Ahead of the presidential inauguration on Friday, political figures and the like are shelling out big bucks for styling, beauty, and travel expenses. However, some are reportedly trying to get a bargain price for the services.
In a Washington Post story on Tuesday, freelance stylist Tricia Kelly of Randolph Cree Salon in Washington, D.C., claimed Marla Maples, ex-wife of President-elect Donald Trump, tried to avoid paying for hairstyling services for her daughter, Tiffany Trump, and herself on Inauguration Day.
After expressing interest in styling their locks for the big day, Kelly said she was connected to Maples’s assistant through a client. She outlined her rate — $150 for traveling expenses in addition to the cost for her styling services — to Maples’s assistant, which led to bargaining over the price between the parties.
“I was told they had a $300 budget for both of them for hair and makeup,” Kelly told the Washington Post.
The two parties eventually agreed on a flat fee of $200 for Kelly’s services and $150 for a makeup artist’s services for Maples and Trump, according to Kelly. However, Maples’s assistant then suggested the stylist waive her fee in exchange for promotion on Maples’s social media account, according to Kelly.
“I was stunned. I told them . . . I work for a fee, not for free,” she said, offended by the offer. Considering Maples has about 43,700 followers on Instagram, many stylists would love the opportunity to be promoted. However, Kelly prefers to keep her work with political types under the radar so that she doesn’t seem biased when working with clients of different political parties.
Describing the request as “entitled,” Kelly said, “There are people who make far less than they do who pay full price. People on staff — the incoming White House and the outgoing one — pay full price. It seemed like they were trying to see how much they could get for free based on their names.”
Although viewed as unethical by some, Maples’s request does not break any rules, as restrictions on accepting gifts only apply to lawmakers and government officials. The practice is also quite standard in terms of client relationships with high-profile figures, as some artists and stylists choose to offer their services in exchange for promotion on social media platforms.
However, many sided with Kelly and spoke out on Twitter against Maples trying to get free styling.
@itsmarlamaples you have some nerve. That hairstylist is going to get all the exposure she could ever want just by standing up for herself
— rick obermeyer (@ObermeyerRick) January 17, 2017
I'm still pretty irritated about @itsmarlamaples and her kid's behavior. Every member of the Trump family wants to exploit the Oval Office.
— Milksteak&Jellybeans (@Tallulahs_Ghost) January 17, 2017
@jamieson Just pay the people! Don't you know by now anything else makes you sound entitled, crass and well, kinda cheap?
— Jatika Manigault (@JatikaSpeaks) January 17, 2017
— JB (@6nsinvt) January 17, 2017
One user wrote that Maples is just one among the many who do this.
Everyone does this honestly, Marla Maples isn't 1st or last . https://t.co/5a3ijKL41C
— ladies first (@ladiesfirst89) January 17, 2017
Kelly told the Washington Post that she was contacted by the client who originally connected her to Maples after the story broke. “You are messing with the president of the United States,” the unnamed source allegedly wrote to her. “She is used to a certain lifestyle, and you don’t understand that.” The source also reportedly commented that Maples was worried about her finances.
We have reached out to Marla Maples and will update this story when we hear back.