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The Kids of Business Icons: Don Trump Jr.


Like Dad, his hair is his signature -- but this would-be mogul says his real source of strength is a lifetime of exposure to the family business.

Until just a few years ago not many people knew that Don Trump Jr. even existed. The excellently coiffed eldest child of billionaire real estate magnate Donald Trump has played second fiddle to his statuesque younger sister, Ivanka, who has been in the public eye since her annoyingly graceful teenage years.

The public has watched Ivanka, the spitting image of her mother Ivana, grow into a powerful real estate magnate and tabloid celebrity. Now Don, 32, is slowly making his way into the spotlight. In recent years he's become vice president of the Trump Organization and a dutiful sidekick on his father's show, The Apprentice (with Ivanka, of course).

Don not only shares his father's name and flamboyant hairstyle (albeit with more hair), but also his business savvy. Junior followed in his father's footsteps and became a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business with degrees in finance and real estate. The mini-Donald has a penchant for beautiful women, too: He married model Vanessa Hayden in 2005 and the couple now has two children. Don Jr. has told the press that he plans on tying the knot only once, unlike his famous dad.

The Donald's namesake wasn't always into being a younger, fuller-haired version of his father. After graduating from business school, Don ran off to Colorado to party and have some fun (and of course, to avoid the family spotlight). His family thought he might never come back, but unlike many of his wild-partying "celebutant" peers, Don Trump Jr. is a workaholic at heart.

"I joke that I have 32 years in real estate," Trump Jr. told the New York Times. "When I spent time with my father it wasn't playing ball in the backyard. I came to his office and listened to him do business or sat in on meetings. I walked job sites. On Saturday, we'd see my grandfather in Queens for a couple hours and then he'd say, 'Let's go collect rent!' "

Since joining the Trump Organization, Don has worked on some high-profile projects. He got his feet wet with the Trump Place project at the West Side Yards in New York City, and then moved on to Trump Park Avenue, the revision of the old Hotel Delmonico.

"The Park Avenue project enabled me to step up my role a lot faster, and it was a lot of hard work and sweat," Don told the Arizona Republic in 2005.

Don Jr. has since moved on to bigger projects, including the 2.6 million-square-foot Trump International Hotel & Tower in Chicago as well as the 64-story Trump International Hotel & Tower in Las Vegas. Beyond his work on the 70 or so ongoing projects for the Trump Organization, Don has made regular appearances on his father's reality shows, The Apprentice and Celebrity Apprentice. Rumor has it that another Trump reality show is in the works -- Keep It in the Family would feature wealthy business types trying to get their wayward independent offspring back into the family business.

Don 2.0 has gotten over his shy phase and no longer hides his ambitions (or anything else) from the world; he told Travel + Leisure in April, "We want to take the hotel company to a whole new level and have a major hotel in every major market, both resort and cosmopolitan."

To get there, he'll likely be tapping the resources of yet another Trump sibling. Eric, 26, recently joined the family business after graduating from, where else, Wharton School of Business.
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