Donald Trump’s businesses, both past and present, include many shady ventures that still retain their notoriety. These include casinos, hotels, real estate holdings, steaks, and fraudulent schools. But there’s one Trump property that hasn’t nabbed as much press attention until now.
Trump Model Management is coming under scrutiny in light of the Republican nominee’s immigration flip flops. He’s now declared himself a friend of the immigrant, but not even his surrogates know what’s going on inside their boss’ head. Trump still aims towards mass deportation, but added a promise to “work with” the “good ones” if they try to return to America. He also vows to build his beautiful wall between the U.S. and Mexico, but this very public stance runs contrary to practices that his former models say they were encouraged to follow.
Some of these women spoke to Mother Jones about Trump Model Management, which doesn’t just bear the Trump name, for he owns a 85% stake in the agency. Several models, who wished to remain anonymous, revealed how they worked in the U.S. without proper documentation and work visas. They also claim that they made very little money, and they were responsible for exorbitant rent fees and other expenses charged by the agency. One model — Rachel Blais, who calls her experience “like modern-day slavery” — disclosed some telling financial and legal records:
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 … 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.