'The Apprentice' Season 10 Winner: Brandy Kuentzel is Hired
"I'm honestly just digesting it all," Brandy told AOL Jobs. "I was preparing myself for Clint to win. Now I go home and pack and wait for the call."
The two-part finale had contestants planning large scale events at the Trump National Golf Course in Westchester, N.Y. Brandy managed a golf tournament with Kathy Griffin for entertainment; Clint Robertson planned a gala headlined by Liza Minnelli.
Part Two opened with Clint's team fixing a misspelled celebrity name in the nick of time. Even so, Ivanka Trump expressed concern with Clint's ability to lead in addition to delegate after checking in on him.
Over at Team Brandy, VIPs, including former NFL and NHL players, hit the golf course. Her first error, sending the photographer to the wrong golf course, was remedied. Her second error placed Donald Trump in a golf threesome. In a scramble format, three players is a disadvantage. Brandy picked up the slack and scored MSNBC hosts Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough to join him. Kathy Griffin took to the golf course to add some sass to the event. Ivanka praised the golfer photos branded with Trump National, but later Brandy took heat for poor quality golf merchandise as prizes.
As the gala started, flow through the buffet line was an issue. Don Jr. shot a look implying concern with Clint's ability to feed more than 500 people in an hour. But he did it with time to spare. He emceed the event with his Texas accent and a lot of "Y'all"s. Later, he would be questioned about a lack of "polish" in his approach, which was actually just genuine "Texas." The classic tune 'New York, New York' and a standing ovation closed out Liza's show.
Both finalists felt like winners. But there could only be one. In the boardroom, four of the six ex-contestants preferred Brandy as a leader. The finalists, both former attorneys, had to prove their cases. Clint ran down his resume. Brandy did not. Clint said, "I'm a CEO in a box." Brandy said, "I would love the chance to work alongside Ivanka, Don, or Eric, the next generation [of Trumps]."
Brandy told AOL Jobs before the final boardroom, she and Clint were given 15 supervised minutes to surf the Internet and find out where they would want to be in the Trump Organization. Clint chose golf real estate and spoke of hotels and resorts. Brandy didn't need to go online; she already knew.
And so season 10 of 'The Apprentice' ended with Trump announcing, "Clint, you're fired! Brandy, congratulations. I look forward to having you as the Apprentice."
Brandy and Clint speak to AOL Jobs
AOL Jobs sat down with Brandy and Clint on the afternoon of the big reveal to talk about their journey. Since shooting ended in July, Brandy and Clint commiserated with each other after the show aired each week. They saw episodes for the first time when viewers did.
Why were they the two left standing? It's simple, according to Brandy.
"You have to be the same on camera as off camera," she said.
They would not name names of those they disliked, but agreed that Steuart Martens and Stephanie Castagnier were true contenders. They said other contestants were nice people off camera, even if editing presented them as otherwise.
Head to head
Living in San Francisco, Brandy is an Alaska-bred deal lawyer who finds passion in animal rights issues. A layoff led her to start a cupcake truck with a friend which she just sold. She liked law, but believes that things happen for a reason.
Clint, a Texan through and through, moved his family to Idaho when the economy tanked and he had to sell his house. He prefers his real estate business to practicing law. He lives by his faith and strong belief in God.
The original 16 contestants' ages spanned about 25 years. Brandy is 30; Clint is 40. While age can lead to more life experience, it didn't necessarily predict a winner. Clint, a pile of energy, claimed a sense of urgency related to his stage of life.
"I'm there because I want to win and I have a wife and three boys at home," he says. "The fat 40-year-old guy is invigorated!"
Brandy says the basic elements to success are bigger than age. "There are many things that contribute to success; age is not the defining factor," she says.
Behind the scenes
Viewers have no idea how strictly the contestants were monitored. They only got one ten-minute phone call (monitored by a producer on speakerphone) every night. Both finalists admitted to tearful calls with loved ones because the show was definitely a stressful experience.
That's Mr. Trump to you
Fans of the show know that contestants call Donald Trump, "Mr. Trump." Viewers don't get to see much of Trump's playful side, or what Brandy calls, "The Donald" (never to his face, of course).
"He takes things very seriously, but he doesn't lose the human element," says Brandy. "It's his humor that cuts the tension."
Once you're on Trump's good side, you're golden. To all the previously fired contestants in the boardroom, he said, "If I can ever help you, you can call." That's quite an invitation!
Clint is a person of strong faith, which guides him through life. When it came to 'The Apprentice,' he learned some additional lessons. He says his hope and faith in the world was reaffirmed. He also learned to "play better in the sandbox."
"I was never much of a collaborator," he says. "I learned that."
"I learned that I needed to work harder and smarter," says Brandy. "And that it's ok to make mistakes."
Fans of the show saw that while they're both "Type A," Brandy is more laid back in her approach than Clint.
"Being cool under fire, [like Brandy], is something we can all learn from," he said.
Clint, who celebrates his 18th anniversary this year, has three boys ages ten, twelve, and fourteen, living in northern Idaho. He said once he was sobbing on that phone call. Brandy recalls one teary call to her boyfriend when she had a particularly hard day and could barely speak.
Phones were taken out of their hotel rooms. Televisions did not have QVC on their channel selections since a task took place at that. No iPods either, because they are "recordable devices."
"It was very isolated," says Brandy.
The show also takes a physical toll. Clint lost 24 pounds. Brandy took it upon herself to make sure Liza Mucheru-Wisner was eating as she was very thin to begin with.
Where are Clint and Brandy today?
Both Clint and Brandy are now getting recognized in public. From New York to Las Vegas, Idaho to Anchorage, these two have many fans. Social media has helped connect them both to their fans and their detractors. Early on, it was hard to take fan criticism, but their skin grew thicker over time.
"I never thought anyone would give a flip about what this guy from Texas says," say Clint. Now, the former real estate attorney and developer is getting offers for speaking engagements.
Brandy says she's heard from students at her alma mater who have taken comments she made in the boardroom to heart. "It's very humbling to think you're inspiring other people," She says.
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Carol Berman, an award-winning journalist, writes the blog, The Scribble Lounge, a unique take on current events and pop culture. She's New York bred and now lives outside Philadelphia.
Over more than 15 years, she spent many years in broadcast journalism as a producer, followed by a short award-winning stint in public relations and now makes a happy return to journalism. An avid news junkie, Carol is also a runner, a recovering triathlete, and dog lover. She loves to bake for friends and family and volunteer with different non-profits.