Image Credit: Virginia Sherwood/NBCHi Apprentice Fans! I was not kidding last week when I told you that The Apprentice is getting more surprising with each new episode. This week had another Apprentice first – the episode began with a boardroom …and a firing.
An Apprentice Shocker (and Fire #9)
My father had the two teams assemble in the boardroom at the beginning of the show, as he announced “I’ve just been given some very disturbing news.” It had been brought to his attention that Anand had been text-messaging people during the pedi-cab challenge in Episode 6. Anand had been asking friends to bring in money for the pedi-cab rides because he was the Project Manager and his “ass was on the line.” He asked them to bring $50 and “to pretend like we don’t know each other.” It was extremely shocking, and also very unfair!
When my father initially confronted Anand with the text-messaging situation, Anand denied it. But once my father read him his texts, he had to admit he had sent them. The other cast members were astonished, as no one knew about these texts. My father, obviously angry, told Anand “I’m all about taking every advantage you can but this is crossing the line. That’s why Wall Street and our country are such a mess.” It was obvious to everyone that Anand’s behavior was unacceptable and a clear violation of the rules of the game, and he was fired. It was a sad scene, and I think he was duly humbled. I hope he learns from this mistake and moves forward in his career with clearer vision. On camera afterwards, Anand apologized to my father for a bad judgment call, which I thought was admirable. Clint, ever the gentleman, apologized on behalf of the men’s team.
Each week, The Apprentice has been highlighting the country’s strongest companies and industries – and this week, we highlighted fragrance — a $5 billion business in the U.S. Steven Nussdorf, Chairman of the Board of Perfumania, the largest specialty fragrance retailer, was on hand with me, my father, and Don to deliver the task. Perfumania is introducing a great new fragrance by Kim Kardashian and the teams were assigned to design, construct and install a display for it. Poppy was chosen as Fortitude’s Project Manager with Liza and Stephanie on her team, and Clint was Octane’s PM with Brandy and Steuart on his team. Brand expansion is such a big part of what we do at the Trump Organization, and I was interested to see how the teams interpreted Kim’s brand expansion.
Poppy and her team decided to do a life-sized, hanging photo-replica of Kim Kardashian, to be used as a photo op for customers. Initially, I thought the idea was creative and interactive and would do well from a retail perspective. In order to make the display more interesting, Poppy and Stephanie went for dazzle, using boas, dangling jewelry and sequins, which Liza thought was a bad idea. I totally agreed with Liza, as Kim’s aesthetic tends to be very sleek – I can’t remember the last time I saw her sporting sequins, boas and glitter! When Don visited the team, he noted that Liza seemed to be pushed out, relegated to construction, and that there was no love lost between Liza and Stephanie.
It’s A Man’s World
As PM, Clint admitted he needed help with this very feminine project, to which Brandy responded that she “was not as feminine as the other girls,” which took Clint by surprise. Brandy had, after all, just won last week’s challenge by posing in a very feminine manner in an ad campaign. It seemed that Brandy was just worried about the two men being “buddy-buddy,” as she mentioned to me when I visited the team. Brandy seemed to be in a vulnerable situation as the only woman on a team of men, but she pulled through, with the team producing some great work. I liked their display – it was simple and elegant and clearly illustrated the fragrance, which was an important part of the challenge.
Steven and Kim visited each of the displays, and agreed that both teams had been very creative. Steven like the photo-op idea as presented by Fortitude and both liked Octane’s overall concept, saying it was organized, clean and inviting. They especially liked the back-lit acrylic stand, which was Steuart’s idea. Octane’s presentation was sophisticated and understated, had clean lines, and resonated with the perfume itself. Kim herself liked the use of pink and lavender. The contrast with Fortitude’s concept was obvious, and Fortitude’s efforts came across as kitschy and juvenile rather than sophisticated. Octane easily won this task.
Clint’s reward will be to meet with the exceptional Barry Sternlicht, the founder of Starwood Hotels. Barry is a visionary and great friend of mine, and has offered many words of advice, including those found in my book, The Trump Card. This should be an incredibly exciting meeting for Clint.
After viewing Octane’s simple and elegant display, my father was wondering how Fortitude came up with such a tacky alternative. I commented that I thought that their display did not embody Kim’s personality, an essential part of promoting the fragrance. It was clear that they had missed the mark entirely. When Liza and Stephanie began to argue and Poppy made no attempt to intervene, my father finally had to tell Poppy she had better start talking. Poppy said she had tried to separate Liza and Stephanie, as they don’t get along, and Poppy mentioned that Stephanie supported her ideas from the beginning. This seemed fine until my father asked her who should be fired, and she said “Stephanie,” clearly because Stephanie posed the bigger threat. I didn’t appreciate her logic, and told Poppy that “you don’t want to win because somebody else is weaker, you want to win because you’re stronger.” I also advised that it’s possible to own your mistakes and then be a stronger player moving forward. After much verbal volleying, my father simply asked Poppy if the losing idea was hers, to which she admitted yes and was fired. We all felt that it was the right choice although Poppy is an extremely talented and nice person with a lot to offer. I wish her the best in her future endeavors.
Enjoy your weekend, and I look forward to seeing you in the Boardroom next week!
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