Sunday, April 02, 2006

My 15 minutes of fame: Auditioning to be on "The Apprentice"

"We are going to hold the next season's auditions in California," said The Donald on TV last Monday night. "If you want to be on the show, come to one of our casting calls." Okay. I want to be the next Apprentice. Hang in there, Mr. Trump. I'm on my way!

The nearest auditions were being held on March 31 in Sacramento. 75 miles away? I could do that. My 1990 Toyota could make it that far. No sweat. So I booked a room at the nearest Motel 6, drove to Sacramento, sat around all that evening in my motel room watching HBO and showed up at 5 am the next morning at the Channel 3 TV studios on D Street. 5 am? That's insane. No one gets up at 5 am! I did. And even despite all that, there was still nine people ahead of me.

Then the news crews came. They asked me, "Ms. Stillwater, why are you doing this?" They looked around. I looked around. I was easily 30 years older than anyone there.

"Mr. Trump always tries to get a variety of types on his show," I replied. "Men, women, ethnic minorities, different nationalities. Well, I am here to represent SENIOR CITIZENS! The Donald needs some geezers to go on his show." In addition, every group of Apprentices so far seems to have at least three bitchy ladies and one loose cannon in the cast. So with me they could get two for the price of one -- a loose cannon AND a bitchy female. Represent!

Well, we stood around outside the studio in long lines in the cold for another five hours before they let in the first 20 applicants. We were ushered into this large room and were instructed to all sit around this huge table, next to a casting director who was old enough to be my grandson. "Tell me why YOU would make a good Apprentice," he asked.

"Because I love to write and I could help Mr. Trump write his books -- not, mind you, that he needs any help of course." Plus I was cute?

Then the casting director asked a hot-button question of all 20 of us and then all hell broke lose. "Is America safer before or after 9-11?" I think he wanted to see who could hold their own in an argument. He did. We did.

"I'm a blogger," I spoke up first. "Bush knew beforehand about 9-11. And what about the photo of the woman standing on the steel beams in the North Tower -- the ones that were allegedly supposed to be so red-hot that they were about to melt?" Then everyone else around the table jumped in.

"Bush is a saint."

"We must double security."

"We got to start investing in infrastructure at home and get out of Iraq."

Everyone else tried to drown me out (I was just an old lady after all) but I wouldn't let them. I jumped right in there with the rest of them. And, among all those sharks, I had the final word. "We need to run the U.S. like Mr. Trump runs his organization -- we need to look for talented and honest and capable people instead of just a handful of rich guys and greedy jerks who steal America blind!" Ha!

Then the group job interview was over. It had been five minutes of hell. Grueling. I left the room shaking. But when I got outside, some guy actually asked me for my autograph! "I saw you on the news this morning! You were great!" Really? I signed his napkin, "To Ron, lots of luck from Jane 'Senior Citizen' Stillwater" and I went home happy. I had had my 15 minutes of fame.

Will the casting director call me back? Probably not. Did I have fun? Absolutely YES!