Jessica Ross Brown and Amanda Ross Farris are the daughters of Wilbur Ross, the Secretary of Commerce under President Donald Trump. Their mother is Judith Nodine, Ross’ first wife. They were married from 1961-1995.
Wilbur Ross made headlines for an interview he gave on CNBC on January 24, 2019, in which he questioned why furloughed federal workers would need to rely on food banks during the shutdown. The full interview is embedded below. He discusses the shutdown and the workers beginning around 3:30.
Ross’ daughters did not follow their father into the financial sector. Amanda attended the French Culinary Institute and founded a baking company. Jessica focused her professional career in the arts.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. Jessica & Amanda Are the Daughters of Wilbur Ross & His First Wife of More Than Thirty Years, Judith Nodine
Wilbur Ross married his first wife, Judith Nodine, in 1961. Nodine previously worked as a family advocate in New York Family Court.
Jessica Colby Ross was born in 1962. Amanda Colby Ross arrived three years later in 1965.
When Amanda got married in 1998, both Wilbur and Judith were in attendance at the wedding but it had the makings of a tense affair. According to a New York Daily News article at the time, the former spouses were in the middle of a financial lawsuit.
Judith Nodine alleged that her former husband had robbed her of $569,250 promised in the divorce. She accused him of failing to transfer stocks to her by an agreed-upon deadline, which caused the value of the stock to sink. Wilbur Ross denied that this was the case and filed a countersuit.
2. Amanda Ross Went to Culinary School & Married a Lawyer
Amanda Colby Ross pursued a professional career in the culinary world. According to her marriage announcement in the New York Times, she earned her bachelor’s degree from Sarah Lawrence College, a liberal arts school in Bronxville, New York. She then went on to study at the French Culinary Institute.
At the time of her wedding in 1998, when she was 32, she was running a custom baking company in New York called “Cabbages and Kings Enterprises.” The business no longer seems to be in operation. A search of the company’s name brings up a children’s clothing line that was founded in 2012.
Amanda’s husband is Theodore Farris, a partner with the law firm Dorsey & Whitney in New York City. At the time of their wedding, Farris was a partner with Coudert Brothers, where he stayed until 2005. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Columbia and his law degree from Fordham University.
Their wedding took place at Farris’ home in East Hampton, New York. Then-mayor Paul F. Rickenbach Jr. officiated the ceremony, according to the wedding announcement.
The couple has at least one child. A 2004 article about Wilbur Ross’ marriage to his third wife mentioned that his grandson, Alex Wilbur, served as the ringbearer. And in 2010, when Amanda’s grandmother Agnes passed away, the obituary lists a great-grandson named Alexander Ross Farris.
3. Jessica Ross Worked For the Art Dealer Company Sotheby’s For More Than a Decade & Had her First Solo Art Exhibit in 2012
Jessica Ross, like her sister, chose a career path that differed from that of her father. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Trinity College in Washington. She has a master’s degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology, in art administration. Ross also completed an internship with Sotheby’s in London.
According to a 2012 article in the Palm Beach Daily News, Ross moved to Johannesburg, South Africa in 1994. She continued her association with Sotheby’s there, running the company’s furniture department for more than a decade. She left the company in 2006 and shifted her focus to creating her own art pieces.
Ross had her first solo exhibit in Palm Beach in 2012. The newspaper reported that the show featured at least 14 oil paintings. Ross’ stepmother, Hilary Geary Ross, wrote about the exhibit in the New York Social Diary, writing that the “whole town stopped by to applaud this gifted artist!”
For that piece, her full name was listed as Jessica Ross Brown, suggesting a second marriage. Jessica was first married in 1991 to Kenneth Richard Rupert Scofield, the president of an investment company based in Harare, Zimbabwe, according to a wedding announcement in the New York Times.
Jessica appears to have had at least one child, a daughter named Kirsty Colby Brown. The 2010 obituary for her grandmother Agnes, referenced above, lists Agnes’ great-grandchildren and the name Kirsty Colby Brown was among them.
4. Jessica Ross Was Accused of Failing to Pay Rent in South Africa in 2018, on a Property in Which Wilbur Ross Reportedly Footed Part of the Bill
Jessica Ross was profiled in the Sunday Times in South Africa in July of 2018 after a landlord accused her of failing to pay two months worth of rent. The article was titled “US mogul’s daughter in SA rent row.”
According to the piece, Ross was renting a home in Johannesburg for R30,000 per month, which equates to about $2,175 in U.S dollars. She began renting it in November of 2014 and moved out in January 2018. The piece also reports that the deposit on the home was paid for by Wilbur Ross.
The landlord, Dominikus Heil, accused Ross of failing to pay two months worth of rent and stealing a pricy alarm system when she moved out. Ross fired back, stating that she had purchased the alarm system herself and therefore was permitted to take it with her.
5. Jessica & Amanda Were Bridesmaids in Their Father’s Second Wedding
Jessica and Amanda appear to have had positive relationships with their stepmothers. According to the New York Daily News, both of them served as bridesmaids when their father married New York Lt. Governor Betsy McCaughey in December 1995. (The piece also mentions that Donald Trump and second wife Marla were also in attendance).
Wilbur Ross’ third wedding to Hilary Geary appears to have been a smaller ceremony. The 2004 wedding took place at St. Andrew’s Dune Church in Southampton, New York, before about 40 guests.