In last week's Apprentice finale, Kendra Todd, 26, became the youngest player — and the first female — to be told "You're hired!" The dynamic Floridian realtor got off to a slow start but really powered through some tough tasks in the end. Of course, it didn't hurt that her final rival was the mouthy Tana Goertz. Here, TVGuide.com chatters with Donald Trump's newest employee about her adventure.
TVGuide.com: Why'd you choose the real-estate job in Florida when you already have that background? Wouldn't the Miss Universe job be more of a fun challenge?
Kendra Todd: Real estate is my life. It is not a profession, it is a lifestyle. I couldn't imagine a better fit.
TVG: In that case, this'll be a pretty cool job for the next year.
Kendra: Certainly. Before this show, I've always traveled around the country giving seminars and lectures on how to put your fear aside and invest your money in real estate. I've had clients who have had $20,000 in the bank or $20 million, it doesn't matter.
TVG: Sounds like you should write a book.
Kendra: I will have a book out in just a few months. The working title is Over the Edge with Eyes Open. It is about controlling risk and overcoming fear and, basically, building your dreams instead of dreaming them. We all have the potential to do what we want to do. You have to have the self-confidence.
TVG: When you walked in and met everyone on the first day, did you think, "What did I get myself into?" Or did you feel you could take all these people?
Kendra: [Laughs] I always knew that I could do it. You just never know what is going to happen day to day. [These] were real business circumstances. There were some challenges and obstacles to overcome that developed just in the course of us trying to get the job done.
TVG: Would Craig be considered one of those obstacles?
Kendra: No. I would not call Craig an obstacle. I would call Craig a learning experience. You are going to work with people whom you do not see eye-to-eye with. Here is the bottom line: It doesn't matter so much how someone gets the job done; as long as they retain their integrity in doing so, what matters is the results. It's important not to suffocate someone and their ideas, because not everybody has to be in the same mold. Individuality is important, and there are a thousand ways to skin a cat.
TVG: You really came out of your shell toward the end of this season.
Kendra: It wasn't really that I was coming out of my shell. I wasn't in the foreground the first couple of episodes because I stayed out of the drama. I got the job done.
TVG: If you'd had to cope with Tana's motley crew of employees on the final task instead of your staffers, would you still have been successful?
Kendra: Certainly. It's a people thing. When we were being interviewed by the CEOs, I asked them, "How did you get here?" And every one of them said, "The people around me. It's the team you build." They are absolutely right. People are going to work as hard or as little for you based on how much they respect you.
Kendra: I'm not upset at all. I didn't go out there to undermine my competition, I went there to outperform them. Actions speak louder than words. In the final boardroom, Mr. Trump asked me, "You had some team discord during the Pontiac task. Why didn't you take credit for that in front of the CEOs?" I said, "Because you always have to maintain a sense of teamwork. That is so important." I am not the kind of person who needs to go out there and advertise that I did this or that. A lot of us made contributions that were left on the cutting-room floor. You have to have that self-satisfaction. The five hours of sleep that I sacrificed made the difference between a good brochure and a great brochure. Here's the effect: [Pontiac] sold 1000 cars in 41 minutes.
TVG: When I talked to Tana the other day, she took credit for so much of the Pontiac task.
Kendra: I think it is frustrating for a lot of the candidates who have been fired — from all three [Apprentice] shows — to feel as if they were misrepresented. But here's the thing: We all realized that was a risk when we signed up for it. There are many times where I wasn't given credit for contributions. Even if I had lost [and] Tana had been the Apprentice, in my heart and in my mind, I would still have been a winner. I promised myself I would go in there being classy and respectful and honest and [have] character.
TVG: At the finale, you behaved a little more professionally than Tana did.
Kendra: We are just very different people. Tana is one of the most dynamic people I've ever met. I think that she was just having a very passionate moment. I don't know what else to say except that was her way of expressing herself. I'm not going to say if that was good, bad or indifferent.
TVG: You had a chance to watch the penultimate episode before the live finale. Were you feeling confident after seeing that?
Kendra: I've always been confident, so I was confident in myself. I was pleased with how I performed over the 16 weeks. I had come across [on television] just as I was — a person with honesty and integrity. I don't celebrate prematurely. It is not over until Donald Trump says, "You're hired." Quite frankly, you never know which direction he is going to go. Erin winked at him and — boom! — she was fired. She had been a star up until that point. So it is not over until you hear those two beautiful words.
TVG: Are you nervous about being the first female Apprentice?
Kendra: No, I'm not nervous at all. I feel as if I now have a lot of responsibility to represent women in a positive light. The fact that a twentysomething woman [won] just goes to show that there's no mold for a successful entrepreneur.
TVG: During the finale, it was revealed that you and Chris are in business together. He's the last person I would have guessed you'd team up with.
Kendra: Why so?
TVG: He seems like a loose cannon; you seem very together.
Kendra: I will tell you this: Chris is the most mature 22-year-old I have ever met, hands down. He is a go-getter [who] runs an extremely successful real-estate business in Las Vegas, which is the nation's hottest market right now. Donald Trump is in Vegas. I went out there and checked out Chris' operation. I was extremely impressed with everything that he's accomplished at such a young age. Quite frankly, he's not that much of a hothead. You have to understand that on television, things appear to be very different than they are. He is very loud. He's not screaming, he's just excitable.