The New Celebrity Apprentice is back with Arnold Schwarzenegger as its host and contestant Carson Kressley competing in the board room. This season, Kressley will be blogging exclusively about each and every week for PEOPLE – check back weekly and follow him on Twitter at @!
Okay kids, The New Celebrity Apprentice is finally here!
Sheesh — it seems like this show was forever in the making because we finished filming it in March. We are starting fresh with our fearless new leader, Arnold Schwarzenegger, who prefers to be called Governor (Did you see the way he shut down Jon Lovitz like a bad carnival ride in the first boardroom???).
Now a few words about Arnold and why he is such a great choice as the new leader of the show. He is a self-made man who came to his beloved “Colly-fornia” in the 1960s (I wasn’t born yet — yay me!) with just a few dollars in his pocket. He worked hard, became Mr. Olympia and leveraged his winnings into a real estate and construction empire. He told us Apprentices that before he ever swung that Conan sword, wearing those cute little deerskin bikini bottoms I might add, that he had made $1 million.
I might also add that Arnold (I just can’t seem to bring myself to call him Governor) is supposed to be tough and scary, but I found him totes adorbs. Cuddly even. I’m pretty sure he had strong feelings for me as well.
Anyway, I digress, but what I want to say is that the show’s all-new California locations are partly due to Arnold’s love of his state and also a great way to give the show a fresh new start. There will be lots of iconic California locations in the show that I think viewers will really enjoy. Postcards from the former Governor, if you will!
So the first challenge is presented by guest mentor Tyra Banks. We have to create a beauty experience to sell her new line of cosmetics. Then we are divided into teams: boys vs. girls. A tad old fashioned, don’t you think? I was just glad it wasn’t shirts vs. skins!
So, a beauty challenge. Of course the women have an advantage: they know more about makeup than we do! But wait — we have a secret weapon. Oh Boy George, I think you’ve got it!
Here’s a bit of Celebrity Apprentice folklore. Before I did the show, I asked friends who had competed in the past for some kernels of wisdom. Everyone said the same thing: “Do not be the project manager on the first task!” So although everyone thought I should be the team leader, I think I smartly pivoted and noted that Boy George is an end user and really understood makeup’s power of transformation. I really believed this was the best choice — and I didn’t want to get fired right off the bat. Gotta look out for number one! And try and make some coin for my charity.
I didn’t have my Ritalin smoothie this a.m., so indulge me and let me talk about my charity for a bit. Celebrity Apprentice deserves kudos for raising something like $15 million for charity since its inception. My charity, The True Colors Fund, was actually born on Celebrity Apprentice. When my dear friend Cyndi Lauper appeared on the show years ago, she needed a charity. So she started The True Colors Fund. I’ve been on the board since the start. We work to eliminate homelessness among LGBT youth. While they make up a relatively small portion of the population, they are nearly 40 percent of homeless youth. It’s an astounding statistic that sadly proves that our LGBT youth are still very much at risk.
Now back to the beauty challenge…
Some genius (oh wait – that’s moi) had the great idea to have Tyra do a beauty demo of her product on little old me. Heck, if they could make me pretty, anything is possible! (Side note: now I have been known to dabble in drag, but I always end up looking like a homely version of Juliette Lewis!). Matt Iseman (who happens to have been educated as an MD!) rallied the team and made sure each of the boys knew their beauty product intimately. I created a beautiful room, signature cocktails and even had hot male models giving back and shoulder rubs (they ended up on the cutting room floor — unspeakable!). We honed in on the fact that the product is easy to use and effective with great ingredients. We nailed it. We came, we saw, we contoured!!!
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We didn’t get to see the women’s presentation until it aired on TV. I was impressed. Kyle created a beautiful room that was super “on brand.” The information was clear and the event was high energy and fun. A tad tent revival in feeling for my taste, but very good nonetheless. Had I seen that before our first board room, I would have been very nervous.
Speaking of the board room, I have to say this is the hardest part of the show. Although we are all successes in our own world (our team has Emmy winners, Olympians and Heisman trophy winners!) I think we were all a little intimidated. The questions are real and tough. Feelings aren’t spared and yes, there is “under the bus-throwing” galore.
Fortunately, we were the winners and could head back to the war room to have some champers! I just wanted to get back there to cuddle with Jerry Bruckheimer III (Jon Lovitz’s adorable pup). Things were about to get real for Porsha, my BFF Snooki and Carrie Keagan.
Tears became contagious and I started to worry that my dear Snooks would be sent home. “No,” I said to myself. “We haven’t even been to a gay bar yet.” But, she was spared and Carrie was sent to the chopper. But I think that was the right call from Arnold. I have to agree with him that the risk-takers and those who go above and beyond should be spared over those who play it safe.
Great minds think alike…
The New Celebrity Apprentice airs Mondays (8 p.m. ET) on NBC.