On Monday’s episode of The Celebrity Apprentice, Vivica A. Fox selflessly told Donald Trump that she thought Leeza Gibbons was a better candidate for the finale and, in effect, fired herself. Fox’s actions gave Mr. Trump an easy out to dismiss the actress and that now leaves Geraldo Rivera and Leeza as the finalists who will compete for a $250,000 for their respective charities on Monday.
I recently caught up with Vivica to discuss why she decided to throw in the towel and her opinions on the PhoneGate scandal with Kenya Moore.
Murtz Jaffer: Hey how are you?
Vivica A. Fox: I’m good and yourself today.
MJ: Very good if you’re ready I’ll get right into it.
VAF: Let’s go.
MJ: I have been watching The Apprentice since Day 1 and I have never seen anyone say that someone else was better than them in the boardroom. What was your rationale behind telling Trump that he should take Leeza to the finale?
VAF: Well I knew that the very last task would be a fundraising task and I have watched Geraldo and Leeza both bring in some really big bucks. You have to realize that when we walked back into that boardroom and after the massacre firing, (where he eliminated the entire team), I was like woo woo! Okay! I just had to be real with myself. I’d raised over $50,000 for my charity, Best Buddies, and I was good. I went as far as I wanted to out of 16 contestants and I was finishing in the top three. I was good.
MJ: I have to ask you about PhoneGate. Can you take me back to that moment and do you think that you…
MJ: Lost … and do you think that you lost your phone and wasn’t stolen?
VAF: No, no. I didn’t lose my phone… my phone was stolen sweetheart. The reason why I will tell you that is that at the time, a lot of people were like ‘how did she get into your phone?’ I didn’t have a password on my phone. I’m used to being around people that I can trust and I hand my phone to my assistant, to my makeup artist, to a lot of people and say ‘hey return this for me’ because I’m legitimately working as an actress and a producer. Then I was thrown … I lost the phone… I mean not lost the phone but the phone was taken and then I got a phone really quickly but I never went to Twitter because I’m not a big tweeter. When we went into the boardroom… twice she tried to get in there with her phone because I guess she had screenshotted the tweet, and was totally planning on throwing me under the bus.
When she did try to throw me under the bus, it was all like one plus one equals two. Wow how did you know [about] that tweet? I didn’t do the tweet. That’s why you saw me behave like I was a five-year-old kid and I was like, ‘I know what happened’ because at that moment it became crystal clear to me that Kenya stole my phone.
MJ: Actually that’s a really big point about you not having a passcode because I remember Kenya tweeted that how could she do it because there was a passcode on it.
VAF: Yeah but she’s like the CIA. I was like ‘quit deflecting from the truth Kenya and accept responsibilities for your actions.’ People will have so much more respect for you (including myself) if you just say ‘hey I got caught it’s my fault, shouldn’t have done that.’ Like if I had one moment that I would take back, it was with Shawn (when I might have said things that wasn’t girl code). I apologized for that and we kept it moving. I have respect for Shawn. I still have love for Shawn in the future. Kenya? Her denial and the insulting of my character is unforgivable for me and unacceptable.
MJ: It’s interesting that you bring up Shawn. When I talked to Kenya last week, she said that it was ironic that you called Shawn out for it being her time of the month and then there being a tweet on your phone about menopause. She said that her pointing out the tweet on your phone was a fact whereas you mentioning Shawn’s period was then maliciously. I’m sure you disagree.
VAF: Of course I do, but see? Once again, there she goes deflecting from the truth. That’s what a liar does instead of being honest and saying, ‘hey I was wrong for doing that.’ Instead she is like ‘well what about with Shawn?’ No no no no no no! What happened? Shawn brought up her situation. I never used what I’m going through in my life and what other women go through in their life and what she’s going to go through one day in her life as an excuse. The fact that she’s decided to try to figure out a way around the truth, it just goes to show you the kind of person she is. Don’t trust her. She’s a liar, she’s a thief and she’s a snake in the grass and that I will not take back.
MJ: That boardroom where you went head-to-head with Kenya will definitely go down in history as the most volatile boardroom in history. What were you thinking when it was happening?
VAF: Well first of all, I was hurt. I’ve known Kenya for years and the fact that she would try to throw me under the bus, and then you saw when they did the side interview that she said, ‘not only am I going to run the bus over her, I’m going to pick up the bus, throw it on her three times, get back in the bus and run her over then back it up and run her over again.’ I was like ‘wow, what had I done to you to make you feel so angry toward me?’ I was disappointed that that’s how she really felt and she was going to do it and felt really good about doing it. Then like after everything that went down. I’ve known her for years to just say, ‘hey Viv I’m sorry.’ Now at this point, we’ve gone so far that there is definitely no coming back.
MJ: You were on Team Vortex during the time that it lost five straight tasks…
VAF: Yeah, thanks Geraldo [Laughter].
MJ: I was just going to say why do you think team Infinity pulled out so many wins? Was their team chemistry just a little bit better or did it come down to something else?
VAF: No it was the combination. They just had a great thinking group over there. I would totally give Team Infinity props… they did great. Then so many times Geraldo would just take over. I like Geraldo, but his ideas were dated and just the people that were project managers just weren’t strong enough to say ‘no I don’t agree…sit down.’ You saw the moment that Leeza Gibbons came on our team, that me and her shut him down and we won.
MJ: Were you surprised that Trump decided to completely get rid of a team that won five straight tasks in that massacre?
VAF: No, those guys? Well, I mean it was an epic boardroom showdown and then like an epic firing. What I love about Apprentice this year is that there were so many twists and turns, and I love that they show two episodes in a row. It became like binge-watching and a guilty pleasure that everyone loved. What I love more than anything else is that our show was real. It was like watching a beautiful business soap opera unfold.
MJ: The thing that I found the most surprising was in the photo bomb task… you’re a pretty a notable actress and Kenya decided not to use you at all. Why do you think she didn’t use you in the photo bomb task at all? I found that very shocking.
VAF: Oh my gosh, me too! I was just kind of like ‘oh okay’ and then [she] insulted me at every turn. I think that was her planting her seed that she was going to try to get rid of me.
MJ: After being so close to getting a chance to compete in the finale, is there any part of you that regrets not fighting to stay harder?
VAF: Not at all. Not all. I would be very happy to sit there next week and I am so convinced, I’m like 95% sure that Leeza Gibbons will be the next Celebrity Apprentice. We haven’t had a woman winner since Joan Rivers. Joan Rivers came on the show twice and was a judge and I just think its going to be pretty organic for it to happen that way.
MJ: Can you give me a little preview of the final task? You’re on Team Geraldo and also how happy were you that Kenya didn’t return for the finale?
VAF: Baby, I could have got up and done a happy dance when I walked in that room and they said ‘we’re bringing people back!’ I was like ‘oh my god you’re going to have me with her?!’ But I am a professional. I mean I haven’t always liked my co-stars and I could have pushed through it but I was thrilled that it was Lorenzo and Ian who were two guys that I just absolutely liked. But then we had to suffer the wrath of Geraldo… changing the shot list, not listening to anyone… but that’s Geraldo.
MJ: Why do you think they put you with him and not Leeza?
VAF: I thought it would have been great had they put all the girls [together]. It would have been like the girls against the guys to take us back to the original, like how they originally did it. I think they just wanted to mix it up and it was just more dynamic. At that point (after five and half weeks of watching us filming), I think that they figured out what worked and what didn’t work. Kudos to the production staff of Celebrity Apprentice, they’re good at what they do.
MJ: Can you tell me more about your charity Best Buddies International and what’s next for you?
VAF: Absolutely. Best Buddies is the Anthony Kennedy Shriver Foundation that I have been working with for over 10 years, and I was introduced to them by Carl Lewis Olympian, (see I love my Olympians!) He invited me to their then the big soiree that they hold in Miami. I went there and I was so moved and so touched that here are kids that all they want (and adults), that all they want is just the chance just to feel normal. To be able to get their own apartment, to be able to have their own jobs that whatever I can give back to them and let them know that I appreciate them and that I can help to build buildings for them, to bring awareness to Best Buddies… it makes it all worth it.
MJ: What’s next for you, what are you working on?
VAF: Well my hairline extension the Vivica Fox hair collection got extended for three more years. I’m going to start doing my own lingerie line called Curvy Couture by Vivica Fox. I have a movie coming out called ‘Chocolate City’ which is basically the African American version of Magic Mike where I play a mom (I’m not stripping!) It’s going to be coming out in May or June. I’ve got two sitcoms that I’m working on now with Roger Bobb who works for Demetria from The Real Housewives of Atlanta. I play a cameo in Man and Wife and then I also have another sitcom with Bill Bellamy, Jon Lovitz and that is executive produced Byron Allan called ‘Mr. Box Office.’
MJ: Amazing! Vivica, well thank you so much! I can’t wait to see you in a couple of days at the finale in New York.
VAF: It’s going to be fun! It’s going to be fun! Come up and say ‘hey,’ okay?
MJ: For sure. Look for me on the carpet. I’ll have a purple hat on, you can’t miss me!
VAF: I’ll remember that, I will be like ‘what’s uppp!’
MJ: Amazing, have a good one. I’ll see you in New York.
VAF: All right, take care darling.
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Tags: murtz, Murtz Jaffer, The Celebrity Apprentice, Vivica A. Fox