Before Omarosa Manigault Newman found herself rubbing elbows with a bunch of sort-of-somebodies on Celebrity Big Brother, she made waves for being fired and forcibly ejected from the White House in December 2017. She made an appearance on Good Morning America to set the record straight. According to Omarosa, she resigned and left the premises voluntarily without a fuss, which was confirmed by White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
After Omarosa's very public breakup with Trump, many people assumed she would write a book, detailing her time as one of the administration's highest-ranking African-American officials, but Omarosa decided to join the cast of Celebrity Big Brother instead. Omarosa initially made a name for herself as a reality TV villain, and CBS landing her for their first celebrity edition of Big Brother was definitely a coup, particularly given her affiliation with Trump. Amongst all the D-listers vying for a quarter of a million dollars, Omarosa is the season's standout houseguest. Not only is she playing the game, but she's using the opportunity to reinvent herself in true Machiavellian fashion.
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A Kinder, Gentler Reality Star
Omarosa has demonstrated that she has trouble along with others, so it seemed a foregone conclusion that between her often-abrasive personality and supposed camaraderie with one of the most unpopular presidents in history, she'd rub people the wrong way. Surprisingly, Omarosa immediately began to build alliances and endear herself to the other competitors by simultaneously throwing some shade at the Commander-in-Chief and his minions while absolving herself of any wrongdoing.
Entering the Big Brother house was a brilliant strategic move in the wake of the White House debacle. Cut off from the outside world (no press, no Twitter, no TV), Omarosa has been able to regroup and create a narrative in which she's a champion of the people. In a heart-to-heart with fellow houseguest Ross Matthews, Omarosa stated, "I felt like it was a call of duty. I felt like I was serving my country, not serving him [Trump.]"
Ross, an entertainment personality, ate it up with a spoon, convinced he was engaging in some hard-hitting journalism when he asked Omarosa, "Does anybody say to him, 'What are you doing?'" Omarosa insisted she tried to counsel the President but was attacked by his innermost circle, making Trump sound more like a clueless dotard than a racist, spiteful narcissist.
Omarosa can't stress enough how much she's suffered or how much time she's had to reevaluate her life choices while residing in Big Brother house, free from the distractions of the outside world (funny how all those cameras and pesky roommates don't seem to be getting in the way.) If a network is looking to hit the ratings jackpot, Omarosa's reawakening beats the hell out of the girl who showed her tits in American Pie talking strategy with a homesick basketball player.
Omarosa has fans of the show on the edge of their seats wondering what bombshell she might drop about Trump at any given moment, forgetting that there's no way the former aide is going to spill state secrets without the promise of a big payoff. And despite all her cryptic gloom and doom prophesies, Omarosa doesn't seem to know very much: Mike Pence is a scary dude who may possibly fancy himself a modern-day Moses, Americans should be concerned, and immigrants are being rounded up and deported at an alarming rate aren't startling revelations. But since she's been to the Emerald City and peeked behind the curtain, she must know something about the Wizard we don't, right?
When former child star Keshia Knight Pulliam questioned how Omarosa could support a campaign that incited so much hatred, Omarosa blamed her alleged cluelessness on loyalty and then adeptly turned the tables, comparing her relationship to Trump with Keshia's to Bill Cosby (Hey, your once beloved TV dad is a rapist, and nobody's holding you accountable.)
You're Nobody Until Everyone Loves You
In between Omarosa's come-to-Jesus moments, there's still a game to be played, and there's all the usual broken promises, backstabbing, endless scheming, veto ceremonies and surprise twists. While Omarosa is executing an almost flawless rebranding of herself (complete with tears), her gameplay doesn't quite measure up. Her ability to avoid eviction has more to do with luck than skill: Keshia's last-minute meltdown and plea to go home so she could breastfeed her child, and former beauty queen Ariadna Gutierrez and ex-Real Housewife Brandi Glanville's power grab that has them gunning for actress-turned-philanthropist Shannon Elizabeth and singer/actor James Maslow who, sadly, are this season's best players.
Omarosa has been smart enough to cozy up to whoever's in power (sounds familiar) and avoid any ugly confrontations. While some of the of the other players (Mark McGrath and Ross) have expressed some doubt regarding Omarosa's sincerity, others appear content to take her at her word.
As long as Omarosa remains in the house, fans can definitely continue to expect the unexpected. The most recent surprise is an article in Politico
which claims Omarosa was fired for commandeering the White House car service -- known as CARPET -- for personal use. Omarosa might have to do some damage control, but if her stint on Celebrity Big Brother
has proven anything, it's that she knows how to spin a story.
Omarosa has dropped some hints about her future plans on the live feeds, and when it comes to the business we call show, she knows a thing or two -- like which TV talk shows are most likely to shell out major bucks for her story. So, even if she fails to pocket the prize money, Omarosa will leave the Big Brother house a winner and arguably the most entertaining former director of communications for the Office of Public Liaison to ever play the game.
Would season 1 of Celebrity Big Brother be as interesting without Omarosa? Do you think her transformation is genuine or just for the cameras? Does she have a real shot at winning? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.
(Image courtesy of CBS)