The smell of expensive perfume and hairspray was intoxicating. Women in 5-inch heels and full-length furs surrounded me. It was 1989, Atlantic City was booming, and I was standing in a long line at the Trump World’s Fair, one of Trump’s lesser-known casino acquisitions. I had come with one goal: to score a highly coveted job as a cocktail waitress at the Trump Taj Mahal.
I was an eager 20-year-old college junior, born and raised in South Jersey, clad in spotless white Keds, a cotton tee, and a new pair of Gap jeans. I immediately felt out of place amidst the other women who had come for this job. Their glitz and glamour was palpable, a combination of club attire, teased hair, bright red lips, and false eyelashes.
We found ourselves in this sea of beauty, seeking the promise of greatness that the opening of the Trump Taj Mahal would bring to Atlantic City. Touted as the "eighth wonder of the world," the $1 billion project that Trump was undertaking would provide 5,000 people the opportunity of comfortable middle-class jobs. It was the fulfillment of the promise that had allowed gaming to come to Atlantic City back in 1976.
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