Sunday 17 December 2017

Meet the Irish former reality TV star using charm and mascara to get ahead in The Apprentice UK

The Apprentice class of 2016
The Apprentice class of 2016
Aleksandra King, one of the candidates in this year's BBC1 programme, The Apprentice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 27, 2016. Photo: BBC/PA
Dillon St Paul, one of the candidates in this year's BBC1 programme, The Apprentice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 27, 2016. Photo: BBC/PA
Grainne McCoy, one of the candidates in this year's BBC1 programme, The Apprentice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 27, 2016. Photo: BBC/PA
Frances Bishop, one of the candidates in this year's BBC1 programme, The Apprentice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 27, 2016. Photo: BBC/PA

A business boss who likens herself to a "Tasmanian devil", a self-professed "pocket rocket" and a former Irish reality TV star are among the 18 candidates taking part in the new series of The Apprentice.

This year's line-up of candidates include nine women and nine men between the ages of 24 and 38 and from a wide variety of business backgrounds.

The popular BBC One show returns for its 12th series on October 6, airing on Thursdays for the first time after previously being broadcast on Wednesdays.

Among the contestants taking part is Dillon St Paul, who once stared alongside Vogue Williams in RTE reality TV show Fade Street.

Dillon St Paul, one of the candidates in this year's BBC1 programme, The Apprentice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 27, 2016. Photo: BBC/PA
Dillon St Paul, one of the candidates in this year's BBC1 programme, The Apprentice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 27, 2016. Photo: BBC/PA

The 37-year-old art director describes himself as talented, kind and very funny. He intends to be ‘Machiavellian’ about tasks and says he will tell white lies if he needs to get ahead.

He says: “Sometimes batting the eyelashes can get you a lot in business. Hence, the mascara comes in handy – so they can see those lashes.”

Aleksandra King, (38), is a business consultancy owner who says she is "like the Tasmanian devil in the famous cartoon" because she will "torpedo" her way to win.

Giving her a run for her money will be children's clothing company boss Frances Bishop, (25), who describes herself as "pocket rocket", adding: "I'm quite fiery and live by the rule 'kill them with kindness'."

Natalie Hughes, a 30-year-old hair and beauty salon owner, said of her business technique: "I started at a young age, I'm a hustler, I've got the hustler's ambition."

The first episode will see the business newbies tackle a task testing their negotiation and selling skills.

Split into two teams, they will have to work together to pick out treasure from trash at a large lock-up containing antiques and collectables before selling them to the public.

The winning team will be the one that makes the biggest profit, meaning they will escape the threat of being fired by Lord Sugar and his wagging finger in the boardroom.

Aleksandra King, one of the candidates in this year's BBC1 programme, The Apprentice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 27, 2016. Photo: BBC/PA
Aleksandra King, one of the candidates in this year's BBC1 programme, The Apprentice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 27, 2016. Photo: BBC/PA

Other tasks in the series will see the candidates coming up with an advertising campaign for jeans, manufacturing a range of sweets and creating their own brand of gin.

The contestants will hope to impress Lord Sugar in order to secure his £250,000 investment in their business plan.

Frances Bishop, one of the candidates in this year's BBC1 programme, The Apprentice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 27, 2016. Photo: BBC/PA
Frances Bishop, one of the candidates in this year's BBC1 programme, The Apprentice. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Tuesday September 27, 2016. Photo: BBC/PA

The business tycoon will be joined once again by aides Baroness Karren Brady and Claude Littner as the boardroom antics get under way.

Lord Sugar said of the competition: "You can compare this to being on a life support machine and one of your colleagues here pulling the plug out just to charge their mobile phone up. That's how competitive it will get."

He added that he is only interested in seeing "who's got a good business brain" and that if people taking part are unable to tackle the process and want to complain and moan, they can "send me an email at lordsugar@idontcare.com".

Lord Sugar added that his £250,000 investment will "change someone's life forever" after previously investing £1.25 million in five businesses during the show's run.

:: The Apprentice will air at 9pm on Thursdays on BBC One and BBC One HD from October 6.

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