Kelly, 30 (Fayetteville, Georgia), born in North Carolina and raised in Georgia, received her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from Spelman College and her Master's in Public Communication from American University. Kelly 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." Her expectation of purchasing her dream condo and car on her 30th birthday was abandoned when she lost her job, and now she lives with her parents. Kelly is an avid supporter of Living Water for Girls, a rehab center that rescues and restores abused girls. She is an active member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a public service organization, and is a founding member of the Next Wave Society, the young professionals auxiliary of the world famous Georgia Aquarium.
Q) Why did you want to be on the show, and why did you think you'd make a good competitor?
A) I wanted to be on The Apprentice to prove that good things do happen to good people. This has been a difficult time for me and for all Americans. People who have worked hard and honestly their entire lives have suddenly found themselves out of work and struggling to make ends meet. My story is no different than many millions of people who are facing challenging circumstances.
Mr. Trump has risen and fallen and risen again. His success story is proof that it's okay to fall, as long as you get back up. I wanted to compete and get back up in front of all of America, to remind everyone that feels daunted by their situations that we too have the power and the strength to rise again.
Q) What was your reaction when you found out you'd been picked to be on the show? How did your friends and family react?
A) My first thought when I found out that I was selected to be on the show was "God is good." I'd been struggling internally with my employment situation for many months, even before it came to such a tumultuous end. I had no idea what I was going to do next. I could have never imagined that "next" would mean the opportunity to compete to work for such an inspirational business leader as Mr. Trump.
I couldn't tell anyone but my immediate family, and I think they thought I was a little crazy, but they've always taught me that great rewards require great risks. They shook their heads, smiled, and ordered me to "Go get 'em!"
Q) With cameras rolling, how does it feel to know you're under America's microscope? What surprised you about the experience?
A) Once you enter competition mode, you really do forget about the fact that cameras are recording your every move. Before long, the production crew disappears into the backdrop of your surroundings. There are so many elements at play that the cameras become the least of your concerns. Instead, you worry about being a strong contributor to the tasks, watching out for team members that may be plotting against you, and building relationships with other team members so that someone will come to your rescue if/when you find yourself thrown under the bus.
What I found most surprising about this experience was how quickly people turn on one another in pressure cooker situations. There's been a lot of discourse on the lack of public trust in American business recently. I'm afraid that many of the betrayals that occur throughout the competition won't do much to rebuild that image.
Q) What about the competition was harder than you might have expected?
A) I don't think you can plan for this level of intensity. I've consistently found myself working hours that extend well beyond midnight in my career, but even that is no comparison for the amount of work we had to cram into a very condensed time period. We were given virtually impossible tasks that needed to be completed in virtually impossible time frames. The tasks not only had to be completed, but they also had to be impressive to the man whose name alone represents the best in everything. There's literally no time to be tired or to lack creativity and ingenuity, because judgment day was always nigh.
Q) Do you have a favorite past winner or contestant from either the original Apprentice, or from Celebrity Apprentice?
A) I always liked Katrina from Season 1, but mostly because she has amazing style.
Q) Beyond The Apprentice, what's your dream job? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A) I would like to continue to work in public relations and issues management, but in an environment where I can do what I love and be happy. In 10 years I see myself living a fulfilled life by allowing my professional passions to lead me to my success.