Before Monday, Louise Linton was just a minor character in Trumpland, a D-list actress from Scotland who recently became wife no. 3 to President Donald Trump’s treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin.
And before Mnuchin joined the White House, he was a Goldman Sachs executive and hedge-fund manager who had an interesting side gig as a major financier for dozens of Hollywood movies, ranging from major hits like “The Devil Wears Prada,” “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Dunkirk” to duds like this year’s female stalker thriller “Unforgettable,” starring Katherine Heigl.
It seems like Mnuchin’s former side gig, which he gave up to join Trump’s cabinet, could come in handy now and help solve a problem like Louise.
Before Monday, the public didn’t pay much mind to Mrs. Steve Mnuchin. Certainly there’s nothing that would have made this pretty 36-year-old with long bottle-blonde hair stand out in Donald Trump’s orbit of other women with long bottle-blonde hair: daughters Ivanka and Tiffany, daughters-in-law Lara and Vanessa and frequent cable news defender Kellyanne Conway.
But thanks to a carelessly imperious Instagram post, Linton took center stage Tuesday in Trumpland, in front of her husband and even in front of Ivanka.
Now, as the American public gets to know Linton better, it’s also becoming familiar with what looks like a thirst for drama, attention and lavish displays of wealth. Some said she behaved in a very Marie Antionette way with her Instagram post. Daily Beast writer Erin Gloria Ryan compared her to one of the tacky stars of the “Real Housewives” reality TV shows.
Either diva comparison applies to Linton’s post Monday, which shows her and Mnuchin disembarking from an official government plane on a trip to Kentucky. Dressed movie star-like, all in white and toting a handbag and silk scarf, Linton captioned her photo with shoutouts to the luxury designers she was wearing: Hermes, Roland Mouret, Tom Ford and Valentino.
Linton took things even further into Marie Antoinette/Real Housewife territory after an Oregon mother of three posted a comment questioning whether taxpayers were footing the cost of her flight. Linton responded by making fun of the Oregon mom for being poor. She then boasted about how rich she and Mnuchin are.
A Bloomberg report clarified that Linton pays for her own travel when she accompanies Mnuchin on government business, and Linton deleted the comment and made her Instagram account private.
She also issued an apology through her publicist Tuesday, saying “I apologize for my post on social media yesterday as well as my response. It was inappropriate and highly insensitive,” CNN reported.
Still the Marie Antoinette/Real Housewife narrative was unleashed.
So, Linton is now famous — or infamous. But this outcome shouldn’t be surprising, given her background.
— Boston Herald (@bostonherald) June 25, 2017
Born to wealthy parents in Scotland, Linton literally grew up in a castle. Yes, she worked as an actress but in nothing major. She nabbed the role of “skin care consultant” in a 2008 Tom Cruise film. But that part was eventually cut from the finished product. Her 2015 film “Cabin Fever,” about friends succumbing to a flesh-eating disease, tanked critically and at the box office.
In 2016, she published a memoir, “In Congo’s Shadow,” that brought her more attention but maybe not the kind she was seeking.
According the Amazon description, the book deals with her 1999 gap year when she spent six months in Zambia. She describes it as “one girl’s perilous journey in the heart of Africa.” Given that description, it’s no surprise the book earned widespread criticism over her “white savior” narrative and stereotypical portrait of Africa as a backward, dangerous place, especially for a “skinny white muzungu” like her “with long angel hair.”
Despite that literary failure, it’s hard to believe Linton would be satisfied receding into the background and just playing a modest cabinet wife.
For her June wedding to Mnuchin in Washington DC, she was certainly eager to play an American version of a royal bride, wearing a white lace princess gown and diamond tiara.
It’s really too bad Mnuchin couldn’t have kept his side gig as a movie producer. The Hollywood Reporter said Mnuchin gave up his film finance company to join Trump’s cabinet — you know, ethical concerns.
Linton briefly served as interim CEO of the company after Mnuchin joined the Trump administration, but she stepped down in May after the Senate Finance Committee also raised concerns about her role at the company. CNN said.
But between Mnuchin and Linton, it seems the two could still use their Hollywood connections to get Linton a part in something — which wouldn’t violate any ethical regulations but would keep her busy and give her some time under the bright white lights.
Mnuchin apparently got her a small part in “Rules Don’t Apply,” Warren Beatty’s not-so-successful ode to old Hollywood that the treasury secretary helped produce, according to IMDB.
Fortunately, Mnuchin always seemed a savvy enough movie financier to not give his blessing or money to a film adaption of “In Congo’s Shadow.”
But maybe he knows of someone producing the next female-stalker movie, like “Unforgettable.” This “erotic thriller” was bad but in a it’s-so-bad-it’s good way. It depicts a status-conscious divorced mom, played by Heigl, who can’t handle that her ex-husband has moved on with someone new.
Heigl sports long bottle-blonde hair to play Tessa, who stalks and plots revenge against her ex-husband’s new finance, played by Rosario Dawson.
This isn’t to say that Linton is in any way, personality-wise, like Heigl’s “psycho Barbie” character. But with that long, blonde hair, she certainly bears a passing physical resemblance.
Of course, any actress worth her salt would find a part like Tessa to be challenging and even career-defining. While “Unforgettable” barely earned back its budget at the box office and was Lifetime-movie formulaic, Heigl won praise for playing against her usual rom-com-heroine type.
“Heigl works overtime to humanize the resentful mom — her face is like an old-fashioned cash register with the prices popping up—but she’s more fun to watch as the story grows ugly and violent, and she unleashes the demon within,” wrote Chicago Reader critic J.R. Jones.
Given the way Linton unleashed the demons within on that Oregon mom of three, she might have what it takes to play the antagonist in the next female stalker movie — whether or not her husband finances it. She’d probably delight in the the kind of praise Heigl received.
If nothing else, a meaty role like that would give her a way to channel any remaining Marie Antoinette/Real Housewife impulses and lessen her need to make any more unfortunate social media comments.
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