She plays a good game of The Apprentice (on crutches no less), and damn if she doesn't look like the love child of Sandra Bullock and Evangeline Lilly. Even so, Rebecca Jarvis was passed over last Thursday in favor of Randal Pinkett, who had the chance to green-light her a job with Trump, as well, but... um, didn't. What would Rebecca have done in the same sitch? And what secrets does she have to spill about her final task? Here's what the 23-year-old Chicagoan shared with TVGuide.com in an eye-opening Q&A.
TVGuide.com: Did you suspect that you and Randal might both walk away from the finale with jobs, as had been rumored?
Rebecca Jarvis: The one thing I learned from this experience is to always expect the unexpected. I think everyone had heard the rumor that he might hire both of us, so I went into the finale thinking that was a possibility — but also knew it may not be.
TVGuide.com: Do you fault Randal for not giving you the nod? I gave him some gruff for his unpopular decision.
Rebecca: I'm not going to give Randal any gruff because he is entitled to his opinion and he made his business decision. I will say that if I was in the same situation, I definitely would have hired Randal, because as a businesswoman and someone who has been a leader and manager of people, when you see talent you have to snatch it up before the competition does. If you choose to let that talent go, it's more than likely to your own detriment.
TVGuide.com: On the final task, did you really raise zero dollars on behalf of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation? I would have figured that by the time of the live finale, some donation envelopes would have come in.
Rebecca: Donations absolutely came in — the number is an undisclosed amount — and not just through the event itself but through the fact that Yahoo!, as a partner in the event, put the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation on its website, so that people could actually donate directly. You're talking about millions of dollars that could potentially come in, in addition to Yahoo! making its donation [during the telecast]. Would I have loved to have raised a lot of money right then and there [at the comedy event]? Absolutely. But having [founded a nonprofit organization], I'll tell you something — fund-raising is a long-term game. You want to develop long-term relationships with potential donors. You want to make donors comfortable with the idea of the foundation so it's not just a onetime shot but a long-term relationship. Big donors consistently gave money to my organization over the years — that's how we ended up making $750,000 to give to Minnesota communities to start programs for disenfranchised young people.
TVGuide.com: Here is something I always wondered: If you had been fired during the season, would they have had someone help you carry your bags to the cab?
Rebecca: [Laughs] If they would have let Toral come back to help me, she absolutely would have. Toral got kind of a bad rap throughout the season because of some of the comments she made, but she's great. She wasn't just supporting me because "we're friends," she supported me because we respect each other as businesswomen who have worked in industries that are cutthroat, where women have to hold their own with their education, background, credibility and self-respect. We saw that in one another, and that's why we came to each other's aid.
TVGuide.com: So she deserves more respect than, say, Alla and Felisha, who were making faces and rude gestures behind your back during the live finale?
Rebecca: Look, I'm not saying anything about Alla and Felisha; I'm talking about Toral. My back was to [Alla and Felisha] the whole time, so I don't really know what faces they made. I haven't relived the moment! [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: So when did your cast come off?
Rebecca: Ironically enough, the cast came off the day after we finished filming. One of the hardest and saddest moments for me — and this is an inside scoop I haven't shared with anyone else — was that the day before we started the final task, I was supposed to get my cast off. But when the doctor x-rayed my ankle, they said I had been putting too much pressure on it and it wasn't healing as quickly as they had been hoping. Here I was thinking, "I am going into this last task a walking woman!" and they told me, "Sorry, you need to keep the cast on for six more days." That was such a letdown because I was looking forward to being able to [finish up] on my two feet.
TVGuide.com: Have you thought about marketing a T-shirt that says, "I went on The Apprentice and all I got was a broken ankle"?
Rebecca: [Laughs] I think that is grossly underestimating the outcome for me. In a million years, I never would have expected ever to break a bone on The Apprentice. On Survivor, maybe!
TVGuide.com: Joe Piscopo's decision to back out of hosting your final task due to "union problems" seemed suspect to me. I mean, wouldn't any such conflict have been foreseen sooner?
Rebecca: Those are exactly my thoughts. My immediate reaction was, "If Joe Piscopo is dropping out at the last minute, let's have a talk with his union and we'll make it all work out," but I was told, "No, you can't make a call to the union [and] you can't talk to Joe anymore." I don't know if they showed this, but Joe Piscopo came to the event at the end; maybe — and this is my own personal inference — that is a sign that some external factor, whether it was a union, NBC, [Apprentice executive producer] Mark Burnett or whatever, forced him to not present, but somewhere inside of himself he couldn't handle the idea of not supporting a good cause. He did the right thing by showing up, and I commend him for doing that.
TVGuide.com: I've been skeptical of these final task "setbacks" since Season 1 when Jessica Simpson got "lost" on the way to a benefit concert — although with what we have learned of her since then, that one kinda makes more sense.
Rebecca: I'll be honest, this was the one instance where I ever considered there was some kind of interference going on. Reporting factually, as I would, I was skeptical of what was taking place when we were told we couldn't follow up with Joe Piscopo. And in addition to being skeptical of that, five minutes before Carolyn showed up, we had videos on like 20 different screens of children who had benefited from the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation, to give everybody a better sense of what the foundation did, but that video was pulled by production right before the event opened because we could not get [release] agreements for all of the children in the video.
TVGuide.com: Your reaction to your boyfriend Matt showing up during your final reward was... well, underwhelming.
Rebecca: [Laughs] First of all, he and I are still together; he has been a wonderful support throughout all of this. I knew going into this that it was a business decision, so in part I was a little bit uncomfortable....
TVGuide.com: Mixing business with pleasure?
Rebecca: Not only mixing it from my perspective, but I wanted to protect [Matt]. I was the one who made the decision to be [on television, not him]. In addition to that, I was standing on a boat, on one leg with crutches.... [Laughs] If I hadn't been on crutches, I would have hopped up and given Matt an immediate hug, but hopping on a boat that's floating is different than being on solid ground!
TVGuide.com: The cynic in me thought you might have been thinking, "Look at me, making the finals of The Apprentice! I am so breaking up with my boyfriend when I'm done with — egads, he's here!"
Rebecca: No, no, that wasn't the thought in any way at all. Someone [in a radio commentary] said something to the effect of, "Oh, there's my pre-Apprentice boyfriend." [Laughs] Some people may have gone into this hoping to gain closer friendships with random people — people who recognize them on the street or at a bar, or getting a boyfriend or lover out of it — but that's not the intention I went into this with. Matt and I are doing absolutely great.
TVGuide.com: Lastly, what is next for you? Plug away, now — book titles, dot-coms, what-have-you.
Rebecca: I wish I could tell you details, but there are so many things on the table right now, and before I say anything I need to give each and every one of them the consideration they deserve. I'm not saying that I wouldn't take this offer or that I would, but on the Today show, Yahoo! offered me a position with its corporate team, working with Suzy Orman and a number of other columnists. There are also other offers coming in that have not been disclosed to the media yet. Obviously, I wanted the job with Mr. Trump and I went after it wholeheartedly — I never, ever would have gone through the whole thing on crutches had I not — but given how the chips fell, now I get to make the decision. I am the owner of my own destiny, and that's a great feeling!