Monday 5 December 2016

Aisha Kasim rues decision to bring Vana Koutsomitis into Apprentice boardroom

Published 16/10/2015 | 07:53

Aisha Kasim has become the second candidate to be fired from The Apprentice
Aisha Kasim has become the second candidate to be fired from The Apprentice

Fired Apprentice candidate Aisha Kasim said she regretted bringing Vana Koutsomitis back into the boardroom with her.

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The second task was to name and brand a new shampoo containing cactus seed oil, and create a digital billboard and 30-second TV advert. The boys won the task for their shampoo "Western", which was voted by industry experts as sticking closest to the brief.

Project manager Kasim brought back in Koutsomitis for suggesting the over-50s market for their product, and Natalie Dean, who was slammed by Lord Sugar for her terrible pitch. However, Lord Sugar was unimpressed with the choice of Koutsomitis.

"One thing I am sure about though is that Vana, I don't personally think you should be sitting here today in this last boardroom. So on that basis, you're going to remain in the process. Aisha - you brought the wrong person back in the case of Vana, I haven't got a clue why you brought her back and that's a sign of your poor judgement," he said.

30-year-old Kasim agreed and said: "I definitely shouldn't have brought Vana back in with me. I should have brought someone else in, maybe Selina (Waterman-Smith) for the catastrophe of the advert. That advert was terrible. I should have brought Selina in or Elle (Stevenson)."

Waterman-Smith's advert showed a stilted conversation between a daughter and her mother on the secret to her sleek hair that was deemed "boring" by Lord Sugar.

"At the time we were just focusing on the emotion of the mother and daughter thing and we got carried away and perhaps didn't pay enough attention to making it look fun and sexy and dynamic," she said.

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"At the time we were filming, we thought, 'Oh, this is lovely and nice', but then we saw the guys' and thought, 'Oh my god, that was good'."

Kasim said she did not believe she was the weakest candidate in the boardroom. "Natalie should have gone, simply because she says she pitches for a living and that's what she does, but she couldn't deliver."

In the boardroom, Lord Sugar said he believed Dean had "given up" on their product.

"The pitch was bad and I'm very, very disappointed that you gave up on the product. Anybody that worked for me that gave up on their product would be out that door very, very quickly ... very, very quickly. You cannot give up on your product. And for that reason, I struggle badly," he said.

He also questioned Kasim's choice of the name "Desert Secrets" and the cactus-free bottle design, which led to an argument when Lord Sugar termed it "a raspberry" - but she defended her decision.

The Apprentice: Shampoo task is a washout as cringeworthy pitches fall painfully flat  

"Apparently this cactus shampoo has been around for a few years now. I've never seen a shampoo with cactus on it and there's a very good reason for that, because nobody will probably buy it.

"I wouldn't buy shampoo with a cactus on it that's claiming to be moisturising so I was simply trying to say to Lord Sugar, why don't we soften it a bit and instead of putting the cactus on there, why don't we use the cactus flower because that's actually what it's made from in the first place?"

Dean led the girls' pitch with Ruth Whiteley, Koutsomitis and Kasim, and was blasted for her shaky and uninspired delivery and for declaring that ladies over 45 were "scared" of new things, a statement that didn't go down well with 46-year-old aide Baroness Karren Brady.

"I just cringed," said Kasim. "I was just like, 'Oh Natalie, stop talking, you're alienating our target market!' I think she's learned from that as well. You do not want the wrath of Karren Brady."

Pitching for the boys was Scott Saunders who delivered a tongue-tied pitch, even going blank in front of the assembled experts, but they were praised for their clear concept and slick looking advert, although Lord Sugar pointed out that it never contained a shot of any hair post-shampooing.

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Throughout the task, Kasim was called dictatorial by her team, which she felt was "unnecessary" but agreed "maybe I was a bit too firm."

"But I was just trying to keep us focused on the task and not have personal issues come into it," she said.

Kasim admitted that controlling an all-girls team had been "intense" but she was proud of their achievement, despite the loss.

"Even though we lost, I was really proud of the women because we didn't have any bickering on the project. Yeah, there's an element that if it was mixed, it wouldn't have been as intense but I don't care, I'm sticking with the girls. It was a sense of 'we all crashed and burned together'," she said.

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