One high point of The Apprentice is the presence of Carolyn Kepcher as a judge alongside Donald Trump. She is a genuinely successful businesswoman within his corporation: tough and incisive and extremely intelligent. There is no push, on that show, to soften her or change her for television. She looks like Princess Di, mind you, but she isn’t playing to cameras anymore than anyone else.

So, this whole image-cover art thing is rather odd (but why am I surprised). The blurb is pulled from http://www.bitchmagazine.com:

How intimidating is the image of a woman in a business suit? Just ask Simon and Schuster, who felt the need to Martha Stewart-ize Apprentice henchwoman Carolyn Kepcher by reshooting the cover photograph for her book’s paperback release. Carolyn 101: Business Lessons from The Apprentice’s Straight Shooter was published last fall after the first season of NBC’s hit reality show. Ms. Kepcher, one of the Donald’s onscreen advisers, has impressed viewers with her cool demeanor and sharp judgments—particularly her criticism of the way the show’s female contestants invariably lean on sex appeal to win their challenges.

The hardcover edition of Carolyn 101 featured Kepcher in a red business suit, smiling from an office desk like the business professional she is. The paperback, released earlier this month, shows a much blonder Carolyn wearing a blue buttoned sweater more suited to a weekend at home than a boardroom, sitting in front of a window (corner office or living room?) beside a vase of white flowers. The whole effect is lighter, softer, more passive, more domestic; the cover image transformed from “successful businesswoman about to run a meeting” to “woman about to arrange flowers.” Though Carolyn 101 is a how-to guide that dispenses advice on handling work situations, the paperback’s cover suggests that Kepcher’s going to give tips on office décor and throwing a dinner party.

The reshoot is evidence that our culture‚s desire to domesticate working women isn’t limited to making them feel guilty about neglecting their families for their careers. I’m sure Kepcher is a wonderful wife and mother, but that‚s not what her book is about. It’s about the work that made her successful and the show that made her famous; it’s about her professional life, not her personal one. So why doesn’t she look professional anymore? —Elizabeth Clark

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