Aubrey O'Day may be sporting red hair these days, but she can't seem to shake the "dumb blonde" stereotype. The former Danity Kane singer and "All About Aubrey" star is kicking some serious butt on Donald Trump's "Celebrity Apprentice" this season, but not everyone is expecting her to go very far in the competition.
"I literally have been underestimated my entire career," she told The Huffington Post. "I think ‘Celebrity Apprentice' has roles they want to fit people in and I was the sexy Playboy bunny role. A lot of people were surprised that I would be more than that and they had to restructure what to do with the show because of that."
To crush the bombshell stereotype right from the start, O'Day asked the "Apprentice" producers to not make her 2009 Playboy spread her calling card on the reality competition.
"I didn't want Playboy to be my biggest achievement in life," she said. "I asked them to use my two platinum albums … I don't regret doing Playboy. I loved doing Playboy as much as I loved [doing] Broadway. I just don't want it to be all anyone talks about."
So what's her strategy for success on the cutthroat reality show? Fellow "Apprentice" contestant Penn Jillette, the comedian who is one half of Penn & Teller, recently tweeted that O'Day is simply good at having successful reality TV runs.
O'Day called Jillette's allegation absurd.
"I never really have a strategy," she said. " I'm not really good at reality TV. I am just doing me and not worrying about anyone else. When you have a strategy on reality TV you fall on your ass."
Sometimes strategies work on "Celebrity Apprentice," and sometimes they don't, but it's the nasty boardroom battles that can make or break someone in the competition -- and that lead to some great TV.
"I saw cliques getting started and cliques making up rumors about and saying things that weren't true and joining to conspire against me," O'Day said. "I never entertained it because I figured it doesn't matter what these people think about me. None of these people know me and we will see what happens in the circle. At the end of the day, I am the most efficient business person there."
The rumors, the cliques and the bullying reminded O'Day of what she went through in junior high and high school, where she says she had a rough time trying to fit in.
"I had to switch schools two or three times," she said. "I got beat up. I had to run from the cool people. I still don't feel cool."
Those tough teenage years are what inspired O'Day to compete on "Celebrity Apprentice" to benefit the anti-bullying organization GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network).
"I still don't feel like [one of] the "It girls" who run around and do nothing and get paid obscene amounts of money. I still feel like an outsider," O'Day said. "But that doesn't mean I can't beat those other guys in the boardroom."