Is our soon-to-be desert resident
the next "Apprentice"?

By Valeric Christopher

Stefanie Schaeffer visits you every Sunday evening at 9 p.m. As one of the sixth-season apprentice candidates for Donald Trump's NEC reality show, The Apprentice, this brunette has closer ties to the desert than just where the show is shot in Los Angeles.

Schaeffer spent her teenage years in the desert, graduating from Palm Springs High School and feeling as though whenever she stepped foot outside of a classroom she walked into paradise.

Hoping to buy a home in Palm Springs in the near future, this California native, who loves to ski, drive fast cars, ride motorcycles, play golf and eat sushi, must first determine where she stands with the Trump organization. As a member of the "Arrow Team," Schaeffer, a 32-year-old trial attorney for a law firm that practices criminal defense in Los Angeles, had spent three weeks in a tent because her team lost the first two challenges to the other team "Kinetic." But two weeks ago, on the fourth episode, the "Arrow" team tasted glory. Now she and the rest of the group are basking in luxury in the Trump mansion, being serenaded by Andrea Bocelli and vying to stay on top. Though this isn't something new for Schaeffer. The pursuit of power is a game she's already good at playing.

Desert Post Weekly: What do you love most about this area?
Stefanie Schaffer: I've always loved the desert. I especially love the weather. It's so beautiful. The landscape in Palm Springs, Palm Desert, that whole area, it just makes you want to be outdoors.

Is it true you're considering buying a home in the Coachella Valley in the near future?
That is very true. I've been actively looking, checking out the different country clubs; Indian Ridge and some different places. It just depends on the market price and when I find the house that grabs my fancy.

I have enjoyed watching your team achieve success by winning these past couple of weeks, but I am curious, as a trial attorney how does being on The Apprentice fit in with your goal?
You're not pigeon-holed into one particular thing on the show. It allows you to really play with a lot of different areas of business. My passion, aside from law, is construction and real estate. I thought that being on The Apprentice and ultimately going to work with the Trump organization would be a great way to sort of meld my passion for people and negotiating with my passion for construction and real estate. And bringing the background of law into that is a strong foundation in terms of taking over one of the Trump projects.

Why would you make a good apprentice for Donald Trump?
I think the Trump organization really needs someone who can drop in at any location any circumstance with any group of people and be able to feel out the situation and meld into what ever the circumstance called for. I think the Trump organization needs someone who is not only bright granted I think that all of The Apprentice candidates are they need someone who is both diplomatic, well-spoken, who is able to sort of take control and see beyond the forest through the trees.

Trump has recently been in the media not just for The Apprentice but for his very open dispute with Rosie O'Donnell. How would you describe him on and off camera?
I can tell you that my experience is that Donald Trump is an amazing, kind-hearted, sharp man.

I know the show is taped in advance, but are there any shows still left to tape?
We are substantially finished filming. But honestly, I don't know and it could change anytime.

How would you describe reality TV, is it really grueling? Or would you say it's all worth it in the end?
I don't know that I can speak to reality TV in general but I can tell you that it was a really interesting, competitive, tough, fast-paced experience. And I think I was well-suited to it. Just being on reality TV wasn't my mindset.

Courtesy photo:
Palm Springs High School grad Stefanie Schaeffer
is a contestant on "The Apprentice."
Page 36 Thursday, February 8, 2007 Desert Post Weekly