NEW YORK — — Donald Trump selected Kendra Todd as his first female “Apprentice,” handing her a job with his organization and a $250,000 salary at the close of the NBC reality show’s live finale Thursday night.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Todd told The Associated Press after her win. “I was the girl who used to watch this on television and here I am. Dreams do come true. Just work hard and you’ll get there.”
Todd, the 26-year-old “book smarts” real estate broker from Boynton Beach, Fla., bested “street smarts” entrepreneur and mother of two Tana Goertz during the final boardroom battle.
Goertz, 37, of Des Moines, didn’t go down without a fight. She assertively pointed out in front of the live audience that a winning idea for a round Pontiac brochure during one of the tasks was her idea although Todd was the task’s project manager.
“I thought it was a little much,” Trump said of Goertz’s self-acknowledgment. “I don’t mind aggression in men or women, but I found it to be a little obnoxious. I didn’t love it.”
Todd said she had been expecting Goertz to bring up the brochure.
“I was pretty sure that was going to happen,” Todd said. “Believe me, I had my strategies in line. I knew everything that they might come at me with. I am a team player. I give credit where credit is due. ... (But) certainly there’s more to a brochure than just the shape.”
In episodes leading up to the live finale, Todd organized the Best Buy Video Game Championship during her final task, pleasing both corporate sponsors and her misfit team of firees. Todd, who was a member of “book smarts” Magna team, has an undergraduate degree in linguistics from the University of Florida.
Todd won’t have to go too far from home for her new job. She chose developing a mansion in Palm Beach, Fla., over working on the Miss Universe pageant. Trump said he’d like Todd to train under his adviser Carolyn Kepcher at the Trump National Golf Club in Briarcliff Manor, N.Y., for a few months before tackling the Palm Beach mansion.
“I think she’s going to be terrific,” said Trump. “I like that she’s a team player. That’s how she ultimately won.”
In the previous two “Apprentice” finales, Trump chose cigar business owner Bill Rancic to oversee the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Chicago and software executive Kelly Perdew to work on the Trump Place real estate development and Trump Ice bottled water projects in New York.
Trump is already in search of another “Apprentice.” The fourth season and a spin-off starring Martha Stewart are in production.
“It’s not book smarts vs. street smarts,” said executive producer Mark Burnett of the next season. “It’s a very impressive cast. Donald’s in a really, really good mood about it. It’s been really tough each week about who to fire.”
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