Last night’s Apprentice final saw the self-proclaimed ‘quite glamorous’ Dr Leah Totton, take on Luisa Zissman - the girl with the ‘Jessica Rabbit sex appeal’ (again, self-proclaimed) to win a £250,000 business investment from multi-millionaire businessman Lord Alan Sugar. The pair have suffered attacks from some quarters, saying that their relative ideas; a chain of cosmetic procedure clinics and a baking business, are effectively unfeminist. But after 13 weeks, it was Leah who triumphed, leaving with a pocket full of Lord Sugar’s dosh (the so-called “sugar-lump”) to set up her “Niks” clinics (“it’s skin, backwards” she said). But just what does it REALLY take to be an Apprentice winner?
1. Big hair
Forget about the business plans, the true battle on last night’s Apprentice was in the barnet department. Luisa Zissman – the self-proclaimed ‘business barbie’ (hmm) – and her long layered highlights, versus Dr Leah Totton, whose application USP was that she’d have ‘more voluminous hair’ than the other contestants. In the end, Leah won the tussle of the tresses, but it was a closely run thing. And if you’re a woman, it appears that it pays to be blonde – as three of the four female winners can testify.
2. A bigger attitude
The boardroom is no place for shrinking violets. From Stuart Baggs’ infamous "Everything I touch turns to sold" and "I’m not a one-trick pony, I’m not a 10-trick pony, I’m a whole field of ponies – and they’re literally all running towards this job" in series six to “In 200 years from now, I want people to read about me and take inspiration from my life” in this year’s show. Ah, those are the Apprentices… Never knowingly undersold.
3. Blue steel
Chin three quarters down, head turned at an angle of 15 degrees, scowl into the camera like you mean business. It’s illegal to win The Apprentice unless you have perfected your power pout for your winners portrait. This is a true fact. (And has anyone else noticed that unless all candidates have the bluest eyes in the history of humanity, something funny happens to blue eyes in the boardroom?)
4. A loyalty card at Thomas Pink
Style, it seems, isn’t an apprentice winner’s top priority. Sky-high heeled court shoes and block-coloured belted shift dresses are the uniform for the girls, whereas the guys get by with a navy suit and a white shirt. Every time. Without fail. Karl would not approve.
5. A good plan B
As only the most recent two of Apprentice recruits still work for the main man, it’s a wise idea to have a back-up plan. Winners typically last between one and two years with Lord Sugar, before striking out on their own. And it doesn’t always end well - Stella English (winner of the 2010 series) recently hit the headlines after losing an employment tribunal against her former employer.
By Nicole Mowbray