La Toya Jackson at 'The Celebrity Apprentice' 2011 season-finale after-party

By Carla Hay

May 23, 2011

After the dust has settled from the vicious arguments and competitive fundraising, "The Celebrity Apprentice" 2011 has named country singer/songwriter John Rich the winner. (Second place went to Oscar-winning actress Marlee Matlin.) The show, which is executive produced and hosted by Donald Trump (who chooses the winner), features celebrities competing for their selected charities. Rich was named the winner in a live season finale on May 22, 2011. After the finale, the stars headed over to the Trump SoHo Hotel in New York City for the after-party. I had a chance to briefly interview several of the stars at the after-party. Here is what this "Celebrity Apprentice" star said.


You're the first contestant in "Apprentice" history to convince Donald Trump to let you back into the competition after he "fired" you. What did you say to him?

I was very focused. I said, "I shouldn't have been fired because of Star Jones' [backstabbing]." I was just being myself.

NeNe Leakes and Star Jones made some insulting remarks about you on "The Celebrity Apprentice." Why did you choose to forgive NeNe and not Star?

Because that's what you should do. You should forgive people in your heart. The reason I forgave her is because I had told NeNe before: "NeNe, Star is using you. She's using you as her mouthpiece." Everything that Star wanted to say to me, she said through NeNe. And NeNe would just blurt it out to me. And I knew it wasn't NeNe. I knew it was [Star] doing that. [NeNe] finally caught on to it and said, "You know what? You're right."

With so many "Celebrity Apprentice" contestants losing their tempers and calling each other names, how did you remain calm and lady-like?

If you don't have anger inside, you can't give away what you don't have. If you don't have anger inside, you can't give anger away. If you have love inside, that's what you're going to be giving away. So I was giving away what's inside of me. What's inside of you is what comes out of you.

If I told you to squeeze an orange, what are you going to get from that orange? Orange juice. If you see someone screaming and fighting, that's what's inside of them: this anger. That's not inside of me. So no matter how much you push my buttons, you're going to get what's inside of me.

What can you say about the charity you were playing for on "The Celebrity Apprentice"?

AIDS Project Los Angeles is a charity my brother [Michael] supported. He gave a lot to it. And I am so happy and proud to be a part of that and giving donations to them. I was very happy to bring $55,000 to them through ["The Celebrity Apprentice"].

Who surprised you the most on "The Celebrity Apprentice"?

I have to be honest. I was a little bit surprised by Dionne Warwick, because I had known of her but I didn't know her personality. I felt that she did a good job playing the game, because she was busy working all the time. There were a lot of surprises, in terms of personalities. I knew Star was that type of person, but I didn't think she'd go to that extent.

What's next for you?

I have a book coming out on June 21, [2011]. It's called "Starting Over." It's an incredible book. You're going to love every single bit of it. It's hard-hitting. You're going to love it. And also, I have an album coming out called "Starting Over" as well on June 21.