Since the creative Matchstick team has been rapidly dwindling due to failure on The Apprentice: Martha Stewart, the domestic diva decided to stage a corporate shakeup and reshuffle the Matchstick and Primarius members. Heading up the "new" Primarius team, Jennifer Le perhaps made a big mistake by choosing the loud and aggressive Jim to be part of her squad; his outspoken nature got them in trouble when they had to sell their newly designed Wishbone salad dressing and he got bad feedback from customers. TVGuide.com questioned Jennifer about why she didn't bench the buffoon and other pressing dressing issues.
TVGuide.com: So was this whole experience a little bit crazy, or was it actually fun?
Oh my god, it was crazy and fun. Of course it was crazy: We're operating on no sleep while doing usually a 48-hour turnaround on each task, but it was so much fun. I would do it again in a heartbeat.
TVGuide.com: In talking to other contestants, it seems like you never have time to eat during tasks. Working with food in that Wishbone project must have been so tempting!
Jennifer: Well, maybe we were eating and you didn't see it! I was like, "Let me hide behind this shelf and scarf it down because I'm going to pass out from hunger and no sleep." It was pretty funny. And chaotic.
TVGuide.com: Did Bethenny cook you guys anything in the kitchen?
Back in the loft, she was a great chef. That's why I selected her for my team — thankfully it was a cooking task, because she delivered.
TVGuide.com: That was pretty good timing for a switch-up.
We knew when Matchstick was declining that we definitely were going to have a reshuffle and we actually welcomed it. We were all looking forward to it but we were also apprehensive, because you have to start over.
TVGuide.com: It put you guys more at risk, because you had such a dominant team.
Jennifer: Definitely. We were on such a winning streak and were so confident. We knew that the only way to level the playing field was to mix it up.
TVGuide.com: At the beginning of the season, I was a bit skeptical about the teams being separated into "corporate" and "creative" groups because I thought for sure the creative team would have the edge.
Jennifer: That's funny; everyone kind of was thinking that at the beginning. Our tagline for Primarius [the corporate team] was "We're in the business of being creative." It doesn't matter how creative you are if you can't execute a business model or a business plan. Clearly, that's what was lacking with the original Matchstick. With all the creativity they had, they couldn't function as a business.
TVGuide.com: Do you regret picking Jim?
As you noticed, he was my last choice. The reason I chose him over Marcella is that I already had Bethenny-the-chef. I didn't want two chefs, and I had heard that despite Jim's mania, he was hardworking and contributed a lot. I felt that I was going to be able to rein him in and give him busy tasks so he wouldn't be disruptive.
TVGuide.com: But he was disruptive.
Jennifer: Oh, he definitely was disruptive. [Laughs] It worked against me; it was a double-edged sword. I knew that was going to be a risk so I had to blame myself for picking him. It's part of the game. Everyone had a character, and Jim just happened to be aggressive and noisy.
TVGuide.com: In addition to the things we saw on camera, was there anything he said off-camera that surprised you?
When we came back to the loft after the defeat, Jim kind of went berserk. He was really, really upset that it was the fifth consecutive loss for him. I'm friends with him now, but I was thinking, "Who is this psychopath?"
TVGuide.com: Is he playing to the cameras?
It's hard to tell, because it was so consistent the whole time I was there. I couldn't tell if he was acting or if this was the true Jim. Whether you love him or hate him, he's certainly entertaining, you've got to admit.
TVGuide.com: Why didn't you pull him off the floor after you got that comment from the store manager?
It was a tough decision because he's unpredictable. What they didn't show was that I had already talked to him one time before he was reprimanded by the manager. I reprimanded him for being too loud with customers and he didn't respond to that at all — he actually got a little louder. That's when I tried to find a strategy for striking a balance with him. You can't p--- him off, and you don't want to play it too safe. At that point in the game, it was a little late to be pulling a salesperson off the team, when our [goal] was to generate as much revenue as possible. My hope was just to get it done and sell as many as possible, and we were really close. That was the part that was heart-wrenching.
TVGuide.com: That's got to be killer, losing by only $20!
Jennifer: It was so devastating because we all worked so hard for it. To be told in the conference room that we lost by $20 was maddening to all of us.
TVGuide.com: So why did you want to go from being a lawyer to trying out for this show?
I've always been a fan of Martha [Stewart] and I wanted to try something different and take a risk. I've been with the D.A.'s office for a while and I wanted to try something new. I definitely have an entrepreneurial spirit and it taught me invaluable lessons. I've quit my job at the D.A.'s office, and I now have my own firm. It's taken me to different heights. I always knew trying out for the show would change my life and it did.
TVGuide.com: What did you do with Martha's letter?
I saved it. I am going to create a scrapbook. As painful as it was to watch my firing last night and to hear the comments and be surprised at different perceptions and the way it was edited... you don't want to forget anything like this. It was a truly amazing experience that I'll never forget and I can't wait to tell my kids about it.