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Omarosa Is Getting Everything She Wanted Out of Celebrity Big Brother After Her White House Exit

Omarosa Is Getting Everything She Wanted Out of Celebrity Big Brother After Her White House Exit
From TIME - February 12, 2018

Former White House adviser Omarosa Manigault-Newman is unlikely to win the CBS reality show Celebrity Big Brothershes currently on the verge of being the next one kicked off, having intimidated and alienated many of her housemates. But the fact that shes gotten everything she could have wanted out of the experience seems apparent. For one thing, every one of her competitors has spent the competition so far thinking and talking almost solely about her; furthermore, from the opening credits to the ceaseless conversation, every aspect of the show refers to her only as Omarosa. No last name needed.

Part of that comes from her unique status as a figure in the news; given that the very point of celebrity reality shows is to spotlight people whose high point of fame has passed, Omarosa stands out. The Apprentice alumnas departure from the White House, shortly before her casting on Celebrity Big Brother was announced, was a news eventeven though few observers seemed aware of what, exactly, she did in Washington. It hardly mattered: If a person so closely identified with Trump in the public imagination departed, something remarkable must be going on.

Omarosa has capitalized on the obvious interest in her story, giving the audience just enough detail about her departure to ensure that shell remain in the news, even post-Celebrity Big Brother. Her approach has been to paint herself as the voice of reason who tried her best to avert disaster in the halls of power, a person who was betrayed and disrespected by everyone in the Trump Administration even as she had the keys to its success. So Im there fighting, fighting, fighting, getting my head bashed in, and nobody coming out publicly to say, We support her,she tearily told fellow competitor Ross Mathews. He asked if the nation would be okay. No, its gonna not be okay, she whispered. Its not.

This whole conversation rode a line between sincerity and outright fantasy, from its substance to its participants. Omarosas tears had been conjured up in an intimate conversation in which both she and Mathews seemed alternately deeply earnest and playing one another to maximize their screentime and sympathy. No surprise that since then, Mathews has emerged as Omarosas main rival. On reality TV, situations shift moment-by-moment. Its a medium to which Omarosa should be well accustomed by now: she landed in the White House by dint of her long association with Donald Trump, who fired her from the first season of The Apprentice but who seemed to have a special affinity for her chaotic approach.

Back then, Omarosa struggled with the core functionalities of her reality show tasks but excelled at argumentation, making the case for herself so forcefully as to bring her opponents nearly to tears. To wit, Omarosa on a fellow would-be Apprentice: I called her a baby. I told her to go in the corner and get her pacifier and her blanket and go cry, which is what she always does. It seemed, throughout his Omarosa-like 2016 presidential run, that the candidate and the woman he made a star had learned from one another. On Celebrity Big Brother, Omarosa turned fellow competitor and Cosby Show star Keshia Knight Pulliams past support for her former TV dad against her: People judged you for that, but only you know the inner workings of your relationship with Mr. Cosby. It was a conversation-ender and a way for Omarosa to justify her own decisions; Knight Pulliam ended up allied with Omarosa.

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