Friends of Jennifer M. likened last Thursday's finale of The Apprentice to the movie Gladiator, in which Russell Crowe's character is stabbed in the back before being thrown into the arena for a final clash. Trump, claiming to be "undecided," invited executives, former contestants, audience members — heck, maybe even a few teens who thought they were calling in to MTV's TRL — to weigh in on the winner. In the end, the 30-year-old lady lawyer lost out to Kelly and his West Point background. As we said, it wasn't pretty, and Jennifer M. tells TV Guide Online why.TV Guide Online: So, have you forgiven Mr. Trump for that little verbal jockeying he did at the very end that seemed to be leading to the declaration of your victory, but instead ended with him saying, "You're... fired"?
Jennifer M.: You know, I think ultimately Mr. Trump is a showman. I think it was a bit lacking in business integrity, but again, that's the performance he wanted to put on. It wasn't only me that was disappointed — I have over 400 e-mails that reflect a lot of shock people felt witnessing that live finale. It really compromised the demographic of that show; you have a lot of really intelligent business individuals out there, and a lot were really disgusted by the way that things went down. TVGO: The deck seemed stacked against you; you got beat 15-5 in that round of audience polling.
Jennifer M.: I want to mention the comment made by Matt Calamari, Mr. Trump's COO. What's interesting is that many of these people that were paraded out in support of Kelly, I had either never met before or only met in passing. I think Matt Calamari and I have exchanged maybe three words. When he replaced George on one task, I greeted him with a handshake and that was the extent of our interaction. So to have this individual make such a strong statement as "I don't like Jennifer," it seemed he was really trying to cut a woman like me off at the knees. TVGO: Still, you had a few people pushing for you there.
Jennifer M.: I want to acknowledge [fellow contestant] John for really stepping up for me and expressing his indignation at the unprofessionalism that was taking place. [Season 1 player] Omarosa also stood up at the very end and called it a disgrace to women. TVGO: Not to knock the military at all, but do you think Kelly's West Point and Army experience got extra play because of, shall we say, "the current world climate"?
Jennifer M.: You know, I think that's a very good point. There was a lot of emphasis made on Kelly's time at West Point and that was, I believe, almost a decade ago. I felt like the focus should be on what he's currently doing as a 37-year-old male in the software industry. At the end of the day, I'm a 30-year-old attorney competing against a 37-year-old with a West Point background. We're very different people, and I guess I didn't fit the profile that Mr. Trump was obviously looking for. TVGO: Something Trump and others kept touching upon is that your teammates "didn't like you." As my Jewish grandmother would say, "What's not to like!"
Jennifer M.: When that comment about not being liked first came out, it was made by Ivana during the Levi's task. At that point, it was down to, like, five or six people. I was very well liked throughout the competition by many of my team members until it came down to the end; I don't know what the relevance of being likable is when you're down to five people competing for a single job. I make reference to a great sports analogy: Everyone wants to tackle the guy with the ball. TVGO: Which of the tasks did you find to be the most fun?
Jennifer M.: Definitely the QVC task. Maria actually is a professional motivational speaker... TVGO: ...as she often told us...Jennifer M.: ...and my teammates were really impressed by my performance. I was originally supposed to be a backup and I was put in at lead [to replace Maria]. To be able to get up there and give a live, on-air performance with no training, no coaching, showed that I could step up to the plate. One of the misguided comments I heard throughout the season was that I "flew under the radar," and I think that was a perfect example of how I actually stepped up to the plate and contributed. TVGO: Which fellow contestants might you keep in touch with?
Jennifer M.: Andy and Raj are two of my favorites. Andy is a really classy individual who showed a tone of positive and respectful competitiveness throughout the cast. For that reason, I'm really looking forward to keeping up with Andy. Who I'm not going to keep in touch with is Ivana. The comments she made on the show about me were a disgrace to women everywhere. Ultimately, she was her own worst enemy. TVGO: Do you have any thoughts on The Apprentice 3, which will pit people with book smarts against those with street smarts?
Jennifer M.: I'm a little mystified by the premise; I really think the best candidate is someone that has both. So I don't really understand why they're making that divide. TVGO: What are your life plans now, both professionally and personally?
Jennifer M.: I'm still employed by my law firm, but at the same time, I've got many business ambitions. I have been approached about writing a book, I've been approached to do legal commentary... I still have many tricks left up my sleeve. The whole reason I did this show was that I honestly wanted to segue into the business world, while at the same time maintaining my very strong interest in the law. On the personal side, I have been married for two years to a wonderful man who has been very supportive of me. For him to have to sit in the audience at the finale the other night and witness that display... I think I felt worse for him than he felt for me.