Guises, Prizes, and Surprises – The $25 Million Dollar Hoax, Finale


by aurora

It’s almost over. Tonight is the night that we get all of our questions answered. Will Chrissy pull off the “biggest hoax in television history”? Will her family all be in attendance at the big spin? Will they be cheering for her to win more cash? Will they forgive her for spending the last five days trying to convince them she’s turned into a rich bitch? And what exactly are the elusive prizes that Chrissy has been promised for her family if she is successful? All of this and more, coming up on the “dramatic and emotional finale”! (If you had the same thought I did during the show about playing a drinking game and taking a swig every time they said “dramatic and emotional”, then you’re probably reading this with a wicked hangover.)

We join the Sanfords this week exactly where we left off with them last week – in the suite, discussing the bomb Chrissy has just dropped in their laps. She’s worked out a deal with the real estate agent to buy a $5 million house that they all went to see earlier. Her parents are flabbergasted. Chrissy explains that she is putting 20% down and has talked the price down to $4.5 million. So let’s get this straight; after announcing to a car dealer that she just won $5 million and getting milked for every ‘extra’ known to mankind, she’s now haggling with a real estate agent?

Chrissy insists that she can afford this. She’ll be making money with her singing career (how she said this with a straight face I’ll never know), and the payments will be manageable. Besides, the minimum she can win today is $5 million. One of her brothers points out that she’s already spent that, but Chrissy is undeterred.

Private comments from the family range from, “I’ve gone from wondering if she’s going to spend any money on me, to wondering what the hell she’s doing” to Dad saying that he’s reached his breaking point. Mom seems heartbroken that Dad’s dream of running a family business and taking care of everyone financially is ruined. They all know the cameras are still running though, and put on a brave face.

Chrissy forces everyone to toast her purchase with champagne, and Eric can’t decide whether to dump his drink on the floor or on his sister’s head. Tough call there. Chrissy mentions the great parties that they can have in that house, and Eric adds that it’ll have to be BYOB since they won’t have any money to pay for anything themselves.

Fearing that she’s going to blow her cover, Chrissy leaves the room. The hidden cameras are still rolling of course, and the rest of the family starts to digest what’s happened. Tensions get even higher as one of the brothers blames Dad for the whole situation, because he spoiled Chrissy too much. Someone else points out that they all grew up in the same house, so that’s not the reason for any of this. Dad is upset and thinks that all of the life lessons they’ve taught Chrissy along the way must not have stuck.

It’s time for an intervention, as Chrissy comes back in the room. Mom and Dad want numbers – they want to know exactly how much she is putting down on the house and what her monthly payments will be. They even ask to see the deal she made with the real estate agent. This throws Chrissy for a loop, because, of course, there is no agreement and there are no numbers. She fakes it and tells them she’s putting down $800,000 and her monthly payments will be between $5,000 and $10,000. That’s a big gap, and it must have been alarming to her parents that she didn’t know for sure what the costs would be.

Dad asks Chrissy to wait until after the big spin, saying that she can still buy the house tomorrow. She says no, she wants it now and nothing is going to change her mind. She says that she’s surprised that they’re not happy for her, and sounds disappointed. In her confessionals, Chrissy says that she can’t believe her family is reacting this way.

Privately, Dad says that he just wanted to take Chrissy away from everything and talk some sense into her. But under the circumstances, the best he can do is hug her and tell her it’s her money and she can do what she wants with it. David and Eric leave the room, saying that what’s done is done and they don’t want to be involved with it any longer. Mom says that big responsibility comes with big money, and if Chrissy has to fall flat on her face to learn her lesson, then so be it. Mom and Dad will both be there for her if she needs them.

Chrissy is exhausted. She says that keeping up this charade for five days has worn her down, and now she just hopes that her family will be there for the big wheel spin, or else this will all have been for naught. The rest of the family agrees that Chrissy has to win big money now, or they’ll all be sunk.

It’s now one hour before the big spin, and Chrissy meets with creepy-host George Gray. He asks her how she’s doing, and she says she’s terrified. She thinks that Mom will take it the best when they all find out it’s been a hoax, and she thinks her brothers will say that they knew it all along. George says there’s no way they knew, and he’ll call them out on that if they say they did. He wishes Chrissy good luck, and sends her off.

It’s finally time for the spin, and Ed McMahon is there to greet the family. They’re all there in their finery, and everyone has a happy face on for the cameras. The nervous tension is palpable though. Dad says there’s no doubt in his mind that if Chrissy wins big, she will share with her family. David comments that he only came along to support his parents, but when he saw the wheel he got a really good feeling that something big was about to happen. Oh David, you have no idea.

After a few questions from Ed, Chrissy comes out dressed in an evening gown. Everyone agrees that she looks gorgeous – much different than they’re used to seeing her, in her soccer uniform or sweats. Eric adds that she looked like 50 million bucks. As Chrissy is getting ready to spin the wheel, Dad notices that most of the slots say $5 million, and it’ll take a miracle for Chrissy to win more than that.

Here we go! Chrissy spins the wheel, and after watching it go around a few times we cut to commercial. (If you’re playing the drinking game I mentioned earlier, you’re half in the bag by now and that wheel constantly spinning is messing with your head.)

Back from commercial (swig), and as we know, the wheel stops at $25 million. There’s dead silence for a couple of seconds, as jaws drop and the result starts to register. Chrissy looks nervous, but she smiles and watches her family’s reactions. The silence is followed by hoots and hollers, jumping, hugging, kissing, and chanting. They can’t believe it. Mom covers her face and Dad stands there with his jaw on the ground. The brothers are all milling about, hugging each other and their parents, and joining Dad in a “25 million” chant.

Chrissy says privately that it hurts her to see her family so very happy over something that isn’t real. This is the point of no return for her, and her nerves must be completely shot by now.

Ed congratulates Chrissy and her family, and opens his jacket to pull out a check for $25 million. No one seems to question how he knew how much to make the check out for – I guess at this point, it’s no big deal if they catch on. Chrissy smiles, squints her eyes, and tears the check into pieces.

Dad lets out a stupefied ”WHAT??”, and Mom repeats over and over, “She doesn’t want the money?” Chrissy explains that the whole thing was a hoax. That the past five days, the money, and her attitude have all been a gag. Wowza, give this family credit for not needing heavy therapy after hearing this one, ‘cause I think I would have passed out.

The Sanfords almost seem relieved. Sure, the thought of losing $25 million (even if you never really had it to begin with) is a stunner, but at least now they know they have their daughter/sister back. Creepy George arrives on the scene to explain things further, and the family is laughing and crying and really not knowing what to do with themselves.

George tells them that this was all done for them, that Chrissy did this and gets nothing out of it for herself. Dad comments privately that if they’re going to give him $25 million and then rip it up, not to do him any favours. He tells Chrissy she’s done a great job and he’s proud of her.

Chrissy says that the best thing to come out of this is that she got to spend five solid days with her entire family, and that makes it all worthwhile. She’s crying, and says that she’s learned a lot about her family and she’s very proud of the way they’ve handled everything. Dad echoes this sentiment, and says that you can have all the money in the world, but you’re only a rich man if you have your family around you. Dad’s crying too. Chrissy is happy that she has such a remarkable family, and now all of America will get to see that too.

Now we finally get to see what the prizes are! George says that this little vacation wasn’t actually a real holiday, so they’re sending the Sanfords on a $100,000 vacation in Mexico. They’ll have three private villas, a yacht to use, and the services of a personal chef. And, as Chrissy says, no cameras!

Of course there’s more. When Mom found out that Chrissy had “won” $5 million, she told Ed that she wanted a new kitchen. Well that’s what she’s getting, courtesy of GE. Mom hugs Chrissy, calling her a stinker. The boys are getting guitars, computers, PlayStation 2’s, and iPods. Holly is finally getting something out of this too, besides heartache. She’s getting a year’s worth of voice coaching with David Cory, the man Chrissy ‘worked’ with in Beverly Hills.

Eric is getting a new stereo system worth $5,000. He says that the best speakers he’s ever had were bought off the back of a van in the bank parking lot, so this new system will be great. Paul gets a $10,000 shopping spree to buy new clothes at Von Dutch. On top of all this, the family is getting a home theatre system, and each person gets 100 free movie rentals from Hollywood Video.

Let’s not forget about Dad! I thought for sure he’d wind up with a Cadillac, but instead he’s getting a check (this time it’s a real one), for $200,000. Nice. He says that he’s truly blessed to have this family, and Chrissy says that he deserves the money.

Now, you didn’t think that Chrissy would actually walk away from all of this empty-handed, did you? No way. George tells her that they’re paying off her school loans, and she’s getting a vacation for two to a spa in Jamaica. On top of that, she’s getting a brand new Lexus convertible. Okay, so it’s not a Hummer, but Dad says Chrissy will look better in the Lexus anyway.

The final comments come from Dad and Chrissy, who both say that the time the family has spent together has shown them how loving they are, and that they both feel richer now for having gone through this whole ordeal.

Well thank goodness this ended well! I could care less about the ratings and the show itself – the Sanfords are indeed a tight-knit, loving family and it was heart-warming to see how they pulled together both in times of trouble and in times of joy. Good on ya, Sanfords!

Comments are welcome! Contact me at carrie@realityshack.com and share your thoughts.


Interview with Stacie J of the Apprentice 2


by Panndyra

[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
[/b]


Kid-Friendly Reality TV Shows

by Panndyra, Goddess of Chaos

Announcing kid-friendly Reality TV shows!

Yes, folks. We’ve listened to you and have decided that it’s high time that you have some reality tv shows that you can watch with your children. We believe that children have the right to deserve their own batch of Reality TV shows. (Call it payback for all those SpongeBob Squarepants marathons on Nickelodeon, folks!)

Coming in Fall of 2005, you’ll see the following shows on major networks:

* Trading Lunches — follow a group of 2nd graders as they bring healthy lunches from home and negotiate for twinkies, cupcakes and other unhealthy fare. See mom’s reactions when they discover exactly what their kids ate!

* Grade Swap — this show is still in development. Producers can’t decide whether to have children swap their grade levels or their actual grades on a report card. Either scenario is bound to lead to drama.

For example, Little Joey is a smart guy in kindergarten with a bladder control problem. They send him to AP Calculus at the local high school.

—Will he make it through class without a nap?
—Can he do differentials while keeping his pull-ups dry?

Another scenario has Jake, the dumbest kid in class. (Sorry. Not dumb. He’s a ‘slow’ learner!) switches his grades with Harriet. She gets straight A’s.

—Will Harriet jump out her second-story window when she sees her report card?
—Will her parents sue the district?

* Safety Patrol — follow a bunch of hall monitors and safety patrol types as they go through their rigorous training. Will little Susie be able to help Johnny, Becky and Jo cross the street? There’s a bus coming. Watch out!

* Last Class Clown Standing – see a group of school-age comedians compete for fabulous prizes (like coupon books to local restaurants and pencils). Each week there will be a head-to-head competition — in detention. Teachers vote on the most disruptive act. Special bonuses are given to the students who can make milk come out of their classmates noses.

* He’s a Bully – follow a new nerd-turned-bully each week. See the transform from nerd to king of the ‘herd’. At the end, the nerds must compete in a competition where they

— stuff each other into lockers
— come up with an aggressive marketing plan for garnering lunch money profits
— and much, much more!

** Yes, I really am this sick. Contact me at panndyra@realityshack.com with questions, comments or just to say….”HEY, your writing makes me shoot coffee out my nose!”

——————————————————–

Scrambling to get your holiday shopping done? Interested in reading some witty and informative product reviews? Check out the RealityShack Holiday Gift Guide today!

Swan 2 – Episode 5: Why do all the Swans look alike?

by Panndyra, Goddess of Chaos

Normally, I don’t think of my husband as the world’s most observant person. However, tonight, when the Swan was on, he said to me, “Hey, honey (he calls me honey…I told you he wasn’t observant.) why do all of the Swans look alike?

Now, I didn’t really want to get into a philosophical discussion with him, but, didn’t all the [b]Stepford Wives[/b] look similar too, after their transformations? Maybe America thinks that the standard of beauty is big-breasted, thin-waisted blondes.

Hmmmm. That would certainly be a change of pace, wouldn’t it? This country has almost never prized those attributes in its women.

The two contenders tonight were Cinnamon Smith. Yes, her real first name was Cinnamon. (She wasn’t trying on a new stripper name. I swear!) She is a 31 year-old police officer from Philadelphia, PA. She has three kids. She got married and divorced young. She admits to being a tomboy and never feeling feminine or sexy.

Next up was Patti Shidon (I know I’m spelling that wrong!). She is 42. That makes her the oldest Swan. Does an old Swan become a duck? What happens there? (Sorry, it’s late and I’m tired —cranky and just pms-ing!)

Patti was also a police officer, but in Houston. Her first husband, Lyndon, was also a cop. Hey, you never see COPS on FOX anymore! (Somebody stop me, puh-lease!)

He died in 1999 after a long bout with cancer. He had a brain tumor. Patti feels as though her youth was taken from her by this horrible disease. She and her children just want to live again.

She is remarried to a wonderful man. He’s probably the sweetest husband I’ve seen yet on this show.

Each woman will have extensive work to be done in order for their transformations to take place.

Cinnamon’s program:

* breast augmentation
* tummy tuck
* liposuction
* brow lift
* rhinoplasty
*zoom bleaching
* veneers
* 1200 calorie a day diet
* 2 hours a day in the gym

Patti’s program

* face lift
* breast augmentation
* rhinoplasty
* eyelid refinement ( a specialist was brought in for that)
* lasik surgery
* zoom bleaching
* veneers
* gym – 2 hours per day

During her surgical consult, Patti mentions that she has a cyst on her nose. Dr. Dubrow looks at it, but plans go ahead for surgery. Meanwhile, Cinnamon is having issues with the dentist. She’s got lots of reconstruction work to do. She sobbed when she saw underneath her crowns, “I look like a monster.”

Both women are very unhappy to be away from their families, especially their children.

Cinnamon’s excited that the tummy tuck will help her look lean in the middle. She’s okay that her tattoo will disappear and quips, “I’ll just get another one — of a swan on my back.” She’s got a great ‘tude and says, “Whatever it takes, I’m willing to do.”

Patti’s surgery day is here. The cyst on her nose is not good news. Dr. Dubrow has it taken to a lab for tests. It’s cancerous. They opt not to do Patti’s facial surgery until they can determine how much cancer, etc.

Patti is devastated. Remember: her first husband died of a brain tumor. It tore her life and her children’s apart. Dr. Dubrow is very reassuring and comforting and promises he’ll do all he can to help her. Patti calls her husband who’s obviously concerned. She begs him not to tell the children. She doesn’t want to alarm them.

Dr. Ianni and Patti work hard in therapy to help her deal with the diagnosis and facing her fears regarding cancer. Patti blames herself for not getting the cyst checked sooner and Dr. Ianni tells her, “don’t have regrets. Tell yourself you did the best that you could do at the time.”

The Swan team of experts really pulled through to help Patti get through this process. Dr. Dubrow had Patti see a specialist, Dr. Hung, who dug out the cancer cells. They deemed her cancer-free. She was able to have her face lift.

Meanwhile, Cinnamon was missing her little ones so bad. She had to put their pictures away. It was too painful for her. Her spirits are lifted with a videotape and package from the precinct. Her partner bought her a pair of really cool pumps. She was in shock, but laughed that these big, hairy cops bought her sexy shoes. She started practicing her walk in them.

Now for the reveals:

Cinnamon looked yummy. (ha, ha!) Maybe she was a little spicy. She said: “Cinderella only had a fair godmother; I was blessed with a fairy god team.”

Well, it would take a village to make me beautiful. (HA!)

Patti looked gorgeous. She also looked very much like herself (just a bit better), which hasn’t been the case with some of the other Swans this season.

Cinnamon went onto the pageant. I was a bit surprised. Someone said, that Patti’s heart was at home and that’s why she didn’t get picked. I think it’s…

Patti’s 42 and Cinnamon’s 31, you do the math. I’ll leave it at that, okay!

***If you want to argue with me about standards of beauty, etc., please email me at panndyra@realityshack.com.

Interview with Tawnya Cooke of the Swan



by Panndyra, Goddess of Chaos

[b]Tawnya, what made you decide to try out for the Swan?[/b]

I was happily married, in a great paying career (except for a boss who was total pig), my family was my backbone. Then, 9/11 happened. My husband (now ex) was a Navy reservist & got called away for Homeland Security in Washington. He left on my 38th birthday 9/24.

While I was @ home handling all the finances, taking care of my kids, paying child support (for his kids in Indiana), he was up in Washington. On occasion, when I flew up there to see him, he was very secretive & didn’t want to go out in public with me.

I didn’t think much of it, as I was just enjoying being with him. On April 19, 2002, my world came crashing down. my brother, Brent, age 32, was in a tragic farming accident and was burnt over 80% of his body. His 3 little girls, his wife and his stepson saw him burn up right before their eyes.

My mom & dad were devastated. He was the kind of person who had many friends and had lived with his older sister –me- a couple of times in his adult life. So, needless to say our whole family was turned upside down. As if this wasn’t sad enough, his wife was pregnant with his son, Luke, who was born on September 23, 2002.

While trying to handle funeral arrangements for my parents, console my sisters, my now ex decided after the funeral to turn off his cell phone and not answer his apartment phone in Washington.

And then his military paycheck stopped coming into our joint account to pay our mortgage. He asked for a “legal separation” because he couldn’t handle my grief. Once again, not knowing “why” he wanted this, I got an attorney and set the wheels in motion for a divorce.

After the papers were served to him, he decided he didn’t want a divorce, he was sorry for all the hurt and finally admitted to having an affair with a 24 year old “navy girl” (who by the way was also married).

Then on 12/1, my pig of a boss decided I had been thru too much personally and didn’t fit the firm’s image of a “perfect married career lady” and laid me off.

My sister was listening to a radio station and heard about a casting call here in Denver for [b]The Swan[/b] & called me and thought I’d be a good candidate for this. I told her I didn’t want to waste a Saturday that I needed to clean my house and basically sit around and feel sorry for myself. Well, she talked me into it by going up there with me.

[b]Why do you think the producers chose you for this competition?[/b]

I think the producers choose me because I had a good story and was in desperate need of something “good” to happen to me. I didn’t have a lot of weight to lose. I didn’t always feel like an ugly duckling; it was just the past 2 to 3 years that took its toll on me and I felt ugly.

[b]How did it feel when you were told that you would be a Swan?[/b]

When they told me I was chosen to be a SWAN, I think I was in denial. I kept thinking ‘this can’t be happening to me’. ‘Something is going to go wrong and the producers will call & tell me so sorry… unpack!’

It finally hit me when I was out in LA living in the Swan apartment that I was, in fact, a Swan.

[b]You were one of the ‘rebel swans’. You resisted having so much plastic surgery. Why? Do you feel that resistance kept you from going to the pageant?[/b]

When I initially signed on for the show, it wasn’t about a pageant. It was about a change to make you feel good about yourself. We were supposed to tell the plastic surgeons what we would have done, if we had a wish list.

I wanted to mostly work on my body & a few tweaks to the face. I didn’t want to look in a mirror after the past 3 years I had and not see me. I didn’t want facial contouring, lip conturing…etc. It would be very painful & just not me!

I didn’t want my nose totally revamped to an extra-small version. Believe me I saw a computer image of what I was supposed to look like 3 months later and it was a pretty girl but it wasn’t me and that really scared me. My producer at the time was kind enough to tell me, “Talk to the surgeons. You don’t want to have to go through years of therapy just because you look like someone else.”

I think my resistance to the surgery did hurt me. They wanted someone to totally surrender to the process.

Maturity, I guess, made me read all the fine print regarding the surgeries and I didn’t want all of the face re-designing. And my daughter(s), sister(s), mom, dad and all my friends were like, ”WHY DO YOU NEED PLASTIC SURGERY? You are beautiful.”

But, you see, I didn’t feel beautiful inside anymore. I needed to get my spirit back.

[b]How is your daughter doing now? She had a car accident before your surgery, correct?[/b]

My daughter, Kaleah, is doing great. She hit a slippery spot on the side of a mountain and went flying down about 50 feet. She had a slight concussion & the jeep sustained about $2000 worth of damage.

My oldest daughter, Lacia, was in a worse car accident about my 8th week in LA, however, by then I had healed almost altogether so that part of my story wasn’t aired. She is okay too, but her car was totaled.

The producers were calling my kids the “CRASH” kids. Both girls were scared that all of America would think they were lousy drivers. (Ha! Ha!)

[b]Is it more difficult to live without mirrors for 3 months or your family? Why?[/b]

The mirror thing was creepy. I was always asking my roommate Dawn (by the way, she was great. She missed her boys so much and would talk about them to me on our down time and was constantly sending letters back home to them)

*do I have stuff in my teeth?
*does my hair look scary today?

It’s not that I constantly look in the mirror but when you don’t have one, you take it for granted.

I was kind of glad to be away from my family while healing because I think they would have been scared for me by the way I looked. Especially, when I saw the “train wreck” that some of the girls looked like right after their surgeries. Wow! But they all came out beautiful.

[b]Would you describe in detail what the Swan program is like? What would a typical day be like for you?[/b]

After the surgeries were done, a typical day in SWAN world or, as some us referred to as PSP (PLASTIC SURGERY PRISON), was follow-up doc’s appointments, going to the gym, going to therapy, writing to loved ones, watching lots and lots of boring daytime TV, working out with a Jenny Craig walking video.

I wanted to start a new career so I discussed some of my options with Nely (Galan – life coach and creator of the Swan program). I do miss being in front of the camera…. I always liked it when the producers were close at hand.

[b]Who was your head-to-head challenger? Were you close with her? Did you get much of a chance to interact with her?[/b]

Cindy Ingle was my challenger and there is a funny story about our reveal. It was really screwed up because of lighting at the Mansion. We ended up living together for 2 weeks. She was the self-proclaimed witch, because of her nose…. but she is a beautiful person inside and out.

We got to know each other quite well and I knew that she was going to win, because she didn’t turn down any of the surgeries offered. She probably had close to $350,000- $400,000 worth of work done on her.

What I wish the series showed was that I was in the gym twice as much as any of the other girls because I wanted to “win”. I wanted to be in the best possible shape and wanted to show the world a 40 year old could still be in a pageant… but I guess it wasn’t meant to.

[b]Were you pleased with the results you received? What would you do differently, if anything?[/b]

I was very pleased with the results. Now that the swelling has gone down in my nose, I love the way Dr. Dubrow did it.

Dr. Haworth was the one who wanted to make a MICHAEL JACKSON nose on me, not Dubrow. The only thing I think that really didn’t work on me was the painful brow lift. My brow looked smooth and youthful for a while but now there are wrinkles again. My daughters call it “character lines”. When I get my first big acting gig, I’m investing in more Botox for it. (smiles)

[b]I understand that you’re acting now. How’s that going for you? What sorts of roles are you looking for? How can people contact you?[/b]

I’m reading scripts now through my manager/agent, [b]The Crawford Agency[/b], here in Denver. However, they also have offices in LA and NYC. I basically read for guest shots on shows like [b]Hope and Faith[/b],[b]CSI NY[/b], [b]CSI Miami[/b],[b]Third Watch[/b], and [b]The OC[/b].

I would love to land a part in a TV series. With no formal training my agent, Nancy Ward, says I’m a natural. And I absolutely love going up there pretending to be, well someone else.

I can be contacted thru the Crawford Agency and their website is http://www.thecrawfordagency.com

[b]So, besides acting, are you working now?[/b]

My real job, the one that pays the bills is back in the financial industry. I work as a Director of Operations/Compliance for a securities firm in Golden, Colorado.

I’ve been in the finance industry for 20 years and the acting dream would make my SWAN program a complete circle.

[b]How has this experience changed your life? Do you feel it has improved it?[/b]

The experience has changed my life. I started dating again. And my new boyfriend, who is gorgeous by the way, has asked me to marry him! He didn’t know anything about the Swan, but of course I made him watch my taped copy and the [i]WHERE ARE THEY NOW EPISODE[/i].

He thinks I’m an amazing person for coming from where I was to now. He also said he would have dated me before I went on [b]the Swan[/b]. He loves me for me.

[b]Would you recommend this program to anyone else? Why or why not?[/b]

I would recommend the show, if you are the type of person who has ALOT of patience and low self-esteem, but you also have to have the ability to STAND up for what you want and don’t want.

Of course you will have to be okay with the cameras being around when something bad happens (i.e. my girls car wrecks).

Wow! Tawnya, thanks so much for your candor. I really enjoyed this interview. Who knows, maybe we’ll see a “Swan” wedding with you and your fiancée. That’d be cool.

[Author Note: Don’t forget to watch [b]the Swan[/b], currently in its second season, on Monday nights at 8pm CST/9pm CST (FOX).]

And, if you’re looking for an actress, you can reach Tawnya Cooke via her agent at http://www.thecrawfordagency.com

**If you’d like to discuss the interview with me, or anything else – Swan-related, email me at panndyra@realityshack.com. Thank you.**


FYI, You Work For A Jackass! – My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss, Episode 3

by LauraBelle

I think the thing that makes My Big Fat Obnoxious Boss both hysterical and not funny at all at the same time is it’s all too real for me. I have worked for a man who flaunted his money and made decisions that made you scratch your head. Yet, I can’t turn away from it; it’s that entertaining.

The morning after Kristie’s firing, Kerry is ironing, clad only in a towel, while everyone else is eating breakfast. She explains now that she has learned what Mr. Todd likes, she can’t wait to show him more. An assistant of N. Paul Todd’s delivers invitations to the team leaders. Kerry and two of her Femron teammates are invited to join Todd on his yacht. She decides to bring Elli and Whitney along. Robert, getting the executive privilege for the second week in a row as leader of Comcad, gets an invite for a round of golf. He brings along Mike and David.

The women arrive at the yacht, and Kerry jumps aboard with an energetic, “Ahoy, Mate!” Actor William August, admitting this yacht has actually just been rented for the day, tells us this whole yacht outing has been engineered to show a very unsettling side of N. Paul Todd. As Mr. Todd, he and the three women are sharing champagne, and he offers them each a small token of his appreciation. They open up the gold gift bags to find tiny bikinis. Todd then leers at the women and asks, “How ’bout we jacuzzi?”

Kerry isn’t sure what to think, and asks Elli and Whitney if they are going to partake. Elli is flabbergasted, saying, “This is a job interview.” William tells the audience that he was surprised all three women eventually went along with it anyway. As Todd appeared in his own swim suit, Ellie got creeped out and wanted to change back.

Meanwhile, Robert, Michael and David are awaiting Mr. Todd’s arrival on the golf course. They get some practice in on the driving range while waiting. Back on Lake Michigan, aboard the yacht, Todd jumps in the lake and Kerry and Whitney follow. Elli puts her foot down, feeling that this is all very inappropriate. Todd tells the women he as good taste in bathing suits.

It’s 4:00 PM, the tee time for Comcad and Mr. Todd. Todd calls the men from aboard the yacht, and says he has been delayed working on a business transaction, and tells them to work on their putting while waiting. Actor William tells us he has no intention of showing at the golf course at all.

At 7:00 PM, N. Paul Todd is still hanging with the girls on the yacht, and making the men wait. Whitney corners Mr. Todd for some one-on-one time, seemingly telling him her life story. Actor William explains to us that he wasn’t listening at all to Whitney, and just kept repeating, “That’s fascinating,.” She just keeps droning on and on, saying she doesn’t want to be a model, and Todd just keeps saying, “That’s fascinating.” Later, she says that she loved hearing him tell her she was fascinating (And that’s precisely why he was doing it!), and that it made her feel so warm (Pretty sure that Todd was feeling warm too!), and it was great to get the feedback. At 8:00 PM, the men on the golf course are very disappointed with the absent Mr. Todd. David says he is now four hours late, and Michael adds he hates non-punctual people, and that it’s like a slap in the face.

The women and men all seem to return around the same time to their house – the women talking of it being fantastic, and the men quite upset at having to wait all day. Mike is very upset, realizing Mr. Todd out-and-out lied, after the women explain at the time he was telling them he was in a business negotiation, he was really eating dinner with them.

Actor William says it’s time for a millionaire’s version of a “drunk dial” and called the house as Mr. Todd. As Whitney answers, Todd asks her if he sounds kind of spacey. He further tells her he’s not one for taking pills, but he has just taken a pain pill he had left over from a procedure he had on his testicles. Honestly, I can’t believe this is a potential boss of hers, and he’s sitting there talking about a testicle procedure, yet she doesn’t seem to feel it’s inappropriate. Is Whitney that desperate to NOT be a model? He follows this by asking to speak to Whitney. When she tells him she is Whitney, he yells out, “Whoo!” She says, “NOW you sound spacey.” Realizing he’s losing her, he says he enjoyed their time today, and meant what he said.

The next day brings the contestants to Todd’s office, and they wait to see what the challenge will be. As they wait, two men wearing suits and mascot heads come running through the room. The men take off the heads, and we find it is Todd’s assistant, David, and Todd’s son, Kent. Jamie is away, and Mr. Todd is busy with business.

The actor playing Kent explains Kent is supposed to be a smug millionaire’s kid, and that he’s not qualified or smart. (Okay, I didn’t work for the dad; I truly worked for the smug unqualified boss’s son. Honestly. He didn’t run around in a mascot head, but he did look like Potsie Webber.) Kent tells his father’s wannabe employees that he is the boss’s son, and he knows what they’re thinking. Yes, he slept his way to the top. This is met with total silence in the room.

Actor David tells us it’s been made obvious to this point that the character has a “fondness” for men. Character David asks who is going to be wearing the mascot head on Comcad, and Robert says it will be Damian. David tells him it’s an excellent choice, and creates a very uncomfortable stare with Damian. Actor David says Damian looks like a little kid in the barber chair.

Kent explains to everyone that he is passionate about PR, and that the public is very disillusioned about Corporate America. The two teams will be creating a mascot to help promote a chemical called Dry-Con, which he explains is a hydrocyanic acid, which no one else seems to be able to pronounce. The actor playing Ken explains it’s just the technical name for cyanide. Character Kent says this chemical can be dangerous on its own, yet is used in everyday things such as ice cream boxes, cars, and parachutes. (Parachutes are everyday things? What does this guy do every day?) They will, as a group, create a mascot, and make presentations with the mascot, explaining chemical safety and using a jingle.

This is the whole genius of it. Had he told the people it was cyanide, they would never be able to create marketing for it, but because it’s “a chemical” they succeed. They are at a magnet school with a focus group of eight-year-olds and some parents. Comcad comes out dressed in funny costumes, and with a mascot named, “Captain Dry-Con.” They turn the symptoms of accidental exposure to Dry-Con, aka cyanide poisoning, into amusing characters like Rashy Robby and Dr. Dizziness. They wind it up with a short, catchy jingle that the kids can’t, or won’t, stop singing.

It’s Femron’s turn, and we find Whitney is playing their mascot, called “Fergie the Frog.” Actor David says Femron’s skit is an eclectic mix of a bucktooth girl, a scuba man, and Tanya in a skull cap. He adds that the frog looks pregnant. Worse yet, Whitney can’t remember the name of the chemical. They move on to the jingle, and it’s later compared to an operetta. They kids aren’t drawn to sing this at all. Too bad my own eight-year-old was in bed; I would have loved to get her input.

The men are nervous, but the women are confident they have won. The children’s votes are counted, and the men win by one vote twenty to nineteen. The men are excused, while the women are told to meet in the boardroom the next day in the office.

At the office the next day, actor William says the contestants seem more and more committed every day. Todd has asked Whitney to wear her frog outfit, presumably to discuss team strategy. Once everyone arrives, he of course tells her to take the hat off, making her feel ridiculous. Instead of Jamie, Kent is there in her place. No boot-drawing today, I guess. He tells the team they have a virus, called losing. He says the damage has been done, and that they are weak, and will only survive if the strong is weaker. (What??? Okay, I had a couple cocktails watching football this afternoon, but still …) Tanya just nods.

Todd asks who the creator of the presentation was, and Elli pipes up. Todd explains children are fascinated with what they can’t see, and that communication is the key. Kids couldn’t see the mouth of Whitney, inside the frog suit, as she explained the dangers of Dry-Con (which is a good thing, since she couldn’t remember the name!) Character David points out they could see Damian’s face as the Comcad mascot, and that he was drawn to watching Damian’s mouth, and was quite attracted to it. It made him think of a man-on-man kiss, and got his attention. I can’t imagine how he is going to get further and further into this character every week!

Whitney is asked to put the frog head back on again. Todd begins to talk to her to show how they can’t hear her talk. Character David talks again about Damian’s lips. Todd asks why put Whitney in the frog head. He explains she’s bubbly, has a terrific personality, and has a face that will sell. Whitney explains the group liked how her voice sounded selling the product, and that was why. He says Whitney is one of their best assets, and you just don’t put Picasso in a closet.

Todd asks Kerry to name the two women to put up for firing. She names Whitney, as she felt she did the best, and Elli who she felt did the worst. This is because the one that stays will be the team leader next week, and she would like it to be Whitney. They are that sure of Whitney staying. Whitney even admits to volunteering to go up; she is that sure of herself after her talk with Todd, and him calling her fascinating.

Todd asks Elli to explain why she should stay, and she says she hasn’t showed what she is capable of yet. She says she has led all three challenges and she created Scuba Sandy. Elli and Whitney begin arguing over who created the character. Whitney says she should stay because they need optimism. Todd goes and discusses who should leave with his secret boss.

Everyone returns to the boardroom, and Todd tells Whitney he was blown away with her offering to sacrifice herself, because she thinks that highly of herself. He then says this decision wasn’t hard. He tells Elli she is creative, and she likes to stir the pot. He admits he likes to have his pot stirred. He turns to Whitney again, and says he finds her fascinating, but the reason she volunteered is presumptuous, and that he’s insulted. We all know what’s coming, as he turns to Elli and says, “Elli, get the hell out of my office.” Showing she belongs in a real office somewhere, she retorts, “With all due respect, you’re missing out on a really good opportunity.”

Walking away, Elli says she really doesn’t feel she learned anything, and tells the others, “FYI, you work for a jackass.” I think her last line says it all. Wait until she finds out that was the whole point of the show.

I welcome questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com

Alone But For a Blankey and Stuffed Animal – Starting Over, 11-18/19-04

by LauraBelle

For two years of Starting Over we have watched Josie grow from a freightened young pregnant girl to a mature sure-of-herself mother with a fantastic future ahead for both her and her young daughter, Chloe. She has brought out the maternal side in all of us, both for Chloe and Josie. Every graduate has left her mark on the house upon their graduation, but with Josie and Chloe, there will always be an indelible mark letting us know she was part of the process, and the process became part of her.

Josie’s graduation starts with the surprise of five of her roommates from the first Starting Over house – Amy, Hailey, Lynnell, Susan, and Rain. The new and old roommates mix together and discuss their goals and what it’s like living in the house. Rain doesn’t understand Kim from Denver eating cornbread and milk, saying that’s a country thing, and Hailey sympathizes with Jennifer’s feeling of being attacked at the Board of Review.

Rhonda enters and holds a group meeting with the Season One roommates and Josie. We are brought up to speed quickly on how everyone has been doing. Lynnell is crocheting twenty-four/seven and selling her items on her website, The L Chain. Amy has a website as well, offering her expert travel advise. Susan continues in her blossoming relationship with her birth father, and has even opened herself up to love and gone on a few dates. One of Hailey’s biggest changes has been to quit smoking, and she also has received her coaching license, leading to some offers to coach soccer teams. Rain feels like she’s backsliding a little. After being perpetually behind financially, Rain moved back to South Bend, Indiana with her mother and is driving a bus.

While the first season’s roommates are busy catching up, the Sisterhood that consists of Iyanla, Jennifer, Kim and Towanda hold a meeting. Kim and Jennifer discuss their upcoming trip to visit their estranged family members in Denver. Towanda has some sad news to share. She emailed her father to let him know she would be calling him to discuss their estrangement. He replied to her that he doesn’t wish for her to call. Her worst fear has come to be. Iyanla sympathizes with her and offers her a very comforting hug. Later, Iyanla says this is the most open she has seen Towanda.

Rhonda asks these women if they see a change in Josie. Susan says she had hoped to find a happier Josie, and is glad she has found just that. Lynnell adds that Josie seems to have become much more mature in the Starting Over house the second time around. The new and old roommates mix together and discuss their goals and what it’s like living in the house. Rain doesn’t understand Kim from Denver eating cornbread and milk, saying that’s a country thing, and Hailey sympathizes with Jennifer’s feeling of being attacked at the Board of Review.

All the roommates past and present are going out to dinner to celebrate Josie’s graduation. first they make a stop at a costume shop and pick up feather boas, scarves, hats, gloves and sunglasses to have their party in style. Over dinner, Amy realizes Josie is putting on a brave face, but is scared of what the future will hold with her and Chloe on their own.

Back at the house, as everyone is settling back in, Josie notices Chloe, who must have been left with a sitter during dinner, is having difficulty breathing. She and Towanda run the shower, hoping the steam will clear her out, but she is still breathing difficultly. Towanda calls 911, and all past and present roommates follow along to wait for the ambulance. After Josie and Chloe are rushed away, the remaining roommates say a prayer for Josie and Chloe, led by Cassie.

Josie and Chloe return home later with the news that Chloe just had a viral infection. Rain seems to think Josie overreacted, but that’s nothing new for Rain. Same old Rain. In fact, Rain asks to meet with Iyanla about her fear that she is backsliding. Iyanla basically tells her not to worry about it; she’s doing the best she can, and just needs to accept that. She further explains to Rain, that since she asked to see Iyanla, she must feel she possesses something Rain doesn’t. Rain says yes, that she thinks Iyanla has better tools at her disposal to get through it. Iyanla faces her, and asks Rain to suck it right out of her that tool she needs. Rain appears to feel better after this.

The next morning Rhonda arrives for one last group meeting with Josie, this time with the Season Two roommates. Josie goes through a quick explanation of the night before with Chloe being taken to the Emergency Room. Josie says she was glad to have so many people that cared about her to help calm her down, as she doesn’t know what she would do if she had been on her own.

Everyone discusses the changes they have seen in Josie. Towanda has seen a a lot of growth, and Kim knows she can’t work out conflict with anyone else other than Josie, so feels that is helping her. Sommer knows they are similar, so it helps her know that if Josie can do it, so can she. The plasma screen is revealed to show all Josie’s steps have been filled. The other roommates all express their sadness at Chloe leaving their lives that day as well. Today Chloe will get a little makeover, with Cassie, who is trying to heal after giving her own child up for adoption eighteen years ago, and Josie shopping for a new wardrobe for Chloe.

A photographer visits the house to take pictures of the Season Two roommates with Josie and Chloe. Especially endearing are the ones with each individual roommate holding Chloe on their own. Towanda, especially, is expressing sadness at having to lose seeing Chloe daily. She shared a room with Josie and Chloe, and has felt at times that Chloe was her own.

The moment finally arrives, and everyone is gathered around the pool for Josie’s graduation ceremony. Everyone expresses wishes silently and sets a candle afloat into the pool for this. Most are wishing for love and happiness for her. As Josie enters, her current roommates look said, her ex-roommates look joyful. Rhonda gives a speech reminding everyone of the many bad and good moments Josie had in both Starting Over houses. In the end, she says she consider it an honor to have been Josie’s life coach, honored to have been on the journey with her, and tells Josie “it’s been nothing but a pure joy and pleasure in her life to have you in my life.”

Susan takes the podium and congratulates her for being the person they know she is, and the mother that she will be. Her wish for Josie is for her to have the family that she deserves, because she does indeed deserve that. She switches places with Amy who shares that there is a gift that Josie has given her, that Amy learned to always keep her heart open after Josie had left the house the first time. Kim moves up to the podium and says when Josie first walked into the house, Kim saw herself twenty years earlier. She further explains that now that she has her own empty nest, she wants Josie to cherish every single moment of it. At the podium, Jennifer says there’s been times she thought she could never love her more, and times she thought she really hated her, until she realized the things she hated about Josie were the things Jennifer hated about herself. She tells Josie she hopes she finds the love she deserves and wants and that she will always be there for her. Conspicuously missing is Towanda who remains seated with a plastic grin on her face, making everyone realize how difficult it is for her to say goodbye to Josie and Chloe.

Dr. Stan shares that he feels as the only man in the house that he needs to share the burden for all the men that have hurt Josie in her life, he then pauses to hold back his tears, and says he would be proud to be her father. That one right there brings tears to my eyes just typing it up. I haven’t always understood or liked Dr. Stan, but that moment changed it all for me. He truly understands what she needs and empathizes with her plight. Iyanla tells Josie that every woman that has held, nutured or loved a baby wants Josie to succeed. She tells her she isn’t alone, and is surruonded by a sisterhood of women to support her.

Josie comes to the front, repeats the Starting Over oath, and is awarded a fourteen-day course back in California for animal training, and travel and housing arrangements for that. Chloe is being awarded all the furniture, childproofing materials, and toys she enjoyed while in the Starting Over house. Through tears a very confident Josie tells everyone she feels so blessed to be a part of all their lives. She never thought she would have so many people that cared about her. She promises to never forget them and always keep in touch. She says, “it was hard, it was rough, and by God it hurt sometimes … But I did it, I graduated.” She adds that her wish is for all them to never forget who they are inside.

She says a tearful goodbye to Iyanla, Dr. Stan and the Starting Over roommates from the first house. Alone, Josie makes a wish for herself and puts her own candle into the pool. She moves inside, and Rhonda presents Chloe with a silver rattle for her own little graduation. She also presents a framed picture of Chloe that she wants Josie to leave as her gift for the house, so everyone will always remember the special part Chloe became in all their lives.

Everyone goes outside to wait to bid Josie and Chloe goodbye, as she places the picture on top of the fireplace mantle. She bids a final goodbye to Rhonda, collects her things, and walks out to say her final goodbyes. Sommer says she thinks of Josie as a sister. Jennifer says the one thing she’ll miss is all the fun they had. Towanda says the thing she’ll miss is all the late night talks they had, and the vulnerable side she got to see then that no one else did. Josie and Chloe get into the limo and drive away. All that’s left is an empty, calm pool with lit candles.

Kim and Towanda walk into the room Towanda, Josie and Chloe shared and find Chloe’s blankey and stuffed animal. Everyone wonders whether it was left accidently, or on purpose, so that Towanda could have those reminders. Later, Towanda crawls into bed alone, clutching the blankey and pink animal.

I think Starting Over was the best thing for Josie and young Chloe. Both of them starting their lives off on the right track now. Josie learned to be a mom and a woman, and Chloe learned to be loved by many, something Josie never found herself until entering the house.

I welcome questions and comments at LauraBelle@realityshack.com

Interview With Nicole Borud of America’s Next Top Model 3


by aurora

Nicole had some great photos and made it the final six, but ultimately was eliminated for not being memorable enough. Fans found her plenty memorable, and here Nicole explains why she didn’t try to come off as someone she’s not to get attention, among many other things!

Hi Nicole! What was your motivation to apply for the show?

It was mostly the fact that I was very dissatisfied working in retail. I had always, always dreamed of being a star, whether it be in acting, singing, modelling – whatever. I saw Catie on season 2, and she and I had done a hair show together years ago. I think she was 13 and I was 16 at the time. I thought, “if she can do it, then I can do it too!”

Why did you feel that you had to hide your personality?

I don’t necessarily feel that I hid my personality, I just didn’t want to be something I’m not. It was more like the things I would have said, no one would have cared about anyway. I like intelligent conversation, I like to talk politics and world issues, and most of the other girls just weren’t into that stuff. I finally figured out that I could discuss those things with Yaya, but of course it wasn’t dramatic or interesting enough to be on the show.

I’m not a drama queen, so you didn’t see any dramatic moments out of me. I didn’t want to become someone I’m not.

The UPN website lists your occupation as “Former Punk Rocker”, and that label stuck with you throughout the show. Did that annoy you at all?

What does that even mean? It didn’t annoy me because it’s true, but it’s unclear. I don’t want to be part of a clichéd label anymore, but the ideologies and views I lived with as a youth, a disgruntled youth at that, I still believe in. I still keep those views.

I just don’t like the labels. I’m not a can of soup.

And certainly not a can of Campbell’s Selects soup, right?

No! The funny thing about that was that I don’t eat chicken, but I ate it in the soup for that commercial. But it didn’t count for anything! I should have demanded tomato soup or something.

There’s no nice way to say this – you were overlooked twice on this week’s show, both at judging time. Didn’t you just want to scream?

Yes! But I was thinking, “You don’t remember me now, but just you wait!” One day they’ll all be thinking, “Oh, I know her! I can’t believe I didn’t remember her!”

Besides that, it really doesn’t say much for their memories, does it? There were only six of us left! What do I need to do, dance around naked with a monkey on my head?

I have to ask – what was the first thing you pictured in your head during the acting training?

Ah, everyone has asked me this today! I’ll say what I said on TV; that it’s not appropriate. It’s not something that should be seen on TV. I also want to set an example for my younger sister – she’s eating everything up! Maybe if the show was on the Playboy channel, I’d share it.

Describe what Umeboshi tastes like.

Umeboshi; it’s like a pickle that has rotted for a while. It’s really slick and mushy, so as soon as you put it in your mouth you know it’s going to be a challenge. At least it wasn’t fish eyes though!

The funny thing was that I was the only one to take a bite out of it instead of popping the whole thing in my mouth. They even mentioned it to me afterwards, that the other girls ate the whole thing.

Will you continue on with the modelling, or do you have other plans at this point?

I would love to stick with modelling. I also really want to try acting. Until the day I die, I will be a struggling actor. I think I’d do better with acting than modelling, but if modelling jobs come up along the way I’d love to do that too. I think the modelling agents would eat me alive well before the acting world would though.

What do you think about the way you were edited? Do you think any of the others are being edited overly positively or negatively?

I really think that the only people who are being edited correctly out of the girls who are left are Norelle, Ann, and Eva. Yaya is not high and mighty, and Amanda’s not a bitch.

I think my editing was accurate to a point. They included some of my private camera time this week, and I actually had things to say. I’m not a quiet little wallflower. But I don’t dwell on the petty stuff, and most of the things that the others were getting upset about were petty. I was thinking, do you guys really care about brownies? It’s not like she killed your cat.

Out of the five remaining girls, who do you think will become America’s Next Top Model?

Oh, I don’t even want to guess! I don’t know what the judges are looking for, it changes so much. Each week I thought I knew who was going home, but I was always wrong. So I don’t even want to say a name now!

Which judges were the toughest to impress for you personally?

Tyra, alongside Janice, but they were also my favourites. I held them both in high esteem, so they were the hardest for me to impress.

Is there anything else you’d like to add? Anything that happened that you haven’t had the chance to talk about yet?

Well, another reason for my lack of airtime was that I was singing all the time. The network would have had to buy the rights to all the songs, so they didn’t use any of that. But Amanda constantly begged me to sing!

Another funny thing was with Kelle. She said, “I wanna be a punk rocker!” I was explaining some of the philosophy to her, that you have to be open and accepting of everything, and she was like, “You mean I can still wear my Gucci?” It was just really funny. Kelle was great.

Thanks for your time today Nicole! Best of luck to you!

Thanks!

Comments are welcome! If you have something to say, drop me a line at carrie@realityshack.com.


25-30 Plans….That All Suck – Survivor: Vanuatu, Episode 10

[i]by atarus[/i]

We start off the episode with Chris explaining to the women that he voted for Sarge because Sarge pulled him aside and told him to. He even adds a bit of a manufactured sniffle. But really, Chris voted for Sarge to stay close to the women, Sarge never told him anything. In the morning, Scout gives a confessional, saying that Jules doesn’t deserve a final 4 spot, so she talks with the men and says “she has a plan, she needs to talk to Twila.”

The reward challenge treemail comes, and the Survivors have to bring Piggy to the reward. Piggy gets his own orange buff from Jeff (cue ooohs and aaahs) and then it’s down to business. It’s another bring something over a rope through obstacles course. This time it’s on land instead of in the water, and it’s using people instead of little tiki parts. A sacrifice has to be tied up and guided through obstacles. The teams are “randomly” chosen but the randomizer isn’t working right as Chris, Chad, Ami, and Eliza (arguably the four strongest people left in the game) are on one team, and Scout, Leann, Twila, and Julie are on the other. Lopsided much? Anyway, Julie and Eliza are the ones tied up. (A 21 and a 23 year old female both tied up and in bikinis? This sounds kinky…almost like a dream I had once.) They get the go from Jeff, and immediately you know that this challenge was designed so that the cameramen could get nice close-ups of the young girls’ chests and butts. I mean seriously. As the race progresses, the only thing that’s running through my mind is “Julie has a nice butt” as she flips over another hurdle, or “Eliza has a great rack” as the cameramen zoom in on her. Add in the grunts, groans, moans, and facial expressions of Julie and Eliza as they’re flipped and twisted and guided through the maze, and you wonder why this section of the episode didn’t get a little “warning, the following section contains adult content” thing before it. Anyway, in the end the strong team wins, and Chris, Chad, Ami, and Eliza are off with Piggy to enjoy an authentic Vanuatu tribe cultural gathering.

The plane ride over to the other island is fun until Piggy pees on the plane. (Ain’t so cute now, eh Eliza?) Chris narrates, saying that it seems like they traveled to a whole different world. He says that they end up in the tribe’s camp, they’re looking at the Survivors strangely, the Survivors are looking at them strangely, and Chris is holding the pig! So Chris hands the pig over as a gift, and the chief gives him back another pig. Chris says that they didn’t really want another pig, so they just kinda left it by the bench they were sitting on. (Wait for it…wait for it…) “That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.” (Obligatory Babe reference. Moving on.) Ami takes over the narration of the reward, talking about the traditional dancing and how they didn’t use instruments, only their mouths, hands, and feet. The chief asks them if they want to dance, and they all say sure and they have a great time dancing.

Next up is the kava. They all drink the bowls of kava. Eliza says it tastes like a mix of mud, vodka, and water. (Sounds like what the frat boys living near me wake up in on the weekends.) Chris states that the kava is powerful, and Chad ends up in a kava-induced stupor. We are then treated to a very comical sequence of Chad looking like nobody’s home at all upstairs. He has this wide-eyed drunk expression on his face, and he’s swaying about so much that I just couldn’t stop laughing at him. He says that he could barely stand up, he wasn’t coordinated at all. Chad is let to shelter, where he looks at the camera, wide-eyed, says “Kava” and then passes out. Ami, Chris, and Eliza get to enjoy their feast however, which consists of barely-cooked meat on banana leaves. Not quite what they were expecting, but they gnaw on it anyway. Finally, the children sing songs to the visiting Americans, which Ami says is the highlight of the evening to her.

Back at camp, it’s all about the rain. Scout, Leann, Twila, and Julie are stuck in the downpour. Scout says it will be a miracle if they can keep the fire lit. Leann complains that it won’t stop raining and that it is freezing out. In the morning, Scout says that they need to boot Eliza, she’s useless around camp and they need the men to help with the fire if it rains like that again. Julie and Twila wholeheartedly agree, but Leann gets the “oh no, if Goddess Ami gets wind of your treason, you will be decapitated like Traitorous Lisa!” look on her face. The four adventurers return, but they aren’t welcomed back. Ami tries to recount her story, but she says that they weren’t interested at all. Julie wouldn’t even look her in the eye, and Ami is afraid that trouble has been brewing while she’s been away. Scout takes Chris and Chad aside and says that her, Twila, and Jules will vote out Eliza this time, just have to keep her away from immunity. Then Ami has to go, because she’s too powerful. Chris then gives an impassioned speech on the women, how if you question their ability, they’ll snap your neck, but if you show them your vulnerable side, they open up their heart and that opens the backdoor for you.

At the immunity challenge, it’s time to grab your pole! (*looks left* *looks right* Oh come ON! It’s like both the challenges this episode were designed for innuendo. It is SO not my fault.) Basically, whoever holds onto the pole the longest wins immunity. Twila and Julie are the first to start sliding, and Julie is the first to hit the ground. Ami starts sliding as well, but before she completes her fall, Chris and Scout hit bottom. Ami joins them soon after, and we’re down to four. Everyone looks okay until Eliza just drops suddenly, and she’s out. Leann is the highest up on the pole, but Twila is holding on with her teeth and Chad is using his thighs to stay up. Leann starts slipping, and there she goes. Chad is struggling to stay up, and Twila starts saying “fall Chad, go on down Chad.” And Chad just can’t do it any longer, he’s out. Twila wins the immunity necklace.

At camp, Scout brings Ami into the fold of voting out Eliza. But no, Ami doesn’t think it’s a good idea. And suddenly Leann and Julie are hypnotized again by Goddess Ami. They look at Scout with this dumbfounded look on their face. “But she said we can’t vote for her! We aren’t allowed to think something that Goddess Ami doesn’t want us to think!” Chad is getting nervous, and so he talks to Scout, and Scout promises him that she’s voting for Eliza. It’s up to Twila, and Chad says that since she has the immunity necklace, she shouldn’t be worried about forcing the tie. Twila tries to talk to Ami about voting for Eliza and what’s going on, and Ami shrugs and says that “she isn’t the person to talk to about that.” Say WHAT? Everybody knows you’ve got the girls wrapped around your finger Ami, you’re so cocky and self-assured at tribal council, why not just tell Twila that now? Le sigh. Anyway, Twila knows that Ami is being stupid and walks away exasperated and annoyed. Twila and Scout have a talk, and Twila says if they vote with the men, somebody’s going home by the rock, and who wants to go home by a freaking rock? Twila is once again Twila in the Middle. Let’s see if she makes a better decision this time.

At TC, Leann says that she can’t handle the rain, it may drive her crazy. Chris hopes his stock will go up because of what he can do. Chad says he and Chris have 25-30 different plans to try and stick around. Scout says that the guys have talked to her about deals, but Eliza is shocked because the guys haven’t talked to her at all. Twila says you can’t trust anybody, and Ami says BS, I know there are people I can trust. Yes, Ami, yes.

Voting goes like this: Ami votes for Chad, sticking to her alliance yadda yadda. Chad votes for Eliza ’cause she’s been on the chopping block for forever, and Chris votes for Eliza because her alliance told him to vote for Eliza.

In the end though, Scout and Twila blanche and bow to Goddess Ami’s will, and Chad is voted out 6-2.

Next time, Chris outs Scout and Twila on their alliance deal, and the girls confront Scout about it. Chad’s final words are him saying that Ami single-handedly switched the vote from Eliza back to him, and he’s not sore or sour, but he wishes he could have made it further.

My e-mail is atarus33@yahoo.com. Everyone cross your fingers and hope that Chris wins this, because a male has got to win. Four females in a row will make me puke and make me apply for Big Brother when I’m 21 instead of Survivor.

Butt Shots and The Piano Man – The Apprentice 2, Episode 11


by aurora

Last week on The Apprentice, the teams had to take an empty storefront property and transform it into a bridal shop. Mosaic, with the help of bridal salon owner Sandy, trounced Apex, making 12 times more in profit. Chris, project manager for Apex, failed to bring his team together and was ultimately fired. Eight contestants are left – who will be fired tonight?

In the suite, Jennifer says that Chris had been lackluster in the task, and that they all knew he would be going at some point soon anyway. Indeed, Ivana and Kevin return to the suite confirming Jen’s observation. Ivana is still confused as to why Chris let Jen off the hook, and Wes says that maybe Jen’s getting by each week because she knows how to dog somebody out in a really nice way. In what might have been some creative editing, Jen doesn’t reply and instead takes a deep sip of her wine.

The next morning, as usual, the phone rings. Wes answers and Rona tells him to meet with Mr. Trump at 9am at the Levi showroom.

At Levi’s, Trump asks each team who their project managers are, and the answers are Kevin and Wes. Since the teams are somewhat uneven now, Trump asks Mosaic to pick one person to send over to Apex. Wes wants Kelly, but Maria disagrees. Kelly ends up being the chosen one however, and joins Apex. Jen says that she’s very happy.

Now it’s on to the task. After hearing that Levi’s has been around for 150 years and that they’re worth $4 billion, the teams find out that they are required to create an instore catalog for Levi’s. They will have access to world renowned photographers, and experts at Yellowfin graphics. The team to deliver the most exciting and innovative catalog based solely on the opinion of Robert Hanson, President of Levi Strauss, wins the task. One more thing to note; George is away again, so Bill Rancic is back to take his place this week.

Kelly says privately that Wes pushed him away because he is stronger than Wes is. Indeed, Apex seems very enthusiastic to have Kelly among them, and they immediately pull together and brainstorm. Ivana comes up with a “fit wheel” tool, which will help people figure out which style of jean they want. Jen has no idea what Ivana is talking about, but the men catch on immediately. Even after having it explained a couple of times, Jen just cannot get her head around how the thing works.

Over at Mosaic, Wes is giving them all a pep-talk after having lost Kelly. Maria jumps in with her ideas for the task, singing her own praises about her business experience in advertising. Hold on there just a minute – hasn’t Maria already blown it twice after stepping up based on her “experience”? When will these project managers ever learn? Sandy is quick to point out that Maria was all over everything and wanted to control the entire project.

I know you’re asking yourself, “But what about Trump’s lesson of the week?” Well, I’m glad you asked! This week we learn “Never Lose Your Cool”. The footage doesn’t go along with the lesson at all. We’re shown footage of the reveal of the cover of Trump’s newest book, and he doesn’t like the photo on the cover. He says that you should never lose your cool unless you’re doing it intentionally to scare your employees or get them to work harder. Okee dokee.

Apex arrives at the photo studio, and they decide to be the models themselves. Kevin says they didn’t want 110-pound models, they wanted real people, and there is a lot of diversity on their team. Ivana adds that their focus is on making the butt look good. Jen comes out with model-like hair and makeup, with tight jeans and a little tank top, and Kelly looks like one of those cartoon characters whose tongue rolls out and across the floor.

Meanwhile, Mosiac is working their own photography with a group of four models. Wes is directing them, but Maria doesn’t like the way things are going. She takes over completely, telling the models and the photographer what to do. Privately she says that no one is stepping up to take the lead on this task. Wes comments that when Maria flew in on her broomstick, the entire mood of the room changed. Maria wants to take dozens of shots of each person, but they’re running out of time. Andy reminds Maria that they have a deadline, and Maria shuts him up. Wes finally steps in and tells Maria that they need to get things done, but Maria shoves him and tells him to back off. He does, and lets Maria continue. Bad move Wes, bad move.

At Yellowfin, Maria once again takes over the design of the catalog. She also comments privately that someone needs to take the reigns of this task. She shoos everyone else out of the room and won’t let anyone else see what’s going on with the editors. As Sandy complains to Wes, Maria walks into the room and a fight between Sandy and Maria gets heated. Of course this is when Bill decides to pay a visit and witnesses the whole battle. Andy comments that Wes should have stepped in and not let the fight escalate, while Maria says that she hates being labelled a control freak because she’s not. Mmm-kay. Maria finally apologizes to Sandy, but then gets passive-aggresive and begins to cry, eventually walking out of the room. She tells the camera that she’s constantly reminded that she has no friends here.

Apex is also at Yellowfin, and Ivana is checking out the fit wheel. She comes up with another great idea – to put the wheel in a “pocket”, since their focus is on the butt. I’m really impressed with Ivana on this task, I have to admit. Jen is doing what Kevin calls “busy work” – writing text for their catalog. Jen knows that she’s been marginalized on this task, but she thinks that it’s because Ivana wants to get her fired. She tells Kevin that once she sees the fit wheel, she’ll understand what they’ve been talking about all along.

It’s time to get ready for the presentations, and Andy tells Wes that if they are going into the room dressed casual but not completely in Levi’s, then they should go all out and wear suits. Maria says it’s cool like it is, and Wes agrees.

Mosaic is presenting first, and their campaign is based on “if jeans could talk”. Wes starts off the speech, but Maria soon jumps in with arms flailing and lashes batting. They have an average-looking catalog and a giant poster of a girl wearing a bandana as a halter top and a pair of men’s jeans cut into a mini-skirt. When Robert asks Maria why they used men’s products on a woman, she says “Why not? If being sexy is wrong, then I don’t want to be right.” Andy looks away, clearly embarassed. When Robert asks why there aren’t any butt shots, Maria says that the jeans fit too loosely for a good butt shot. Oops, insulting the product? Wes says privately that Maria didn’t like the butt shots, and that’s why they weren’t included. Robert asks them why they aren’t in Levi’s, and Maria says they didn’t have time to buy them.

Apex is up next, and they walk in fully decked out in Levi’s products. Kevin starts things off, and he’s wired. He’s sweaty and talking fast, but at least he seems enthusiastic. Ivana carries on with their idea of making the seat of the pants the focus of their promotion. She shows them the fit guide, and when Robert asks how they came up with the idea, Jen jumps in and talks all about the ideas behind it. Ivana is clearly angry, but waits for Jen to stop talking before jumping in again. Even Kevin is annoyed that Jen was trying to take credit for an idea that she didn’t even understand until the last minute.

Trump shows up with Melania, who is wearing Levi’s. The teams are both called back in to meet with everyone, and Robert delivers his judgement. He loves Apex’s presentation and their focus on the butt. He likes the fit wheel, which he says is clever, but thinks the whole thing lacks a bit of a wow-factor. On the other hand, Mosaic nailed the sex appeal factor, but missed out on everything else. Robert hands the win to Apex, and tells Trump that he thinks that Jen did the best job overall. Ivana simmers while Trump congratulates Jen and tells her that her education is finally paying off for her.

Apex’s reward is to meet with Billy Joel, who is currently running a Broadway show called “Movin’ Out”. They will get to spend a lot of time with Joel, listening to his music and talking with him. Of course Mosaic’s fate is the boardroom, where someone will be fired.

Apex arrives on Broadway and Billy Joel is there to meet them. I know in my mind that Billy is getting older, but when I think of him I still picture him with a full head of brown hair, so seeing him is a bit jarring. He’s still the same guy though – wise, talented, and down-to-earth. He gives the team some advice on taking risks, and plays some of his favourite songs for them on his piano. Yeah, he’s getting on in years, but he still sounds great. Apex is very impressed.

In the suite, Maria is talking a mile a minute, saying that for anyone to place the blame on her means that they themselves sat on their butts and did nothing. She says she’s going after Wes, the “operational misfit”, who is the only person to have been pm and lost his task twice. Wes knows he’s on the hot seat, and tries to talk to Andy about it. Andy doesn’t say much though, because he’s smart and knows he’s not in the line of fire this week.

In the boardroom, Trump addresses Maria first, asking her why they didn’t show off “the ass”. She says that they did, but Trump points out that they didn’t use those photos. Wes says that Maria had problems with all the butt shots, and Maria starts talking over him. Bill asks Sandy why there was so much fighting, and she tells them about Maria shutting her out at the graphics office. Maria and Wes point fingers at each other – Wes says that Maria took over and promised things she couldn’t deliver, while Maria says that Wes was a terrible leader because he didn’t plan and execute.

Bill asks Andy why he hasn’t said a thing so far, and Trump seconds the question. Andy says that he knows when to talk and when to listen, and he thinks that one of the problems with his team on this task was that no one was listening to each other.

Trump asks Wes who he’s bringing back to the boardroom with him, and he decides to keep the whole team there.

Carolyn tells The Donald that she thinks Wes is a very sharp guy, but he can’t delegate and is a bad leader. Bill says that Wes can’t control the troops. Carolyn adds that Maria doesn’t seem to work with anyone too well, and she’d like to see Sandy get her ideas across a bit more. Bill says that Sandy was underutilized, and that’s partly her fault and partly Wes’ fault.

The team is called back in, and Trump asks Maria and Andy if Wes is a lousy leader. They both say yes. Wes wants to defend himself, and tells them that when he asked Maria to speed things up, she yelled at him and told him to back off. Carolyn says that if any one of her employees spoke to her like that, they’d be fired. Bill asks why Wes didn’t put Maria on the bench, and Wes says it would have been a reckless decision to cut his workforce by 25% when they had a deadline in 30 minutes.

Trump asks Wes if he would fire Maria, and he says he would because she is not able to work as a productive team member. Trump tells Maria that she was difficult to work with and lashed out at the project manager, which is unacceptable. To Wes, Trump says that he lost control of Maria and failed as a leader. “You both did a horrible job. Maria, you’re fired.” But Trump’s not finished yet. He adds, “And I just have to do this. Wes, you’re fired also.”

We get a bit of after-dismissal boardroom chat this week, as Trump and Carolyn agree that this one was a no-brainer. Carolyn adds that this one was easy, and Trump says it wasn’t pleasant. He also says that Andy better step up to the plate now.

Wes and Maria have to share a cab, which is actually quite funny to watch as they sit stiffly beside one another, obviously wanting to be anywhere but there. They both have no regrets and would do it all again in a heartbeat because they learned so much from the experience. Wes adds that it would have been nice to get his own cab though.

Well I knew it – as soon as I pegged Wes as the one to cheer for, he’s fired. That happens a lot with my faves. So I won’t say exactly who I’m rooting for now, except that she’s blond and she’s not Jen. 😉

Comments are welcome! Contact me at carrie@realityshack.com and share your thoughts.


Everything Reality TV