Auditioning for “The Apprentice”
When I looked at the application for “The Apprentice” candidates that my wife, Zahara, had downloaded for me, I saw that it was short. I figured I had nothing to lose, so I filled it out and made a 10-minute audition video, rather than have to show up for a casting call. A month later, I got called to New York for an on-camera interview. They fired questions at me, but I handled it well since I’m a pretty collected guy; it takes a lot to really unravel me. After a background check, I was one of 50 people summoned to Los Angeles for a week to vie for 18 slots in the final round of casting.
In LA, we were subjected to a battery of physical and psychological tests, after which some people were sent home. I was told I had the personality of a Navy Seal: under pressure and very, very extreme conditions, I can remain focused and unrattled. (I’ve always been that way; as a kid with severe allergies, I didn’t flinch when I got upwards of 50 shots every other week.) After one-on-one, boardroom-style interviews with Donald Trump and the show’s producer, Mark Burnett, those of us who were cast were told to pack and report to New York City in two weeks.
Intellectually, the selection process to become a Rhodes Scholar was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done. But the combination of physical and intellectual demands of being on “The Apprentice”–no sleep, living (and competing) with hypercompetitive people, having the cameras rolling 24 x 7, running through New York City trying to finish tasks under incredibly tight deadlines–was uniquely stressful. But still, it was a lot of fun. I love challenges and this gave me plenty. In the process, I learned a lot about group dynamics and how much can really get accomplished in a short period of time.