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article imageIan Ziering and Vivica A. Fox on 'The Celebrity Apprentice' Special

By Earl Dittman     Jan 6, 2015 in Entertainment
'90210' hunk Ian Ziering and 'Kill Bill' star Vivica A. Fox discuss what it was like competing against 14 other famous faces for cash for their favorite charities and the experience of working with uber-tycoon Donald Trump and the legendary Joan Rivers.
For the seventh installment of The Celebrity Apprentice — and the 14th season of the hit The Apprentice television series — super-mogul and business tycoon Donald Trump has assembled a widely diverse (and entertaining) group of 16 business-savvy celebrity contestants. Vivica A. Fox, Ian Ziering, athletes Shawn Johnson, Johnny Damon, Terrell Owens and Jamie Anderson, television news personalities Leeza Gibbons and Geraldo Rivera, actors Lorenzo Lamas, Gilbert Gottfried and Keisha Knight Pulliam, reality TV stars Kate Gosselin, Sig Hansen, Brandi Glanville and Kenya Moore and mega-pop star Kevin Jonas are this season's celebrities trying to raise money and awareness for the charity of their choice. The last person standing at the end of the competition will be chosen as this season’s Celebrity Apprentice and have the honor of delivering a $250,000 bonus check to their designated charity.
Every week, the celebrity contestants will work in two teams — each under the guidance of a designated project manager — to compete in business-driven tasks around New York City by using their fame, along with their proven business acumen, to win challenges. Contestants are subjected to long hours, grueling deadlines, intellectual challenges, personality clashes and intense scrutiny under the careful watch of Donald Trump and his advisors.
Certain challenges encourage contestants to reach out to their network of celebrity contacts for assistance or donations, leading to surprise visits by some of the world’s biggest stars and pop culture icons. Each task will end in the boardroom, where contestants must account for their actions and be judged by Trump and his advisors. Returning this season are Trump’s children and colleagues, Ivanka, Donald Jr. and Eric, as well as surprise guests such as the late Joan Rivers. The body count has already begun: after the first three episodes, Keisha Knight Pulliam, Kevin Jonas and Gilbert Gottfried have already been "fired" by Mr. Trump.
Actress Vivica A. Fox — the star of such classic motion pictures as Kill Bill, Independence Day, Soul Food and Why Do Fools Fall In Love (and the TV phenom Sharknado 2: The Second One) — and longtime Hollywood hunk Ian Ziering — who portrayed Steve Sanders in the iconic TV teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210 for ten years and recently starred in the cult classic Sharknado and its sequel Sharknado 2: The Second One — have, thus far, survived their visits to the merciless and perilous boardroom.
Ian Ziering on  The Celebrity Apprentice
Ian Ziering on 'The Celebrity Apprentice'
According to Ziering — a semi-finalist on Dancing With The Stars — his time on The Celebrity Apprentice has taught him much more than just how to harness the talents and navigate through mood swings of his hotly-wired celebrity teammates.
"The personal growth that you experience being on the show is tremendous," Ian admits. For me, as an actor, I never thought in a business sense. Being on Celebrity Apprentice, for me, was like getting an MBA at Trump University. Going through the prerequisites and studying all the prior shows and putting together my game and then implementing everything that I'd come to the party with really set my mind spinning. Since the show, I've gotten involved in three businesses because I just found that I could do something. I could do it. I could make it happen, and I'd never even applied myself in this direction so it's really spurred me on to do things that I'd never done before."
Vivica A. Fox on  The Celebrity Apprentice
Vivica A. Fox on 'The Celebrity Apprentice'
What it was like to working with Donald Trump? Had either of you met him before? How would best describe Mr. Trump?
Vivica A. Fox: "That was my first time having that much contact with Mr. Trump, and I found him to be a straight shooter, which is the kind of person that I like. I found that if you were honest with him and you didn't try to BS him, he just responded to you a lot more positively. I got to know him and I personally gained even more respect for him because he's a straight shooter and he likes making things happen — that's my kind of guy."
Ian Ziering: "The whole family and the organization are really just class acts through and through. My first experience with Donald was when he came into the boardroom. He comes in with this very serious face and he sits down — and this is even before the cameras had started rolling, the first thing he says is, 'I want you all to know that this is my hair, it is not a toupee.'" (laughs)
Vivica: "He was very funny."
Donald Trump
Donald Trump
Ian: "He has a great sense of humor and is a class act. You're right, Vivica, he's a very straight shooter, he tells it like it is, he's got an opinion and he's an amazing dynamic man who's an incredible builder. He's built up so many parts of New York, he's expanded down into the Washington, DC area, into Florida with the Doral Golf Course and down there in Ireland with golf courses. It's just a real incredible family, and I think Ivanka is as close to what an American Princess would be if we had one, she's just elegant..."
Vivica: "Agreed."
Ian: "...and smart..."
Vivica: "...and definitely stylish and beautiful."
Donald Trump Jr.  Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump
Donald Trump Jr., Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump
Ian: "...and so just such a role model. I couldn't imagine any woman who wouldn't want to be as accomplished and well-spoken, educated and beautiful as she is. She's just incredible and the boys are great too, Donald and Eric just chips off the old block."
Vivica: "Ivanka was unbelievable. What a fashionista. We'd all be like, 'Ivanka's here today! Oh my god, she's got on good shoes!' (laughs) She was awesome.'"
What was it like working with the late Joan Rivers, who I know was a judge on two of the episodes?
Vivica: "For me, it was an absolute pleasure because I had met Joan, over the years just being on the red carpet. When she would show up it was always so much love and such a pleasant surprise. But, on this show, she was tough. She would let you know you're not doing a good job or you need to step-up, so it was definitely tough love and an absolute pleasure to spend some time with her. I was just as shocked and devastated as with everyone else was of her passing."
Joan Rivers on  The Celebrity Apprentice
Joan Rivers on 'The Celebrity Apprentice'
Ian: "I had a chance to be on Joan Rivers' talk show many, many, many years ago — maybe it was the early-'90s — and I had always been a fan of hers. So, to work with her in person was really a thrill. For a person who can dish out such caustic humor, she always maintained a sense of grace and elegance which was a nice juxtaposition against her comedy. She was fun to be around and was very exciting to work with her."
The two of you have been on Dancing With The Stars. How much different was the experience of being on that show versus The Celebrity Apprentice?
Vivica: "This was definitely harder than Dancing With The Stars. On Dancing With The Stars, you got to rehearse like six hours a day but then you got to walk away from it. On Celebrity Apprentice, we worked like 12 hour days, 6 days a week and, wow, there were some nights that I could barely go to sleep, because my brain wouldn't shut-off. We were always turning the task around so fast."
Ian: "Dancing With The Stars is so physically rigorous, they tell you, 'You don't have to rehearse at all, but of course if you expect to win, you should rehearse as much as you can to make it as good as it can possibly be.' I just learn best through repetition. So I wanted to go after it and do it again and again and again to the point where I ended up having foot surgery. I wore the bottom of my foot out. It was an 'overcome-able' obstacle and certainly worth it. I went pretty far. But, in The Celebrity Apprentice, you have to use a completely different skill set. When I was in Dancing With The Stars I had the ability to act, to portray the part of a dancer — I had it in my mind, I had the experience through other opportunities that I had some dancing with. But, in Celebrity Apprentice, it is all about business acumen and that's a hat that you can't just act, you have to deliver on, so you need real world experience in this. It was much more mentally taxing doing Celebrity Apprentice then it was doing Dancing with the Stars. Dancing with the Stars was much more physically taxing. Either way it was just great competition and with any of these competitions I always, you know, set my eye on the prize and that's my goal and work out a plan and work the plan."
What are some of the most shocking moments of the season?
"Donald Trump got fired! I bet you're shocked to hear that? (laughs) How can we talk about that without spoiling anything?"
Vivica: "I think shocking things that you'll be able to see — shocked to see — are some of the friendships that develop. Like who works really well with each other and who doesn't work so well with each other, that will be shocking to find out.
Ian Ziering and Vivica A. Fox in  Sharknado 2
Ian Ziering and Vivica A. Fox in 'Sharknado 2'
What was it like working together first on Sharknado 2 and then competing against one another with The Celebrity Apprentice?
Ian: "I had worked with Vivica before, a long time ago, on 90210 and had a great respect and appreciation for her from that and seeing her go on to such fantastic successes in the Kill Bill movies and all the other science fiction movies she's done. It was great to work with her on Sharknado. I knew she was going to bring a lot to the table. I didn't know — when we were both booked for Sharknado — until we were sitting across from each other in the make-up chair of Sharknado. When we realized that we were going to be working together in Celebrity Apprentice we weren't really supposed to talk about it. But, you know, we kind of talked a little bit and we're both very happy and surprised to know that we were both going to be working on Celebrity Apprentice together. It was great. I love Vivica, she's such an awesome woman, and so fun to work with."
Vivica: "Aw, I love you back, yes. For me, it was a welcomed surprise to find out that we were then going to do Celebrity Apprentice together. So, last year, we spent about four or five months straight almost in New York. And it was cold, I can tell you that. It was a cold season. But it was good — some days — to see a kind face that I knew. When it got really tough — and it did get mentally exhausting some days — I could just to go over and was able to get a hug or just say, 'Whoo, are you hanging in there?' — just to be able to separate. I really got to know Ian as a friend outside of being a competitor on the show. So I was blessed and very, very happy that we got to do the two projects back-to-back."
How do you the two of you prepare for something like this? What's the mindset coming into it?
"What I did is I asked a couple of people that had been on there in the past from Star Jones to Holly Robinson Peete to Mark McGrath, who we were doing Sharknado 2 with. I was like, 'Wow, what was it like?' The first thing that they all said is be prepared to work. So, I thought, 'Okay, this isn't going to be easy. You've got to be mentally tough and physically tough to endure this."
Ian: "I prepared by talking to a few past contestants, Mark McGrath, of course, because I was working with him right before on Sharknado. And, I spoke to Annie Duke. But, on top of that I also went back and watched every episode of Celebrity Apprentice. I wanted to see how the dynamic of the show played out. What things Donald looked for, what things he didn't like, what qualities in people he gravitated towards, what he was adverse to. Really ,you look at it like gang tape and on top of that knowing that I had to be prepared for any situation. I looked deep into my rolodex to (1), look for people with money and (2), look for people with resources — and varied resources — because you never know what you're going to have to come up with, you need to pull rabbits out of your hat on this show. So, I had everything organized and categorized like a flow chart where I needed to go if I had to find something."
Ian Ziering  Johnny Damon and Kevin Jonas on  The Celebrity Apprentice
Ian Ziering, Johnny Damon and Kevin Jonas on 'The Celebrity Apprentice'
Doing this show, you obviously learn new things about yourself. Was there one little revelation that made you come away from the experience going, "Gosh, I just didn't know that about myself. I'm so glad I went to this because, wow, that's a side of my personality I didn't know existed?"
Vivica: "Definitely. For me, it was my patience. I definitely learned to be a lot more inpatient and learned to kind of know my place, play my position and stay in my lane because there were times that you were the project manager that had to take the lead then there were other times that your job was to be an assistant. So, being that we all the type of people that are in charge of our careers and we run our system, we converse with our manager and our agent on what direction we want to go in. The tasks that we were given and just knowing your place and playing your position and staying in lane for me that was like, 'Oh wow, okay, I'm good at strategizing.' So, more than anything else I learned about patience because there were days that my patience was definitely tested."
Lorenzo Lamas  Johnny Damon  Vivica A Fox and Jamie Anderson on  The Celebrity Apprentice
Lorenzo Lamas, Johnny Damon, Vivica A Fox and Jamie Anderson on 'The Celebrity Apprentice'
Ian: "Oh, you know what, every night I had to unwind and we'd come home, we'd just finished a day and I started just write down my thoughts for the day just to figure out where my head as. And, then after the show was over — after my participation within the context of the entire show was done — it still took me about two or three weeks to unwind and settle back because I would just look at things like how do I overcome, what do I need to accomplish to achieve my goal, how do I ghetto around, who can I talk to to facilitate. I mean everything just lights up when you're on The Apprentice as you get immersed in it your thought patterns change. And, for me it took a little bit of time to decompress from that. You're compressed and you're immersed in it. You do a new project every other day."
It sounds like an incredible, life changing experience.
Ian: "It truly was for me, truly."
Vivica: "For me, as well, too. And, I thought I knew New York, but I sure learned a lot more about New York then what I ever thought to know."
Ian could you share a couple of the business lessons you learned about yourself to use? Like you said, you're doing some business deals now...
Ian: "Yes, well, you know what, I would look for ways to duplicate successful models. If there was an opportunity for me to be involved in something where whatever the product or goal was, if there was a similar business that was out there that was doing it already, I would look for ways to duplicate successful business models. And, do what the successful people are doing to make them successful."
Vivica, how did your communication skills improve during this process?
"I definitely learned how to dish out constructive criticism at times. I had to learn per episode like, you know, with each person how to manipulate them to get the end result of what I wanted. Because you couldn't — some people you had to kind of, you know, handle them with kid gloves and other people you could just be a straight shooter with. So, you had to learn the difference of working with the personality per cast. I learned what was some of the other contestants' weaknesses and what were their strengths and who you could send to do certain things and they would deliver and then it wouldn't be a big argument or a set-back."
A scene from Episode 3 of  The Celebrity Apprentice  Season 7
A scene from Episode 3 of 'The Celebrity Apprentice' Season 7
Could the two of you remind readers and viewers which charities or foundations that you're working so hard for this season?
"Ian do you want to start?"
Ian: "Yes, thank you. My charity was Epidermolysis Bullosa, a medical research foundation that does such incredible work. You can find them online at and it's a fatal skin disease that causes the proteins in the skin to be malformed and eventually the skin just doesn't hold up. So, these children end up living their lives in bandages, in constant pain. Having two little girls myself I couldn't imagine anything more horrible and I wanted to champion that cause because I felt that its overlooked and underfunded and I wanted to make a change for something that's being done here in the United States."
Vivica: "I played for Best Buddies. I was introduced to Best Buddies through Carl Lewis — Olympian Carl Lewis — years ago, and I fell in love with the Kennedy/Shriver family who works very, very hard to provide housing and employment opportunities for special needs kids and adults with special needs. To see these kids with special needs, how they just want to be normal, the things that we take for granted, getting up, going to work, having someone take you serious, have someone look at your talent and not look at you because you have a special need and let it be a detriment. It's something I've been involved in for the last ten years and they actually came by and celebrated a birthday with me when I was filming the show. And, for me, Best Buddies is just something that I believe in and was proud to represent them."
A scene from Episode 3 of  The Celebrity Apprentice  Season 7
A scene from Episode 3 of 'The Celebrity Apprentice' Season 7
It's wonderful to hear how passionate you are about these charities. Okay, so now you're fighting for your charities and let's say you are in the boardroom fighting for your spot, what's your best strategy to not get fired and how do you balance your professionalism with Mr. Trump but also put up a good fight for yourself?
Vivica: "I found that just being honest with Mr. Trump and not trying to sugar coat if things didn't go well, to take responsibility and to learn from each task and I just felt for me my strongest tool for survival in the board room was honesty but don't come at me crazy, boo, because it's all in my popcorn and I'm going to leave it there."
Ian: "It's really best to just be open, I felt, that it was just be open and honest and fuel your passion on a foundation of integrity. If you're doing things and letting people know what you're doing and inspiring them to take part of the journey with you, when you're in the boardroom it's pretty hard to shoot that down."
The Celebrity Apprentice airs on Mondays at 8:00p.m.EST / PST and 7:00p.m.CST on NBC.
Raff Spero  Evan Kramer  Donald Trump  George Ross  and Donald Trump Jr. in a scene from  The Celebr...
Raff Spero, Evan Kramer, Donald Trump, George Ross, and Donald Trump Jr. in a scene from 'The Celebrity Apprentice'
Donald J. Trump - Host - The Celebrity Apprentice
Donald Trump is the Emmy-nominated star and co-producer of the reality television series, The Apprentice, which quickly became the number one show on television, making ratings history and receiving rave reviews and worldwide attention. The Celebrity Apprentice has met with great success as well, being one of the highest rated shows on television, and 2015 will mark the fourteenth season of this remarkable series.
Trump is the very definition of the American success story, continually setting the standards of excellence while expanding his interests in real estate, sports and entertainment. He is a graduate of the Wharton School of Finance and started his business career in an office he shared with his father.
In New York City, the Trump signature is synonymous with the most prestigious of addresses, among them the world-renowned Fifth Avenue skyscraper, Trump Tower, the Trump International Hotel & Tower, Trump World Tower at the United Nations Plaza, 40 Wall Street, and Trump Park Avenue. His portfolio includes the historic Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida and his ever expanding collection of award-winning golf courses (seventeen thus far) which span the U.S from Los Angeles to New York, New Jersey, Washington, D.C., and Florida, and internationally from Scotland and Ireland to Dubai. The Trump Hotel Collection has grown to include properties in Chicago, Las Vegas, Waikiki, and Toronto in addition to Trump SoHo/New York and the acclaimed Trump International Hotel & Tower on Central Park West which once again won the coveted Mobil Five-Star Award as well as the Five Star Diamond Award from the American Academy of Hospitality Sciences. The Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago was awarded the #1 Hotel in the US and Canada by Travel & Leisure Magazine. Recent acquisitions include the iconic Doral Hotel & Country Club (800 acres) in Miami, the historic Old Post Office Building in Washington, D.C.
Trump also co-owns the Miss Universe, Miss USA and Miss Teen USA Pageants. In 2007, Mr. Trump received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and he is among the highest paid public speakers in the world.
The Donald J. Trump Signature Collection, which includes neckwear, business suits, dress shirts, cufflinks and more, has met with great success, as has Trump Home, which includes a comprehensive collection of furniture, lighting and room décor.
An accomplished author, Trump has authored over fifteen bestsellers, and his first book, The Art of the Deal, is considered a business classic and one of the most successful business books of all time.
Ivanka Trump
Ivanka Trump
Ivanka Trump - Advisor - The Celebrity Apprentice
As Executive Vice President of Development & Acquisitions of The Trump Organization, Ivanka Trump is charged with the domestic and global expansion of the company’s real estate interests. Along with her father, Donald J. Trump and her siblings, Donald Jr. and Eric, Ms. Trump, who joined the organization in 2005, directs all areas of the company’s real estate and hotel management platforms. Ms. Trump actively participates in all aspects of both Trump and Trump branded projects, including deal evaluation, pre-development planning, financing, design, construction, sales and marketing, and ensuring that Trump’s world-renowned physical and operational standards are met. She is involved in all decisions—large and small—from the acquisition phase to determining the interior selections for residences and hotel suites.
Ivanka Trump  Donald Trump and Joan Rivers
Ivanka Trump, Donald Trump and Joan Rivers
In addition to her work at The Trump Organization, Ivanka Trump is the founder of Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry, which launched to great success in 2009. Ivanka Trump Fine Jewelry now has boutiques in SoHo, New York and Beijing and is sold through luxury independent jewelers and department stores across the globe. Ms. Trump’s brand has evolved rapidly due to her innate understanding of modern luxury and a vision that fits perfectly into the lives of today’s intelligent, self-assured women, inspiring elegance in a new generation. Building off of the brand’s established positioning, in August 2010, Ms. Trump announced Ivanka Trump Footwear which was recognized by Footwear News as “Launch of the Year”, a testament to the immediate success and excitement from the fashion industry. Shortly thereafter, Ms. Trump added categories including handbags, outerwear, apparel, sunglasses, fragrance, home décor, an additional line of accessories that will feature belts, hats, gloves and scarves and most recently children’s footwear. Recognized as the fastest growing brand in the fashion industry, Ms. Trump’s lines are being distributed on a large scale through retail partners including Nordstrom, Bloomingdales, Lord & Taylor, Macy’s, The Bay, Dillard’s, Zappos, Piperlime and many others.
Trump lives in New York City with her husband, publisher and businessman Jared Kushner, and their two children Arabella Rose and Joseph Frederick.
Donald Trump  Jr.
Donald Trump, Jr.
Donald J. Trump Jr. - Advisor - The Celebrity Apprentice
Donald J. Trump Jr. is an innovator and leader in today’s young business world. As an Executive Vice President at The Trump Organization, Trump works in tandem with his siblings Ivanka and Eric to expand the company’s real estate, retail, commercial, hotel and golf interests nationally and internationally. His extensive real estate development experience, rigorous education and inherent business sense add a level of detail and depth to the management of all current and future Trump projects.
Trump directs new project acquisition and development for The Trump Organization throughout the world – in areas from Eastern Europe to Southeast Asia, the Middle East to South America, mainland China to the United States. In addition to new project acquisitions, he actively oversees The Trump Organization’s property portfolio, which contains over 70 projects. He is involved in all aspects of the company’s development, from deal evaluation, analysis and pre-development planning to construction, branding, marketing, operations, sales and leasing.
In addition to his real estate interests, Trump is an accomplished and sought after speaker. He has spoken extensively throughout the United States, and has given keynote speeches internationally, notably in Dubai and India. He has also been featured as an advisor on the highly acclaimed NBC show The Celebrity Apprentice, currently in its fourteenth season.
Trump is also an avid philanthropist, sitting on the Board of Directors of Smile Train and is strongly involved in the Eric Trump Foundation.He received his Bachelor’s degree in finance and real estate from the Wharton School of Finance at the University of Pennsylvania.
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