Task Six Objective: To create a product display and a two-page advertorial to highlight the new "Melania" skin care line.
Going into Task Six, Team Plan B had won the last three in a row, making it four out of the five tasks. Omarosa was now gone, and with her, the excuse that Team Power had been losing because of her influence. Those of us on Team Plan B were curious to see how Team Power would operate without O, especially since they were also short a player - four to our five.
For years people have asked me about Omarosa, and, especially, this week after she was fired and gave me a shout out on her way to the elevator. Omarosa and I were on the first season of Celebrity Apprentice, and we have become friends. I don't think anyone would argue that she is an exceptionally dominant player who plays the game strategically, whether it's taking down a player she finds weak, targeting a Project Manager she finds strong, or cleverly knowing what to say in the Boardroom to cover her ass at all costs. She's a powerhouse, no question about it. But as I've learned over my years of knowing her, if she likes and respects you, she's really got your back. And when you think about it, she's the only person who has played both versions of Apprentice, so she knows this game inside and out. She is definitely someone that would be fun to watch in action on Family Game Night - especially if she likes you and you're on the same team!
THE MELANIA TASK
Every task is intense, but this one was in particular because Hurricane Sandy was on its way! The approaching storm, in fact, necessitated our shooting on Sunday, which was usually our day off. The clock was ticking, and the city was shutting down like crazy. We were supposed to go to a studio to shoot our advertorial, but they brought a mini-studio to us instead, which is why you saw the teams shooting the ads in our respective war rooms.
Team Plan B had a great meeting with Melania. She is truly beautiful, smart and very, very sweet. I felt like I really connected with her, but I'm sure she makes everyone feel comfortable. When I mentioned that the cream didn't just sit on top of your skin, but rather felt like it was feeding your skin, she responded in such a positive way that it became the basis for our ad. And knowing she's a real estate mogul's wife, I asked her what the "location, location, location" was for the product, and she said, "Caviar, caviar, caviar." Hence, the large budget for this week's task and why Penn felt justified in our splurging on a "promiscuous" amount of it!
STORMING THE CITY
Lisa and I were sent out to pick up everything we needed for the advertorial, and we had to move fast. The whole city felt like the beginning scenes from the "Wizard of Oz" - dark with a sense of foreboding weather. There was a smell of impending storm in the air, and the city was shutting down in preparation. The prop house that we had used for the Crystal Light task - a really huge place that had floors of everything imaginable - was closed, so we had to use a smaller prop house, with far less inventory. But what it lacked in stock it made up for in personality. The owners were hilarious. Lisa and I have fun wherever we go - we have a similar energy in the way we move quickly through a place - but this time our powerwalking had an over-the-top intensity as we ran around NYC while the city prepared for the hundred year storm. I'm sure people who spotted us thought we were a little crazy. (Or maybe they always do!)
Back in the war room, there was no time to waste, so Lisa got busy working on the graphics with Penn, while I helped Stephen style and set up the shot. You can't really tell from the episodes how well Stevie and I actually work together. We've had similar experiences when it comes to shoots, and we have a "big family" shorthand because we both come from six-kid families. I know we drive each other crazy for various reasons, but in the trenches, I really like working with him because we're not afraid to fight and be honest like siblings would be.
It may have looked like Penn was being a bit rude to Eric during his visit, but from my perspective, Penn was just acting like a strong Project Manager who had to keep his team on task because time was so precious. Eric's a fun guy, so it's easy to want to talk to him when he shows up.
DAY OF PRESENTATION AND BOARDROOM
It turns out that we ended up having two days off because of the storm. Hurricane Sandy hit the city, and the devastation was terrible. Half the city was shut down, and even though we were back at work, we couldn't go south of 37th street because there were no lights. I even had kids from NYU staying with me at the hotel because their dorm had no power. It was crazy. Everything was closed, and we only had half of our crew; but we really couldn't complain because we were okay. The whole city pulled together, just like New York always does.
When we hit the Boardroom, we had no idea how Team Power had done. As much as I loved our advertorial, I felt it could go either way on this one. That is, until Eric passed over Power's version to Lisa, and she immediately spotted the misspelling of Melania's name. By the time the sample got to me, I knew we had won and that Dennis was probably going to be the one sent packing. One of the major rules of Celebrity Apprentice is that every design, display, handout or brochure - anything that's done by a graphic artist - has to be signed by the Project Manager. It wasn't a rule for my original season, but now the procedure was in place for every task.
Dennis Rodman was a lot of fun and a real character. I was sorry to see him go, but I totally understand why Trump held him responsible.
Do you think it was the right call? Please don't hesitate to make comments or ask questions below.
The next episode is back to the two-hour format, so until next week...
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