Celebrity Apprentice: Which Contestants Are Up To The Job?
Once again, a gaggle of celebrities and semi-celebrities from the 1980s will duke it out before Donald Trump and America in the hopes of winning a quarter million for the charity of their choice.
Most famous faces have some kind of business acumen. That's how their faces got famous to begin with.
But AOL Jobs has assessed the careers of each of the 18 contestants to see who has the chops to impress the judges, and who will flail and fail before our giddy voyeuristic eyes.
- <p> The <a href="http://www.startrek.com/database_article/takei">helmsman of "Star Trek's" USS Enterprise</a>, <a href="http://www.advocate.com/News/Daily_News/2011/12/12/George_Takei_Calls_For_Star_Peace/">"Twilight"-hater</a>, and outspoken <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UACK93xF-FE">advocate for gay rights</a> and <a href="http://www.allegiancemusical.com/video/george-takei-and-japanese-american-internment">Japanese-American friendship</a> is no stranger to reality TV. He spent three weeks in the Australian Bush on "I'm a Celebrity ... Get Me Out of Here!" and placed third, because he's just such a nice dude. A 74-year-old <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VxAzoI4U5oU">really nice dude</a>. Niceness, however, may not cut it in the business world. If Takei does win, however, the money will be going to the Japanese American National Museum. Such a nice dude!</p>
- <p> There's some business cunning behind Aiken's forever-15-year-old eyes. He managed to segue his "American Idol" runner-up status into a sparkling career, <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clay_Aiken_discography">including five albums</a>, a <em>New York Times</em> <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Learning-Sing-Hearing-Music-Your/dp/1400063922">bestselling book</a>, a <a href="http://www.playbill.com/news/article/111931-Clay-Aiken-to-Make-Broadway-Debut-in-Monty-Pythons-Spamalot">Broadway run</a>, a <a href="http://www.unicef.org/infobycountry/somalia_44691.html">UNICEF ambassadorship</a>, as well as his own charity, <a href="http://www.inclusionproject.org/">The National Inclusion Project</a>, which he'll be playing for in the show.</p>
- <p> Lampanelli already has a cozy relationship with Trump, having affectionately toasted him at <a href="http://www.comedycentral.com/shows/roast-donald-trump/index.jhtml">his Comedy Central roast</a>. "You've ruined more models' lives than bulimia," she chided. "You've disappointed more women than 'Sex and the City 2.' " Will Trump dash Lampanelli's hopes too? Regardless, the comedian can probably handle it, and it'll make good fodder for her routine. Lampanelli will be playing for the <a href="http://www.gmhc.org/">Gay Men's Health Crisis</a>.</p>
- <p> Meet the Meatloaf of Season 5. The Twisted Sister frontman already has some reality TV experience ("<a href="http://www.aetv.com/growing-up-twisted/">Growing Up Twisted</a>"). He also had the business sense to get <a href="http://www.roadrunnerrecords.com/blabbermouth.net/news.aspx?mode=Article&newsitemID=8393">Celine Dion to record a song that he wrote</a> without her knowing one of the world's most famous metalheads penned it. He'll be playing for the <a href="http://www.marchofdimes.com/">March of Dimes</a>, which works to improve prenatal care.</p>
- <p> Debbie Gibson is really big in Japan. She is also still the youngest person <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qf8BoWKeHow&ob=av2e">to write and record a No. 1 song</a>. She's also good at defusing rivalries, like the one she had with Tiffany ("I Think We're Alone Now") by co-starring with her in the sci-fi cult flick "<a href="http://blog.zap2it.com/frominsidethebox/2011/01/mega-python-vs-gatoroid-tiffany-debbie-gibson-snakes-and-catfights-like-old-times.html">Mega Python vs. Gataroid</a>," and has mastered many sectors of the entertainment world, from TV to Broadway. She'll be playing for <a href="http://www2.children.org/en/us/Pages/Home.aspx">Children International</a>.</p>
- <p> This is reality TV, where you often succeed because you make really good TV. And Hall has a lot of experience doing that. On <a href="http://www.museum.tv/eotvsection.php?entrycode=arseniohall">his late night talk show</a> in the early 1990s, he invented the move of pumping a fist in the air and shouting "Whoo, Whoo, Whoo!" for goshsakes. Hall will be playing for the <a href="http://magicjohnson.com/">Magic Johnson Foundation</a>.</p>
- <p> Jillette is a hard man to battle, because he happens to espouse all the philosophical positions most infuriating to argue against -- atheism, libertarianism, illusionism, etc. The magician also has made something of <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Penn_%26_Teller:_Bullshit%21">a career out of calling b*******</a>. Jilette's <a href="http://www.cato.org/people/penn-jillette">a fellow at the Cato Institute</a>, people! He's also a little bit of an entrepreneur, having secured a patent on a "for her" specially angled hot tub, named the "<a href="http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2010/10/celebrity-invention-penn-jillettes-bathtub-for-the-ladies/65007/">Jill-Jet</a>." He'll be playing for <a href="http://www.opportunityvillage.org/">Opportunity Village</a>, a Las Vegas charity for people with intellectual disabilities.</p>
- <p> Ruthlessness, thy name is Gotti. With the genes of one of the <a href="http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/gangsters_outlaws/mob_bosses/gotti/index_1.html">most famous mafia families</a>, the brains of a girl who <a href="http://www.biography.com/people/victoria-gotti-11418315">matriculated college at age 15</a>, the viciousness of a tabloid columnist, and the follow-through of <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Senators-Daughter-Victoria-Gotti/dp/0812571762/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_3">a bestselling novelist</a>, Gotti has all the credentials for victory. But Gotti has also made a few business errors in her day, like <a href="http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,166628,00.html">announcing that she had breast cancer</a> when she didn't really, which potentially led to <a href="http://realitytv.about.com/b/2005/12/15/whacked-growing-up-gotti-reportedly-cancelled.htm">the cancellation of her show "Growing Up Gotti."</a> She's playing for the <a href="http://www.a-b-c.org/">Association to Benefit Children</a>.</p>
- <p> As one of the several contestants that launched her career thanks to reality TV, O'Day is well schooled in standing out from the bunch. She was able to convince Diddy to pick her from 10,000 hopefuls, so there's a good chance that she can sway The Trump too. And TV audiences love O'Day. How else could she have scored her own reality show after <a href="http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1597082/aubrey-oday-d-woods-out-danity-kane.jhtml">an inglorious ouster from Danity Kane</a>? She's playing for the <a href="http://www.glsen.org/cgi-bin/iowa/all/home/index.html">Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network</a>.</p>
- <p> Giudice is one of those stay-at-home Real Housewives with secretly razor-sharp business prowess. She's published two bestselling Italian cookbooks by actually finding a way to make a <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Skinny-Italian-Enjoy-Bella-Great/dp/1401310354/ref=ntt_at_ep_dpt_1">carbohydrate-and-cheese-based diet low-calorie</a>. She's playing for the <a href="http://www.nephcure.org/">NephCure Foundation</a>.</p>
- <p> While the retired race car driver can be pretty awesome, he has a habit of being <a href="http://bleacherreport.com/articles/683233-the-andretti-curse">not quite awesome enough</a>. Andretti holds the record for the most laps in the lead at the Indy 500, without ever achieving victory. He's playing for <a href="http://racingforcancer.org/">Racing for Cancer</a>.</p>
- <p> The 2008 Miss Universe is already buddies with Trump. She's signed under his modeling agency after all. And while Mendoza has had some good marketing saves, like a nude photo shoot that was <a href="http://current.com/groups/beauty/89189138_nude-photos-are-part-of-career-keep-crown-despite-dayana-mendoza.htm">deemed OK because it was "artistic,"</a> she's also had a few fails, like calling Guantanamo "<a href="http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/5087367/Miss-Universe-describes-Guantnamo-Bay-as-relaxing-calm-after-visit-to-detainee-camps.html">such a relaxing place</a>, so calm and beautiful." She's playing for the <a href="http://www.latinoaids.org/">Latino Commission on AIDS</a>.</p>
- <p> Carolla has the semi-abrasive personality that TV cameras love, and historically oppressed groups don't (except perhaps for Catholics, Carolla's playing for <a href="http://www.catholicbigbrothers.org/">Catholic Big Brother Big Sister</a>). Carolla has the <a href="http://www.adamcarolla.com/">most-downloaded-of-all-time podcast</a>, which is proof that he has a lot of fans. But some of Carolla's not-so-politically correct opinions about <a href="http://blogs.miaminewtimes.com/cultist/2011/02/adam_carolla_qa_draft.php">Pacific Islanders</a>/<a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/05/adam-carolla-angers-phili_n_525412.html">South East Asians</a> might lead to an on-screen tiff with ...</p>
- <p> One of world's <a href="http://www.people.com/people/archive/article/0,,20112563,00.html">50 most beautiful people</a>, according to <em>People</em> magazine in 1992, Carrere's music career has brought her two Grammys and a platinum album in The Philippines. This woman can reinvent herself too, from <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pj9MHMO4tLo">Cassandra Wong in "Wayne's World,"</a> to <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0275847/">Disney voice actress,</a> to one of Hawaii's most famous singers. But while Carrere's Grammys were for "best Hawaiian music album" (a category dropped in 2011), it's unclear whether she can win on the national stage. She's playing for the <a href="http://www.afterschoolallstars.org/site/pp.asp?c=enJJKMNpFmG&b=2730313">After-School All-Stars.</a></p>
- <p> A two-time Mr. Universe, Ferrigno was Michael Jackson's personal trainer. In the 1970s and '80s Ferrigno bared his impressive torso as TV's <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dJw6pcEwyXM">"The Incredible Hulk</a>" and more recently concealed it while guest starring as himself on the sitcom, "The King of Queens." He's playing for the <a href="http://www.mda.org/">Muscular Dystrophy Association</a>. While our money would be on Ferrigno if this were a pose-off, in the game of business he's more risky bet.</p>
- <p> Tiegs can play the mainstream (three covers of <em>Sports Illustrated</em>'s "Swimsuit Issue" mainstream) and the indie (Vincent Gallo's "<a href="http://rogerebert.suntimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20040903/REVIEWS/409020301/1023">Brown Bunny</a>" art-house indie). Despite a modeling career that peaked in the 1970s, Tiegs has managed to keep her career alive at age 64. She was a judge on the first season of the ABC series "True Beauty" and has a line of wigs for Revlon. She's playing for <a href="http://www.thefarrahfawcettfoundation.org/">The Farrah Fawcett Foundation</a>.</p>
- <p> The first "Latina supermodel" managed to turn a pioneering modeling career into regular TV and movie stints, from "The Mummy" to "Arrested Development" to "The L Word." Velasquez founded the <a href="http://www.wayuutaya.org/">Wayuu Taya Foundation</a> to assist a Venezuelan indigenous group (which she's playing for), managed the not-so-easy transition from model to actress, and is a <a href="http://culture.com/people/002/677/patricia-velasquez/">bonafide quadrilingual</a>. Velasquez might just be the real sleeper hit of this competition.</p>
- <p> "<a href="http://www.yourdiscovery.com/web/american-chopper/">American Chopper's</a>" Teutul already has a well-earned reputation as a take-no-prisoners businessman. He's even <a href="http://www.amazon.com/Ride-Lifetime-Business-Orange-Choppers/dp/0470449977">published a book</a> of business wisdom. But Teutul's drive for profits has also entangled him in more than one lawsuit. He's playing for the <a href="http://www.wish.org/">Make-A-Wish Foundation.</a></p>
- <br /> <p> <a href="http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2012/01/16/looking-for-a-government-career-check-out-these-top-federal-job/">Looking For A Government Career? Check Out These Top Federal Jobs</a></p> <br /> <p> <a href="http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2012/01/02/best-bets-for-jobs-in-2012/">Best Bets For Jobs In 2012</a></p> <br /> <p> <a href="http://jobs.aol.com/articles/2012/01/03/defend-your-right-to-a-life-outside-of-work/">Defend Your Right To A Life Outside Of Work</a></p> <p> </p>
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Claire Gordon has contributed to Slate's DoubleX, the Huffington Post, and the book Prisons: Current Controversies. While an undergraduate at Yale University and a research fellow at Yale graduate school, she spoke on panels at Yale and Cornell, and reported from Cairo, Tokyo, and Berlin. Follow Claire on Twitter. Email Claire at firstname.lastname@example.org. Add Claire to your Google+ circles.more...