Omarosa returns to 'Apprentice'

LINDSEY WARD - Sun Media

, Last Updated: 3:13 AM ET

She's not a bitch, but she plays one on TV.

Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth -- known simply as Omarosa -- is actually quite pleasant, considering how many tempers she's sent flaring throughout her reality TV career.

"I enjoy reality TV," says Omarosa, 33, whose faux-bitchy 'tude has graced over 20 reality shows, including The Apprentice (Season 1), The Surreal Life and Fear Factor -- and will return tonight on The Celebrity Apprentice, where 14 B-listers compete to raise over $1 million for various charities.

"I have the luxury of going into a situation where I have an opportunity to control and create my character. I get to do what I want, wear what I want and look the way I want."

Even if that means looking like a cold-hearted you-know-what. Omarosa's brash behaviour first got her noticed on Apprentice, where she butted many heads before getting fired in the ninth week. And who could forget her nasty Surreal Life disputes with fellow you-know-what Janice Dickinson?

So it's no surprise her Celebrity Apprentice co-stars -- including actor Stephen Baldwin, KISS rocker Gene Simmons and Sopranos star Vincent Pastore -- were a little shocked to see a kinder, gentler Omarosa on the set. Well, at least until shooting began.

"We had a couple of meetings before the show aired and everyone was saying, 'Oh, you're so nice,' she laughs. "(Then I said) 'I enjoyed getting to know you all, but as soon as the cameras come on I have a job to do.' "

Omarosa says her "naughty side" will be fully intact when The Celebrity Apprentice premieres tonight, but insists she's grown since her first trip to the boardroom.

"I can truly tell you that there has been an evolution in all things Omarosa," she says. "And I had to change because all my 13 competitors have had an opportunity to watch me. I had to come up with a whole different game plan."

Since Celebrity Apprentice contestants are playing for charities -- not jobs -- Omarosa says there's more camaraderie than in the first six seasons of Trump's series. But, being a Youngstown, Ohio, native with a masters degree in communications, she used her formal education and street smarts -- not her celeb status -- to get an edge on the competition and impress The Donald.

"I didn't let my ego make decisions for me," says Omarosa. "When you have celebrities you're dealing with egos. I checked my ego at the 14-karat-gold door of the Trump Castle."

Omarosa figured her toughest competitors going on the show -- which has the contestants rushing around New York City using their contact lists and business sense to rally up funds and awareness for their charities -- would be Simmons and Latin media bigwig Nely Galan. But folks such as actress Marilu Henner, country twanger Trace Adkins and America's Got Talent judge Piers Morgan -- who appeared on a British version of The Celebrity Apprentice -- were shockingly savvy.

"I think that you will be very, very surprised at the people who rise to the occasion and the people who crumble under the pressure," she says.

As in past seasons, the contestants have to work long hours, meet deadlines and win challenges to get ahead in the game. The prize? A $250,000 bonus cheque for their charity.

Joining The Donald on the panel are his daughter Ivanka and son Donald Trump Jr., along with Trump employee George Ross. Famed business tycoons will also plant themselves on the boardroom's new rotating seat each week.

Whether or not Omarosa makes the cut, she has other ventures on her hands. The former director of White House personnel for Bill Clinton continues to work in politics, has a line of golf clubs coming out and is involved in an African version of Apprentice.

But she won't think twice if another reality show offers her a chance to expose her inner thespian.

"I hear people say, 'Oh, why do you keep doing those reality shows?' And I say, 'How many roles do you think there are for African-American women on American TV?' "


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