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POP INTERVIEW: Ryan Danz on Life After “The Apprentice”

On The Apprentice several years ago, Ryan Danz found himself pitted against the toughest cookie in all Manhattan: Martha Stewart. Here, he chats about the amazing self-monikered Mrs. “M. Diddy,” his co-star, Bethenny Frankel, his love of jiu jitsu and what he’s doing now.

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On The Apprentice several years ago, Ryan Danz found himself pitted against the toughest cookie in all Manhattan: Martha Stewart. He chatted via e-mail about the amazing self-monikered Mrs. “M. Diddy,” his co-star, Bethenny Frankel, his love of jiu jitsu and what he is doing now.

Ryan Danz 1

You’ve been on two completely different reality shows. Obviously, producers like you. What do you recommend for aspiring reality TV talent so that they get a pilot picked up or are chosen by producers if it’s a competition show?
Well, I am not a casting producer or even had much dialogue with casting departments for either Apprentice or Amazing Race. My insight as to why I was selected is only based on assumption or presumption. For Apprentice, I filled a role as an ‘up and coming’, ‘not yet proven’, ‘sound educational background w/o much real life experience’ that producers thought would translate well. Take this recent law school graduate from a moderately small city without much real world experience and drop him in the epicenter of the business world (NYC) and watch him get swallowed up or conversely gain the confidence that he’s emitted during application/interviews and become a force to be reckoned with. For Race, I believe Abbie/myself were selected because that once relatively innocent and sheltered 28yr old kid had turned into something of an uber-competitive, win-at-all-costs man who wasnt afraid to speak his mind, ruffle feathers and essentially make for great tv. Producers love conflict. These shows are not as much about business or racing as they are about relationships and the turmoil that ensues when stress is placed on the contestants. In Apprentice, it was a lack of sleep, quick turnaround times for project deliveries, intense scrutiny by a very very powerful woman (Martha and her cohorts) and kill or be killed conference room interactions with teammates and opponents. For Race, it was a lack of sleep, extreme physical and mental deprivation/exhaustion, also kill or be killed gameplay and more generally the tremendous lack of the unknown as to what was coming next. With all of these things unfolding, it’s easy to capture on camera the breakdowns between even the lovingest of people and couples. As ‘dating-divorcees’ with only 1.5yrs of shared life experience, abbie and i were already assumed to have less invested in the relationship than say, sisters or parent/child, and therefore would be more likely to ‘snap’ or put the relationship at risk. That didnt happen, but that was an expectation when we were casted.

So in short, you have to fill a role of sorts. You can’t just be Tom from data processing who likes to play golf. You have to be Tom who throws his putter when he misses a putt and has such a bad gambling problem that he’s taken a second mortgage out on his home and hasnt told his wife.

Your “Apprentice” was a very special edition thanks to the lovely host, Martha Stewart. What did she teach you about working with women positively?
My selection on Martha’s version of the Apprentice was actually part of the interview/audition process. I was asked which of the two franchises (Trump v Martha) did I want to be on. I chose Marthas because it was her first exposure out of prison, I thought ratings would be similar to Trumps first season and I was generally more interested in working w/ and for her if I was going to win. My time on the show, and time with Martha was very limited. Because I was on the winning team (my recollection being tested here) but approximately 6 or 7x, I only got face time with her when she was a part of the reward. I’ll never forget the first reward, a sushi dinner, in her test kitchen at her offices, prepared by head chef at Nobu. In each instance when we interfaced she never was gender specific in her comments. I always sensed she saw herself as one of the boys, or at least, not caught up in a woman vs man business society. Her words of wisdom were gender neutral. Granted many of her associates and work environment tended toward the female, women did play a major role in her enterprise, but it just never felt spotlighted. My learning of the how/why of women are so vital to the workplace and the workforce came from having a mother who was integral to our own family business and other positions she held in outside companies. Nothing will be more powerful than seeing my own mom handle the books for our small family owned used bookstores in San Francisco while also managing the seminar logistics for a family law seminar company.

What was the most exciting moment for you on the show?
I was most excited when my idea for a mobile advertising/marketing campaign for a then-new Tide product (Tide-to-go) was so highly applauded by one of the leading iconic advertisers in the world who was a judge on the task (Peter Arnell) that he said “this could go to market today.” That reinforced that I was not a fish out of water, or too unprepared to play in the same waters as people like Bethenny, Dawna Stone, Marcela Valadolid and others who were well established, or on their way to becoming household names in their own right.

Ryan Danz

Do you think she lived up to her “Mean Girl” status? No, not my words, really. I just read an article depicting her as Regina George, I believe “Time,” where the example used was her allegedly telling the Macy’s CEO how her leaving was good for his stores.
Martha was extremely protective of her image at that time. She was literally still on house arrest while we were filming, still adorning her ankle bracelet and very very much aware of herself and how she’d be portrayed in the media as she was set to make her comeback to her own audience and the general tv/radio audience at large. We as a cast, and probably production, were hoping to see “the” Martha we all had heard about, but instead she was very reserved. For a Wednesday night prime-time program, she did not live up to the viewers desires and the ratings showed. The casting was probably one of the best reality tv casts ever assembled, just based on the star and success power many of the contestants went on to later, but this show was all about Martha. Martha would determine the success based on how she was going to let loose or stay reserved. Ultimately I think there was other aspects to why she did the show in the first place – having to do with her day time show and who would produce that show and help in her comeback on that front. Apprentice may have been more of a favor or a quid pro quo as it pertained to the more important day time television show which was really her bread and butter.

Among your co-stars? None other than Bethenny Frankel. Who knew she would be where she is now looking back! If you could tell her anything, what would it be? And what did she gain from doing “The Apprentice” that lead to her current success?
Well, I’m fortunate to still have a relationship with Bethenny so if I want to tell her anything, than I can just pick up the phone or drop her a text/email. That being said, those days in 2005 living together in Chelsea things were A LOT different. I certainly saw a burning desire for success for herself back then. None of her successes today surprises me. I dont know that I wouldve predicted the route she took, but ultimately if I had to pick one superstar from that cast, it would be Bethenny. She was a hustler, but in the street-smart sense of the word. She could do anything she wanted. I loved being around her. She also at her core was much softer and gentler but it took trust and time to get there. I wish I had more of that because getting to that place with her is quite special. We would sit up on the roof at Martha’s office building (Starett Leigh) where we lived and just talk while watching the ships pass down the river. I could talk to her like she was one of the guys and she could proffer advice in a way that you’d expect from a parent/grandparent without ever feeling talked down to. She also had a tenacity that very few men or women that I had been around at that time had. It was almost like she enjoyed being told ‘no’ or that she couldn’t do something or have something b/c that re-energized her further. That’s probably the one thing that has worn off on the most. I almost smirk when someone says “no” because it means I’m one step closer to a yes.

Now, you’re doing a lot work about jiu jitsu. What benefits does this have unavailable with doing other sports?
Well, Jiu Jitsu is the most incredible ‘thing’ i have ever done and goes way beyond “sport.” IT’s a transformative experience on so many levels. In my book I go to great lengths to describe the mental, phsyical and emotional benefits it has provided me. Everything in my life has changed because of my practice of Jiu Jitsu. Im less egotistical but still have a wonderful sense of self (is that egotistical in itself?? lol), im calm and relaxed where I used to be anxious and erratic. My body is lean and muscular and feels explosive whereas I was once bulky and a little doughy and generally unfit. Most importantly I am more aware of who I am, what I want, how to be as a person and clearer about my journey. All of this is a process, Jiu Jitsu just allows me the ability to reconnect with myself, get deeper into my mind and body, develop friendships well beyond the mats and have a purpose outside of building my empire 🙂

I get the sense jiu jitsu work is not all you want to be doing forever – you want that and more. You’ve hired a publicist. You went on “The Amazing Race” last year. What do you really want? And how are you going to achieve your goals using everything you’ve learned from reality shows?
Jiu Jitsu is a part of my being but in now way is a goal. In Jiu JItsu you learn you never reach any goal – its a constant process to improve self while bettering every facet of your being. Jiu Jitsu is everything and conversely it is nothing. My experience on the Race and desire to take part was because I thrive on adventure and experiences that are unique. I would have done the race if it was for $1, was broadcast on radio (not tv) or not broadcast at all. What I realized though was that I enjoyed the world of television. I liked being in new situations on a daily basis. I dont get that from being a financial services company owner, or a lawyer. But from that Amazing Race experience I was so fortunate to be approached by the American Bar Association and asked to provide a proposal for a book that would highlight the value of Jiu Jitsu in terms of balance for those lawyers (and other professionals) that are so immersed in their working lives that they forget or neglect their souls. The proposal was accepted, the manuscript due date is June 15 and by this fall i should be a published author. As these opportunities unfold, I will explore others and pursue those that fulfill me.

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Ben Platt Performs A Choral Beyoncé Cover And Of Course It’s Amazing

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Like Queen B said if you got it, flaunt it.

He made you cry in Dear Evan Hansen. He made you laugh in Pitch Perfect. And lately he has just been impressing the hell out of us with his viral videos. Ben Platt has got some golden pipes and always delivers big feels when he sings. Just a few days ago, Ben and the cast of Dear Evan Hansen went viral for their at home performance of “You Will Be Found,” which I may or may not still be misty eyed from. Well, Ben has gone viral again but this time it won’t provoke tears…unless they are tears of happiness because you never thought a Beyoncé song could get any better yet here we are. Ben and his pal tik-took to TikTok to share a choral version of Beyoncé’s hit song “Check On It.” The duo absolutely nails the cover and my only complaint is that the performance isn’t long enough. How can we convince Ben to do a choral reprisal of Beyoncé’s entire Coachella performance?!

Check out the impressive video below!

@henpla@tayloresings @naomijoyturner How did we do?? ##beyoncé ##quarantunes ##fyp ##foryoupage♬ original sound – henpla

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Ina Garten Makes The Perfect Quarantine Cocktail In Funny Video

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If the Barefoot Contessa says any hour is cocktail hour then who are we to argue?!

Ina Garten, The Barefoot Contessa herself, took to Instagram to “keep tradition alive” during these stressful, isolated times. What tradition is she most concerned with? One near and dear to all of us of course, cocktail hour! In the two-minute video, Ina gives a tutorial on how to whip up a batch of her favorite cosmopolitans. We all watch the contessa for her signature brand of calm speaking tones and party planning panache and while this video delivers on what we’d expect, Ina throws in a couple funny jokes that you would never see coming. She begins the tutorial by instructing viewers to grab a big pitcher because “you never know who is going to stop by – wait – nobody is going to stop by.” She goes on later to remind viewers that “during a crisis, you know, cocktail hour can be almost any hour.”  Ina wraps up the demonstration by advising viewers to choose the right martini glass when making this drink before pulling out a giant one for herself! Look at Ina getting all loosey-grey-goosey with us!

Enjoy any-hour happy-hour and check out the funny video below!

 

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It’s always cocktail hour in a crisis! Recipe link in profile. #staysafe

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‘Will & Grace’ Star, Leslie Jordan, Has The Funniest Instagram Account Ever

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“Well, well, well…if it isn’t Beverly Leslie.”

Any sitcom-lover will instantly recognize Leslie Jordan as Karen Walker’s vertically challenged nemesis on Will & Grace. And while he always managed to steal the scene as Beverly Leslie, the funny actor actually has quite the lengthy resume filled with all sorts of interesting roles. Well at the age of 64, Jordan may have just found his most exciting role yet…a viral video star!

Jordan chatted with Today discussing his new found internet fame. He shared that he did not even want to join social media initially but was encouraged to do so by producers when working on Cool Kids. His social media didn’t become the hotspot it is now until the coronavirus pandemic however, when Jordan says he was encouraged by a friend to use his humor to bring levity to his fans. Now on his Instagram, which has grown over 400,000 followers since the quarantines were put in place, Jordan posts a bunch of hilarious content which includes stories about famous friends, tales of his flamboyant childhood and even baton twirling.

We can all use a laugh right now so do yourself a favor and check out the hilarious videos below! To keep the laughs coming be sure to follow Leslie Jordan here!

Betty White and the freezer queen.

 

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The Freezer Queen. #bostonlegal @bettymwhite

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The over-haulin’ ass.

 

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My Exercise Regime. #sia #lizzo #bigbelly #haulass

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That time in the pokey.

 

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Pillow Talk! #friedbrain #jailhouserock #ecstasy #gomybail

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Bringing sexy back(scratch)

 

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DAY ONE: EXERCISE VIDEO. More to follow. #littlefatty #poorthing #getupandgo #gotupandwent #backscratcher

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Beverly Leslie saves the twirl.

 

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DAY TWO! #trainer #fitnessmotivation #batontwirling #fitnessforsissies

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