Maria Kanellis: 5 Things I Learned From Being on Celebrity Apprentice

It’s true that Maria Kanellis knows how to take you down. But when the professional wrestler (who also sings, acts and models) appeared on “The Celebrity Apprentice 3,” she showed audiences that she knew a thing or two about fighting with her words as well.

Kanellis also learned some things from being on that reality show – and it wasn’t just how not to laugh at Donald Trump’s hair (“Trump’s hair is something, but I do respect the hair because it has gotten him more magazine covers and more interviews and more news articles than anything else he does,” she laughs.) She shares some of her favorite takeaways for her battles in the “Apprentice” ring.

5 Charity is the Most Important Thing

Kanellis, who has worked with charities like the Make a Wish Foundation, says that giving back doesn’t have to be in monetary amounts – it can be as simple as “helping someone across the street, helping someone with the groceries or pushing the elevator button when their hands are full.”

“I think that it shows your humanity,” she says. “It really brings people together. We need to take care of each other and it’s the most rewarding thing in the world to be able to help someone.”

4 It’s Better to be Respected Than Loved

At least as far as careers are concerned, Kanellis says that, “sometimes you have to disappoint people or maybe go against the grain in order to really accomplish something.”

“There were a lot of times when I was on Celebrity Apprentice when I had the not-so-popular opinion about things,” she says. “But at the end of the day, we would win the challenge from that idea. You can’t always be looking for someone to pat you on the back. Sometimes you have to know you’re right and move forward with it and gain respect because of it.”

3 Never Stop Learning

Conversely, Kanellis says that no matter how old you are it’s never impossible to experience something new.

“A lot of times you think that just because you went to high school and college you know everything,” she says. “But really, I only went to college for two years and the best education I ever got was just being around and being alive and listening to people. You can learn so much just by asking a person what their job is and what is involved with their job.”

Kanellis is currently fulfilling a life-long goal of learning Greek.

2 Age is Just a Number

“When I was on ‘Celebrity Apprentice,’ a lot of the people on the show were older than me,“ Kanellis says. “That doesn’t mean they have better ideas … and even if you don’t have that experience in life, you can have a creative thought or creative idea that might actually work.”

On the other end, Kanellis says to not believe your career is over once you hit a certain age. Sharon Osbourne and Cyndi Lauper were on “Celebrity Apprentice” with her and she was amazed at their accomplishments.

1 Speak Your Mind

“The very first day that I arrived at Celebrity Apprentice and the first day in the boardroom, Donald Trump said to me ‘I’m looking at you Maria to hear exactly what you have to say, don’t disappoint me,” Kanellis said. “It really showed that on a reality show, if you don’t show your true personality, then you won’t be represented properly.“

Kanellis said she’s taken this advice to heart and it’s helped her in her life since the show.

“For example, I was always very shy about talking about my bigger dreams,” she says. “It was my dream to be in a wrestler and it’s great to be on a realty show, but what I want to do is put these projects together. I want to do an all-girls wrestling show. Before I was too afraid to mention it. Now I’m not afraid.”

Whitney Friedlander is a journalist, television fanatic and compulsive shopper living in Los Angeles. She's covered entertainment and fashion for the Los Angeles Times, LA Weekly and other publications.

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