Andrea Lake, <EM>The Apprentice</EM> Andrea Lake, The Apprentice

Actually, she was boated off the island (Ellis Island, that is). Or you could say that her "torch was snuffed", unlike Lady Liberty's. Whatever Survivor-like way you want to put it, NBC's The Apprentice (Mondays at 9 pm/ET) bid Andrea Lake adieu last week when Synergy churned out an Ellis Island brochure that was tired, poor and just shy of being wretched refuse. But why did the San Diego resident take the bullet for the bungling? In a chat with TVGuide.com, Andrea revealed the real reason her teammates loathed her so.

TVGuide.com: I've been doing these Apprentice interviews for years, and you're definitely the first sticker-company owner I've talked to.
Andrea Lake:
Well, look at that! I actually own four businesses, but StickerJunkie is the one that is most easily accessible to the masses via the Internet. I chose to single out that company for my bio so that sales would increase. Have you been to StickerJunkie.com?

TVGuide.com: I poked around StickerJunkie.com as well as T-shirtJunkie.com, where I would have ordered a shirt but refused to order the minimum of 12.
Andrea:
Did you check out AndreaLake.com? I also have DelinquentDistribution.com and LuxuryWeddingPackages.com. Those are all my companies.

TVGuide.com: I have to wonder if you might have benefited from an EllisIslandBrochureJunkie.com.
Andrea:
[Laughs] Perhaps, maybe that's next.

TVGuide.com: I was thinking about the last time Synergy lost  ages ago, on the Grape-Nuts task  and you were in charge of graphic design there, as well. Do you think your highly touted skills simply weren't Apprentice-applicable?
Andrea:
For goodness sake. I have a team of graphic designers that are extremely talented who work for me [on my businesses]. But because I know how to do so many different things, [my teammates were] like, "She's a graphic expert." Here's the thing: What you saw on the show was not the final product of our brochure. Our brochure was very nice. Even Tarek [from rival Gold Rush] said, "Yeah, I think yours is nicer." The image you saw on there with the Statue of Liberty superimposed... Allie really wanted us to go in that direction. That's when I stood up and said, "I can't make this look good  it looks dumb, like it's floating there. You sit down and make it look good." Here's the deal: I was applying to run a $200 million company with 700 employees; I was not applying to be a graphic designer! I actually just talked to Donald Trump less than a half hour ago and he said, "You know what, Andrea? You just didn't defend yourself in the boardroom." He said he never would have fired me if I had defended myself.

TVGuide.com: Interesting. Does he typically call the people the day after?
Andrea:
No.

TVGuide.com: Any second thoughts about not taking the tour of Ellis Island? Might that have had any impact on the final product?
Andrea:
That wasn't my decision, that was Allie's decision. We took photographs while they went on the tour to get informational content. Our brochure really was nice.

TVGuide.com: I was impressed with how professional they both looked, considering the ridiculous time frame you were given.
Andrea:
I was given six hours to produce a 16-page brochure.

TVGuide.com: And one about serious business: Ellis Island. It's not a 16-page brochure on, like, the jeans Jessica Simpson likes to wear.
Andrea:
Right. [Laughs]

TVGuide.com: Did you arrange for Tammy to leave her notebook  and thus her and Allie  behind on Ellis Island? C'mon, you can tell me.
Andrea:
[Laughs] Is it just you and me talking here? No, of course I didn't.

TVGuide.com: I have to commend you on the use of Apprentice-suite eavesdropping.
Andrea:
Thank you.

TVGuide.com: Whenever I look at those flimsy walls, I wonder, "Why don't people eavesdrop more?" But you, you just went ahead and did it.
Andrea:
The walls only go up 6 feet, then they're open for 4 feet, so you can hear everything people say about you. There was an alliance that was formed against me on the second task, and that was a running theme. I had so much business experience, they were like, "We can't compete against her in the final task. She's going to rock that thing out of the park."

TVGuide.com: What'd you think of Allie's "There's going to be blood on the walls" boardroom forecast?
Andrea:
Oh my god, I would be horrified if I was her [saying that]. That is so going to be on VH1's Best Week Ever! I don't know what the hell was going on there. [The tone] was much more vicious, actually, than what was shown on TV. There was screaming and they were accusing me of all kinds of things that were untrue.

TVGuide.com: What was your favorite reward?
Andrea:
My favorite reward was Dasheaira [an 8-year-old cancer patient whom Synergy escorted on a Toys R Us shopping spree]. I lost my father to cancer, and to see a little girl like that [enjoying something] that can completely make her happy... it was awesome. The mother almost fainted when Donald Trump walked in; they didn't know he was coming, and they sort of didn't get that they had an unlimited amount of money to spend. I walked up to the mom and said, "Donald Trump is a very rich man and he's going to buy all these toys for Dasheaira. Tell her to pick out everything she wants."

TVGuide.com: What was your least favorite task?
Andrea:
[Laughs] Probably Ellis Island... but I'll say Norwegian Cruise Lines. The task itself was fun, but the team effort wasn't, and it wasn't fun for me the way it came out looking. I actually had a very valid business point, but it looked like I was just picking on Roxanne, which was not the case.

TVGuide.com: Do you think that's when the wheels started coming off the bus for you and your chances?
Andrea:
Oh, no. The alliance was formed against me way before that, when we had our private reward [lunch at the Wharton Club] with Donald Trump. Here's some inside scoop on what happened: I know it didn't come off on the show, but I'm actually a very charismatic person. [Laughs] It was half an hour before lunch was going to be ready, so Donald Trump and I had a private conversation for 20 minutes while we were waiting. We walked into the room and he said, "Andrea, where are you going to sit?" I said "I want to sit next to you," and so we talked the whole time, for maybe an hour and a half. He would break off to take questions from other people, which is what you saw, but he kept going, "Do you see how smart Andrea is? Oh, Andrea, you're successful, blah, blah, blah...." This is when the women really started to see me as a major threat.

TVGuide.com: Uh-oh, teacher's pet!
Andrea:
And on the first task! What continued to happen as things went on further was they'd make these unbelievable accusations about me. At one point, Roxanne accused me of poisoning her food. One other thing that was seen on the clip show was that we did this "shake your ass" dance-off with Bill Rancic, and all of the women in the suite participated except me. Their point of view was that I'm rude for not going, but my point of view is that I'm horrified. What woman, as a business leader, would do this? They're literally drunk and grabbing their asses! From that point on, I didn't take them seriously.

TVGuide.com: What's this silliness in your bio about you not having a television?
Andrea:
I did not own a television for almost all of my adult life. But as soon as I was on The Apprentice, I bought myself one of those crazy 42-inch, high-definition plasma TVs.

TVGuide.com: I suppose that almost makes up for the years without.
Andrea:
Right. [Laughs]

TVGuide.com: Tell me about how Office Space forever changed your business career.
Andrea:
I went to the movies the weekend it came out, and at the time I was working for a corporation as an escrow officer. I actually didn't have a cube, I had an office, but the projects were so horrendous and the office was so terrible.... I saw Office Space and the next Monday morning I woke up and said, "If I am doing this in 20 years, I will shoot myself in the head." So I walked into the office and I quit. That was the last corporate job I ever had, so thank you, Office Space!

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