It has been a crazy few weeks in her career as just a few days before appearing on Celebrity Apprentice, she was released from her WWE contract. The good news for her fans is that she appears to be in great spirits.
One of the pitfalls about reading an interview as opposed to hearing it is that you sometimes don't get a feel for the mood someone is in. I can tell you that she was laughing and giggling at points of most of her answers. I would like to take credit for this and say that she was amused by my sense of humor, but the truth is that she has an incredible sense of humor and personality that hopefully will make it to print in this interview.
Eric: Can you tell me about how you got involved with Celebrity Apprentice?
Maria Kanellis: I actually met Donald Trump when he came to the show to do some work with Vince McMahon. He asked me if I wanted to do it and I said that I would love to and it all started from there.
Eric: Typically, there are charities involved with Celebrity Apprentice. I was wondering what charity you will be competing for and how you got involved with that?
Maria Kanellis: It's the Make a Wish Foundation. I've been doing work for them for a few years now. I love that charity because it I giving wishes to kids, some amazing and strong individuals.
Eric: With both yourself and Goldberg representing wrestling on the show, did that bond you as allies or make you enemies as you both wanted to be the better representative of pro wrestling?
Maria Kanellis: It was very funny the first day that I saw him. I was like, oh my gosh, there is another wrestler on the show. It was actually very nice to see him and talk to him. I'm very competitive anyway so of course I wanted to beat him out.
Eric: I was just curious. At what point did you know who the other celebrities were or was it just something that you found out when you got there?
Maria Kanellis: Something I found out when I got there.
Eric: I hate to bring this up, but just a few months ago you were voted the 2009 Diva of the year. Then two weeks ago came the big bombshell that you were released from your WWE contract. What happened?
Maria Kanellis: Let me say that it completely blindsided me to begin with. It was the day after my birthday. I had just come back from doing my taxes in the morning. I was supposed to go out on the road the next day. I got a phone call probably at 10:00 in the morning Los Angeles time. By 10:30 it was up on the Internet that I was released.
They said that it was for business reasons. I wanted more freedom to do outside projects, such as my music. I also wanted to start acting in movies and I didn't want to give up my freedom. They weren't very happy about that so they decided to just let me go.
I think that it is probably one of the greatest things to happen to me because now I can go and spread my wings a little bit more. I loved, loved, my job at World Wrestling Entertainment. I would have like to have stayed and done both but unfortunately, that wasn't my choice. It was WWE's choice and they decided to let me go. But like I said, probably the biggest thing I'm going to miss is the fans and of course the Divas. I had such close bonds with them.
Eric: As you know, recently when people leave the WWE we see them in TNA a few months later. Do you think you will be going to TNA or have you decided to change this chapter of your life and totally move away from pro wrestling?
Maria Kanellis: I'm not sure yet to be honest. I probably had seven different phone calls from companies across the country asking me to come here or go there. I haven't decided. It's such an exciting adventure to be on. It's like I've been born again or something. I'm really trying to figure out what's best for me, what's best for my future, and then go from there.
Eric: The last time fans saw you on SmackDown, it appeared that you were about to start a relationship with Matt Hardy before Michelle McCool and Layla made fun of the both of you. Were there any plans to go further with that storyline?
Maria Kanellis: Yeah, there were. We were pretty excited about that. Matt's been a close friend for a long time, I've known him for a long time. So we were very excited about it. Unfortunately though, like he said too, what in the world, just like that it was bye-bye, we were having such a good time.
Eric: Before that, you had an on-screen relationship with Dolph Ziggler going on. I'm assuming that was dropped when you were filming Celebrity Apprentice. Am I right in assuming that or was there another reason the story was dropped?
Maria Kanellis: It wasn't supposed to be dropped. It was supposed to continue on but for some reason it just wasn't.
Eric: Another thing you were famous for in the WWE was the Kiss Cam. How did that come about?
Maria Kanellis: I thought that it would be a cool idea to do something that got the fans involved. The Kiss cam came about from there. It was hilarious some of the things you would see. The best one was these two older gentlemen, both with huge beards, and then all of a sudden there they were making out on this huge Titantron. The entire audience went silent and then screamed like “Oh My God”.