(PCM) Everyone was excited by the recent casting announcement for The Celebrity Apprentice Season 14. Battling it out in Mr. Trump’s boardroom this season will be Shawn Johnson, Leeza Gibbons, Lorenzo Lamas, Kevin Jonas, Jamie Anderson, Johnny Damon, Vivica A. Fox, Geraldo Rivera, Kate Gosselin, Ian Ziering, Terrell Owens, Gilbert Gotfried, Sig Hansen, Brandi Glanville, Keisha Knight Pulliam and Kenya Moore.
We were recently able to catch up with Celebrity Apprentice Season 14 cast members Vivica A. Fox, Leeza Gibbons and Ian Ziering to discuss the new season, some of their strategies, opponents, chemistry and more!
Competing on a show like The Celebrity Apprentice is all about thinking fast under pressure and doing the best job possible, however there can always be a few setbacks that pop up from time to time.
Leeza Gibbons comments “I think everybody brought their A game and everybody in this cast delivered their best, it’s an incredible season. One of the first things that I noticed in terms of what you’re calling drawbacks, this is a group of people that likes to be in charge of their own lives, right, everybody likes to be buckled into the driver’s seat of their life. And this requires that you collaborate, that you compromise. I don’t think that comes naturally to a lot of us.
Viviva A. Fox adds, “We’re so used to taking constructive criticism from producers and directors that we know how to bend and not everyone bends as easily as others, that’s what I found out from working this season on Celebrity Apprentices.”
The late Joan Rivers was an incredibly memorable contestant when she appeared on The Celebrity Apprentice and she will appear as a judge on two episodes coming up this season. We were curious about the cast member’s experience working with Joan on the show.
Vivica A Fox responded “Well for me it was an absolute pleasure because I had met Joan over the years just being on the Red Carpet, you know, with the famous, you know, who are you wearing and when she would show up, you know, it was always so much love and such a pleasant surprise.
And she was tough, you know, she would let you know you’re not doing a good job or you need to step-up so it was definitely tough love and an absolute pleasure to spend some time with her and I was just as shocked and devastated as with everyone else was of her passing.”
Ian Ziering comments “I had a chance to be on Joan Rivers’ talk show many, many, many years ago — maybe it was the early 90s — and have always been – had always been a fan of hers to meet her in person was really a thrill. She, you know, for a person who can dish out such caustic humor, she always maintained a sense of grace and elegance which was a nice juxtaposition against her comedy.
She was fun to be around and was very exciting to work with her.”
And Leeza Gibbons adds “Very supportive, a mentor for woman. Joan certainly knows business like nobody, she’s just, I mean, like nobody else. She was so sharp and so honest and stayed so relevant but what everybody I think remembers about her is that cheerleader side of her, that warmth side of her, that supportive side of her, of really wanting to inspire and encourage — especially other woman in business — and it was really a very rare and wonderful treat to be able to work with her on this as I’ve done in other shows in the past, but this was really just a perfect venue for her.”
Of course all fans of The Celebrity Apprentice know that each season it not without its’ sometimes shocking moments and we are sure that season 14 will have some of those moments in store.
Ian Ziering jokingly says “Donald Trump got fired. I bet you’re shocked to hear that. How can we talk about that without spoiling anything?”
To which Leeza Gibbons adds “You’ll be shocked to find out that – I think everyone will be stunned to find out that Gilbert Gottfried is an animal. He’s just an animal. It will be incredible to have that side of him revealed.”
Vivica A. Fox claims “And then also you – I think shocking things that you’ll be able to see — shocked to see — some of the friendships that develop. Like who works really well with each other and who doesn’t work so well with each other, that will be shocking to find out.”
We have heard from several contestants over the years just how physically and emotionally taxing that competing on The Celebrity Apprentice can be. We have to wonder how these celebrities prepare for such a fierce competition.
Vivica A. Fox tell us “What I did is I asked a couple of people that had been on there in the past from Star Jones to Holly Robinson Peete to Mark McGrath, who we were doing Sharknado 2 with what was it like.
And the first thing that they all said is be prepared to work. So I said, ‘okay, this isn’t going to be, this is no-no, you don’t work, so that, you know, and I said okay, you’ve got to be mentally tough and physically tough to endure this.”
Leeza Gibbons adds, “Yes Holly was really great giving me insight to as was Marilu Henner and I think that probably for most people because it’s – you’re putting yourself in an environment that’s unfamiliar to you, you know, you want to kind of reach out and say, hang on, is this – am I going to be able to deliver and do my best and everybody from – well my buddy Bill Ranci from the very first Apprentice to everyone else that I spoke with — it was just a handful of people — said what a great experience it was for them, how much attention the opportunity brought to their charities — which everybody on this call cares about — and how much they grew and that’s a real opportunity, you know.
This was probably one of the best opportunities for personal growth that I can imagine. You know, you don’t know how much you can take, you don’t know who you are going to be in this scenario, you think you do, but you really don’t know until you get there and it was revealing.”
Ian Ziering adds that he prepared by “talking to a few past contestants, Mark McGrath, of course, because I was working with him right before on Sharknado, spoke to Annie Duke, but on top of that I also went back and watched every episode of Celebrity Apprentice. I wanted to see how the dynamic of the show played out. What things Donald looked for, what things he didn’t like, what qualities in people he gravitated towards, what he was adverse to.”
Leeza Gibbons revealed “I think all of us though regardless of how well prepared you thought you were or not it comes down to, you know, taking a deep breath and moving forward because you don’t have time to really think about anything else, you just have to get into action.”
Ian Ziering comments “Yes and like you said Leeza the personal growth that you experience is tremendous. For me, you know, I never thought in a business sense. Being on Celebrity Apprentice, for me, was like getting an MBA at Trump University. Going through the prerequisites and studying all the prior shows and putting together my game and then implementing everything that I’d come to the party with really set my mind spinning, you know.
Since the show I’ve gotten involved in three businesses because I just found that I could do something, I could do it, I could make it happen and I’d never even applied myself in this direction so it’s really spurred me on to do things that I’d never done before.”
There are always things that a person will learn about themselves during their participation in a competition series such as The Celebrity Apprentice.
Vivica A. Fox replied “Well for me it was my patience. I definitely learned to be a lot more inpatient and learned to kind of know my place, play my position and stay in my lane because there were times that you were the project manager that had to take the lead then there were other times that your job was to be an assistant.
So being that we all are type, you know, the type of people that are in charge of our careers and we run our system, we converse with our manager and our agent on what direction we want to go in. These – the challenges that we – the tasks that we were given some times and just knowing your place and playing your position and staying in lane for me that was like, oh wow, okay, I’m good at strategizing and more than anything else was I learned about patience because there were days that my patience was definitely tested.”
Leeza Gibbons adds, “Yes I concur 100% with that. I learned that my mother was right, that if you just, you know, put your blinders on and don’t worry about the other horses in the race, you’re going to succeed and, you know, you’re going to do better. And for me, you know, you’re looking at everybody else and part of the game is to figure out what everybody else is doing and, you know, how to build on that or how to defend yourself against that.
But, you know, I learned that I did best if I just focused on the task at hand. It was surprising to me – all of us have been around camera’s for decades and I thought, well, it’s a realty show, we’re going to be very aware of where those cameras on and when they’re shooting us. It took about a nano second for that to go away and for the entire experience I really had no awareness — and really didn’t care — when the cameras were on or not because we were so focused on your competitive drive just gets into overdrive, and you started there Ian in overdrive.”
Ian replies “Oh, you know what, every night I had to unwind and we’d come home, we’d just finished a day and, you know, I would just – I started just write down my thoughts for the day just to figure out where my head was. And then after the show was over — after my participation within the context of the entire show was done — it still took me about two or three weeks to unwind and settle back because I would just look at things like how do I overcome, what do I need to accomplish to achieve my goal, how do I get around, who can I talk to to facilitate. I mean everything just lights up when you’re on The Apprentice as you get immersed in it your thought patterns change. And for me it took a little bit of time to decompress from that. It’s such a – you’re compressed and you’re immersed in it. You do a new project every other day.”
The cast members also shared their impressions about meeting and working with Donald Trump.
Vivica A. Fox said “Well if I, that was my first time having that much contact with Mr. Trump and I found him to be a straight shooter, which is the kind of person that I like. I found that if you were honest with him and you didn’t try to BS him, that you – that he would – he just responded to you a lot more positively. So like I said I got to know him and I personally got even more respect for him because he’s a straight shooter and he likes making things happen and that’s my kind of guy.
Leeza Gibbons shared her thoughts saying “Donald Trump is so charismatic, such a powerful force, such a strong business icon but what I loved was seeing the off-camera side of him which is as Vivica said very straight-forward and no nonsense, but really funny, like really, really, funny. And he’s very aware of making sure that everybody feels that they are having a shot.
Meaning, you know, he’s just aware of everybody’s presence in the room he’s the Donald and equally as impressive to me were working with the advisors, his children, Don, Erik and Ivanka, wow, the work ethic in that family is so high that we couldn’t not deliver because you thought everything we’ve done they’ve done and more. And they are great advisors, they taught me a lot too so I really, really enjoyed the whole family.”
Ian Ziering concurs saying “The family, the organization, really just class acts through and through. You know my first experience with Donald was when he came into the board room and he comes on – comes in with this very serious face and he sits down — and this is even before the cameras had started rolling — the first thing he says is I want you all to know that this is my hair, it is not a toupee.
You know, but again, great sense of humor and a class act. You’re right, Vivica, he’s a very straight shooter, he tells it like it is, he’s got an opinion and, you know, he’s an amazing dynamic man who’s an incredible builder, he’s built up so many parts of New York, he’s expanded down into the Washington, DC area into Florida with the Doral Golf Course”
The Celebrity Apprentice takes celebrities out of their comfort zone a lot of times and puts them deep in the business world instead. We wanted to know about any business lessons they may have taken away from the show.
Ian Ziering comments “I would look for ways to duplicate successful models. If there was an opportunity for me to be involved in something where whatever the product or goal was, if there was a similar business that was out there that was doing it already, I would look for ways to duplicate successful business models. And do what the successful people are doing to make them successful.”
Leeza Gibbons adds “I realize that it takes both the ability to be a strong leader and to be a good follower or business does not get done and so we were all challenged with showing up in both of those categories on the tasks. And especially in this pressure cooker environment where things are accelerated at warp speed I learned that inspired thought requires bold action.”
Finally, we also gave the cast members a chance to talk about the various charities they will be playing for this season.
Ian Ziering tells us “My charity was Epidermolysis Bullosa a medical research foundation that does such incredible work. You can find them online at ebkids.org and it’s a fatal skin disease that causes the proteins in the skin to be malformed and eventually the skin just doesn’t hold up. So these children end up living their lives in bandages, in constant pain. So having two little girls myself I couldn’t imagine anything more horrible and I wanted to champion that cause because I felt that its overlooked and underfunded and I wanted to make a change for something that’s being done here in the United States.”
Leeza Gibbons says ” I’m – my goal for getting on the show — the incredible opportunity that it is — is really this amazing pot of gold for charity. And for a charity like mine, which is called Leeza’s Care Connection, this opportunity can be a real game changer. So my mother who has passed away from Alzheimer’s disease was my guiding light the whole time.
Ten years ago I started our foundation because it was what I created in the world what we wished we’d had when my mom was going through her Alzheimer’s disease. You know my dad and my brother and my sister and myself we were lost and we didn’t, you know, we were stuck with this burning question now what?
So we created Leeza’s Care Connection which is part of the answer for now what do you do when someone you love gets a diagnosis, how do you get support, how do you feel empowered, how do you call on your courage so that you can move forward and take care of that person and also hang onto yourself.
So my dog in the hunt was really representing all of those family caregivers, those heroes, who show up for duty every day when someone they love is sick or dying.
And most business leaders have that instinctively, that was really driven home for me during Celebrity Apprentice because you had to rely on – you had to take action, there was no time to overthink and sometimes we act without thinking but many times we continue thinking without acting and that’s the kiss of death in business. So I really learned that you have to take bold action.”
And Vivica A. Fox concludes “I played for Best Buddies. I was introduced to Best Buddies with – through Carl Lewis — Olympian Carl Lewis — years ago and I fell in love with the Kennedy/Shriver family who works very, very hard to provide housing and employment opportunities for kids with – special needs kids and adults with special needs.
To see these kids with special needs, how they just want to be normal, the things that we take for granted, getting up, going to work, having someone take you serious, have someone look at your talent and not look at you because you have a special need and let it be a detriment.
It’s something I’ve been involved in for the last ten years and they actually came by and celebrated a birthday with me when I was filming the show. And for me Best Buddies is just something that I believe in and was proud to represent them.
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