Nicole, 27 (Palos Verdes, California), 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, Nicole 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.
Q) Why did you want to be on the show, and why did you think you'd make a good competitor?
A) I have been trying to work for Mr. Trump for years. I competed in his Miss USA pageant circuit at the state level hoping to win the title and work for Mr. Trump. I had always wanted to do the Apprentice, but I thought the regular Apprentice was over and I would have to become a celebrity to compete on the Celebrity Apprentice!
I thought I'd make a good competitor because I am hard working, driven and I embody the Trump brand.
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) I was shocked when I found out I had been selected to be on the show. I thought I wasn't going to make it, because I had a job at the time and they were looking for people who had been laid off due to the recession. My family and friends could not believe I was going to be on the show. The whole experience was surreal.
Q) With cameras rolling, how does it feel to know you're under America's microscope? What surprised you about the experience?
A) I'm used to being filmed, because of the pageants I have competed in. Although, I was very surprised by how quickly you completely forget that the cameras are even there. It was also funny to look up and suddenly have a camera two feet in front of my face!
Q) What about the competition was harder than you might have expected?
A) Balancing the competition and team dynamic of the show was harder than I expected. I have competed against my friends in pageants and in law school, but I have never pushed anyone else down in order to win. I am a team player at heart and it was very hard for me to see past the team camaraderie and remember that I couldn't really trust my teammates.
Q) Do you have a favorite past winner or contestant from either the original Apprentice, or from Celebrity Apprentice?
A) Holly Robinson Peete is my favorite past contestant, because of how well she handled herself during tasks and in the boardroom. Although incredibly competitive and driven, Holly was always honest and ethical.
Q) Beyond The Apprentice, what's your dream job? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A) I have several different dream jobs, from being a district attorney prosecuting criminals, to being a judge ensuring that the legal system works, to being a co-host on "The View," to starting my own nonprofit focused on preparing women to succeed on job interviews and in the workplace.
In 10 years, I hope to have found a job that keeps me on that path toward my dreams and allows me to start a family at the same time.