In 2004, Jessie Connors was one of 16 contestants competing to become Donald Trump's protégé in The Apprentice. Today, Jessie is a successful businesswoman with a fresh perspective on wealth, debt and the American dream. Jean talks with Jessie about life after The Apprentice and about her book Nightmare Nation: Redefining the Pursuit of the American Dream.
After she was "fired" from the show, Jessie says her days as a reality TV star were over. Her marketing career back in Minnesota wasn't going well after the show, but Jessie says she continued to spend money—lots of it. "My savings account was drained, I didn't know what I was going to do, and I had to start searching for my real identity and start looking inside of me," she says.
The strong real estate market of 2005 beckoned and Jessie says she took some courses and learned about investing in foreclosures. With her new knowledge, Jessie says she bought an inexpensive condo, started saving her money and investing in real estate…and turned her life around within a few years. "I had to really tone back my spending and put a harsh budget on myself," she says.
Now, Jessie gives hundreds of speeches a year on investing in real estate and has written a book, Nightmare Nation: Redefining the Pursuit of the American Dream. Her book focuses on the overspending that is taking place in America, a problem she says is perpetuated by the media.
"I feel like the media, in a way, has spiked a lot of desires," she says. "We think of wealth … as having the nicest phone and the nicest car and we really have to live up to the Joneses. I wanted to draw a little bit of attention to the economic state of America right now with foreclosures and job insecurity and consumer debt."