortimer’s-lunching

Nouvelle Society. But Blaine did. She tore off her tiara, threw preconceived

notions of WASP appropriateness out the window and embraced the quotidian, sort

of. Today Blaine still goes to fancy parties, but she also rides the subway,

eats Cal Ripken bars (800-682-2760; $20 plus shipping for a box of 40), takes

her makeup off with Vaseline, cooks on a George Foreman grill and, most

shocking of all, sells blouses on QVC.

“I started three years ago,” said Blaine. “We pulled things out

of my closet-handbags, sweater sets and cotton shirts-interpreted them and

called it ‘American Classics by Blaine Trump.’ The money goes to God’s Love. My

next on-air [segment] is Nov. 9 from 2 to 4 p.m.,” enthused Blaine, with the

air of a woman who enjoys the gritty déclassé of hard-core salesmanship.

Whatever do mater and pater make of all this?

Blaine was born in Orlando,

Fla., the daughter of Joe and Jean Beard, but not raised there. “My dad worked

for I.B.M.,” she said. “I grew up in Japan in the 1960′s, when the sewers were

open and people wandered down the street in their underwear to the bathhouse.”

The Beards encouraged their four kids to take full advantage of this

unconventional location. Egged on by Jean, the Auntie Mame–ish matriarch (“lioness

hairdo, caftan, cigarette holder”), Blaine developed a freewheeling confidence.

A stint at a Swiss finishing school gave Blaine her poise and good manners, but

her biggest advantage is probably that her college education-a liberal-arts

degree-took place in Japan. Were she to have attended college in America circa

1974, she would undoubtedly have undone all the good work of her mother and the

mademoiselles at La Chatelaine-i.e., she would have become an irate,

introspective, self-doubting, unhappy, man-hating freak with bad posture.

Instead, she moved to New York in the mid-70′s, worked at Christie’s, married,

had a son (who is now 22) and divorced. Then, in 1981, she met Robert Trump.

They were married in 1984 and are currently living happily in the Trump Plaza

building on Third Avenue and 61st Street.

“Robert and I are big on

chocolate bars,” said Blaine, with a sugar-lovin’ grin. She feels that candy

and comfort food are the best antidotes for post-traumatic stress: “This isn’t

a time for egg-white omelets!” Blaine also strongly advocates nesty home

cooking with close pals and family. “I just bought a Ron Popeil Rotisserie

& BBQ Oven. You know the one: ‘Set it and forget it,’” she said, referring

to the infomercial. Her fave eatery? After their Hour of Power, Ms. Trump and

Reggie Williams are wont to head to Sylvia’s (328 Lenox Avenue) for a

life-affirming lunch of “fried chicken, fried catfish, dirty rice, black-eyed

peas, topped off with peach cobbler.”

It’s hard to believe that the

tall, svelte Ms. Trump is the down-and-dirty, gravy-guzzlin’ blue-collar

gourmand she claims to be. Does her wartime coping regimen include a workout?

“In 2000, I gave up physical fitness for a whole year and I felt fantastic,”

she said. “And now I’m crawling reluctantly back to Lotte Berk [23 East 67th

Street]. I went to two classes last week and one this week, which is not a good

sign.”

Lotte will have to wait: Currently, Blaine’s waking energies are

focused on keeping God’s Love afloat. “When I started, we were serving 50 meals

a day. But thousands were at home dying of AIDS. We had to expand.” She started

a capital campaign and somehow talked David Geffen out of $1.5 million. Blaine

used some of that cash to acquire the current 18,000-square-foot headquarters,

the David Geffen Building. “In 1993, we bought it at auction from the city for

$570,000,” she said. In 1996, 10 years after Blaine got involved, GLWD moved

into its current space. Having been so instrumental in facilitating its growth,

Blaine is determined not to lose funding because of the World Trade Center

disaster. “People have to dig deep and keep the existing charities alive. Our

clients rely on us.” Blaine and her team plan to meet their annual fund-raising

goal of $7.8 million through a plethora of upcoming events, including the Race

to Deliver (Nov. 18) and the Swatch Wristory Auction at Sotheby’s (Dec. 3).

If you are too lazy to run four miles and you don’t happen to

fancy a Sam Francis paint-spattered Swatch circa 1992, then at least buy your

gifts from God’s Love (800-889-6515). This year’s holiday catalog is jammed

with spiffy designer items: e.g., tree ornaments from Gucci ($100 for a set of

three) and Versace ($75), and a Burberry stain-resistant nylon cook’s apron

($75). The catalog also sells amusingly snotty items: e.g., David (Viscount)

Linley’s potpourri ($22.50) and a Blaine Trump candle ($32), created by Slatkin

& Co. and “inspired by Blaine’s favorite mulling spices.” Don’t mock!

You’re just jealous because you don’t have a favorite mulling spice!

Before departing, I probed

the well-preserved Blaine for any last beauty and survival tips. Her answers

were tinged with her signature blue-collar pose: “I wash with Ivory soap. I get

my mani-pedi done at the Nail Nook on Third and 61st. I use Philip Kingsley’s

shampoos and volumizer spray [$16 and $23, respectively, at Philip Kingsley

Trichological Clinic, 16 East 53rd Street]; Stephen Knoll’s Healthy Intensive

Rehydrating Treatment [Sephora, $38.50]. Garren cuts my hair [841-9400].

Heather does it when he’s not available, which is quite frequently. I paint my

portrait with M.A.C.: I love Spice lip pencil [$11] and Plum lipstick [$14].

M.A.C. has great glitter [$13] for the holidays, which I use on my hair and

eyelids.”

Blaine, refreshingly, did not mention yoga or aromatherapy once

during our interview. Her only crunchy tip: Bach Flower Remedies for unblocking

your energy frequencies (GNC stores, $9.99). “I use the ‘comfort-and-reassure’

remedy. A couple of drops will get you through anything.”

Blaine saved her best tip for last: “Slow down on the media-fest.

I never watch TV, and I gave up looking at the newspaper a week ago. We lost 11

firefighters in our local firehouse, and I’m still trying to deal with that.”