Former Miss Universe Dayana Mendoza was fired on Sunday’s Celebrity Apprentice after setting a record for making the most appearances in the boardroom.
Her secret to staying alive through so many career-ending sessions remained in laying low.
“I didn’t need to be in the boardroom so many times,” the Venezuelan beauty, 25, tells me. “Mr. Trump was always saying it — ‘She doesn’t deserve to be here. She hasn’t done anything specifically wrong — you guys haven’t let her do anything at all.’ To me, I let everybody else beat each other up because there’s a range of attitudes and issues. I’d rather keep it quiet and professional. I’m not a person who’s loud.”
Alas, the axe had to fall.
She admits she felt bullied by comedienne Lisa Lampanelli and others.
“I don’t have to show it and I don’t have to point at it,” Dayana says. “I’m happy for them to keep doing it because they make me look better. I’m not looking worse, I’m not getting anything back at them. And again, they helped me, I think.”
She hopes she can raise awareness for the plight of those suffering humiliation.
“I went to the premiere of Bully, and it really got to me,” she says. “I really appreciated being there. I got very passionate about the way kids are behaving now. I had no idea that it was like that. When I was a younger kid, those things didn’t happen directly to me, but it’s extremely unfair and it’s part of education. It has to do with kids loving themselves and how parents are raising them. I wish that movie could be more out there, and get into every high school and every school, for kids to realize how much damage they are doing, because they have insecurities. I don’t understand why, otherwise, they would do it. I know kids are young, and sometimes they don’t mean it, but they hurt people.”
She adds, “As an adult, I understand how they can do it, and I can brush it off. But when you’re growing up, it has a different effect.”
Does she feel the other contestants were jealous of her good looks?
“I don’t know if they were jealous of me,” she says. “I don’t know what they’ve been going through in their life. I can understand if I’m being treated like that so often for no reason, it’s obviously their issue and not mine. I hope for future shows, I hope that people can start treating each other more professionally and less personal. I’m happy to have the opportunity to be on the show. I appreciate the fact that I can work for my charity, the Latino Commission on AIDS.”
Still, she feels beauty can lead others to be unfairly singled out for ridicule.
“I think people like to say that pretty-looking people are dumb,” she says. “I don’t think everyone has to be the smartest person in the world. Whether you’re pretty or not, I cannot generalize, but probably they look for something negative because they’re trying to get away with their own issues. I don’t think it’s about beauty. It’s everywhere in the world professionally, they judge you by the way you look, by the way you dress, there’s always an issue.”
How has the Celebrity Apprentice experience changed her life?
“I wasn’t recognized in the country until I got into Celebrity Apprentice and on national TV,” Dayana says. “It has helped me — I’m very well-recognized in Latin America, but this is the beginning for me and for my charity that I’m representing to be more out there and to raise more awareness. Again, I’m very thankful to Mr. Trump and the family and how much they’ve been helping, and NBC for the way that everything’s coming out. It has changed my life . Now I get stopped on the street with people saying ‘come on, Dayana, you go against those girls.’ That didn’t happen before.”
Celebrity Apprentice airs Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on NBC.