On last night’s live finale of The Apprentice: LA, Stefani Schaeffer was not fired.  After a long, nine-month deliberation, Donald Trump decided to hire the 32-year old defense attorney from LA.  This was a somewhat surprising result considering what viewers had seen throughout the season.  Stefani didn’t get a whole lot of screen time, so it was really impossible to make a judgment either way.  However, in the last couple episodes Stefani showed her capabilities as a leader and creative person, obvisouly impressing Trump enough to offer Stefani a salary of 250k to become his next Apprentice.  Stefani spoke with us this morning about her time on the show.

Below you will find both the written transcript and the full mp3 audio of our interview.

BuddyTV: So, you won, how are you feeling?

Stefani:  I’m feeling like I’m in awe.  I’m in shock.  It hasn’t set in yet.

First off, can you fell us how you found yourself on The Apprentice: LA?  From the beginning, were you serious about winning?  What was your mindset coming into the season?

My mindset coming into the season was, well I made it onto the show and so I don’t want to be the first or second one fired.  Just please don’t let me be one or two.  I don’t think my ego could have handled it.  And then as we made it past two I thought, “Uh-oh, well I don’t want to ever be fired.  Now I have to win.”  Then it was, “Okay, let’s win.”

So you’ve known for a better part of the year, I think it’s been like 9 months since you stopped filming, that you were in the Final Four.  How was that wait?

It was a long wait, but really, you know, I have such a busy daily schedule anyway as an attorney that I just sort of jumped right back into real life and said, “Okay, well I’m not going to have any resolution on that so let me just put it out of my mind and pretend that it doesn’t exist for right now and go back to real life.”

Knowing that you were in fact going to be on the live finale in the Final Four, were you kind of surprised that you weren’t featured more prominently during the season?

I really was, actually.  I found the editing to be surprising.  I guess the message was to focus on people who were creating trouble and who might be on the firing line.  And maybe the romance between Tim and Nicole.  So, I don’t know.  I think they showed me as being very, very quiet and I’m not that way.  None of my friends know me to be that way.  And in daily life I’m actually quite animated, so yes I was surprised.

So, do you think when Trump, like last night, talks about how you were kind of floating under the radar; was that just based off the editing of the show or is there any merit to that for what really happened?

There’s actually no merit to that whatsoever and I said that very clearly to him.  I think the only justification for him saying that I was under the radar was based on what the audience saw in the editing, in the final edited version.  So if you had seen my performance in tasks one through eleven, versus just the last two where I think I was shown an bit more, you would have seen that I gave just as much input, had just as much energy and was just as involved in all of those tasks as I was at the end.  It’s just that I wasn’t really shown until the latter half of the show.

You know, going into last night, did you have a feeling that it was going to be you and James in the final two?  Because it certainly sort of felt like to me that it was a forgone conclusion.

I really did.  I mean, I think I was being optimistic but I had a sneaking suspicion that it would be James and I just because I felt like if I had to choose among the other three, who would I want to go up against?  I figured James would be my toughest competition because he’s so confident and so great.  I mean, I can’t say enough great things about him.  We worked together from day one, every single task we were a team.  And that was a really phenomenal experience so I did think that if they looked at the commercials and had an actual resolution for who lost and won that we would; I was confident in our product, I thought that we would win.  And then based on that it would be James and I.

Last night when Trump gave his rationale for firing James he said something like, “There are certain things or certain words that you gave that I didn’t like very much and you know what I’m talking about.”  Do you know what that was about? Because it was pretty confusing, at least to me.

You know, I can only speculate.  I don’t know what it was specifically that set Mr. Trump off.  For me to know that I would’ve had to have either a conversation with him or climb into his mind and figure out what it was that he found distasteful.  I mean, I know there was a lot of dialogue throughout many, many tasks.  James was featured rather prominently in the sort of on the fly interviews that narrate the program.  And I can’t imagine what it was.  I mean I can think of a few instances but again, I really don’t know specifically what he was talking about.  I would wager to bet that if we had a two-hour finale you would have seen much more Boardroom interrogation and probably would have been able to ferret out sort of what Mr. Trump was talking about.

Do you think Trump’s decision would have been any different had he made it nine months ago right after the task?

I don’t think so.  I think the decision probably would have been the same.  Mr. Trump is very bright.  In retrospect I think that the decisions that he made along the way were fair.  I mean there was a rationale behind each decision that you kind of had to…logically, if you’re thinking through it, it seemed like the right choice in most instances.  So I think the decision would have been the same.  I really think it was just based on performance and then our ability defend to ourselves.

So, do you know yet what your plan is for the future?   Are you heading to the Caribbean any time soon?

You know, Oscar, I have no idea but just hearing you say “heading to the Caribbean” sounds rather interesting.  I mean, that sounds like a lot of fun so I can’t imagine that it won’t be a great experience.  I really have no idea what I’m doing.  I know that I’m getting on a plane to New York today in a few hours and I’ll be on Regis and Kelly tomorrow morning.  Beyond that I have no idea what the future holds.

(Interview Conducted by Oscar Dahl)

Oscar Dahl

Senior Writer, BuddyTV