#8: Omarosa Manigault
Claim to fame: Backstabbing reality TV villain
- The Apprentice
- The Surreal Life
- The Celebrity Apprentice
- The Ultimate Merger
- The Celebrity Apprentice 6
“I’m going to crush my competition and I’m going to enjoy doing it.”
Nobody loves a villain, at least as far as reality TV is concerned.
This seems simple enough to grasp, but it’s one of the notions that reality TV has had the most trouble computing. Despite all the complaints and all the ratings disasters, reality TV still does not understand that being talked about is not always a good thing.
This glorification of the reality TV villain has lead to a very disturbing trend of villains who are not only willing to play the villain, but who are actually romancing the notion and can’t wait to get started.
But long before Russel Hantz and NaOnka Mixon dived headfirst into the roll on Survivor, the role of villain was first eagerly embraced by a contestant on a show in its first experimental season: Omarosa on the first season of The Apprentice.
As soon as the original Boys vs. Girls format was dissolved, Manigault ensured that only two women in the entire season retained any name recognition even during the show’s broadcast: Amy Henry, who went undefeated for eleven episodes, and herself.
Manigault’s antics included allegedly pocketing (or at least misplacing) $200 from a task and then blaming the project manager, exaggerating a headache to constantly get out of physical work, and deliberately sabotaging the final project for the Kwame Jackson, arguably the runner-up by her hand.
Manigault later claimed that the show’s producers manipulated the footage to make her look like the villain.
“These shows are constructed,” said Manigault. “They don’t happen, nor do they portray actual reality. They are constructed reality.”
She expanded further by dragging race into the topic, “Historically, blacks have been portrayed negatively on reality television. We don’t come across well. You’ve got to start looking and saying, ‘Is that really how all blacks are?’ Because they are trying to say that this is representative of our people.”
But despite claiming not to have been the villain, Manigault continued to market herself as one.
Most telling, despite having accused the producers of The Apprentice of deliberately misrepresenting her, she still returned for the first season of The Celebrity Apprentice, during which she immediately began fighting with the other cast members, most prominently with the eventual winner, Piers Morgan.
In fact, despite having been depicted as nothing short of the face of the devil twice by the Apprentice producers, Manigault is returning again. She will be competing again in the upcoming “All-Stars” season of Celebrity Apprentice.
Mixed messages to be sure.
Fool me once: Shame on you.
Fool me twice: Shame on me.
Fool me three times: Everybody calls bull and says I’m doing this on purpose.
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