The Apprentice returns for an all new season on Thursday, September 16 on NBC.
The show gets back to the basics this season as the two-hour premiere will feature 16 new non-celebrity contestants who have been hit hard by the economic downturn and are fighting back to rebuild their careers.
“I am very excited to have the civilian version of ‘The Apprentice’ back on the air this fall,” said Donald Trump. “The new edition will combine the realities of today’s economic downturn with the grittiness, drama and excitement of the original series. Each of this season’s 16 contestants has been hit hard by the economy and they are fighting back; fighting for a chance to rebuild their careers and for one savvy contestant, the career opportunity of a lifetime — to come and work for me. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain!”
This new group of candidates will compete over 13 weeks to become “The Apprentice.” The candidates include the unemployed, struggling business owners and recent college graduates.
Below are the Photos and Bios of the 16 contestants -
Tyana Alvarado, 41 (Miami, Fla.), was a successful real estate agent prior to the recession. She never imagined being unemployed for so long, yet has managed to adjust to a simpler way of life since losing her six-figure income. Alvarado currently resides in Los Angeles, Calif. and is proud to hold the title of Miss Cougar California, where she feels she can use her brains and her beauty to redefine the perception of a “cougar.”
Kelly Smith Beaty, 30 (Fayetteville, Ga.), born in North Carolina and raised in Georgia, received her Bachelor of Arts in political science from Spelman College and her Masters in Public Communication from American University. Beaty worked in the press office for the Governor of Georgia and was previously employed in the Atlanta office of a global public relations firm, where she was laid off. She was recently named one of the city’s “Power 30 Under 30.”
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Poppy Carlig, 24 (Richmond, Calif.), a recent Stanford graduate, who has a Bachelor of Arts in Human Biology and Master’s in Sociology, hasn’t been able to secure a full time job in her chosen field. She was offered a job doing breast cancer research, but unfortunately due to the economic recession, the funding fell through. Carlig currently lives in Richmond, California with her parents and works as a part time caretaker for her grandmother. As a competitive synchronized swimmer, making the Olympic training squad and winning 4 NCAA championship titles in college, Carlig is ready to use her competition skills.
Stephanie Castagnier, 34 (Chicago, IL), born and raised in Montreal, has been a fighter since a very young age. Having both her parents pass away from AIDS when she was only a teenager, Castagnier started her career by putting herself through college at McGill University while working full time. Since then, she has worked as a commercial banker, at which she found success at a young age and was ranked among the top commercial lenders in the country several years running. After being directly impacted by the effects of the recession in the financial sector, she is looking to take control of her life and be proactive in her career.
Nicole Chiu, 27 (Palos Verdes, Calif.), graduated cum laude from the University of California, Irvine. She received her J.D. from Loyola Law School while holding the title of “Miss Los Angeles” and placing 4th Runner Up at the Miss California USA 2008 Pageant (part of the Miss USA Pageant). Determined to use her brains and beauty, Chiu left her law firm job, where she was miserable as an attorney, to prove that the recession can’t stop her from pursuing her dreams.
Alex Delgado, 43 (Santa Ynez, Calif.), a charismatic family man, has a background in mechanical engineering technology and worked as an inspector/materials testing technician. Due to the recent economic recession, he was laid off and began working as a tow truck driver to make ends meet. Delgado describes himself as a man of many passions who has owned a car restoration company, overseen various million-dollar projects and played in a rock band. He prides himself on his ability to take an idea, improve upon it, and see projects through from start to finish. Delgado resides in Santa Ynez, California with his wife and two kids.
Gene Folkes, 46 (Wylie, Texas), has a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from Morris Brown College and served in the US Air Force. Folkes previously worked at several high profile financial companies as a financial advisor. After being laid off, Folkes has been trying to get his own assisted living facility off the ground while living off of his savings and retirement. Folkes was born in Jamaica, grew up in the Midwest, and currently resides in Wylie, Texas. He is an avid motorcycle enthusiast and cigar aficionado.
Wade Hanson, 33 (Woodbury, Minn.), the self-taught real estate mogul spent 11 years honing his real estate skills. His career garnered him recognition as he was named one of the “Top 30 Realtors Under 30” in the country. A Woodbury, Minnesota resident and father of two, Hanson is an avid big-game hunter and golfer. He also loves serving as a coach for his daughter’s ice hockey team. Hanson maintains a positive attitude and he insists he will bounce back from the recession because he is a winner.
David Johnson, 34 (Portage, Mich.), embodies the image of the All-American father of five. The Navy veteran, part-time stand-up comedian and once successful account manager, married his high school sweetheart and is father to five children. Johnson, a Portage, Michigan resident, once had two houses and could buy his family whatever they desired, and in today’s recession has become an unemployed family man who can’t pay his mortgage and is determined to prove to his children that he is still a great provider.
Brandy Kuentzel, 30 (San Francisco, Calif.), received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from UCLA and her Juris Doctorate from the University of Chicago Law School. After working as a corporate attorney for a prestigious international law firm, she co-founded a mobile cupcake business in the San Francisco Bay Area. This entrepreneur is now ready to launch a more challenging and rewarding career. Kuentzel is a vegetarian and an avid supporter of animal rights. She also loves the outdoors and runs several miles a day.
Steuart Martens, 27 (Washington, D.C.), born and raised in Washington DC, was the successful owner of four companies. Unfortunately, as the economy took a downturn, Martens was forced to close down two of his companies and lay off his entire staff. A serial entrepreneur, he is always looking for the next big business venture opportunity. Martens attended Purdue University on a swimming scholarship and received a Bachelor of Science in business. He also made it to the Olympic trials for swimming and is heavily involved in DC government.
Liza Mucheru-Wisner, 30 (Corpus Christi, Texas), was born in Kenya and was part of the Kenyan National Golf team and was recruited to play golf at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She completed her education and received her Masters degree while simultaneously starting an educational technology company. However, her business venture fell victim to the recession and she is struggling to make it a success. Mucheru-Wisner, now a wife and mother of two, works hard to stay connected with her family in Kenya and Ireland and is looking for opportunities to grow and expand her business. She is an avid fan of golf and is a belly dancer and aerobics instructor on the side.
Clint Robertson, 40 (Austin, Texas), received a Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting from Texas Christian University and a Juris Doctorate in Law from Southern Methodist University. Robertson went on to be a successful certified public accountant, real estate attorney and developer to having an estate sale where he was forced to sell a large amount of his family’s possessions due to the economy. Robertson and his family now split time between a friend’s guesthouse in Weatherford, Texas and another friend’s rental house in Post Falls, Idaho. Currently living off of credit, Robertson is also a strong believer in God and spends much of his free time with his wife of 18 years and their three boys.
Mahsa Saeidi-Azcuy, 29 (Brooklyn, N.Y.), works as an Assistant District Attorney in Brooklyn, New York and is the host of two web-shows on the side. Dealing with the financial pressures of being the sole breadwinner in her family, Saeidi-Azcuy has gained personal strength in this economic downturn. Before receiving her J.D. at Brooklyn Law School, Saeidi-Azcuy studied Biology at the University of Virginia and film at the New York Film Academy. She passionately fights to promote justice and is obsessed with beauty, hair and style secrets.
Anand Vasudev, 31 (Tampa, Fla.), worked for a very lucrative private firm managing several large multi-million dollar real estate investments. The successful Emory University graduate, whose past career accomplishments also include being the youngest person to be promoted to a senior role at a Fortune 500 company, thought he was “indispensable” to his firm because of the high level of expertise he had developed over the years. His eventual layoff came to him as a huge shock, yet was very motivating. In the face of adversity, Anand followed his dream and moved to New York City, where today he is a struggling entrepreneur trying to launch an innovative new vitamin-infused wine company, while still also looking to get involved in media and entertainment business. He is finding it rather difficult amidst today’s economic environment and hasn’t taken a salary in over a year. An avid sports fan, Vasudev currently resides in New York City.
James Weir, 31 (New York, N.Y.), a Duke graduate who received his law degree from Georgetown, was an associate at a world class law firm in New York City until he was laid off more than a year and a half ago. Weir went from successful attorney living in the West Village to unemployed couch surfer. Unable to find a new job, he spends his time volunteering in New York.