Have you seen the billion-dollar house?” Donald Trump shoots the question at GQ minutes into his conversation at his office on the 26th floor of Trump Tower in New York. Everybody in Mumbai has seen Mukesh Ambani’s record-breaking new residence, at least from the outside. “What do you think of it?” he persists. Was it a great architect who designed it? Or was it just Ambani’s taste? Does it look good? How tall is it? As GQ fields his queries, it dawns on us that Trump is checking out his competition in a race to be the front runner of extreme luxury.
What’s the edge you think the Trump brand will bring to this project in India?
Because there are increasingly more luxury developers entering the space there… I really liked the Indian developer (Rohan Lifescapes). I think the developer was somebody that we just completely hit it off with; there was good chemistry, a good feeling. I have representatives in India, and they’re telling me it doesn’t get any better than this. And then on top of that, we are working with them on the architecture to make it really superior.
You’re coming to India soon. What are you looking forward to?
I have many friends in India, I have lots of respect for India, and I look forward to being there. You’ve been married to some really beautiful women. I am sure readers would be interested in knowing your opinion on what women really want. I think women want a real man. And it’s not just a money thing. They want to be protected, they want to be attracted. I have a lot of rich friends who can’t get a girlfriend because they are not attractive. And a lot of people say, ‘Oh, you get the most beautiful women in the world because you are rich.’ But I know a lot of rich guys who can’t get any. In fact, I saw an editorial about that once and they actually made that statement. But I think a woman wants somebody that can be a friend, somebody that (she) can be attracted to. There has to be an attraction and, I think, somebody that they respect.
So you are extremely successful, have made and lost more money than most people do in their lifetime. What still drives you?
Just that I enjoy what I do. I don’t need money anymore, so the only thing that drives me is the love for what I do. I have seen people stop working and become old, and I don’t want to become old. My father used to have an expression: to retire is to expire, which I think is a great expression, and I have seen it. I have seen people who are vibrant, incredible, and they retire and they become old. So I just want to enjoy what I’m doing.
Text: Rhea Saran, GQ India