[b]Stacie, you had already achieved great successes in your professional life before your appearance on the Apprentice. Would you mind telling my readers a little bit about your business background?[/b]
I have never worked for anyone. When I was 20, I started a telemarketing company with my younger sister. I had 17 people working for me while I was still in college. One of the people in that business partnered with me to open up a jazz club in Atlanta. We ‘premiered’ during the Olympics. We served Creole-type soul food.
After the club was bought out, I moved to New York. I have always modeled. I’m with Ford Models and Elite Model Management.
I’ve always raised money for my businesses through modeling. I just looked around Harlem because I saw opportunity there. I wanted to put the right business there.
I did some research online. This time, I wanted to do it all on my own. I met with the people at SUBWAY® and got the rights to Harlem. I opened the store there. It will be two years in February.
[b]What made you decide to try out for the Apprentice?[/b]
I watched one episode last season; it was the apartment task. My friends always said I should be on the show. I don’t watch much TV. I was in my apartment in South Beach and had some free time. I sent in the application the day it was due.
I did it because the only two people I’ve ever wanted to work for are either Donald Trump or Don King (the boxing promoter).
As the process went along, it got pretty exciting. I’ve always wanted to get into Trump’s rolodex.
[b]Shack readers understand that ‘unscripted television’ shows such as the Apprentice contain what I like to call “creative editing”. There must have been dozens of moments worthy of television that were edited out – can you share a few things that happened that the audience didn’t get to see, but perhaps should have?[/b]
America didn’t see even 1% of what I contributed to the team. They edited me in such a way that showed me as reactive and not proactive, which is how I really am.
The people who took initiative, like me and Pamela, were sort of seen negatively by the other women.
For example, they didn’t show me at Mattel talking with the executives nor the part where I named the cars, Morph Machines. I also lead focus groups.
I guess I was a threat. It was a classic example of the weak weeding out the strong.
Also, on the second task, I came up with location. Things got twisted. Elizabeth gave directions incorrectly. We were still across the street. All the ladies had to do was look. New York City can actually be pretty small.
Under the table, it looked like I was independently working. I did have authorization to secure temps from Ivana. That was mentioned in the extended board room. The board room scenes are usually about 2 hours.
We have rules. We get a dossier stating these rules that the public doesn’t have access to. One team can only be broken into two groups. The editing made it look like I was working independently when I wasn’t.
[b]It certainly seemed as if you were being targeted by the women. Was there anyone from either team that you felt was on your side or did you feel completely alone throughout the process?[/b]
Kevin and the guys were really on my side. I got along with every single one of the guys. Kevin, especially, tried to ask the women why they were targeting me.
People don’t realize that you take mental, emotional and IQ tests. You’re subjected to background checks – just to get on the show. Calling me ‘insane’ was slander and defamation of character.
Another think you may not know is that we all have to live in a separate place after we get fired. The ladies (who’ve been fired) have all apologized to me.
I really only respect Pam (out of the ladies). At least she’s truthful. Jen M. tried to tell Trump the truth, but Trump pushed it and she didn’t want to get fired, so she backed down. I understand that.
[b]What really happened during ‘task one’ in which you had your infamous ‘breakdown’? Did any of the women ever approach you about their concerns or did they just seem to talk behind your back? Please elaborate.[/b]
None of them were concerned. If someone thought I was a problem, well, they would’ve alerted the producers. We were in very close quarters – closer even than a college dorm room.
It was a joke. Just a case of the ladies trying to save themselves.
Tasks are two days long. On the third day, we have boardroom. At the end of the task, there was no pressure. So, I picked up the 8-ball and tried to motivate the team. We were playing.
The producers asked me, “What’s up with the 8-ball?” I feel that they seemed to coach certain story lines along.
[b]When you returned to the show to help Apex with the renovation task, Mr. Trump seemed to champion you a bit. That wasn’t his reaction in the board room at your firing. Did you get the feeling that he regretted the way you were treated earlier?[/b]
I know he was, but I can’t elaborate. What I went through in that boardroom was unbelievable and I feel it was all done for ratings.
[b]What made you decide to return to the show after you had been, in my opinion, so shoddily shafted?[/b]
It all happened so fast. They try to make you stay for the remaining 6 weeks of filming. I thought I was going to be brought back in more of a capacity than I was.
I went back because I they said I could set the record straight.
[b]So, what are you up to now? Have you gotten any modeling or acting gigs as a result of your stint on the Apprentice?[/b]
I’m doing so much now. Interesting opportunities have arisen since my appearance on the show. I have three endorsement deals so far. The biggest one is Seven7 Jeans. They’ve never advertised before and I’m doing all their print ads in the US.
I’m also working on my own line of jeans called [b]Stacie J jeans[/b]. They’re set to premiere in the fall of 2005.
I’m in talks to host something on E!. In January, I will head out to LA to try and get some more acting gigs. I’ve been acting all along, though.
I am turning Stacie J into a brand. [i]Stacie J – the model/entrepreneur[/i].
I’ve also gotten a film and a play offer. And I’m on the [b]Maxim[/b] cover currently. There’s two versions. One has me and Sandy. The other is Jen C. and Maria.
[b]Do you have any advice for would-be or wanna-be Reality TV contestants?[/b]
Be very, very careful. In editing, things can be turned around. They can portray you as being 360 degrees different from what you really are.
If people can get through that, then they can use the exposure for bigger things. We’ll see how big I can make it from this experience.
[b]Author Note: Wanna learn more about this model/entrepreneur who acts in spare time? Trust me, she’s got quite an impressive list of credits on all fronts. The lady also has an MBA, and a SUBWAY® Franchise. She proves you can go from Harlem to Milan in the drop of a stylish hat.
She’s a dynamo – and a fascinating person. For more info, check her out at http://www.staciej.com