Fayetteville resident Kelly Smith Beaty didn’t hear those exact words when she was laid off from her job at a global public relations firm, but being out of work stung just the same. She had recently been named to the Atlanta’s Power 30 Under 30 and was about to put money down on a condo but instead found herself moving back to her parent’s home in Fayette County.
Her luck changed rather quickly though when she answered a casting call for NBC’s hit program “The Apprentice.” The show was looking to find people for its first civilian cast in three years and Beaty beat the odds and made it.
“I went down to the Marriott in Buckhead at 3 a.m. to get in line, hoping to get in front of the casting directors sooner rather than later,” Beaty said. She got a call back the next day, did an on camera interview and was called to go out to Los Angeles for more interviews and sessions. “And then they said, be in New York next week.”
Beaty is now one of 16 contestants who will be competing for the ultimate second chance at reviving their careers when Donald Trump’s boardroom reopens this Thursday night on NBC.
“I am very excited to have the civilian version of ‘The Apprentice’ back on the air this fall,” said Donald Trump, executive producer. “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.”
Beaty admits that her experience on one of the more popular reality shows on the air is one of the most exciting things that has ever happened to her. And the timing couldn’t have been any better.
“When I lost my job, I didn’t know what to do next,” Beaty said. “This is proof that when one door closes another one opens. A whole world of opportunity can open up and you never know what’s just around the bend.”
Everything but the show’s season finale, which airs live, has been taped and Beaty believes she did her best maintaining her cool throughout.
“The cast features a lot of very strong, dynamic personalities, but my mother taught me to behave like a lady,” Beaty said, joking that she hopes she doesn’t end up on The E Network’s comedic weekly recap of television, “The Soup.”
“Being on the reality show was the first adventure,” Beaty said. “The second adventure will be watching it. I’ll be watching on pins and needles.”
So will all of her family and friends and, hopefully, a lot of people from her hometown, a place Beaty feels very connected to.
“My family moved to Fayetteville when I was in the seventh grade,” Beaty, a graduate of Flat Rock Middle School and Sandy Creek High School recalled. She spoke fondly of her former guidance counselor, Dan Lorton, and teacher Dennis Bogumill, among others. “I thank them for what they poured into me and added to my life,’ Beaty said. “I am who I am because of who they were.”
After graduating from Sandy Creek in 1998, Beaty went on to Spelman College and then got her masters at American University in Washington, D.C. Although she knows what happens and can’t say anything about the results, she is prepared to embrace the experience in as many ways as possible.
Beaty had only nice things to say about Trump.
“Mr. Trump is Mr. Trump,” she said. “He’s funnier than I anticipated. He’s a hardcore business man with a lot of passion and convictions, but he also has a great sense of humor.”
America will start to follow the travails of Beaty and her fellow contestants starting tomorrow night at 9 p.m. on NBC. The following Thursday, “The Apprentice” moves to its regular time slot of 10 p.m.
Editor’s note: Michael Boylan will follow Beaty on “The Apprentice” Read his blog starting Friday at www.thecitizen.com