Tyana, 41 (Miami, Florida), was a successful real estate agent prior to the recession. She never imagined being unemployed for so long, yet has managed to adjust to a simpler way of life since losing her six-figure income. Tyana currently resides in Los Angeles, California, and is proud to hold the title of Miss Cougar California, where she feels she can use her brains and her beauty to redefine the perception of a "cougar." During her time off last year, she took advantage of fulfilling some of her "bucket list" travel locations on the smallest of budgets.
Q) Why did you want to be on the show, and why did you think you'd make a good competitor?
A) I never imagined I would have been unemployed for so long, so when the opportunity came to compete for the chance to work for Donald Trump, I couldn't refuse. I've always been judged by my looks and bubbly personality. By being chosen for the show, it gives me what I jokingly call "street cred." That's also why I felt I would be a great competitor. No one ever thinks of me as a threat. Never judge a book by its cover.
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) Everything happened so fast. One day I was called to come in to audition, and within a couple of weeks I was in New York filming the show. It was very surreal. I lost my father after his battle with cancer on the evening of the same day I received the call. My mother and I really feel he put this gift in my path. It's as if he stopped fighting for his life so he could give me a new life. He knows I would have never gone otherwise.
Q) With cameras rolling, how does it feel to know you're under America's microscope? What surprised you about the experience?
A) When the cameras were rolling, I never really thought about being under a microscope. I was so caught up in the experience and the tasks that I was just busy being busy. I don't think I could censor myself if I tried. I'm not known for thinking before I speak, I just say what's on my mind. What surprised me was how my personality adjusted to the other personalities. I'm normally the boisterous one in my group but the "characters" this season are so over the top that I think I fell by the wayside.
Q) What about the competition was harder than you might have expected?
A) The hardest part of the competition for me was my high expectations of people. I came in to be The Apprentice, and apparently most "contestants" came in to play Survivor. I expected everyone to be fair, and quickly realized I couldn't trust anyone. That was very difficult for me, since I normally believe in the goodness of people.
Q) Do you have a favorite past winner or contestant from either the original Apprentice, or from Celebrity Apprentice?
A) I would have to say my two favorite past contestants would be Sharon Osbourne and Bret Michaels. I'm somewhat of a blend of their personalities in the terms of speaking my mind, being the underdog, and just being plain silly and having fun with the experience, while still being able to work hard and complete the tasks.
Q) Beyond The Apprentice, what's your dream job? Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A) A dream job for me would be anything that includes travel and relating to others. I'm not one for being stuck behind a desk. I have to be able to be myself and have fun in whatever I'm doing. In the future I see myself being my own boss. In my personal life... we have yet to see if I'll ever meet "the one."