|White House Director of Strategic Communications|
January 20, 2017
|Preceded by||Position established|
|Born||Hope Charlotte Hicks
October 21, 1988
Greenwich, Connecticut, U.S.
|Education||Southern Methodist University (BA)|
Hope Charlotte Hicks (born October 21, 1988) is an American public relations executive. She is the White House Director of Strategic Communications, and is President Donald J. Trump's longest-serving political aide.
She previously served as the press secretary and early communications director for Donald Trump's 2016 presidential campaign, as well as the national press secretary for his presidential transition team. In January 2017, Hicks was included on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, having "served as a one-woman press team for Trump’s historic presidential campaign."
Hicks grew up in Greenwich, Connecticut, a wealthy suburb of New York City. She is the daughter of Caye Ann (Cavender) Hicks and Paul Burton Hicks III. Her father was CEO of the Americas for Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, and executive vice president of communications for the National Football League from 2010-15, before his current position of managing director of the Glover Park Group.[excessive citations] Her parents met while in Washington, DC, while her mother was a legislative aide for a Democratic congressman from Tennessee (Ed Jones), and her father was chief of staff for a Republican congressman from Connecticut (Stewart B. McKinney), and married in 1982. Her late paternal grandfather, Paul Hicks, headed public relations for Texaco. Her maternal grandfather, G.W.F. “Dutch” Cavender, was assistant administrator for the US Department of Agriculture during the administrations of Presidents Johnson and Nixon.
Hicks was a teenage model, including for a Ralph Lauren campaign with her older sister Mary Grace at age 11 and as the face of the Hourglass Adventures novels about a time-traveling 10-year-old. Cosmopolitan and The New York Post opined that she resembles model Hilary Rhoda.
She attended Greenwich High School, where she was co-captain of the lacrosse team, and graduated in 2006. She next attended Southern Methodist University, where she majored in English and played lacrosse for all four years on a club lacrosse program she helped start, and graduated in 2010.
Hicks started in public relations with the New York City firm, Zeno Group. In 2012 she began working at Hiltzik Strategies, a public relations firm in New York that works with Ivanka Trump and the Trump Organization. She and her sister, who is now a paramedic, lived above a dive bar in Greenwich, but she split her time between that apartment and a Trump-owned apartment in Manhattan that Trump provided for free, until Trump was elected and she moved to Washington, DC.
In August 2014 she joined the Trump Organization full-time. Hicks worked for Ivanka Trump inside Trump Tower, helping expand her fashion label (the Ivanka Trump Collection) and modeling for her online store.
Five months later, Donald Trump earmarked Hicks, who was 26 years old at the time, for the role of press secretary in January 2015 when planning for his potential presidential run. Donald Trump summoned her to his office and, as she tells it, "Mr. Trump looked at me and said, 'I'm thinking about running for president, and you're going to be my press secretary.'" Until that time, she had never worked in politics, nor volunteered on a campaign. After Trump's first primary victories, Hicks was asked to choose between staying with the Trump Organization or working on the campaign full time. She initially decided to leave the campaign, but Trump convinced her to remain and she stayed on as press secretary.
During the campaign, she played the role of gatekeeper to press members who wanted to speak with Trump, handling over 250 requests a day, and deciding which reporters would be allowed to speak with him. Hicks also takes dictation from Trump for his tweets, and then sends them to another person in the Trump organization who actually sends out the tweet from Trump's official account. When in New York City, she would spend most of her day sitting in Trump’s office, handling inquiries from the press and taking dictation from him to tweet. The demands of the campaign took a personal toll, as they caused a breakup between Hicks and her boyfriend of six years.
On December 22, 2016, it was announced that Hicks would become part of the Trump Administration, in the newly created position of the White House Director of Strategic Communications. In January 2017, Hicks was included on the Forbes 30 Under 30 list, having "served as a one-woman press team for Trump’s historic presidential campaign."
Hicks was criticized by some with regard to a statement she issued on May 29, 2017, regarding President Trump's character and personality. The statement, ridiculed by Callum Borchers as approaching parody comparable to Saturday Night Live, read:
President Trump has a magnetic personality and exudes positive energy, which is infectious to those around him. He has an unparalleled ability to communicate with people .... He has built great relationships throughout his life and treats everyone with respect. He is brilliant with a great sense of humor … and an amazing ability to make people feel special and aspire to be more than even they thought possible.
At age 11 she and her older sister were hired to model for Ralph Lauren. Soon she was in the pages of national magazines and had a cameo on the soap opera Guiding Light. She became the face of the Hourglass Adventures, a series of novels for preteen girls featuring a 10 year old who travels back in time.
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