Last week's Apprentice saw New Yorker Tara Dowdell's downfall at the hands of her Net Worth teammates. As fans will recall, her plan for a community-friendly mural promoting PlayStation 2's Gran Turismo 4 flopped big-time. Tara tried to blame John and Audrey for not telling her more about Turismo's concept, but Donald Trump placed the blame squarely on the 28-year-old government bureaucrat's shoulders. Here, she calls TVGuide.com to defend her actions — and to set the record straight about the persistent rumor that she's dating a certain brooding Single actor.

TVGuide.com: You sound pretty upbeat for...
Tara Dowdell:
...a firee? I don't dwell on it too long.

TVG: So Donald Trump showed up in Harlem, praised your mural, dissed team Magna's and then, all of a sudden, you were out. What happened?
Tara:
Everything just unraveled. Maybe Trump has great taste and Sony PlayStation doesn't? Seriously, I obviously had my heart in the right place, being concerned about the community where the mural was housed, but perhaps I put a little too much emphasis on that and didn't balance it enough with the client's interests.

TVG: Why didn't you test out the game yourself?
Tara:
That is the million-dollar question. There were people on the team who had experience playing it, so I sort of let them and watched. I figured had I played the game, I wouldn't have been able to get to any point where I could see the game because the car would have crashed so much. I'm not really an experienced video-game player.

TVG: Did you ever outright ask John or Andrea what the game was about?
Tara:
Well... we did have a period of time where we discoursed about what questions to ask Sony based on what people knew about the game. You just have such a finite amount of time to orchestrate these huge endeavors. I was so passionate about my idea. John liked my idea. Everybody liked it, initially. Everybody likes your idea until it doesn't work. During the periods where we had that discourse, I thought if they had concerns, they would raise them then. I didn't think they would raise them in critiques of me.

TVG: You said that if you didn't win, you'd lose street cred. Have you?
Tara:
[Laughs] I think they may have taken my card away. I got my NYC Street Credibility card and they lowered my credit limit.

TVG: What can you do to boost that back up?
Tara:
I'm working on it. I've got a list of things to do. I think I may have also lost some cool points.

TVG: That's a shame; cool-point demerits stay on your permanent record.
Tara:
I know! I'm thinking it is like your [driver's] license. You can work really hard and they let you have them back.

TVG: Were you pleased with the way you came across on TV?
Tara:
I was happy with my overall portrayal. I wish I had been shown more because on the fifth task — the mobile casting business — that was my idea. Everyone on the team will attest to that. But then would I rather have been seen more as a joke or less as a classy, dignified person? I would go with the latter on that one, and that is how it went down. I've gotten great opportunities as a result.

TVG: Like what?
Tara:
I have two book proposals that have drawn interest. One is about access to government resources for Joe Public Citizen. Then I have a cookbook. I do a lot of healthy foods and organic meals. The beauty of it is that it is geared toward single women and each recipe has a story to accompany it. I have a few recipes that have won over a few hearts, so I want to share the wealth.

TVG: Speaking of the heart, I heard you're dating Matt Dillon. Is that true?
Tara:
That is a pervasive rumor. We are friends! The rumors started on Page Six, saying that somebody caught us kissing on the street. [But we're] just simply friends.

TVG: Maybe if you cook him one of your recipes it could be more.
Tara:
[Laughs] That is so funny.

TVG: Would you ever do another reality show?
Tara:
I am not going anywhere and eating worms. I would do a business-type of show again. Tara and any kind of raw non-sushi dish does not work!

TVG: So you won't follow Omarosa's lead and do Fear Factor?
Tara:
That would never, ever happen in a million years.