For the second week in a row, All-Star Celebrity Apprentice viewers were shocked to see Omarosa spared in the boardroom.
Like La Toya Jackson the week before, losing project manager Claudia Jordan chose to bring two other players back into the boardroom with her -- Lil Jon and Dennis Rodman -- only to end up hearing Donald Trump utter the words "You're fired!" to her.
The task found the teams creating interactive marketing campaigns using glass trucks to promote Farouk Systems' BioSilk and Chi hair products. During the task, Jordan told Donald Trump Jr. that the weakest players were Rodman and Omarosa.
But her decision to spare Omarosa surprised even Trump, who said he's been genuinely shocked very few times throughout all 13 seasons of the show and that Jackson and Jordan's boardroom decisions rank as Nos. 1 and 2, respectively, on the list of things that have surprised him.
On Monday, Jordan talked to The Hollywood Reporter about her boardroom strategy, whether she's still friends with Omarosa and what's next.
THR: It seemed like you were coerced into being project manager. Can you explain what happened?
Jordan: There was some hesitation. The reason is that Lil Jon had said he was going to go next, and when he didn’t step forward, I was surprised. He was the marketing genius on our team and had won a challenge [in his previous season] with Farouk before, so I thought it was a given that he would be project manager, but he changed his mind. I was dumbfounded, like, "What a minute, this is not what we talked about." So I felt a little set up. Nobody else was saying anything, and Trump was looking at me. I felt that if I didn't step up, I would look weak. That's what the hesitation was about.
THR: Is there anything you think you could have done differently to win?
Jordan: I think it's different when you go on a show with your friends. You saw us going back and forth, and all the emotions. You saw the stuff that Omarosa was doing. But part of me can't blame it on her. It's not really about Omarosa. When you're the project manager, there are so many things to manage. Nothing can prepare you to be project manager. You just have to jump into it and learn by trial and error and hope your ideas work. My strategy was trying to keep a peaceful environment in the group, and not everybody was engaging. That was difficult.
THR: Can you elaborate on that?
Jordan: Dennis Rodman didn't really want to participate. It wasn't a major deal, but it took away from the solidarity of the group. The other team, Plan B, had beefs with each other and got past them and worked in harmony. With us, it was more personal; people would sabotage; it was childish. No corporation or group or entity could be successful if they have that. Everybody has to be on the same page at once to win.
THR: You were friends with Omarosa before the show.
Jordan: I was.
THR: Are you still friends?
Jordan: No. Absolutely not.
THR: Were you shocked at her behavior on the show?
Jordan: Well let's face it, she's at the end of her 15 minutes and has extended it several times. She had to go for the jugular to keep people talking about her. Everybody on the show had careers before, during and after going on reality TV. … Omarosa is Omarosa from [The Apprentice]. That's it. If she doesn’t go hard and give what people expect from her, that's it. I never watched her on The Apprentice, but we developed a friendship outside of that. I had heard about her behavior and assumed that it was a character she played on TV.
THR: Are people afraid of her?
Jordan: No one was afraid of her, but no one really wanted to engage with her. I know she would have loved to have a battle with La Toya or me in the boardroom, where she shines, but she wasn't getting that with me. I went back and forth about bringing her in the boardroom, but I believed that Donald Trump was not ready to fire her at that point. She was still the only villain on the show.
THR: Is that why you ultimately decided not to bring her back with you?
Jordan: I didn't think she was going to get fired. She was definitely one of the weakest, but the absolute weakest on that challenge was Dennis. Omarosa did contribute, she made some phone calls and got people there. I couldn't in good conscience throw her under the bus for being an a--hole. I couldn't say she did nothing like on the challenge before this, with La Toya, she for sure didn't participate. But in my mind, I couldn't say she didn't do anything. I thought I saw an opening with Dennis, even though I love Dennis, but he didn't contribute. I didn't bring Lil Jon into the boardroom to be shady; we talked about him helping me in the boardroom. He did apologize to me at one point, "Sorry, homey, I didn't give as much as I thought I could on this one." I definitely want people to be clear that it is not anything negative about Jon or his performance; I just wanted to have an ally in the boardroom. I took a gamble on the strategy, and it didn't work.
THR: Was Lil Jon on board with the idea?
Jordan: I couldn't really tell. He nodded at me. I didn't want to throw anyone under the bus. America wanted me to bring Omarosa back, but we were hearing other things, whispers, that she wasn't going anywhere.
THR: You were trying to tell Donald Trump one last thing before he fired you. What was that?
Jordan: I was trying to fight more. He usually lets people battle it out in the boardroom longer. That day, it felt like he had a lot less patience. I wasn't really able to plead my case, that Dennis was at Plan B's display. We don't need someone drawing attention to the competition's side. I really wanted to tell the reasons I brought Dennis in. It wasn't anything personal; it was about his contributions to the task. I really enjoyed everybody on my team but Omarosa.
THR: What's next for you?
Jordan: I'm in talks with a scripted show [for a role]. It's an awesome show, and I cannot wait to do it [Jordan says she's unable to reveal which one at this time]. I'm continuing the [Sirius XM] radio show [The Claudia Jordan Show], and I'm hosting a travel show for AT&T that starts April 3. I also have my own clothing line that will go live on my website tonight once I hit [Late Night With Jimmy Fallon] at TheRealClaudiaJordan.com. The dresses are fun and sexy and cute. And I'm part owner of a hair line called Strong & Silky Hair Care. I'm so grateful to have been on The Apprentice and to Donald Trump and NBC for the opportunity. It was a blessing, and I appreciate it.
All-Star Celebrity Apprentice airs at 9 p.m. Sundays on NBC.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Donald Trump
- Claudia Jordan
- Dennis Rodman
- Lil Jon