The supermodel was among the contestants in last winter’s Season 5 of Donald Trump‘s NBC competition, which talk-show-host-to-be-again Arsenio Hall ultimately won. Someone has to be the first booted from the boardroom, and after the initial sandwich-making challenge, it was Tiegs … and months later, she maintains she didn’t mind.
“It was not right for me,” she tells Zap2it. “At that very first boardroom elimination, I said, ‘With all due respect, Mr. Trump, this is not the right environment for me.’ And when you say something like that, he has no choice but to fire you. And I said, ‘Thank you,’ and I walked away.
“I have made a real effort in my life to be as nice to everyone I meet as I can,” adds Tiegs, who had a long run as a Cover Girl cosmetics spokesperson and has enjoyed successful business ventures involving sportswear and hair accessories. “I’m not perfect, but I really try to see the best and be the best. I don’t like backstabbing and saying nasty things about people. If such things are said about me, it’s their problem, not mine.”
One of the subjects of the documentary “About Face: Supermodels, Then and Now” — which makes its HBO debut Monday, July 30, after screenings at the Sundance and L.A. Film Festivals — Tiegs is attached to the term “cover girl” in another sense, having been on the front of the Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue three times during her active modeling years.
“I thought I could prove to America that you could be a nice person and still do a project or run a business,” she says of her time with such other “Celebrity Apprentice” players as Victoria Gotti, singer Debbie Gibson and comic Lisa Lampanelli. “We did work together as a team, but in the boardroom, it just shocked me so much that people would start slinging mud. I thought, ‘This is so not for me.’
“I liked the men’s team because they were a real team,” Tiegs notes, “and that’s what I thought it would be. The guys (also including ‘Star Trek’ icon George Takei and singers Clay Aiken and Dee Snider) were great, and I still keep in touch with them. I’ve started about 12 companies in my life, and I did it without backstabbing. I thought I could do that here, but it didn’t work out.”