Celebrity Apprentice's Summer Sanders on her Bizarre Cast and the Contents of Nickelodeon Slime
Swimming legend Summer Sanders has more than just four Olympic medals on her resumé. The Roseville, CA native has acted as a commentator during several Olympic games and hosted a consistent stream of television series: NBA Inside Stuff, The Sports List, MTV's Sandblast, Skating with Celebrities, and Nickelodeon's classic game show Figure It Out. Now, as a contestant on NBC's current season of Celebrity Apprentice, Sanders's Olympic-size goal is to please The Donald and deal with Cyndi Lauper's scatterbrained work ethic. The 37-year-old legend talked with Movieline about Celebrity Apprentice's zany cast, her favorite Figure It Out memories, and an inspiring trip to Rwanda.
You led the ladies team last week, winning the advertorial challenge. The editing tried to make you seem flustered, but you were the winner from the start. You had it in the bag.
Isn't that interesting? Going into a reality show, you know they have the power to edit however they want to. Going into the challenge when I was actually doing it, it was very confusing and time-consuming. There were so many deadlines and so many things we had to do, but actually, once we wrapped our brain around the concept and knew that Sharon was going to be our spokesperson -- I mean, it took us awhile to actually understand what an advertorial was, and exactly what the executives were looking for. They try to be really devious with us, not giving us any answers. The funny thing is, the whole time we were doing it, we had a great time. I actually never felt extremely overwhelmed. It was just really fun, especially with Selita [Ebanks]-- who's a Victoria's Secret supermodel, could not be more gorgeous, more real -- was in charge of the photo shoot. And I got to see my son during the photo shoot.
So, editing sucks, but in the end, when you saw our finished product it was pretty obvious. I thought we did a pretty good job, and the reason I did the show was to showcase my charity Right to Play. I was so emotional when I won, I tried my best to take a deep breath and compose myself because I was so worried -- I wanted people to understand, I wanted them to hear me clearly. So they actually cut that down, because I was choked up for quite awhile. And quite awhile was probably 30 or 40 seconds, but in TV time it seems like an eternity.
Sharon dissed you in the confessionals, calling you "Polly Perfect." Did you feel like a perfectionist team leader?
The funny thing is, I remember so many times where our presentation wasn't all the way complete, and it was kind of out of order. I kept saying to Holly, "It doesn't have to be perfect. It's totally fine. Doesn't have to be perfect." When we were taking the photos, I kept saying to Selita, "This one looks great, it doesn't have to be perfect. We just have to complete it. If we don't have a completed product, then we're screwed." It looked fine to me. I didn't think we needed to take any more photos. I was constantly saying the exact opposite, which is kind of ironic. "It doesn't have to be perfect. It looks great."
I kept praising Sharon. I always sensed from her that there was a lot of watching, and... not judging, but... somewhat of judging. I mean, she's Sharon Osbourne. I knew she was saying stuff in her private interviews. I talked to Holly [Robinson-Peete] about that. I just sort of sensed it. And my nature is I'm a Libra. I love when people are happy, you know? My goal is balance and pleasing people. You can say that's a fault, but it's who I am. So I'm not going to be the Sharon Osbourne type. I'm not going to say nasty comments about people.
You and Cyndi Lauper had a dust-up too. Why were people shocked to hear that you thought Cyndi needed to blather less? Everyone was thinking it.
I felt like Cyndi and I, kind of what we went through in that boardroom and afterward, was actually pretty true to life. You should be able to give someone constructive criticism as nicely as you can and try to work through it. She can call me out if she wants to, but the fact that we worked through it -- I thought, OK, this is how it is in real life. You figure it through and learn how to get better.