Selita Ebanks Discusses Celebrity Apprentice
"Celebrity Apprentice is currently airing on Sunday nights at 9 PM ET on NBC and this past week saw the "firing" of Selita Ebanks from the show. Ebanks recently held a conference call to discuss her time on the show and here's what she had to say.
I was wondering how did you choose the particular charity you had?
Selita Ebanks: Well in 2007 I went with Elle Magazine to Sierra Leone to learn more about - and so some sort of documentation of non-conflict diamonds in Sierra Leone, in the progress of the country because it's a war torn country. They had a ten year civil war and I was there for ten days and woman named Tiffany Persons, she is the director of Shine On Sierra Leone, she just tagged along, it wasn't anything intentional, her being there and we visited a village that she supports, her charity Shine On Sierra Leone. And I was just so overwhelmed and so excited to learn so much about this country and unfortunately it's - I'm sorry it's unfortunate that Sierra Leone has the highest child mortality rate in all of the world. One in four children die at childbirth before the age of five. I'm sorry, one in four children die before the age of five and one in ten women die in childbirth. You know and it was just something that was startling to me so I decided to go with that charity because I believed that they needed more support.
Did Mr. Trump give you any advice in particular you're going to take with you?
Selita Ebanks: No, not really. He didn't give me advice per se but his words definitely did stick with me, you know last night when he fired me he said that he thought Maria and Holly were strong business women. And he didn't see the same quality in myself but unfortunately you know I've been doing this for ten years and the longevity of a model's career is not even close to ten years so I - you know I'm going to have to disagree with him. But he doesn't know my career so that's fine. But actually what I did take from that comment was that I do tend to defend a stranger before I defend myself. And so perhaps my skin has gotten too thick because words don't phase me any more. So that's something that you know I would take as advice is just to learn how to be more assertive when it comes to defending myself.
So you know based on what we saw in the episode you really didn't have anything to do with why your team lost. So why do you think that you were fired?
Selita Ebanks: You know what, it was pretty much down to - it was Summer, myself, Holly and Maria. Donald Trump took out Cyndi Lauper and took out Sharon Osbourne. Even though Cyndi, you know she's left different tasks before and you know she gets the pass, she's Cyndi Lauper. Let's you know favoritism, you know hey whatever it is. And then Sharon was sick, so I think previously on other tasks and being in the board room Donald Trump had picked on me previously, I think it's because I have such a - I'm an island girl, I'm so laid back. You know your words don't really phase me per se so I think he was just trying to get something out of me that he said just was not going to be there. So he gave me the opportunity to defend myself and to fight for being there and unfortunately you know I was so tired and just at that point so upset that Maria had thrown me under the bus and that there was so much negatively in there, it was just kind of unfair. So I didn't really you know unfortunately fight for myself, I was just kind of like the scapegoat. Hey you know what, let's just fire Selita I think.
Now after the board room we saw you go over and hug Maria, it looked like you had some nice things to say to her. Then when they cut away to your exit interview when you were in the car, you kind of trashed her a little bit. So how do you really feel about Maria?
Selita Ebanks: Well you know what, at the end of the day you know my words aren't to trash anybody. It's just you know I'm - anything I say on camera I would clearly gladly say to someone in their face. I have a certain amount of respect for Maria because she's a go getter. Her method of go and getting it is a little too abrasive for me. I think that sometimes she tends to step on people's toes. But you know I had to hug her because you know she won. You know she beat me, so enough respect to her, but at the end of the day I don't necessarily believe in her method of her game plan which is fine because it is a game. You know it was a show and she's I think more reality TV material than I was. So you know. But it's funny you say that because I didn't even watch the episode yet, I'm sitting here watching it right now.
So you two probably won't be going out for drinks any time soon I imagine.
Selita Ebanks: No, I'm fine with going out and having drinks. I'm actually really surprised that it - you know it's editing unfortunately but we were really cool and cordial you know while we were there you know. I think she's a very strong lady as she should be, she's a wrestler and so - and I'm a runway model, you know I don't work out to have muscle mass or anything like that. But I don't have any ill thoughts against or her or anything like that, I would love to have drinks with her, why not? I want to talk about her new album coming out. I think it did - I think it's out.
How did you get involved with Donald Trump and Celebrity Apprentice to begin with?
Selita Ebanks: Well they called my agency and they wanted to you know - wanted some advice, they asked my agent you know if there was a girl that they thought that would be a good you know player, I mean a good contestant. And my agency said of course me, Selita and went in and yeah, and then they - I decided to do the show.
What was it like doing that whole wizarding world of Harry Potter task? I mean you won and then you had to spend so much time with the governor on the airplane.
Selita Ebanks: It was interesting. You know I was pretty much engulfed in my work on the plane, I didn't really get a chance to just to talk with him on the plane and then he was napping on the way back. So it was interesting. I mean the governor, he's a politician to say the least, so he's always - he's literally in his whole life is politics. So when the cameras are on or whatever it is, he's on his soapbox and he's definitely campaigning non-stop. So that was interesting. But he's a really nice guy I must say.
Well do you think this whole abrasive sort of personality we're starting to see out of Maria, do you think that could hurt her later on in this competition?
Selita Ebanks: I don't know. She's very aggressive and she's a woman that knows what she wants and knows how to get it I guess. I don't know, you guys are just going to have to wait and see. You don't know - just like Donald says, everyone's friends in the beginning until those weeks start going by and then you start seeing the true people come out.
What was your proudest moment on the show? Was it winning the money for your charity?
Selita Ebanks: It was that and the first task when Joan Rivers chose my food over the chef Curtis Stone. And of course it was a technicality, he's food was cold but as a chef I think you're supposed to be aware of all of that at all times. So that was pretty proud for me because I really enjoy cooking, it's kind of like my favorite thing to do and my past time.
Did you feel a bit picked on, put upon by the old man that - I don't know his name but to the right of Donald and his daughter? I mean it seemed like they were all gunning for you.
Selita Ebanks: Yeah, you know what, previously in different - in the past episodes in the boardroom they all pretty much would just say so Selita, what do you do, which is kind of like - kind of a ridiculous question considering we were about to win the task. I think there was a lot of moments when they were picking on me, maybe because I am the model or maybe because I'm an island girl and I'm just that laid back by nature and I'm not the type of person to step on anyone's toes or anything of that nature. And I guess that's what they wanted, you know out of a contestant being on the show, so I think they were trying to push my buttons a little bit.
Between Sharon Osbourne and Cyndi Lauper, who do you really feel is a nicer, kinder, more of a team player, an asset to the women? I mean they're both - they're older and their styles are very different and set in their ways. And I'm just wondering what your take is on both women and who you were most comfortable with.
Selita Ebanks: Well like you said they're both older women and they're incredibly successful in their own rights. They're two different personalities, eclectic and very special personalities. But I love Cyndi because she's more the creative aspect, you know very original and you know she always thinks outside the box. And she has great stories to tell that reflect her originality but then Sharon, she's so business oriented and so strong and focused and she's literally - I think the two of them need their own show together. I think that would be the greatest show ever.
There's three men remaining, Bret Michaels, Bill Goldberg and the Aussie chef, I can't think of his name, Curtis, the guy with the good hair. Who do you think is the strongest of those three?
Selita Ebanks: Wow. Well physically of course it's going to be Goldberg, but you know I was surprised by Curtis's win last night although in watching the show it was actually Bret Michaels had spearheaded that, you know? I think Curtis needs to seriously thank Bret Michaels for that because Bret Michaels is so original, he's so creative and you know he's a little bit you know out there at times. But he's a really smart business man and you know I think Curtis only speaks chef language. So I don't know, I think you can expect a lot from Mr. Bret Michaels.
About your charity, how did it feel getting to present that check to your charity?
Selita Ebanks: Oh man, it felt so good because $20,000 can go so far. Last year $40,000, I built another portion to our school that holds over 250 students for only $40,000 and this building is going to sustain and stay around for hopefully decades you know ahead. So I was really proud you know at that moment.
And when you were in the board room why did you choose Maria as the person who should be fired and not Holly when Trump asked you?
Selita Ebanks: Well Holly - Maria had thrown me under the bus. She said that you know oh well she thought that I was the weakest link or whatever but I actually haven't seen the episode, I'm watching it as we speak, I just paused it. But if I can remember it was Maria that said oh you know, well Selita, the only reason why I'm going to say Selita is because she called for my help and I didn't come. But being on a project, your giving a task, you know saying so everyone has their responsibility. I wasn't there when she called out for help, they edited it to make it seem like I was there but I was actually on the phone dealing with casting and catering and everything else. And then Holly had put me and you know I was responsible for making sure Mr. Scottie Pippen was happy, I had to open a restaurant three hours early just so he can get you know what he wanted to eat. It was a little diva moment for him but you know Holly, she's project manager, she said Selita this is what I need you to do, make sure that we're on schedule and everything is done. So you know and that plus at the end of the day I'm not really that strong to tell you the truth. You know Maria's picking up you know cast iron sinks and stuff. I couldn't even - I'd have to put that on a trolley and pull it or something. So if anything I would probably have gotten more in the way than being assistant to her. But it's okay.
Why didn't you go after Holly since she was the project manager? I mean she seemed to be the one that carried all the weight.
Selita Ebanks: You know what, I think it was a little bit of Holly hadn't won for her charity yet and I think that she worked so hard and she believes so much in her charity because it's dear to her heart because her son has autism. And I didn't think that it was the right strategy to go after her when myself and Maria and Summer had already won for their charities. So I just wanted kind of to give Holly a second chance of winning for her charity, because it means so much to her. And I just thought it was fair. Unfortunately you know I guess that's not the way the game is played but you know it was kind of a sensitive moment for me.
Now what do you make of all the absentee celebrities and the ones that just walked away?
Selita Ebanks: Yeah, you know what, I think that's - first of all you know understand you're going to - life does not stop just because we're filming a reality show. You know I understand that but at the end of the day I was there to bring my charity you know to make people aware of what's happening in Sierra Leone. Holly was there for that, Maria was there for that, we were all there for the same reason. And so it was just kind of disheartening to see people just give up like that, you know? It was really sad.
I'm so sorry to see you leave, it sounds like a great charity and would have been great to have a lot more money for it. You seem to take it all in stride, but you seemed a bit surprised at the same time. Were you surprised that you were fired?
Selita Ebanks: Yeah, I was definitely surprised. I thought you know because you know how they edit it is pretty much how they're going to play it out. You know it seemed like I was not doing anything or if I looked bored in whatever situation, you know they have the power, it's called producing, it's called editing. I get it, but in the reality of it I worked my ass off non-stop. I have burns and I still have scars from being on that show.
So it looked like you were just sitting there doing your nails, like la, la, la, la.
Selita Ebanks: Yeah, I know. And it seems it just that at the beginning of that task before the actual directors and they set up the props and everything, my assignment was casting, catering and production. So I had already executed what Holly had asked me to do so I was pretty much tying up loose ends and most of that was - involved using the phone. It wasn't physical which was definitely important to you know to the execution of the task. But you know they made it look like I was just sitting around. You know what? Maybe I should have went and got my nails done. It was horrible. If I knew I was going to get fired I should have.
Do you have a gut feeling who's going to make it?
Selita Ebanks: I don't know, it's really hard to say because you know I would not dare for the - I'm literally watching with you guys at this point, I'm gone now so I don't know what's going to happen next week. I'm just excited because you never know. Like I never thought I would have been fired so soon.
So you mentioned earlier that you're pretty laid back, you know words don't tend to phase you a whole lot. So I guess I'm kind of wondering what does it feel like when Donald Trump actually fires you, like those two little words, you're fired, how does that feel?
Selita Ebanks: Well you know what they didn't show before because the cameras were off but I almost had a nervous breakdown. Like I had a crying moment where literally you know I had to walk away and my eyes were probably all puffy at that point. Because I really worked really hard to be on that show and I really wanted to at least you know at least three, four more episodes so I can get another opportunity to play for my charity. But at that moment when I found out that I was going to come back in the boardroom, it was already kind of - I already kind of knew that Donald was going to fire me. And it was - so when he said it, you know I was emotionally prepared for it. That's why I just thanked him for the opportunity and you know like once he says you're fired, you're fired. So what are you going to do after that?
Yeah, so it stings a little bit though, right?
Selita Ebanks: It stung. It definitely stung to my core because I wasn't ready to go. Yeah, definitely did.
And then the other celebrities we've been talking to each week, they always mention you know the schedule of the show is so grueling and super stressful you know for Darryl Strawberry it was so stressful. I'm wondering your experience you know as a model, runway shows look equally stressful. Do you think that that helped you kind of cope with the go, go, go kind of pace of the show?
Selita Ebanks: It definitely did I hope. I'm used to having - you know being jet lagged or having a lack of sleep but I think being on the show it was a little bit more stressful only because I'm having direct contact with people and there's a camera in my face. When you're doing a runway show, you know there's not a camera in your face 24/7. I'm like you can be in hair and makeup dozing off and someone will hold your face and you can take a catnap, you know? I've seen it - so many girls do it you know back stage at shows and whatnot. But being on this show, you know this reality show is just kind of like dang, you just cannot forget, you can't take a moment to just - you know for yourself or to breathe. You know I was going on maybe four hours of sleep every night, and it was - and then you know food was scarce because of filming. You're just kind of shoving anything you can get in your mouth and just trying to push through. So that was really stressful and it - I know that's why the claws started coming out and people started getting catty because they were sleep deprived.
I wanted to know what's it like in the condo when both teams are there just hanging out?
Selita Ebanks: Well you know what's so funny, we hardly ever saw the guys except for in the boardroom and except for after boardroom when they would come in - we would go into each other's rooms and have some drinks. So it was kind of like meeting them all over for the first time every single day. But it was really cool. Actually it was nice to interact with another group of people. It kind of like you know freed us for a little bit you know. It just calmed us down a little bit and gave us that moment of just you know relaxation. You know you come back to earth and you're like okay, we're normal people again.
And what did you expect going in? Like what surprised you?
Selita Ebanks: Well you know what, I literally wrote down all the pros and cons and all of my expectations and the only thing that surprised me was - I mean everyone said the boardroom was going to be scary. But what surprised me is just you know the aggressiveness in the room. You know like I watched last season but I didn't think it was going to be that - like the bright lights are on you, you're sweating, you know people you know are - there's tension, they're cutting each other off. That was a little scary. I don't know if I was ready for all that.
Did you make any lasting friendships do you think? Is there anyone you'd like to keep in touch with as far as the ladies go?
Selita Ebanks: Absolutely. Well of course Holly, you know I'm so amazed at her, she's done so well for her charity, she's an amazing fund raiser and she's - you know I love her spirit and you know the fact that she's so true to her cause. And of course Summer Sanders, she works with war torn countries bringing sports to war torn countries and hopefully our charities are similar so hopefully we can unite and do something great for the nation of Sierra Leone. And I follow Maria on Twitter and you know I encourage people to go buy her album and you know and Sinbad, I just saw Sinbad in Cleveland and yes, you know what, I think I created a really good group of friends that I can probably call on in the future, definitely.
What's next for you? Would you like to be on another reality show do you think?
Selita Ebanks: No way. I've done all the reality I need out of my system. It was a great experience, great cause, great people, everything but I know now that I am not made for reality television.
Celebrity Apprentice airs on Sunday nights at 9 PM ET on NBC.