Ian Ziering's 'Celebrity Apprentice' Finale Blog: Beauty Beats the Beast

Ziering congratulates Leeza Gibbons for "proving that success can be achieved through positive leadership, grace and elegance"

Photo: Gabriel Goldberg

He may have found fame in Beverly Hills, 90210, but Ian Ziering has set his sights on another zip code these days. Ziering relocated to New York City to vie for the title on Donald Trump‘s Celebrity Apprentice. Besides being a clothing entrepreneur – though he’s also Chippendales-approved and ready for any tasks that require shirtlessness – Ziering has one major edge on his opponents: Have they ever faced off against a throng of sharks? That is, not in the boardroom

Follow Ziering on Twitter and check back for his exclusive blog posts on PEOPLE.com after each episode of The Celebrity Apprentice.

After weeks of intense challenges, both physical and mental, I am thrilled that Leeza Gibbons was named the winner of The Celebrity Apprentice, proving that success can be achieved through positive leadership, grace and elegance. More on that shortly

First and foremost I want to say that being a part of Celebrity Apprentice has definitely been one of the most difficult (and rewarding) things I have ever done in my life. It was such an amazing experience and an honor to have this opportunity to raise awareness about Epidermolysis Bullosa (EBKids.org), bring in more than $300,000 for this wonderful organization and receive countless Tweets and Facebook messages from families who live with EB.

Now, last night’s finale was quite the show! I am thrilled that my friend Leeza Gibbons reigned victorious after all of these weeks of challenges. Though I was a part of Geraldo Rivera‘s final team, and I gave 150 percent to helping him win for his charity, I think that the right person came out on top. Leeza played the game with grace and a spirit that made this extremely difficult endeavor a little easier for all of us that got to compete with her this season. She is, pure and simple, a class act!

The final challenge was to create a commercial for the Universal Orlando Resort. I am very proud of the commercial we produced, though we all did express concern that it was too “Geraldo-centric” – as many noticed, once Geraldo had an idea, there was no stopping him or his vision.

It was also clear how little Geraldo focused on his fellow teammates as he pronounced my name wrong – again – (Ian Zier-ling??) – and referred to Lorenzo Lamas‘s TV series as The Revenger (um, it was Renegade). I couldn’t resist coming up with my own name for our “leader”: #Geraldildo.

Despite those moments, it was an emotional moment when Tony Orlando joined our team and talked quite personally about his connection to Geraldo and his charity, Life’s WORC.

However, during Leeza’s presentation, she showed an incredible amount of heart and love for telling her mom’s story and explaining how and why she created Leeza’s Care Connection. Then, she brought out the big guns by introducing icon Olivia Newton-John to sing “Magic.” I mean really, who didn’t have a crush on Olivia? Even Vivica A. Fox admitted she has a “woman crush” on her! (Side note: I had a bucket list dream come true when I got to sing “Summer Nights” with her at her show in Las Vegas last summer!)

The finale show was also quite intense, and personalities continued to clash up to the end. I mean really, who could ever forget Vivica and Kenya Moore’s "phone-gate"? Being in the middle of them last night was quite the experience.

The season was certainly filled with many memorable moments – but in the end, with eight wins under her belt, it was hard not to crown Leeza the Celebrity Apprentice.

Having battled in the boardroom and for my charity, I want to thank Mr. Trump for this wonderful opportunity. It has definitely inspired me, and I am happy to say I now have my MBA from Trump University!

Now it’s time to move on to my next challenge – slaying more sharks! Sharknado 3 is coming, and there’s a new storm a-brewin’!

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