Television personality. Editor-at-Large. Lecturer. Attorney. And now add fiction authoress and reality TV star to the resume. Star Jones, the powerfully opinionated member of this season’s Celebrity Apprentice cast doesn’t set limits. Her new book, Satan’s Sisters (Gallery; $24.99), is her latest venture in the literature game, adding to her diverse career, from being a prosecutor in a courtroom to sitting in the hot seat on ABC’s The View.
BlackEnterprise.com caught up with Jones to talk about being perceived as “bossy” on the Apprentice, why the latest book was “therapeutic” for her after her open heart surgery, and how having thick skin can lead to career success.
BlackEnterprise.com: Your book centers around women on a popular talk show. What elements of your personal experience did you include when writing the book?
Jones: All of the characters come from people I’ve worked with/worked for/prosecuted as an attorney, as a television host –I pulled from everyone I’ve come across in my career for this book.
You’ve written two other best-sellers that were in the non-fiction realm. What inspired you to write fiction?
In writing [the book], it was a little cathartic. I got to get out all my fantasies of friends and situations. I found myself laughing at times and crying at times. It evokes all of those emotions. It was absolutely therapeutic. While I was recuperating from open heart surgery, I wrote the book. I couldn’t’ really do anything too extensive after the surgery, so writing was what I did.
You have your own personal connection to advocating heart health and why you want to triumph on Celebrity Apprentice. Tell me about that.
I walked onto the show with a different goal: to bring awareness to heart disease and raise money for the American Heart Association. I knew that the way the game was structured, it would bring drama and attention for the season. I decided to use this platform to talk about what matters to me: heart disease. It’s hard to get media to concentrate on the ‘disease of the minute’ or ‘disease of the month,’ so I wanted to make the most of this platform.
Once I signed on, I lined up what was going to be happening in my life and what was going to be happening on the show. I had a strategy in place.
On a recent episode, you said: ‘Being methodical is my nature.’ How has your methodical nature allowed you to advance in your career?
I approach everything from the Socratic method for learning. I will make a decision based on what the ramifications of what that decision might be. I see the world as a chart in my mind. If I do A, then the natural flow will be B and C, and best believe I have a plan D and E. Everyone says that I’m bossy. [Some have said that] this whole TV thing has made me bossy, but I’ve always been that way. When I was little and my sister and I would play dolls, the dolls all had distinct roles. It’s just the way my mind works.
Also, on the show, you seem to be an ideas person, more into managing a project or handing the more creative side. Is this part of your larger strategy?
My strength on the show is organization and management. The technical aspect is also my strength. I can’t say that anyone on my team ever went to the computer other than to check an e-mail throughout the different tasks. I’m not sure that anybody on the team even knows the team’s e-mail address and password. [With every challenge], with exception of one, I did the presentation, research, and documents.
Switching gears, what advice would you have for women to be successful in their careers and in the workplace?
Approach things like a professional. Leave tears and whining and bitchiness home. Put on your big girl pumps and come to work. Remember, it’s always business, never personal. Have the tools necessary to do your job, and have a backup plan so you can do your job exceptionally and be prepared.
Want to join hear Star Jones share more of her business wisdom? Meet us in Atlanta at Black Enterprise’s Entrepreneurs Conference May 22-25, 2011. Visit blackenterprise.com/ec for more details. As an incentive BE is offering you a discount on early registration: Just enter code BEDG295 and receive $200 off.