‘The girls were hungry for it!’ The Apprentice’s final four talk making history in first ever all-female semi-final as they are set to be grilled in interviews
The Apprentice’s penultimate episode on Thursday will see the final four contestants – Stephanie Afflek, Brittany Carter, Harpreet Kaur and Kathryn Louise Burn -make history in the first ever all-female semi-final.
Last week’s episode saw both Aaron Willis and Akeem Bundu-Kamara given their marching orders, meaning the four women will battle it out in the nail-biting interview stages in a bid to become Lord Sugar’s latest business partner.
In a candid chat, the ladies opened up on their strong friendship, almost being fired, women in business and ‘amazing’ boardroom chats with Lord Sugar as they quip that this year: ‘The girls were hungry for it!’
Who run the world? The Apprentice’s penultimate on Thursday will see the final four contestants – Stephanie Afflek, Brittany Carter, Harpreet Kaur and Kathryn Louise Burn – battle it out in the nail-biting interview stages
Girl talk: In a candid chat, the ladies opened up on their strong friendship, almost being fired, women in business and ‘amazing’ boardroom chats with Lord Sugar as they quip that this year: ‘The girls were hungry for it!’
Detailing how she feels to have made the final four, online children’s store owner Stephanie remarked: ‘It feels crazy if I am honest with you!
‘I always believed if I set my mind to it I could achieve it, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that out of the hundreds and thousands of people who applied – I am sitting in the top four of that! To be sharing this experience with 3 others who I admire and love so much is the cherry on top.’
Excited: Detailing how she feels to have made the final four, online children’s store owner Stephanie remarked: ‘It feels crazy if I am honest with you! I always believed if I set my mind to it I could achieve it
On her secret bond with the business mogul, she added: ‘I’m aware I haven’t had the smoothest of runs and some might be questioning why I’m still there, but I think Lord Sugar sees something in me. We did have some amazing chats in the boardroom about family and business and I just think he gets me, he understands what I am about and can relate.
‘Lord Sugar reminds me a lot of my dad so to calm my nerves in the boardroom I would just imagine I was talking to my dad! That tactic typically helped when things went wrong – and as we can see for me they definitely did… A LOT! I am nowhere near the perfect finished product, but I am willing to learn and I think Lord Sugar appreciates anyone that shows willing to put themselves out there, to make mistakes in order to improve.’
The TV star went on to express how strong this year’s crop of female candidates were, adding that she hopes there will be a day when their gender is irrelevant when it comes to business and success.
Stephanie explained: ‘I think this is definitely the year of the girls on The Apprentice and I am so proud to be a part of that. To be standing here as one of the top four women knowing how strong the top 8 women were, I hope we have done them all proud! We are all strong, smart, sharp women who know what we want, and we are not afraid to go and get it.
Chats: On her secret bond with the business mogul, she added: ‘I’m aware I haven’t had the smoothest of runs and some might be questioning why I’m still there, but I think Lord Sugar sees something in me’
‘To be honest, tough, I think it is just reflective of society because women definitely do have more hurdles to jump when it comes to business, whether that is limited funding, gender inequality etc.
‘I can’t wait until we get to the point where we are just considered four finalists and the fact we are female is irrelevant. The other three girls and myself are smart, sharp business people that fully deserve to be in the running for Lord Sugar’s investment.
‘Sheryl Sandberg mentions “In Future, there will be no female leaders just leaders” and I am glad us four are standing here today to prove we can do just as good as the men (if not better!) and are equal counterparts. I look forward to being in a society when it isn’t considered more amazing to be a female founder as we are just as capable as the boys!’
Meanwhile, Brittany shared her thoughts on what made this year’s girls stand out, she said: ‘I think all the girls this series are so strong and what is particularly good is that we all just seem to complement each other – we’ve all got different strengths and whichever team we’ve been placed in, we’ve just been very good at working together.
‘And, I think it’s that mixture of teamwork, specific skills and complementing each other which has resulted in this final four of strong, females.’
Girl power: Brittany shared her thoughts on what made this year’s girls stand out, she said: ‘I think all the girls this series are so strong and what is particularly good is that we all just seem to complement each other’
When asked if women’s collective strength in the competition was reflective of the current day and age, front of house manager Brittany responded: ‘Do you know what, I do think it’s reflective of the current day and age. As we progress year on year, you see more and more women being celebrated in business, there’s more entrepreneurs who we have to look up to and I think that is inspiring for the next generation of women.
‘It’s only going to get better, and women are going to get even more representation as the years go on – it’s a great direction to be moving in.’
Sharing her thoughts of the progression of women in business, she said: ‘I honestly believe we can never be over-represented and it’s fantastic to see so many women in business, particularly in high profile situations. So now, when you look at business show’s on the television, we’re seeing the women absolutely smashing it.
‘Just generally, I think the representation of women in many industries has improved so much. I’ve been lucky enough in my own career to have had young, ambitious, female managers and that just really inspired me to be where I am today. We’re moving in the right direction but there’s still work to do.’
While sharing her pride at being of of the last four females standing in the competition, dessert parlour owner Harpreet told how she always felt like an equal among her male counterparts, adding that any animosity is left in the boardroom.
She explained: ‘I just think we all got on really well as a group when we were on task – we were focused on just winning as a team. I’ve never felt like there were mind games and this mentality of the other candidates being my competitor – we all just acted with real professionalism and if things had to be brought up in the boardroom, then they weren’t said maliciously.
Candid: While sharing her pride at being of of the last four females standing in the competition, dessert parlour owner Harpreet told how she always felt like an equal among her male counterparts
‘Obviously, it’s difficult because when you’re sat there you want to be shouting about your own highlights which I found difficult – and so many times I’d just want to celebrate the other candidate’s achievements.
‘It’s just about finding that balance. But, when it came to leaving the boardroom, that’s it, you let it go and you move on. Yes, I’ve got far in the process because of my own abilities, but I honestly believe it’s also down to good teamwork, collaboration and the people who I had around me. Teamwork really does mean everything to me.’
On the perception of women in business being different to the reality, she shared: ‘It’s a difficult question to answer, really because I know there are a lot of different perceptions out there. I genuinely could not care less about someone’s gender, it’s irrelevant in my eyes, it’s just about an individual and their ability.
‘That said, I do find that if a woman is in charge and has a certain style of leadership, she can be accused of being bossy – I know I have a couple of times myself from being on the show. But, I’m not bossy – I’m a boss. I’m leading my team and if I’ve got a vision which I believe in then of course I’m going to try and get everyone onboard to achieve the end goal. You don’t hear men being called bossy…’
Online pyjama store owner Kathyrn meanwhile shared her thoughts on seeing the girls’ passion for the win early on in the competition, explaining: ‘The girls were hungry for it, and I could see that on the first task. There’s a lot of strong personalities and I thought “woah, this isn’t going to be easy” as soon as I got speaking to everyone.
‘I think one good thing we are all good at, is adapting, and we’ve shown that throughout the process. We’ve put ourselves ‘out there’ even on tasks we have no experience in and have always tried our hardest and gave 110%.’
On how lucky she feels to still be in the competition, she went on: ‘It feels absolutely incredible and I just feel so lucky to be doing it with my closest friends in the process. It’s been a hell of a journey, and there were definitely times I thought I was getting fired, so to be standing with 3 strong, incredible girls, I just feel so proud and there’s no one else I’d rather be there with.’
Go-getters: Online pyjama store owner Kathyrn meanwhile shared her thoughts on seeing the girls’ passion for the win early on in the competition, explaining: ‘The girls were hungry for it, and I could see that on the first task’
And despite being fierce competitors throughout the series, Kathryn pointed out that while living and working alongside each other, friendships and bonds couldn’t help but be formed.
She said: ‘It’s a weird one, because it is a competition at the end of the day, but there’s a lot more to it when you genuinely do care for each other. I know I went in to the process thinking “I’m not here to make friends”, and I really wasn’t… But as the process goes on, you slowly start to realise that it’s your ‘competition’ who’s there to cheer you up, give a big cuddle after a hard day and support you.
‘And naturally, when you’re spending so much time with each other and in such a different environment, special bonds are going to be made. I think that’s the great thing about the interviews though, you’re no longer directly competing against each other’s skills.
‘You’ve got your business idea, you’ve already written your business plan, and now it’s down to you and just you. Lord Sugar is either going to see potential in your business, or he’s not. Whether you’re friends with the other candidates or not, that isn’t going to make a difference.’
The Apprentice continues tonight at 9pm on BBC One, followed by You’re Fired on BBC Two. Watch live and on-demand on BBC iPlayer.
Made it! Last week’s episode saw both Aaron Willis and Akeem Bundu-Kamara given their marching orders resulting in the first ever all-female semi-final
How it started: The girls beat off stiff competition from 12 other candidates in the 2022 competiton
THE APPRENTICE 2022: MEET THE WOMEN
AMY ANZEL, 48
Occupation: Owner, beauty brand
Key information: Starting her beauty business a little later in life, Amy has now found what she really loves doing after previously working in sales, showbiz and jingles.
She says: ‘I can be nice when I need to be, but when I unfortunately have to be a b***h, I will…’
BRITTANY CARTER, 25
Occupation: Hotel front of house manager
Key information: Brittany is looking to break away from her hotel role and launch the first alcoholic protein drink, with Lord Sugar’s help.
She says: ‘My motto for life is ‘always look on the bright side’
FRANCESCA KENNEDY-WALLBANK, 26
Occupation: Owner, sustainability company
Key information: The eco-conscious, mathematics graduate is looking for investment in her next venture, providing a product carbon footprint service for businesses with a simple equation of her own creation.
She says: ‘There’s two types of people in the world- people that say they are going to do things and people that actually do them and I’m a doer’
HARPEET KAUR, 30
Occupation: Owner, dessert parlour
Lives: West Yorkshire
Key information: Describing herself as a born leader, fearless and funny, Harpreet plans to ‘level up’ her successful, six-figure coffee and cakes business to become a leading brand in the UK.
She says: ‘I’m definitely not in business to make friends. I’m here to make money, and I’m sure Lord Sugar isn’t looking for a new mate.
KATHRYN LOUISE BURN, 29
Occupation: Owner, online pyjama store
Key information: Kathryn has worked a wide range of jobs from mortgage advisor to events manager. Describing herself as ambitious, kind, and often ‘savage’, she says she’s there to win, not to make friends.
She says: ‘My dreams in my head are absolutely huge and I believe I can achieve them.’
SOPHIE WILDING, 32
Occupation: Owner, boutique cocktail bar
Key information: Describing herself as ‘magical and enchanting’ Sophie even has a witch school qualification. She previously worked in sales and has huge renovation plans for her bar.
She says: ‘Failure is not an option. Winning is part of my DNA.’
STEPHANIE AFFLECK, 28
Occupation: Owner, online children’s store
Key information: With her East-London roots, the blonde is hoping to bond with Lord Sugar and match his no nonsense attitude towards business. She’s looking for funding to develop her designer store and be part of the growing pre-loved fashion industry.
She says: ‘I’ve got grit, determination and I’m determined to be successful.’
SHAMA AMIN, 41
Occupation: Owner, children’s day nursery
Key information: Shama already has a busy work life running her children’s day nursery as well as juggling life with five children at home. She is ready to prove she has the ‘skillset that is required to be one of the best, successful businesswomen in the early years sector.’
She says: ‘Being a lady of colour, wearing a headscarf as well and the challenges that we face on a daily basis, I just want to be a living example for the Asian women out there.’
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