McIver is originally from San Jose, California and moved to New York City at age 14 on a Ford Foundation Scholarship for dance. In New York, McIver trained at George Balanchine's School of American Ballet during the summers of 1965 and 1966, and was enrolled full-time in the advanced division courses at the School of American Ballet 1967–70. She later earned an English degree at the University of Utah, graduating with honors in 1976.
2007 Trump deposition
In 2007, in a deposition in a defamation lawsuit he brought against Timothy L. O'Brien, Donald Trump named McIver as the likely author, in two books they wrote together, of overstated claims of his indebtedness in the midst of the 1990s real estate market crash, making his financial comeback appear more significant.
Speech plagiarism controversy
McIver later issued a statement explaining that Trump had shared with her a passage from Obama's 2008 convention speech as an example of her feelings. Due to a misunderstanding, McIver thought the passage expressed Trump's own thinking, so she included that passage in the speech. According to the Associated Press, "McIver took the blame but made it clear that Mrs. Trump knew the passages were from the first lady's speech." The Trump family declined McIver's offer to resign over the incident.