NEW YORK, NY – Life had been filled with fame and fortune for the writer and model Elizabeth Pipko. In 2013, at the age of just 17, she wrote and self- published, her first book, “Sweet Sixteen”, a collection of deeply personal poems. A year later, she composed a second book, also exclusively of poetry, titled, “About You”, which was described in Arianna Huffington’s “Thrive Global” newsletter as among the “best books to read before you sleep.”
The same year she published “Sweet Sixteen”, Pipko signed a contract to model for Wilhemia Models, a top agency in the profession. Within months, photos of Pipko began appearing in major fashion magazines, including DT, Maxim and Esquire. The following five years proved even kinder to Pipko’s modeling career; her growing legions of fans could find pictures of her on the pages of People and Vanity Fair and on the covers of Supermodels SA and L’ Officiel.
“I couldn’t ever have even dreamed of becoming a model because I was an awkward and shy person most of my life”, stated Pipko, as we began our interview in Manhattan last week. “So becoming a model became even more than a dream come true for me”.
In the early summer of 2016, however, Pipko, made what was to be a life changing decision, putting that dream come true at risk. It was a decision which she believed she had to keep hidden from the heads of the modeling and fashion industries, afraid that if her secret was uncovered, she would never be allowed to work as a model again.
That secret was simply that Pipko had decided to work on the campaign for then presidential candidate Donald Trump. Pipko, who told me that she had little interest in politics before then, explained what motivated her to work for Trump, although fearful that it could end her modeling career.
“I had always considered myself to be a non-political person”, she stated. “I was immersed in the world around me, finding similarities between myself and those on both sides of the political aisle, and therefore choosing to pay very little attention to current day politics.
“And then”, she further explained, “I saw Donald Trump on television. He was discussing his promise to bring jobs back for Americans and his plans to always keep America first. And when I heard him also promise that he would tear up the Iran Nuclear deal and work to regain our once incredibly strong relationship with our greatest and most loyal friend, the State of Israel, I was incredibly impressed, and he won my total support.”
Pipko was in fact so impressed that a few days later she walked into the candidate’s campaign headquarters in Trump Towers and signed up to work as a volunteer in the building’s call center.
The slogan ‘Make America Great Again’ kept ringing in my ears, because I believed that if Donald Trump won, he would deliver on that promise”, she recalled. “So every hour and every day that I worked on the campaign to get this great man elected president was an honor for me as a loyal American, who never imagined herself, at just 21 years old, to be in such a position.”
After serving as a volunteer for 2 months, the Trump campaign offered Pipko a salaried position as the coordinator of campaign volunteers throughout America.
“I jumped at the offer and accepted the job”, stated Pipko. “But having over the past year heard virtually every executive, agent and model and even friend in the industry repeating the same canard about how evil Donald Trump is, I knew that if I wanted to keep modeling, I had to keep my new job a secret”.
By chance, however, Pipko encountered one of the few models in NYC who shared both her political views and fears. “In the summer of 2016, I was working at campaign headquarters at Trump Towers when I ran into a top male model whom I had known from Wilhelmina”, Pipko remembered.
“When we spoke, I found that, he like me, was working for Trump because he believed that Trump would fulfill his promise to make America great again. Also, like me, he knew that if the folks in the modeling industry ever found out what he was doing, his career would be over. Our conversation reinforced my decision to keep my work for the Trump campaign a secret.”
Pipko continued to keep that work a secret for two more years- until love intervened. On December 26, 2018, she married Darren Centinello, also a Trump campaign staffer, whom she had met and fallen in love with during the campaign.
“My personal and political life became intertwined when I fell in love with Darren”, she reflected. “So, after our wedding, I knew the time had come to put my concerns about my modeling career out of my mind and announce publicly that I had proudly worked for and continue to proudly support President Trump.”
Pipko did just that. Beginning first with the print media, Pipko contacted the New York Post, which on January 26, 2019 published an interview- based column revealing her secret under a title that told it all: I was a secret Trump supporter: Model feared politics would kill her career.
Within the first day of the column’s publication, Pipko received the reaction she had both feared and expected for the then past 2 years.
There were many people in the industry, some of whom I had thought were close friends, who sent me emails saying the most terrible thing about me”, she recalled. “And when I tried to contact some other friends whom I had not heard from hoping for their support, my emails and phone calls were never returned.”
Pipko intrepidly moved on to the TV media, where the following day she appeared on the Fox station news talk show Fox and Friends. There Pipko explained why she had made the decision to put her modeling career in jeopardy by revealing that she had worked on the Trump presidential campaign.
“I explained to the hosts and the audience”, she stated, “that I had come to the realization that my work on behalf of a great candidate who ended up becoming President of the United States and [supporting], all that he was doing for our great country was far more important to me than a modelling career.”
That appearance on Fox and Friends did in fact put an end to her once flourishing modelling career. But Pipko had no regrets.
“I was never offered another modeling assignment after my appearance on Fox and Friends”, she told me. “Yet I was fine with that. I was ready to begin a new phase of my life.”
Starting this past March that “new phase” of her life evolved into a political crusade, now known as “The Exodus Movement”. Pipko, who is an orthodox Jew, a self- described “proud Zionist”, an outspoken critic of the powerful anti-Israel faction of the Democratic Party, and, as we already know, a loyal Trump supporter, described the purpose of The Exodus Movement, which now has branches in 12 states containing large Jewish populations, which include California, Florida, New York and New Jersey.
“We are asking American Jews and our allies to fight anti- Semitism, which has become frighteningly unmistakable in the political left of the Democratic Party”, she asserted. “Our goal is to fight that growing and vile anti-Semitism by supporting political candidates who will proudly stand up for Jewish Americans and our great ally, the State of Israel. [Thus] we are leading an exodus of Jews and their friends from a party [The Democratic Party], which continues to fail to take our concerns to heart.”
Still, Pipko acknowledged that The Exodus Movement faces an uphill battle trying to convince Jews, who have in the past supported Democratic candidates by an almost 4-1 margin, to vote to re-elect President Donald Trump. Nevertheless, she told me that she remains undaunted. Stating that The Exodus Movement and similar organizations have exposed what she repeated to contend is the anti- Israel bias and the anti-Semitic rhetoric of the powerful leftist extremist members of the Democratic Party, she asserted,
“It remains our goal to be able to convince Jewish Democrats to reconsider their political allegiance and vote for President Trump in 2020.”
Pipko is presenting that same message to the audiences of her old friends at Fox and several other news channels, where she appears as a frequent guest.
“I am asked my opinion on a variety of different issues on these shows” she noted. But then she added that the opinion she most commonly shares with the hosts and viewing audience is that
“President Trump has truly made good on his promise to make America great again.”
With those final words, it became even clearer to me that Pipko continues to be free of care about what her former bosses, colleagues and friends in the fashion and modeling industries think of her or her political views.