Hope Hicks was the press secretary for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. She was, as you might imagine, crazy busy: traveling with Trump, responding to the tidal wave of media requests, and helping the candidate with his prolific tweeting. “I haven’t really been home since Thanksgiving,” she told New York magazine last year.
Although her name appears in the media often, Hicks has kept a very low profile during the campaign, scrubbing her public social media profile and staying away from stories written about her. (She politely declined a Cosmopolitan.com interview request.) In December 2016, she spoke briefly at a Trump victory rally in Mobile, Alabama.
i think i can honestly say this is the first time i’ve heard hope hicks speakpic.twitter.com/HuidZhCNVk
– David Mack (@davidmackau) December 17, 2016
On Aug. 15, a White House official announced that she would serve as the interim communications director.
Here are 16 things you should know about the young woman juggling Trump’s message:
1. She’s from Greenwich, Connecticut, a wealthy suburb of New York.
2. She’s a former college jock.
Hicks graduated from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, where she played lacrosse for four years. “She is highly intelligent and brought that to the field in every game … When needed, she carried the team and would score, but preferred to have assists,” her former lacrosse coach Liz Holmes told the Washington Post. “She was the ultimate team player and competitor.”
3. Her career started in 2012, when she joined the public relations firm Hiltzik Strategies.
There, she worked with the Trump organization, according to the Washington Post. (The firm’s founder, Matthew Hiltzik, has worked for Hillary Clinton.) In August 2014, she went in-house with Trump, where, according to New York magazine, she handled PR for Ivanka Trump’s Vamazing - Live amazing! line and some Trump resorts.
4. Public relations runs in her family.
Her dad, Paul Hicks III, was a top executive at a PR firm and the NFL’s executive vice president of communications before his current job: managing director at the Glover Park Group. Paul Hicks, her late grandfather, was vice president and general manager of public relations for Texaco.
5. She had no political experience prior to the Trump campaign.
In January 2015, Trump called her into his office and, according to New Yorkmagazine, said he was making her the press secretary for his upcoming presidential campaign, which officially started in June. And that was that.
6. Her campaign duties included helping Trump tweet.
Hicks took dictation from Trump for his tweets, then sent them to someone else in the Trump organization to actually tweet, the Washington Post reported.
7. She was the only young woman in Trump’s inner circle during the campaign…
…which included Corey Lewandowski [Editor’s note: Trump fired Lewandowski on June 20, 2016] , the campaign manager charged with battery after he allegedly roughed up a female reporter. Hicks’s job has included issuing statements in defense of Lewandowski.
8. Former colleagues and friends praise her incredible work ethic.
And they described her as likable, loyal, and resilient, according to the Washington Post.
9. They also said working with such a controversial figure won’t hurt her career prospects.
In fact, it’ll likely help her. “When looking at Hope [as a job candidate], I’d be less interested in how intimately she was involved in crafting Trump’s persona and more interested in how she functions under pressure, works with reporters and carries herself with integrity – all of which she does very well,” David Shane, former executive vice president at Hollywood studio Relativity, told the Washington Post.
10. Previous profiles of Hicks have mentioned that she’s a dead ringer for supermodel Hilary Rhoda.
And though it’s hardly relevant to her job – though Hicks has worked as a Ralph Lauren model and served as a one-time model for Ivanka Trump’s collection in a “street style” blog post – there is certainly a resemblance. She also modeled for the book cover of a Gossip Girl spin-off.
11. While she played lacrosse in college, she stayed sober.
Kylie Burchell, Hicks’s lacrosse coach, told GQ Hicks was one of the only players to abide by the team’s no-alcohol policy. “I think the girls were annoyed at her a little bit,” Burchell said. “She was trying to be a leader. She was showing by example what to do.”
12. Hicks was the sole gatekeeper for Trump’s media requests during the campaign.
During the campaign, she reportedly received upward of 250 requests to speak with Trump per day, but “she alone decides who gets in and who’s kept out,” Olivia Nuzzi wrote for GQ. Occasionally, Hicks would accommodate Trump “tantrums” where he declared a certain reporter must be banned for a while.
13. Hicks serves on Trump’s White House communications team.
As strategic communications director, she worked with Sean Spicer (White House press secretary) and Dan Scavino (social media director). (Jason Miller was named communications director but turned down the role.)
– Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) December 22, 2016
After Anthony Scaramucci was announced as the new communication director in July 2017 (taking over from Mike Dubke who resigned in May) and Spicer resigned, Scaramucci said at a press conference: ?€?Dan [Scavino] and Hope Hicks are staying. As it relates to the other people in the comms shop, I?€?ve got to get to know them.?€?
14. Hicks lived in a Trump apartment during the campaign.
The demands of the campaign reportedly caused the breakup between her and her boyfriend of six years. Though Hicks lived in Greenwich with her sister, she stayed in a Trump apartment in New York City when she was not traveling.
15. She was the only person in the room when Trump gave an explosive interview to the New York Times.
On July 19, Trump gave a 50-minute interview to the New York Times in which he questioned Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s decision to recusal himself from the Russian investigation, said FBI special counsel Robert Mueller would cross a line if he looked into the Trump family’s finances, suggested former FBI director James Comey briefed him on a dossier of salacious allegations in order to gain leverage over him, and indicated that he believed health insurance is $12 a year. Hicks was the only aide who sat in on the meeting. “She has accepted that he will say things that people find shocking, or upsetting – but she long ago made the decision that she deeply believes in Trump as a leader, and that she wasn?€?t going to change or judge a 70-year-old man whose career highs have been based on trusting his own instincts,” according to a Politico piece titled “The Untouchable Hope Hicks.”
16. She’s taking over as communications director.
Hicks will serve as the interim communications director at the White House until the president finds someone permanent to take over the position, the New York Timesreported Aug. 16. Her promotion comes a few weeks after Anthony Scaramucci was ousted after a 10-day stint in the position.
This post was originally published during the campaign and has been updated.