“The Apprentice” premieres tonight on NBC at 10 p.m., and the premise is a little different than the usual celebrities or business up-and-comers. All of the contestants have been impacted by the recession (ugh, who hasn’t), including Donald Trump wannabes who were laid off, had to lay off others or struggled to keep their companies afloat.
And the cast includes a number of parents, as usual. So who will be the standout competitors? Here’s our top five picks, including one poor woman whose parents both passed away of AIDS and one father of five.
* Tyana Alvarado, aka the official Miss Cougar California (didn’t know that was a title, did you?), is a former real estate agent who lost her six-figure income during the recession. She’s been traveling on a small budget since then and says she wants to “redefine the perception of a cougar.” It would help to stop using the word “cougar.”
* Alex Delgado, a 43-year-old who was laid off from his inspector/materials testing technician position, became a tow truck driver to keep food on the plates of his two kids.
* Stephanie Castagnier lost both her parents to AIDS as a teenager and put herself through McGill University. She founded Child Cause/Fear to Fire, non-profit that helps kids affected by AIDS and substance abuse.
*David Johnson is a 34-year-old Navy veteran and the father of five married to his high school sweetheart. After he lost his account manager job, he fell behind on his mortgage.
* Mahsa Saeidi-Azcuy is an assistant district attorney who also hosts two shows on the web. She has a fun side, too she’s obsessed with beauty, hair and style.