Sunday 22 September 2019

Apprentice hopeful Natalie Dean dreamed of being fired

Natalie Dean dreamt that she would be fired from The Apprentice
Natalie Dean dreamt that she would be fired from The Apprentice

Apprentice candidate Natalie Dean had a prophetic dream about being fired the night before her boardroom exit.

"I had a dream that I got fired for being useless, and that's kind of what happened the next day," she recalled, adding: "I w oke up still in the house, but I was like: 'Yeah I'm getting fired.' I was ready for it."

The remaining candidates were tasked with creating a story book and audio book for three to five-year-olds, and then selling it to book stores and retailers. Team Versatile triumphed with the tale of a bee on a journey to make honey, selling 210 books for a total of £690.10.

Unfortunately for team Connexus, the story of Snottydink the elephant-dragon creature did not sell for as much, with 205 books going for just £587.25.

After an agonising decision, project manager Sam Curry took Dean back into the boardroom alongside Brett Butler-Smythe. Curry narrowly escaped elimination, while it was the end of the story for Dean.

Dean was heavily criticised by Lord Sugar to failing to sell.

She told the Press Association: "Based on the fact that I sold less than anyone else in my team, it's fair to fire me ... I can't really argue with it too much. I think because I sold less than anyone else that day, and it was down to sales, and we didn't win - that it was fair."

Dean, 25, was suffering from a chest infection during the task, which left her reluctant to lead the pitch and struggling with a hoarse voice.

On her exit, she said: "At the time I was very stressed, and very ill, so I was actually not sad to leave at that time. But looking back, I'd have liked to have been there longer."

She added: "I think with hindsight, me attacking Brett in the boardroom probably didn't do me any favours ... I should have pretended I couldn't speak in the boardroom, I'd have lost my voice altogether. I might have done better then."

There was no love between Dean and Butler-Smythe in the boardroom, as the two clashed over whether he had given her the necessary figures to make her pitch.

She said: "I think just because Brett was the sub-team leader, and we had loads of books left over, he had to take some responsibility for that ... I didn't really have any problems working with anyone apart from Brett."

During the boardroom meeting, Lord Sugar questioned Dean's maturity, saying: "Natalie, the sales on this wasn't that great. You've been very quiet in the past five weeks. I think there's a certain sense of immaturity about you because of the experience that you have in business and I'm looking for a business partner."

After coming to a decision, he said: "Natalie, your pitch was terrible. I'm not sure you think before you speak. You just haven't shown me enough. On this particular occasion - you're fired."

Looking back, Dean said: "The reason he called me immature based on this task was because I was intimidated by Karren (Brady) and let that affect my performance in the task. But I think that was also because I was ill and I know when you're ill you get overly emotional. I don't think he really took that into consideration."

She continued: "In terms of them telling me I need to be less blunt, I do agree with that, because sometimes I respond to things a bit too quickly and my response is sometimes a bit too short. I could be a bit softer in how I respond to things sometimes."

Outlining plans to complete a novel about a female spy and to write about football, she said she actually was not yet ready to found her own business.

She explained: "I'd like to get some more experience first. I wouldn't have done this at this stage in my life if it wasn't for this process. I definitely want to have my own business in future, but it's something I'll probably look to do in three, four years rather than now."

The Apprentice candidates live together in a house in London during filming for the show, which Dean said was sometimes difficult.

"Everyone's competing for a very sought-after prize, and you're competing with these people. You're in a competition, but you actually have to live with these people as well," she said.

"So it's really difficult when you're competing against them, but you have to then go home and share a room with them and not talk about it. It's very difficult because you can't talk about what's on your mind - because that's all you're thinking about, what's going to happen in the boardroom the next day. But you can't talk about it.

"We don't talk about tasks when we're not being filmed, because if you do that, then it can bring tension from the task into the house ... between two people who maybe had an argument on task, there might be some tension. But generally people were good at leaving it at the door and leaving it in the boardroom."

PA Media

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