Season five of “The Celebrity Apprentice” doesn’t debut until Feb. 19, so contestant Tia Carrere has to be circumspect about what she reveals regarding her journey on the show. But it can’t have been too hard on her — considering that now she’s now contemplating opening her own business back in her native Hawaii.
“The great thing was I found out I’m a really good team player. I’ve never been in a corporate environment before,” says the actress and Grammy-winning musician who rose to fame in the “Wayne’s World” movies. “I was pleased that I was able to anticipate people’s needs and be a self-starter. Most important, I promised myself going in that no matter what, I would maintain my integrity. There is no reason for being backbiting and manipulative. Other people are — but I guess that makes good TV, doesn’t it?
“I was surprised. Some of these broads are tough,” adds Carrere. She’s part of an eclectic group of 18 including Arsenio Hall, George Takei, Cheryl Tiegs, Penn Jillette, Clay Aiken, Victoria Gotti, Aubrey O’Day, Lisa Lampanelli, Adam Carolla, Victoria Gotti, Lou Ferrigno, Michael Andretti, Debbie Gibson, “Real Housewives of New Jersey’s” Teresa Giudice and Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider.
Carrere reports she was a last-minute addition to the cast. “They had asked me for the past few years, and I’d always kind of shied away from it because I knew it would be difficult. I was the last one to jump on. I didn’t have time to think about it. It was, ‘Let’s just see if make money for my charity,’ which is After-School All-Stars. It’s a group Arnold Schwarzenegger introduced me to nearly 20 years ago when we did ‘True Lies,’ that provides fitness and enrichment programs for kids all across the country.”
Even if she’d had the time, however, “You can’t prepare for this. What I like about the show is that we’re so exhausted and overwhelmed with the tasks we’re asked to do, people’s true personalities come through,” she notes. “Yeah, people put on this happy face, but when push comes to shove, all that wears off. I got some interesting insights about people: ‘Oh, you really went to that place? How disappointing.”
It’s already a ridiculously busy year for Carrere, who has just started filming her new recurring role on the USA Network’s “In Plain Sight,” and is also juggling hosting-producing chores on two more shows she says are going into production soon. “One is called ‘Forsaken Places’ and the other is called ‘Street Stars,'” she says. “I’ve got to go to Vancouver, and Albuquerque — and there’s another movie that I might do that would mean going to Montreal and Louisiana.”
Carrere admits she finds it “very hard” to be away from her six-year-old daughter for long stretches, but credits her ex-husband, British photojournalist Simon Wakelin for stepping up. “Bianca’s daddy is terrific about being right there.”