'Celebrity Apprentice': Aubrey O'Day talks Fidel Castro, her controversial comments about Arsenio Hall, and why she should not have been fired

Image Credit: Mitchell Haaseth/NBC

She was one of the most polarizing characters in Celebrity Apprentice history — a remarkable feat when you consider some of the people that have done time on that show. But Aubrey O’Day’s quest for the Celebrity Apprentice crown came to an end last night when Donald Trump fired her — leaving Clay Aiken and Arsenio Hall to battle it out for the title. Never one to be shy with her opinions, Aubrey now looks back at her time on the program. Does she regret being so aggressive and domineering? What about calling Arsenio Hall “the biggest girl on this show?” And can we finally get to the bottom of what she was doing chillin’ with Fidel Castro? We can! Ladies and gentleman, Aubrey O’Day — unfiltered. Prepare yourselves.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Should you have been in the final two, Aubrey?
AUBREY O’DAY: Absolutely. I mean, just in watching last night when Trump asked us all why, I was the only one out of the three of us to say that I was the strongest player there. I mean, it’s a confidence factor, it’s just a fact. I worked the hardest, I had the most ideas, and the thing about this show is it’s not a show about building teams. It’s not a show about a team winning. It’s a show about one person winning. It’s a show about one person being able to be the most effective leader, and you know, there is no I in team, but there is an I in leadership, and that is what this show is about. With Danity Kane and Making The Band, it was about the group, which is why you always saw me fighting so hard for the group or fighting for what the group needed or doing what was best for the group in that scenario. But in this specific scenario, I never went in it wanting to make friends or thinking that anyone was really my friend, because that’s never the case in situations like this. You’re lucky if you walk out of it with someone that you enjoy spending time with.

Neither Clay nor Arsenio picked you to help them with the final task, meaning you went last in the schoolyard pick ‘em to Clay. Why do you think that was?
Clay said it himself in many interviews. They saw me as one of the strongest people there, if not the strongest, and there’s a factor of the game of getting the strong people out, and they created an alliance and that was an intention on their alliance’s part. I think that not picking me is just further part of what they were trying to do, which was just… yeah, put me in my place, I assume. You know, I had a choice whether to come back or not, I didn’t have to come back, and I frankly didn’t want to come back because I felt like the two people that were left weren’t the ones that should be there, and I almost kind of felt victim of the age-old reality TV notion that none of it is real, basically. And I hate feeling that way because with this show specifically, you’re fighting for something that you’re so passionate about and you’re not getting a gain. I mean, you don’t have the gain of making tons of money or anything like that, so you can’t like sit back and laugh while you’re driving around in your new nice car or whatever.

So I didn’t really respect the final two left in that I thought other people should be there, but I went back because it was said time and time again by a lot of people that I wasn’t a team player, that I was there for myself or that I’m all about me, me, me, me, me. I thought that it was a good thing to go back and help raise money for someone else’s charity and it was a good thing to show them that regardless of whether I’m in it or I’m out of it or I’m the project manager or I’m simply helping, etc., that I worked as hard consistently always, and I wanted to prove that, so in doing so, I made Clay’s finale like a thousand times better than anything Arsenio’s team did.

What did you think when you watched the episode and saw Arsenio calling you names like bitch and whore?
You know, I think I had any normal reaction that anyone would have. I paced back and forth, I said a few choice words, I was angry about it, and I was pissed that he took it there because it’s totally irrelevant to this game whether someone is a slut or not, and I think that those words that I’ve been called along the journey of my career are by people who are threatened or insecure. And usually with women unfortunately, we live in a man’s world, and it’s very easy to call a strong, dedicated, fearless woman a bitch, and a strong, dedicated, fearless man a leader. And so it was easy for him to take that road with me, and it just shows ignorance, it show immaturity. That’s all it really showed.

Obviously the flip side would be, you were playing for GLSEN, a charity that tries to combat bullying, especially against gay teens, and yet a few minutes after presenting them with a big check, you made some comments about Arsenio where you said “Arsenio is the biggest girl on this show, so I don’t know why he doesn’t like tap dancing or wearing cheerleading outfits. We all know he does it at home.” Do you regret saying that while representing GLSEN on the show?
Well, here’s the thing with the show. The point of it is to assess people’s ability within this competition, and within that, and the lack of sleep and the more intense the situation gets and the more hostile people get towards you… I mean, obviously Arsenio lost it on me prior to me ever having anything to say about him one way or another, and that left a bad taste of him in my mouth in general. But I think that you should always think before you speak, and that’s definitely a campaign that is relevant to GLSEN, and I think that… This is how I feel about the entire thing. You can’t call someone a bully that has an opinion, because no one will ever want to have an opinion. They will be scared of them.

Specifically addressing GLSEN and the anti-bullying campaign, I’m somebody that was bullied my entire life. I had to switch schools, I was beat up, I went through so many crazy days of it that I never had a comfortable moment in school. So what I saw in GLSEN, going into this project, was the ability to help people that are like me, and I don’t even like that I have to put my name on a specific organization because I’m not here for an organization and their rules of conduct and their lines of behavior. It’s almost like getting into religion, you know? It’s like, if you back a religion 100%, then you have to honor all the aspects of the religion. Well, I might like being a certain religion, but I don’t like certain aspects of it, so that’s how I feel when you put your name on a charity because a lot of charities have specific guidelines with where behavior has to lay, and I don’t necessarily know that anyone has that specific answer in society. I think that it’s always up to interpretation.

But more importantly, what I did when I signed up to work with GLSEN for Celebrity Apprentice was I wanted to represent the people. I don’t care about the organizations. I don’t necessarily care about the different charities and their rules and their expectations of behavior. I care about the kids that are getting bullied and I wish that I could take the money directly to the hands of those kids, and that’s who I was fighting for. You know, I never fight for corporate America. If there’s anything I think that you’ve seen about me, it’s that I’m the rebellious girl. I fight for the people, I fight for the underdogs, I wish that I could just be a voice for the people and not have to always have to be connected or tied into different organizations.

Speaking of corporate America, inquiring minds want to know: When exactly are you going to become Mrs. Farouk Shami?
Yeah, he’s so cute. I still keep in touch with him. He was one of the first guys in that competition that was nice, and what I’m used to experiencing in the real world. You know, the guys always seemed to hate me so much. They didn’t know me, they didn’t work with me, I never interacted with them, but they all had such a strong opinion about me. Usually the boys love me way more than the girls do, and that was kind of the opposite with this show.

I have to know: What the heck were you doing hanging out with Fidel Castro?
I wasn’t hanging out with him. I spent a year of my life traveling around the world, first through a program called Semester at Sea, and through that program I was able to meet and work with people like Nelson Mandela, the Dalai Lama and Fidel Castro, also, is included in that list. And we worked on a health initiative in Cuba and we were in the hospitals with kids doing treatments, helping make lives better, helping save lives, helping further progress the health care initiatives that he’s put into place, and there are some great ones, and we worked alongside Che Guevara’s daughter, who was also a part of what we were doing in the hospitals. It was all positive, and I never experienced the bad aspects of any of those people. I experienced all of them in the façade of helping save lives, and so my opinions about what I did are positive and I felt lucky and privileged to be a part of all of those great minds. But I don’t condone his behavior. I don’t condone any tyrannical dictator. I know that there are many things that he has done that are heavily offensive, but I am specifically just addressing the work that I did around the country. I think that his name happens to stand out amongst everything else that I’ve done because he’s such a controversial person.

There’s been only one female Celebrity Apprentice winner. Do you think women are discriminated against on this show?
Oh, God, how do I get around answering this the safe way? I think that we have a long way to go before women are respected in business the way that they should be, and that is across the board.

I have to guess that you think Trump should hire Clay. Is that right?
Yeah. I mean, I look at the finals like it was Lisa and I in the final and Clay and Arsenio are our representatives. So Lisa did all of Arsenio’s work and I did all of Clay’s work, and you know, you’re seeing that, that we took charge. I do have to say, it looks on television like Lisa really took complete charge of Arsenio’s stuff. It looks like Arsenio wasn’t even trying to take a leadership position. I think that Clay definitely tried to step up and take a leadership position, and I also think that Penn had a wonderful idea with the presentation of the video that he came up with. But yeah, I mean you’ll see the differences in the parties and the money that’s raised, etc. I think that Clay far outweighs anything that Arsenio Hall did.

What’s it like to make out with Clay Aiken?
That kiss was sprung on me! But I think that Clay’s a fun guy and I know he likes the boys, but obviously, you know me, I’m like the girl that can turn all the gay boys straight, so maybe Clay will get straight and come try to hit on me a little bit. And I’ll turn him down. Or, I’ll fix his hair first and then I’ll turn him down. But I love him dearly.

Make sure to read Dalton’s latest ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ recap. And for more ‘Celebrity Apprentice’ inanity and insanity follow Dalton on Twitter @DaltonRoss.

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