What's a sure way to get yourself booted from The Apprentice? Take an inherently dry software product, like Microsoft's LiveMeeting, and make it appear even more lackluster. Such was the error message Felisha Mason and — hey, not so fast, you, too! — Alla Wartenberg got from Donald Trump last week, leaving Randal and Rebecca to square off in the final showdown. Here's what the former teammates had to say to TVGuide.com about their blink-and-it's-gone alliance.
TVGuide.com: So, has your friendship mended much since that torrid war of words in the boardroom?
Felisha Mason: Honestly, Alla is Alla. She looks at things very differently than I do. She has not apologized for saying those things about me, let me be clear about that. I wrote on my blog site that "the journey is just as important as the destination," [while Alla is more like] "whatever it takes to get to the end."
Alla Wartenberg: Has it mended much? We're friends, we're great friends. Everything is good.
TVGuide.com: Alla, what'd you think when, after firing Felisha, Trump ordered you to sit down, and then Cobra'd you as well?
Alla: I was stunned. Absolutely stunned. When you think you've dodged the chopping block, you want to run out of there! But he was like, "Not so fast, Alla. Sit back down."
Felisha: I was shocked. There are so many things I'd love to tell you, but legally I can't. Man, would I unleash if I weren't under a confidentiality agreement!
TVGuide.com: Alla, were any references made to your past as an exotic dancer that weren't aired?
Alla: I think Trump's been somewhat forward about it — he has talked about it on [The Tonight Show with] Jay Leno and Access Hollywood — but on The Apprentice, it never came out, no.
TVGuide.com: Felisha, were you afraid all along that you'd break down on camera — as you did — once your firing seemed imminent?
Felisha: No, I really wasn't. When I was crying before at dinner... As you probably know, my father had died just before I went on The Apprentice, but he really wanted me to do it. In fact, the day he died he next-day aired a hat to my ex-boyfriend that said "You're Fired!" That's the very last thing we know he did alive, and that night he had a heart attack, his very first one, and died, at 54 years old. My mother died when I was 13, so it was catastrophic, I can't even tell you. So being on The Apprentice took on a whole new meaning. At that [pre-boardroom] dinner, I said to Alla, "You know, I believe that what I say has an effect on your life outside this, as it does with everybody, and I take that into account," and she turned to me and said, "Well, that's funny, because I don't. I'm here to win, and I'll do and say what it takes." Right at that moment there was a separation — it was clearly "Game on." There was a very clear line drawn in the sand. That was one of the reasons we butted heads during the task
TVGuide.com: It looked like either of you, instead of Adam, could have been booted for the previous Shania Twain task. Did you think your time had come?
Felisha: No. In fact I was shocked that the boardroom went the way that it did. I was freaking devastated. I was like, "Are you kidding me?!" I'm the one who said, "We need employees, we need employees," and I stressed to these agencies that they need to be nice-looking and speak English, and it wasn't me sending them home, it was Alla. After, I said to her, "How could you do that to me? We always said we'd be honest." I felt betrayed.
Alla: On that particular task, I knew I was safe. There was a lot of behind-the-scenes stuff that you'll never know or we can never tell, but I was very, very safe. I shined on that task.
TVGuide.com: What was your favorite reward?
Felisha: The Dick's task [where the winners flew out on a jet to Montauk], without a doubt. I flew jump seat in a G4, and I'm a pilot, so it was awesome. An all-glass cockpit, brand-new airplane? And then later sitting around the fire? I think they put a lot of thought into that. But some of those rewards were lame, really.
Alla: Hmm... gosh, my favorite is the one I didn't get to go on, the Michael Kors reward.
TVGuide.com: Clay had the same answer.
Alla: Don't talk to me about Clay. Seriously, don't talk to me about Clay. Michael Kors is one of my favorite designers. I wore his shoes on the show all the time, I wore his suits.... I love the guy and think he's amazing and has such an edge over the competition. I'm very much into couture clothing — everything I wore was Chanel, Versace, Valentino — so when Trump told the other team they'd get outfitted by Michael Kors, they didn't focus on the other team, they focused on my face. They knew I was livid. It was horrible.
TVGuide.com: Alla, you were born in the capital of Moldavia. Has that area rebounded since the big Dynasty massacre?
Alla: Oh, my gosh. It's a mess down there, it really is. [Laughs]
TVGuide.com: Would either of you have preferred to be fired sooner than the Final Four, or make it into the finals only to lose?
Felisha: Again, there are so many things legally I can't say, but "it's not always how it seems." I'm very happy with what I did and I would not change anything. People have e-mailed me and said, "Would you take Alla out in the boardroom? If you sensed that Trump didn't want Alla or had you not cried or something, do you think you would have gone on?" I wouldn't have changed anything. When I went into that boardroom, I had just spoken to my twin brother, and he was devastated [that I might be fired], saying,
"Honey, I don't get it." I hadn't seen him since my father's funeral, so it was tough. I carried that weight with me into the boardroom.
Alla: Beep-beep-beep, lets be technical about it — it was the final three for me. I definitely was playing to win, no question about it. No challenge was a challenge for me. To be the last woman standing before the final two, frankly I'm happy with that. A lot of people picked me and Randal to be the final two, but it is what it is.
TVGuide.com: Alla, your bio touts you as a movie addict, even saying one of the films you recommend is White Chicks. Really? I mean, do you really?
Alla: I do! I'm a movie junkie — good, bad, whatever ratings, I see every movie that comes out.
TVGuide.com: What's next for you?
Alla: I've been getting like 5,000 to 6,000 e-mails a day, so people are very intrigued. As you know, I have somewhat of a stormy, controversial past, and yet I'm a huge success story and, I guess, very motivating to a lot of people — I want what I want no matter what the cost is. I've made mistakes and learned by them, and people want to read about that, so I'm writing a tell-all that will be on the stands in March, which coincides with the start-up of Apprentice 5. I've also got a clothing line coming out called Pink in the Middle that's going to compete with Juicy Couture, and also I've got a jewelry line that's a cross between Stephen Dweck and David Yurman, but at a more affordable price point. I'm also heavily involved in my real-estate ventures.
TVGuide.com: Yeah, yeah, you all have real-estate ventures. After 11 of these Q&As, I'm a little real-estated out, frankly.
Alla: I know, but I'm taking a more entrepreneurial approach to it. There are speaking engagements I'm going to get involved in, especially with the Jewish community, and commercials, endorsements... the regular path that any successful Apprentice should take. I'm definitely capitalizing on the opportunity.
TVGuide.com: And you, Felisha?
Felisha: Unlike most of the Apprentices, I'm not doing book deals, I'm not trying to get all these "things" going. My life was pretty fabulous before I did the show — I own a hotel, a condo development and a commercial building in downtown Kansas City. My hotel just opened and it's 100 percent occupied — it's a great success. So I'm swamped! I haven't even had time to think about writing my memoirs of The Apprentice. It seems like everybody's doing the same thing.
TVGuide.com: After all, how many Apprentice memoirs can Barnes & Noble stock?
Felisha: And how many are people going to be interested in? If that's what the others want to do, that's fine, but my life was so full before I got on The Apprentice, I've hardly had time to chase after the smaller rewards that could come out of it.