On paper, The Apprentice: Martha Stewart's Amanda Hill looks like one of the most-qualified employees for any job you could dream of. The 30-year-old Texan is an attorney who has a degree in public relations, she has survived eye cancer (and thus does a lot of volunteer work for cancer research) and she loves to cook and host parties. Heck, on the Nov. 16 episode she even was concerned that her husband was going to mess up her garden-planting! Sounds like a model Martha if we've ever seen one. Alas, Ms. Stewart was underwhelmed by Amanda's lack of enthusiasm in selling coffeemakers. Here TVGuide.com begs Amanda to spill the beans on her experience.
TVGuide.com: How is your garden? You said you were worried about what your husband might do in your absence.
Amanda Hill: [Laughs] I'm surprised they highlighted that. If you knew me, you wouldn't say "... and gardener." That's just one of my hobbies. I probably cook and entertain more than I garden.
TVGuide.com: You seem very well rounded.
Amanda: Well, thank-you. I think that was my downfall — I didn't have one niche where it was like, "I'm passionate about this!" Marcela is really strong in that way. She was like, "This is what I want to do, and if you want me, that's great, but this is what I do."
TVGuide.com: You guys talked about how hard it was trying to figure out what Martha was looking for. Did you ever figure that out?
Amanda: No, I don't know what the criteria were. This is a very strange and surreal experience, because you're applying for a job that's undefined and the criteria for the job are undisclosed, so the job is very amorphous. All we did was try to work hard. There were several times when I felt like I was working so hard and they [made it look like] I was just standing around doing nothing. But it's all part of the game, it's not the be-all-end-all in my life. Overall, I thought the experience was fun and I met some great people. I'll have friends forever [because of it].
TVGuide.com: Is Jim really crazy?
Amanda: Jim's a character. I think he's done a pretty good job; he's good at playing the game.
TVGuide.com: Were you prepared for that?
Amanda: Actually, I didn't really take it that way; I took it as I really want to work for Martha Stewart. I've looked up to her, I've admired her. If I'm going to leave my husband and my life and my job for two months — it wasn't just to be on TV, that was not important to me — it was because I really wanted to work for Martha. I just treated it as a job interview. I kept winning, I was project manager, I figured that if I've been successful, I've led, and I've done really well, my record will support me. Ultimately, it was different than what I expected. It was more of a personality thing, Martha either wants this person or she doesn't.
TVGuide.com: It seems like the latest task is always weighted as the most important.
Amanda: And I certainly didn't make alliances and try to take people down.
TVGuide.com: OK, so you and Ryan weren't on a secret team against Marcela?
Amanda: No, no. [Laughs] We were both frustrated, you could tell, on that task. On the previous task, the editing made me look like I was a control freak trying to control every detail, so on this task, I almost tried to back off and say, "I don't have to win the task for everybody. You're the project manager, this is a competition, so prove to us what you can do: Lead us. You just called me controlling last week, so I'm backing off. You want to see me not be controlling, well here it is." They were like, "No, be how you used to be!" I'm like, "Which way do you want it?" It was fine.
TVGuide.com: They definitely had some scenes in which you appeared bored.
Amanda: Right, they always feed in those, and yet we worked so hard. It was funny, because Leslie and I were there all night, getting no sleep and working our tails off. I wish they had shown the scenes in which we were sweeping and mopping and running around. I was in charge of the decoration of the entire place, so I was running around doing that. At 1:30 in the morning, when Marcela asked, "Do you have any ideas?" I was like, "Are you kidding?! It's 1:30 in the morning and you're thinking we might need to have a marketing strategy? I've got a lot on my plate right now. Maybe you should have thought about that 12 hours ago."
TVGuide.com: Were you impressed with what the other team did to sell coffeemakers?
Amanda: I thought our space was just as beautiful as theirs. It was probably smart to hire someone for promotion, to get people in. Our real downfall was that we weren't focusing on hard-core selling, and the pastry chef was a little off focus.
TVGuide.com: People seemed to love the pastries!
Amanda: They sure did; they just didn't buy any coffeemakers. In a way, I probably could have been a bit more aggressive with selling, but when I got the sense that someone wasn't interested, I didn't know if I wanted to go over and be [all hyper], "Don't you want to buy a coffeemaker?!" and just scream at them. I was trying to be laid-back. Leslie and I sold the majority of the coffeemakers ourselves, so when I did sell, I would just beg people to buy them.
TVGuide.com: What's next for you?
Amanda: I don't know yet. I'm still practicing law, and doing that for now.
TVGuide.com: You are so nonchalant about it, like going to law school, passing the bar and having a business degree is no big deal.
Amanda: Yeah. I'm really excited. I'm looking forward to the next big thing. My life is full of challenges and I'm ready for the next challenge. I don't know what that's going to be, but I'm excited about it.
TVGuide.com: Do you want to do some sort of decorating?
Amanda: I'm doing a lot of writing, and I'd like to get some stuff published. Because of my cancer history and my strong faith, I'd really like to move into that direction. I want to do something that's motivating and positive to women — to sort of be an inspiration to those who may be going through their own struggles with cancer.
TVGuide.com: Would you ever consider doing something like this again? Maybe another reality show?
Amanda: Never another reality show. Never ever, ever! I didn't enjoy that part of it. It's not fun to always see yourself in a light that you don't want to be portrayed in. I never want to go on Battle of the Network Reality Stars. I want to take this into a really professional direction.