Model, centerfold and fashion personality Hope Dworaczyk is part of the latest roster on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice. As we approach her turn as project manager in this Sunday's episode, Hope stopped by to chat about the realities of "reality TV," what it's like being in charge, and how much image factors into everything else.
What interested you in appearing on Celebrity Apprentice? Were you at all worried about how it might impact your career? There's kind of this belief that celebrities who appear on reality shows are C- and D-list types past their prime.
When I first got the call, I was excited. I'd seen the show before. It's something my mom loves to watch. But I didn't know what it would be. After talking with the producers, I knew I wanted to do it. I thought it would be really cool if I did win money for charity.
Of course that's your first thought, because you always think long-term. But to me it was more the exposure, and raising money for charity. I'm 26, I'm just starting my career. If it was the last notable thing I was going to do, I'd probably want something else to be my last project.
Obviously, there's a lot more to each episode of the show than we see in forty-odd minutes on TV. What's it like for you to film each day? How conscious are you of the cameras?
You get up at 4:30 in the morning. You have hair and makeup touch-ups. You're in the lobby by 6 AM. It's no joke. The producers aren't there to help you with anything. You can't go behind the camera; I've tried. They wouldn't answer anything. They actually make you work.
I was probably more aware [of the cameras] than some of the people. It was like they forgot the cameras were there.
You're competing for your chosen charity (Best Buddies). How much do you think about that when you're actually in the competition? Does it add more pressure?
Knowing I was going in for charity I thought to myself, "If you don't walk away winning money for your charity, what did you do this all for?" So it was important for me to bring home the dough. I knew I'd be really disappointed in myself if I didn't.
You're the project manager this week. What was your managerial style?
It was a real challenge for me. I'm the youngest on the team. That's really hard [with the] age difference, to suddenly tell people what to do. But I really just listened to everyone's opinion. If I didn't go with it, I always told them why. I'd say in my personal life I'm definitely in charge. If it comes down to choosing a restaurant with my girlfriends, I'm the one who's like, "Let's go there."
Like most reality shows, yours has a pretty diverse group of people. Would you actually work in a business venture with any of them outside of the show?
Niki Taylor was a great, great friend. I'll continue to work with her in different campaigns or runway shows. I had known Marlee Matlin before this show. I'd always wondered if Gary Busey was on something, but he wasn't. Gary made the show so much fun for me.
You weren't always a celebrity. What jobs did you do before? Were any of them particularly memorable?
Before I was on the show, I was doing runway [modeling] for Wilhemina in New York. I worked for my dad one summer - I was like sixteen - and he fired me like six times.
If you could appear on any other reality competition series, which one would you choose? Is there one that you'd avoid at all costs?
I don't know if I'd do another one, to tell you the truth. I did this one because it was about business and not really about my personal life. I don't want a camera in my home. I'm really, really happy to have my own peace and quiet.
I just wrote an article including discussion of how scripted television seems to market sex and sex appeal more. Do you see the same trend in your field?
Absolutely. And once you go so far, it's like, "What next?" We're already naked. Television already has so much nudity. Can they go back? Not really, because people don't listen. Sex appeal does sell. It's consumers that are making that happen. Every dollar that a consumer spends is voting.
You're also in a unique position, though, because as a model and spokesperson (for Tees by Tina), you have the ability to influence women. A lot has been made of how the fashion industry sets up certain expectations for women. How do you approach the opportunity?
I always root for women. I would get along with the girl who works at a bowling alley. I grew up on a farm in Texas, in a small town with 600 people. I'm still that girl.
At the end of the day, it's being able to relate to everybody. Of course, for my job, I'm glammed up to look a certain way. I don't always look like that. Right now, I have no makeup on. It's important for girls to know that even though you see her walking a runway, it doesn't mean that's who she is when she goes home at night.
My thanks to Hope Dworaczyk for this interview! Catch her this Sunday on NBC's The Celebrity Apprentice at 9 PM ET/PT. And check out her charity of choice, Best Buddies International.