How 29-year-old Hope Hicks, Trump's 'real daughter,' became the youngest White House communications director in history -- now ensnared in its biggest scandals

Hope Hicks is President Donald Trump’s 29-year-old White House communications director. But before joining Trump’s 2016 campaign, she had no political experience.

Hicks was born in Greenwich, a town of 60,000 on the southwest tip of Connecticut that’s a favourite spot for hedge-fund headquarters.

She was a model, actress, and lacrosse player as a child, before getting her English degree at Southern Methodist University.

Hicks didn’t intend on playing such a large role in a presidential campaign, instead falling into the gig through a job at the Trump Organisation.

Now she’s the youngest White House communications director in history.

And Hicks has been with Trump – to use his words – “from the beginning.” White House staffers may even called her his “real daughter.”

Recently, Hicks has become ensnared in two high-profile White House controversies: the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and her role in crafting the White House’s response to abuse allegations against staff secretary Rob Porter.

Here’s what we know about Hicks.

Hicks and her sister, Mary Grace, were successful teen models. Hicks posed for Ralph Lauren and appeared on the cover of “It Girl,” a spin-off of the best-selling “Gossip Girl” book and TV series.

Source: New York Times

Hicks’ first brush with the Trumps came in 2012 when she was at the public-relations firm Hiltzik Strategies working on Ivanka Trump’s fashion line. Trump’s eldest daughter hired Hicks away in 2014 and she became an employee of the Trump Organisation.

Sources: New York Times, GQ, NYMag

Hicks met patriarch Trump and quickly “earned his trust,” Ivanka Trump told The New York Times for a June 2016 profile on the spokeswoman.

Picture: Getty Images

Source: New York Times

In January 2015, Trump called Hicks into his office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower and told her she was joining his presidential campaign. “I think it’s ‘the year of the outsider.’ It helps to have people with outsider perspective,” Hicks said Trump told her.

Source: NYMag

Hicks didn’t have any political experience, but her public-relations roots run deep. Both grandfathers worked in PR, and her father, Paul, was the NFL’s executive vice president for communications and public relations. He was also a town selectman from 1987 to 1991. Greenwich proclaimed April 23, 2016, as Paul B. Hicks III Day.

Photo by: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Source: Town of Greenwich, GQ

Hicks started working on what would become Trump’s campaign five months before Trump announced his presidency, after he famously rode a golden escalator down to the lobby of his tower on June 16, 2015.

That makes Hicks the campaign staffer who has persisted in Trump’s inner circle the longest. She outlasted his first campaign manager, Corey Lewandowski, and several senior advisers.

White House Communications Director Hope Hicks and National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

People close to her describe Hicks as a friendly, loyal fighter. Trump has called her a “natural” and “outstanding.”

While reporters who have worked with Hicks say she’s polite, they have expressed frustration that she was often unreachable on the campaign trail, not responding to requests for comment, or denying access to the candidate.

Photo: Mandell Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

She said her mum, Caye, told her to write a book about her experience with Trump, like “Primary Colours,” the fictional novel depicting President Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign. “You don’t even know,” she said she told her mother.

Source: NYMag, Primary Colours

During the campaign, Hicks spent most of her days fielding reporters’ requests and questions — even reportedly taking dictation from Trump to post his tweets.

Jim Watson/ AFP/ Getty ImagesWhite House Communications Director Hope Hicks (L) calls for no more questions as US President Donald Trump speaks to reporters.

Sources: NYMag, NYT

During the campaign, Hicks stayed in a free apartment in a Trump building, though she’d often go home to her parents’ house in Connecticut when she could.

US Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategy to President US Donald Trump Dina Powell (R) and White House Communications Director Hope Hicks (L). Photo: Mandell Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

These days she’s in DC. Trump named her his assistant to the president and director of strategic communications in December.

Source: Trump administration

She still flies below the radar, directing the spotlight back on Trump. The then president-elect called her up to the microphone to speak at a “Thank You” rally in December.

It’s been said she can act as a sort of Trump whisperer, understanding his many moods and professionally executing what needs to be done. She still only calls him “Sir” or “Mr. Trump.”

Sources: New York Times, GQ, NYMag

“If the acting thing doesn’t work out, I could really see myself in politics,” Hicks told Greenwich Magazine when she was 13. “Who knows.”

Win McNamee/Getty ImagesHicks, Conway, and former senior counselor Steve Bannon arrive for the presidential inauguration on January 20, 2017, in Washington.

Sources: New York Times

In June, the White House released salary info for 377 top staffers. Hicks gets paid the maximum amount that any of Trump’s aides receive: $US179,700.

Ron Sachs-Pool/Getty ImagesHicks walk across the South Lawn of the White House to join Trump aboard Marine One with Steve Bannon, former chief of staff Reince Priebus, and Stephen Miller on April 29, 2017.

Source: The White House

Hicks is making as much as Trump’s former chief of staff Reince Priebus, former chief strategist Steve Bannon, former press secretary Sean Spicer, senior counselor Kellyanne Conway, policy adviser Stephen Miller, and communications official Omarosa Manigault.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesHicks and Bannon walk down the West Wing Colonnade after a meeting between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on February 10, 2017.

Source: The White House

Some family members and friends have expressed concern that Hicks is so closely tied to a president whose policies and statements are unpopular with a significant number of Americans, but are confident that she’ll come through unscathed.

Sources: New York Times, GQ

“There is just no way that a camera or an episode or a documentary could capture what has gone on. There is nothing like it,” Hicks told Marie Claire in June 2016. “It is the most unbelievable, awe-inspiring thing.”

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesConway and Hicks watch the daily press briefing at the White House on January 30, 2017.

Source: Marie Claire

In August, Trump asked Hicks to be the new interim White House director of communications, a job that Michael Dubke, Sean Spicer, and Anthony Scaramucci held and left in Trump’s first six months in office.

Sources: Daily Caller, New York Times, CNN

The White House said it would announce the permanent choice for the position “at the appropriate time.” In September, press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it would be Hicks.

Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesHicks and Sanders walk through the lobby at Trump Tower in New York City on August 15, 2017.

Source: Business Insider

The 29-year-old Hicks is the youngest White House communications director in history.

Andrew Harrer-Pool/Getty ImagesHicks listens while Trump meets with female small-business owners in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on March 27, 2017.

Sources: Daily Caller, New York Times, CNN

But she’s become ensnared in the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Special counsel Robert Mueller’s team interviewed her in December, and she reportedly hinted at concealing explosive emails about the Trump Tower Russia meeting during a conference call with Trump last July.

Sources: The New York Times, Business Insider

In February, Hicks came under scrutiny for reportedly playing a key role in drafting a statement expressing vehement support for staff secretary Rob Porter after his two ex-wives accused him of physically and emotionally abusing them. Hicks and Porter are rumoured to be dating.

Former White House Staff Secretary Rob Porter (L), National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn (C) and advisor Stephen Miller (R). Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images

Sources: CNN, Business Insider

Though she’s front and center in the White House and its latest scandals, Hicks remains a private person, revealing very little about her personal life, and remaining a mystery to many.

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