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Interview With Annie Duke of 2009 Celebrity Apprentice

Interview With Celebrity Apprentice's Annie Duke, Part I


The second season of The Celebrity Apprentice premieres this Sunday and the previews have made me excited to watch. It's a diverse crowd of candidates this year, and I was lucky to chat with Annie Duke of professional poker fame. She's a sharp, funny, mother-of-four, and for a highly successful woman who has coached other celebrities like Matt Damon and Ben Affleck on their poker games, she is incredibly down to earth.

Annie said that she had huge hesitations about saying yes to the show because she never had interest putting herself out there on national TV more than she already does, but once she found out that she could raise money for charity by playing a game, she couldn't say no. As the co-founder of Ante Up For Africa she said, "Here’s a chance, because people know who I am, to do something really good. Not just for my charity but for other people’s charities. Every week of that show, some charity is going to benefit. I just thought it would be a really cool thing to be a part of. I would have been more enthusiastic had I known that in advance, but I’m really glad that I did it."

To see some of Annie's responses to a couple of Savvy questions and learn what Donald Trump is looking for, read more.

SavvySugar: Did your ability to read people come into play?

Annie Duke: The structure of the game is really interesting. On a game like Survivor, your teammates vote, on Dancing With the Stars, America votes. In this situation it’s one guy. You don’t have to worry so much about whether or not your teammates like you because in the end it just matters if Trump is pissed off at you. It’s a game of competence. In Survivor, it’s important you don’t appear too competent. But on The Celebrity Apprentice it's extremely important you appear competent for two reasons: Number one, Trump needs to think you’re competent, and number two, if your team wins you don’t face the board room and no one on your team wants to face elimination. It’s a very unusual game because you don’t have to hide your competence, in fact you have to show it off. After I found out I'd be on the show, I watched the entire first season — I didn’t just watch it, I paused and went backward and forward, analyzed everything. Watched how the challenges went, what part of the challenges tended to get you on the chopping block. If you do too much or not enough, it can get you there. I watched how bad it was not to defer to your project manager. I really strategically analyzed the first season and I was extremely regretful I hadn’t watched it because it’s an extremely interesting show — because it’s a show about competence.

SavvySugar: What else is Trump looking for?

Annie Duke: Controversy. But if you're controversial for no apparent reason you’re not going to win the game. Omarosa is a good example – all she did was pick fights with people and that was a good strategy to get her to the middle of the game. Take someone like Piers, he was controversial because he was direct and spoke his mind, but he backed it up every time. And that’s the better kind of controversy. If you’re a quiet little mouse, you’re going to be in big trouble on that show. Trump likes fireworks. He eggs people on. I saw situations in the first season where it seemed obvious that one person was wrong, like when Omarosa reamed at Piers the whole day talking about his kids and talking about what kind of father he was. That was a situation when there was one person clearly in the right and one clearly in the wrong. I was impressed that he kept his cool, but when they went into the boardroom Trump was like, 'Why are you such a jerk Piers?'. He certainly knows what makes good TV.

Check out what Annie had to say about the other candidates and her feelings about the show's March 1 premiere in tomorrow's post on SavvySugar. For more information on Annie Duke, check out her website.

Photo courtesy of Charles William Bush

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