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HOME > The Apprentice > The Celebrity Apprentice 1

Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth extends her 15 minutes via 'Apprentice'


By Christopher Rocchio, 01/04/2008 

Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth's 15-minutes of fame probably should have ended before they even began, however it sounds like she doesn't plan on going anywhere any time soon, unfortunately.

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"I think that's so cute when people say that about 15 minutes. I taped The Apprentice in 2003. How do we measure this concept of 15 minutes? I have 15 minutes every hour. I'm not your average bear," the reality show retread told the St. Petersburg Times in a Thursday report. 

"There are people who have been on reality shows, and you never see them again. It takes a lot to stay hot in this business. Americans are very fickle. They get tired of you. The first thing I did was I recognized that I was cast as the villain. Instead of crumbling under that, I embraced the character.  The villains are sexy and fun to watch. I cultivated it, there were times I exaggerated it. The only thing that I let the public see was the naughty girl antics."

Those self-described "naughty girl antics" led the 33-year-old to land a role on NBC's currently airing The Celebrity Apprentice, meaning she's pretty much come full circle since the show's first season.

"I hear people say, 'Oh, why do you keep doing those reality shows?' And I say, 'How many roles do you think there are for African-American women on American TV?'" Manigault-Stallworth -- seemingly suddenly considering herself an actual actress -- told the Toronto Sun in a Thursday report.  "I enjoy reality TV.  I have the luxury of going into a situation where I have an opportunity to control and create my character. I get to do what I want, wear what I want and look the way I want."

When asked why she decided to return to Donald Trump's reality show for a second go, Manigault-Stallworth told the Times "either I'm extremely brilliant or completely insane -- you be the judge," presumably meaning not even she knows what she's doing. 

"I was out on the golf course and my phone rang. I have a private line which shows who's calling and it's Donald Trump. He says, 'Hey kiddo, we're doing Celebrity Apprentice and you're my first phone call.' We went through a whole discussion. Like everybody else, I thought the show was canceled. I was a little taken aback by his phone call. So I took a little time to think about it. Mr. Trump does not want to take no for an answer - he took my decision to step away from the call as non-interest. So he kept pressing me for an answer."

Manigault-Stallworth eventually decided to participate, which apparently couldn't be said of all the celebrities Trump asked.

"I do know there were people who dropped out as close to a week and a half before the show started," she told the Times.  "There were other people rumored on the show – many of them backed out at the last minute."

Manigault-Stallworth realized it was going to be a whole different ball game than the first time she was fired by The Donald during the show's first season in 2003.

"The producers sent my competitors' first season DVDs. Only two of them had ever seen the show. That's like Lennox Lewis going in the ring with someone who had a chance to see all of his practice matches," she told the Times.  "I have to change up; I have to change my strategy. I walked in with the biggest disadvantage -- I didn't have any DVDs to study. I knew that I had to play a different game."

In addition to going to back "the fundamentals of business," Manigault-Stallworth told the Times she knew she had to "make some alliances" with her fellow The Celebrity Apprentice cast members, which she didn't do the first time around.  The solution, she found, was to "disarm them" with her "charm."

"We had a couple of meetings before the show aired and everyone was saying, 'Oh, you're so nice.'  [Then I said] 'I enjoyed getting to know you all, but as soon as the cameras come on I have a job to do,'" she explained to the Sun.  "I can truly tell you that there has been an evolution in all things Omarosa.  And I had to change because all my 13 competitors have had an opportunity to watch me. I had to come up with a whole different game plan."

After assessing the "character or integrity" of her competition, she was able to determine who had a "huge ego" and are thus "the most vulnerable."

"Everybody's jockeying for position and everyone is trying to show they're more famous than the next man. I'm just sitting back... I don't really get caught up in the illusion that is fame," Manigault-Stallworth told the Times.  "Those aren't things I concern myself with. There's a difference between utilizing your celebrity and being caught up in this concept that is fame."

Trying to avoid the trappings of fame, Manigault-Stallworth said she's not the type to look a gift horse in the mouth.

"Who gets a once in a lifetime opportunity twice?" she told the Times.  "There were celebrities who were begging to get on this show and I got a change to do it twice. And I don't take that for granted."

(Photo credit NBC)


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