COMING UP TRUMPS; the Gloves Are off in the Boardroom. but Surprisingly It's Not the Apprentices Who Are Being Told 'You're Fired'. DONALD TRUMP, the Flamboyant Billionaire Behind the Original U.S. Version, Tells LINA DAS What He Thinks of Our Own Sir Alan Sugar
Byline: LINA DAS
Trumps Trump Tower on New York's bustling Fifth Avenue is a monument to the excess and selfpromotion of its creator, Donald Trump. The rose marble floors are teeming with tourists, snapping away at the sights on offer - from the Donald J. Trump Signature Collection of shirts, cufflinks and ties on display in the lobby, to the various books written by the man himself. These invariably tell how we too can get to be as rich as he is. There are baseball caps, keyrings and mugs emblazoned with the slogan, 'You're fired'. For this was Trump's original catchphrase in the reality TV show, The Apprentice, which started first in the U.S.
with Trump in the role now taken in Britain by Sir Alan Sugar.
A huge photo of Trump posing with third wife Melania presides over the lobby area, advertising Donald Trump The Fragrance For Men. So now we can be as business-wise as Trump, dress like Trump and even smell like Trump. Mr Donald Trump is not one for hiding his light under a bushel.
His office on the 26th floor overlooks Manhattan and is crammed with trophies and covers of himself on magazines from Newsweek to Playboy. His hair, the much maligned 'comb-over', is there in all its glory - improbably blond and as delicate and intricate as a spider's web. He jumps up from behind his desk, greets me warmly, then launches into a rundown of his myriad projects. Such is the small talk of the business tycoon.
Donald Trump needs little introduction.
The billionaire property developer rode high in the yuppie 1980s, suffered catastrophic losses in the early 1990s and then bounced back, taking in marriages to the colourful Ivana Trump (Wife Number One) and Marla Maples (Number Two) along the way. At 59, he shows little sign of slowing down.
His most successful venture of recent times has been The Apprentice, the TV reality show in which 16 candidates compete for a job as an apprentice to Trump himself and where unsuccessful applicants are dismissed with the aforesaid line, 'You're fired!' It has been a huge hit both in the States and in Britain - 'and a great success all over the world!' - and 'the Donald', as Ivana always called him, is rightly proud of it. 'The fifth series has just started in the States and the last one was a great success.' This time, Trump's 24-yearold daughter by Ivana, Ivanka, a former model and now a director at the Trump Organization, will appear in five episodes of the show, helping her father decide which contestants to fire. To our eyes, the contestants in the American version always seem to be more sure of themselves and far glossier than their English counterparts, but, says Trump, 'The British always seem to put American business people on a pedestal, but the British are just as good and approach business in very similar ways. Britain has some great business people, such as Richard Branson, and I have German and Scottish ancestry, so my heritage is European too.' So what does Trump look for when assessing the candidates? 'Well, they have to be very intelligent and, in general, the people on The Apprentice have been to Harvard or Yale universities, so intelligence is a given. And they need to be street smart and have the ability to never give up. I'm also looking for business savvy, and that indefinable something that sets them apart from the rest.
'The women tend to work harder than the men because they feel they have to make up for not being treated fairly in business in the past, but the men have more innate confidence.
No one who's been on the show has been a failure. Some have gone on to Hollywood and others have started their own companies. One contestant even ran for Congress.
'It has been one of the most important shows on TV in many years and there have been 15 copies. Richard Branson copied it.
Tommy Hilfiger copied it. Martha Stewart copied it and every one of them has failed,' says Trump proudly. …