CHARLOTTE LAWS - DREAM AND ACHIEVE TOGETHER
in Tinsel Town Handpicking the Apprentice-Bound
helps to be thin, young and hot looking. Middle-aged, plump and plain are not on
the top ten list of attributes The Apprentice casting directors seek in a
contestant. Brainpower comes into play, but only after you pass the physical
appearance test. After all, this is TV, folks.
March 9, 2006 at 4:00 am, a blonde Trump Corporation wannabe named Farrah
Evagues stole through the dark with her blanket, mittens and foldable lounge
chair, staking out a first-in-line position at the Globe Theatre inside Los
Angeles’ Universal Studios.
was not the only rebel who pooh-poohed the rules on the NBC website that stated:
“Arrive no earlier than 6:00 am.” Twenty other daredevils braved the biting,
45-degree air with Farrah until two or three hours later when the bulk of
applicants arrived. All hoped to be chosen as contestants for The Apprentice
and to meet Donald Trump in person.
Angeles provided the backdrop for the first casting call; the show would be
recruiting candidates in 16 other cities, including Chicago, New York, Honolulu
arrived at 6:45 with my resume, prepared to undertake two roles: as an applicant
and undercover reporter. Why shiver when one can both shiver and also ask
weaved through the long line of freezing people, inquiring about jobs,
qualifications and reasons for wanting to work for “The Donald.” Few
applicants wore winter coats, yet many were cloaked with paranoia.
questioning began: “What do you do for a living?” Most people were
not going to tell you. I might get disqualified,” said one.
replied, “I have my answer, but I’m not going to tell you what it is.”
woman, whom I later learned was the former Miss Yugoslavia, gave me an impolite,
cold stare. No words. Maybe she feared I’d steal her identity and blurt out,
“Great idea. I’ll be the former Miss Yugoslavia, too.”
The Apprentice hopefuls thought I had the power to vote them off the
island. They were clearly “island” experts. I overheard conversations about Survivor,
Deal or No Deal, America’s Top Model, and other reality
only seemingly honest answers I got were:
a demolition derby manager,”
a professional reality show contestant. I’ve tried out for The Apprentice three
fact, three applicants told me they were teachers, including 58-year old
Lancaster resident Bill Newyear who appeared to be the oldest in line. He told
me how his generation comprises 25% of the population.
makes good TV to have an older Everyman,” Bill said. “If I get selected, it
would show Trump’s commitment to people like me, that we are not ready to go
out to pasture yet.”
second question: “Why do you want to be the Apprentice?”
most applicants were not forthcoming, but two answered, “I love golf” and
“I need formal grooming to make me into the perfect candidate for the
an employment recruiter, Orange County resident Diana London didn’t care if
she was chosen. She was there to pick up clients from what she deemed an
educated pool of candidates and to sneak a manila envelope to Trump, which
revealed details about an invention she hoped would prove profitable for them
8:00 am, an Apprentice staff member began affixing plastic identification
bracelets to the applicants’ wrists. I acted bent out of shape.
without diamonds? I certainly expected more from Mr. Trump.” The staff member
was not amused.
a Universal Studios employee announced: “Anyone who moves outside the rope can
be arrested for trespassing. We can’t have people visiting a theme park
without paying for a ticket.”
I leaned towards her. “We wouldn’t want hundreds of people in business suits
making a mad dash for the ‘Revenge of the Mummy’ ride.”
was finally permitted to enter the audition room and noticed Jay Leno taping a
“Jaywalking” segment for The Tonight Show. Inside Edition, TV
Guide and other members of the press were positioning their cameras and
representatives from the casting company interviewed the eight applicants at
each table; there were five tables in the room. We were asked our age. The
casting reps seemed displeased with my answer: “45,” yet thrilled with the
answer given by the 24-year-old to my left.
were asked to debate whether a company should have a policy against dating in
the workplace, then whether bosses should dictate the smoking habits of
employees outside of business hours.
one looked at my resume. All attention was on the youngsters at the table. I
felt like I had wandered into a casting call for an ingénue. I figured the
Everyman curtain had fallen on the 58-year-old teacher from Lancaster and the
other “over-40’s” in the room.
group interview ended. I left the table to find 32-year-old Australian business
analyst Gavin Hadwen who claimed he too was trampled by the Trump cattle call.
said, “It seemed to me that if you were over 30, you had less of a shot.”
told him, “There have been a number of Apprentice contestants in their
thirties. But forties is a different story altogether.”
randomly wandered from table to table, observing interviews. Periodically he
would whisper to a casting rep, who then discreetly initialed a particular
applicant’s paperwork. This surely meant the individual had advanced past the
first hurdle and would be asked to return for the second round.
show’s casting producer Scott Salyers says his primary job is to find someone
who can run Trump’s business. On the other hand, the show survives from
ratings, which arguably increase when the young and beautiful are cast. If
viewers want to see an older Everyman, they could demand change with the click
of the remote control.
morning was successful for some. Diana handed Trump her “invention”
envelope, and the former Miss Yugoslavia received the all-important tiny initial
on her application. Maybe we will see her next season.
I prepared to leave, I overheard Trump say, “I am looking for smart people. I
am always looking for smart people.“
He mentioned two applicants he had met that day with more than one
was my chance to reveal something about my severely neglected resume. I held my
head high, marched over to the billionaire and stated, “Mr. Trump, I have five
missing a beat, he countered, “You’re over-qualified”--a perplexing
statement considering last season’s winner also had five degrees.
like Trump because he is down-to-earth with a keen business sense and a sane
perspective of the world, but I have one question for him:
I really over-qualified? Or is it that I’m 45?
in the Los Angeles Daily News on March 19, 2006 - "No
matter how smart, you gotta be hot." (online title) and in the
newspaper title is "Too
old to be an 'Apprentice.'"
American Chronicle - March 29, 2006
Published in The Simon Magazine on March 20, 2006 - "Going Undercover to become Donald Trump's Apprentice."
Santa Monica Daily Press - April 17, 2006
Tolucan Times March 29, 2006. No online link.
Opinion Editorials on March 21, 2006
Buzzle magazine on March 21, 2006 - "'Youth' is Trump Card at Apprentice Cattle Call"
LA Voice Magazine - Trump in Tinseltown Handpicking the Apprentice-Bound
Bay Area Newswire
Op Ed News