Trump Picks Handbag Designer and Mar-a-Lago Member for Ambassador Post

Lana Marks

Modal Trigger Lana Marks Getty Images

U.S. President Donald Trump intends to nominate luxury handbag designer Lana Marks as the new ambassador to South Africa, the White House said, nearly two years after the last ambassador left under Barack Obama.

Marks is known for her extremely high-end handbags, one of which is called the Cleopatra Clutch, which is adorned in diamonds and sells in limited batches every year for up to $400,000.

It's unclear how much time Marks has spent in South Africa since she moved to the States 40 years ago.

Lana Marks has been described as "a relentless self-promoter", by the Palm Beach Daily.

According to the Palm Beach Daily News, the South African-born entrepreneur has a legacy of lawsuits, past and present.

Marks is also a member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), as well as the Women's Leadership Board at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

Lana Marks, who is about to become the fifth Mar-a-Lago club member to be recruited by the president for diplomatic positions, is the owner of the eponymous fashion brand which specializes in exotic leather accessories and is famous for creating some of the world's most expensive handbags. CNN reports that her daughter was Wednesday at the Palm Beach club as well.

Another interesting quirk she shares with the President: The letter "J".

The White House statement emphasized Marks' business experience and her language skills, as she speaks both Afrikaans and the Xhosa language. Like Donald J. Trump, Lana is referred to on her website as "Lana J. Marks", likely to distinguish herself from mentions of her company as a whole. The designer's website features photos of celebrities such as Jennifer Aniston carrying her goods and says her accessories have become a favorite among "royalty and entertainment style makers".

According to her website, the idea for a handbag collection came to Marks in 1984 while she was preparing to attend a birthday function for Queen Elizabeth on a royal yacht.

So is this all official?


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