Louise Linton, an actress and producer who’s married to President Trump’s Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin, realizes that she’s in a unique position.
“I have the high honor of being the only person who has been compared to Marie Antoinette, Darth Vader and Cruella de Vil at once,” Linton says in a new interview with Los Angeles Magazine.
Linton quickly became loathed by the masses in 2017 when the internet spotted her living the high life as the spouse of someone on the government payroll. She added hashtags identifying her designer threads when she traveled with Mnuchin and then publicly slammed one of her critics. She infamously wore leather opera gloves during a visit to the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington, D.C.
In the new interview, Linton, 38, seems to have a sense of humor about it all and points out that she’s apologized multiple times. She says that, through the hate that she’s received over the internet, her husband has been supportive and the White House has remained silent.
She regrets some of her earlier moves, even without someone admonishing her. She attributes it to a lack of experience.
“It all happened so fast: I went from regular girl, an actress trying to make it in Hollywood, to a Cabinet spouse in one of the most polarizing administrations ever. It was overwhelming,” Linton says. “I love my husband and I wanted to support him, but the transition to Washington has been my hardest experience. I felt very lonely and isolated; I didn’t have any friends there. I never got much guidance. You know that movie The Princess Diaries, where a mentor held her hand saying, ‘Walk this way. Talk this way. Do this; don’t do that’? Well, I didn’t have anyone like that. No one hands you a guidebook when you get off the plane in D.C. The only people waiting for you are the press.”
Linton explains that Trump’s wife Melania and Vice President Mike Pence’s wife Karen were new to town themselves, so they couldn’t offer advice.
“And as far as I know, there really isn’t a PR firm for people who suddenly become Cabinet spouses, ya know? The partners of ambassadors and congressional spouses get to go to a training camp! Cabinet spouses get nothing. Being married to someone so high up in government, it surprised me that there was no one there to step in, as I’m sure they do, for the first lady or for Meghan Markle or Kate Middleton! I’m sure the palace gave them meticulous advice about how to adjust to public life.”
That might have kept her from making some newcomer mistakes, such as wearing those gloves.
“You’ve heard of ‘cold cash’ right? They call it that because it’s kept freezing cold there,” Linton says. “I was warned ahead of time so I came prepared. But I certainly didn’t expect to be in any photographs. My mistake was when Steven said, ‘Hey, honey, this is cool; step in this picture.’ I didn’t say, ‘Wait a minute, let me take my gloves off, Steven.’ I look like a crazy person. I look like Darth Vader!”
When the interviewer asks Linton about why she didn’t “lay low” following her public controversies, she corrects her.
“I did lay low! I was deeply depressed for a while. But it sucks being perceived as a person that you’re not; it sucks being hated,” Linton says. “Most people know me for the gloves or the plane or that awful Instagram post. …Look, I made some rookie mistakes. I understand why people are angry about me getting off that government plane tagging fashion brands. It was a stupid thing to do. I get why everyone rolled their eyes at the opera gloves. But this caricature of me is the opposite of the girl I actually am. I run a business; I have several movies coming out. I can’t hide out for another five years.”
Writer Maer Roshan describes Linton in the lengthy piece as “alternately bubbly, naive, canny, funny, and self-centered, given to earnest soliloquies and melodramatic flourishes” and notes that, when it began to rain during one of their interview sessions, she quickly changed into a swimsuit and dove into the pool with full makeup.
Linton shuts down any suggestion that she’s poised to have an influence on the administration, which she disagrees with in the treatment of animals and the LGBTQ community. “It doesn’t work like that,” she says, noting that she has gone to the White House as a regular citizen to advocate for animals.
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