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Clairol debates ad deal with 'Apprentice' villain Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth


By Wade Paulsen, 04/20/2004 

Could Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, the deceitful, lazy villain of NBC's The Apprentice, turn into the show's big winner?

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The New York Times reports that the Kaplan Thaler Group was pitching Omarosa during last week's American Association of Advertising Agencies conference ... and the New York Post reports that Omarosa flew directly from the Apprentice finale in New York to Los Angeles, where she filmed a TV commercial for Clairol Herbal Essence Shampoo.

In addition, VH1 hired Omarosa to open its Divas special; a VH1 spokesperson told the Post that Omarosa was "the biggest diva on TV right now. A Hollywood talent agent said that Omarosa might be in demand for acting jobs, since she could play the "perfect villain," such as a "nasty government official or Cruella De Vil.

Omarosa's potential commercial success, despite her complete incompetence as a worker and her brazen dishonesty, has alienated at least one of her former co-workers on the show. Ereka Vetrini, whom Omarosa apparently falsely accused of uttering a racial slur, told the NY Post, "I'm shocked that Clairol would consider using Omarosa to endorse their products. To glorify and praise her bad behavior is a bad move for such a well-respected company."

For its part, Clairol is hedging its bets. While admitting that it has been trying to develop a commercial with Omarosa, a company spokesperson said that "all we're doing is taking some film of Omarosa to see if we can leverage that love-to-hate-her personality into something useful. We may never even use it. We doubt that Omarosa is working on "leveraging" her personality for free, however.

Perhaps Clairol, which once used the ad slogan, "Clairol: Only her hairdresser knows for sure," should consider a new slogan for its ads with Omarosa. For example, "Clairol: When you're not afraid to lie to everyone continually." Or how about "Clairol: When it's all about image, not ability."

In the NY Post article, Ereka also revealed how once-respected TV gabber Oprah Winfrey "cut off" her reply regarding Omarosa's racial slur claim. According to Ereka, Oprah asked her, "Did you say the N word?" and she replied, "If you knew me for more than five minutes you'd know I'd never say that. I did not say that word." However, on air, Oprah re-edited the show so that it was broadcast as if Oprah cut Ereka off after the words "If you knew me" with the interjection "I don't know you," and the rest of her answer was omitted.

If true, we can understand why, according to the NY Post, Oprah's erstwhile fans bombarded her show's website with complaints after the Omarosa-Ereka show was broadcast.

We find it amusing to learn that talk-show editing, at least in the case of Oprah, is even more dishonest than reality-TV editing. Although ... perhaps we should have suspected, after "Bachelor Bob" Guiney became such a success on Oprah's show only to be viewed as much less likable on The Bachelor 4.

(Photo credit NBC)


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