A Body Language Expert Helps Us Decode Ivanka & Jared's Relationship

Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images.
If you compare Ivanka Trump and her husband Jared Kushner to President Trump and first lady Melania, you'll likely be able to point out a huge difference in how the couples interact. Unlike Melania, Ivanka doesn't do whatever it takes to avoid holding her husband's hand. In fact, Jarvanka is practically always holding hands.
The power couple — made up of two not-at-all scandal-plagued White House advisors — displays more affection than the average pair of image-conscious millionaires turned politicos. We had to get to the bottom of the meaning behind their constant attachment: Is it a subconscious yearning for reassurance that they're not completely screwing up the world? Is it affection, pure and sweet?
Body language expert Patti Wood, author of Snap: Making the Most of First Impressions, Body Language, and Charisma, told Refinery29 that it actually probably stems from Ivanka's relationship with her dad, a super-close bond that's been the subject of a lot of coverage.
Not only is Ivanka on the record as her dad's favorite (sorry, Tiff), but, as you may be aware, there are so many photos of her sitting on his lap. "You see pictures of her as a child where she had an affectionate, 'high-touch' relationship with her dad, so she sees this type of attention from men as normal," Wood told us.
Ivanka is also likely modelling her behaviour on that of Donald and Melania, said Wood. Although these days, the president and first lady act about as awkward as a couple of 13-year-olds at their first homecoming dance around each other, there was a time when they were super-touchy in public. "They used to hold hands all the time," Wood said. Ivanka observed their behaviour and caught on.
What's really interesting about the Jarvanka dynamic, she said, is that in many of the photos where they are holding hands, she is the one leading, and in many others, they are side-by-side or "on the same power plane." From having analysed thousands of famous-couple photos, she said this isn't the norm for heterosexual celebrity pairs. She's only observed it in a few, including Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt (he and Jen Aniston were generally on the same power plane) and J.Lo with pretty much everyone she's dated. When they do hold hands, Donald always walks ahead of Melania.
This suggests Ivanka has the upper hand in the relationship, something we already knew from the Fire and Fury anecdote where they make a pact that she gets to run for president before Jared.
While you consider that prospect, click ahead to see our visual history of Ivanka and Jared holding hands. And then holding hands some more.

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