I was on The Apprentice – stars always make same unforgivable mistake in business plan grillings… it gets you torn apart | The Sun

TONIGHT the remaining candidates on The Apprentice will receive a grilling from Lord Alan Sugar’s pals in the penultimate challenge before the show’s finale. 

The candidates' business plans will be picked apart by the business mogul's closest confidantes before two finalists are chosen.

Former Apprentice star Charleine Wain, 39, knows the pressure of this round all too well after missing out on the final in 2015.

And the businesswoman, who now runs a property management firm, reveals there's one major pitfall candidates often succumb to at this penultimate stage. 

She tells The Sun: “Thankfully I didn’t tell any lies with regard to my CV.

“Some people did do this and they got ridiculed. It’s the worst thing to do. Instead, Claude Littner shook my hand – I was the only one.”


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Unlike Lord Sugar’s other budding business partners, Charleine admits she'd never seen The Apprentice before applying.

“I actually didn’t watch it until I found out I was on it,” she says.

“I saw someone else had applied for it on social media and thought I’d fill out a form.

“I’d just got back from Disney and at 4am, while my husband and children were in bed, I was bored and filled out an application.’”

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Charlene was one of the top sellers on the 2015 series of The ApprenticeCredit: BBC

Then owner of a hairdressers, she nearly missed her chance to appear on the show after getting confused about the email that invited her to audition. 

She explains: “When I received an email back, I initially thought it was about apprentices in my salon, not the show."

'Strange' auditions

The former Royal Navy physical trainer says there were “hundreds of people” at the audition and described it as a “strange process”.

“You have one minute to say why you should be on the show and then they call your number, ask you to stand forward if you’re put through and everyone else is sent home,” she recalls.

In the following stages they were told to build a desk, pitch a fake business and line up in order of "most to least successful, pushy and attractive".

She recalls: “They were all fighting at the top so I thought, ‘I’ll leave you guys to it’ and went down to the lower end."

Sneaky filming trick

Charleine says hopeful candidates were also surprised by a filmed interview during auditions that unbeknownst to them is used in the show.

She recalls: “You stay longer and longer and they fill you up with coffee, which gets you super excited, then you’re invited into a room and they shove a camera in your face.

“They don’t tell you the audition tape they are filming will be aired, they just say, ‘Hey, we’re going to film you to see what you’re like in front of the camera.’

“Then they ask you random questions like, ‘What’s your life motto?’ and ‘Tell me something you can do with your body?’ I was like, ‘I can bend the top of my finger and click my jaw’.

“Then they give you maths sums to try to catch you out so they have something funny to use. They pick out the worst things they get you to do and air that.”

‘Everyone needs you to fail’

During the process, candidates have no contact with the outside world and have "nothing to think about" apart from the tasks.

She says: “There’s nothing else going on. You’re so absorbed by the tasks and people really struggle having nothing else to do or think about.

“In the house you’re not allowed to talk about the task but you don’t know these people and have nothing else to talk to them about initially.”

Charleine describes the set-up of The Apprentice as “strange” because candidates don’t always work together.

“Everyone in your team needs you to fail and to be able to push the blame onto you, someone needs to be highlighted as the loser,” she explains.

“You need someone in the team to not be as good as you, which isn’t like when you work as part of a normal team.”

Aides’ subtle hints

Charleine says Baroness Karren Brady and Claude Littner “worked tirelessly” during the tasks, which started early and finished late.

“They were on their feet the whole time, they were running when we were running, they were non-stop to give them their credit,” she says.

But there was another perk of having them on a task, as Charleine claims they dropped hints.

“Sometimes you would see them slyly giving you a little smile, like ‘Hey guys you’re doing ok,’ or a bad smile suggesting, ‘You’re not doing ok’. But they never gave any tips," she says.

Nearly fired over blunder

In one of the season’s most shocking scenes, Charleine was brought back into the boardroom by Lord Sugar after making an etiquette error.

It followed her team losing an assault course task, and PM Gary Poulton deciding to bring eventual winner Joseph Valente and David Stevenson.

Believing she was out of the firing line, relieved Charleine stood up to exit and chirped “good luck boys” – only for Lord Sugar to question: “Where are you going?”

Charleine was brought back in when the business mogul decided to “override the decision” of the team's PM in an “unprecedented move”.

Recalling the incident, she says: “I was the only candidate never to be taken back into the boardroom by another candidate – except for Lord Sugar himself.”

Despite that, Charleine insists Lord Sugar is “firm but fair”, adding: “He knows what he wants, he’s a great guy.”

‘Like a business degree in three months’

Charleine compares The Apprentice to “a three-year business degree rammed into three months” because candidates learn so much.

She admits: “I thought I’d be gone in week one so I was proud of how far I got. I made it to the final five.”

Charleine dismissed other candidates’ claims of bad editing on the show insisting “they can only edit you into the person you are”.

She credits the show with finding her new career path in property, explaining: “It was weird, I remember saying [during a task] I could see myself doing this down the line, and now I am.”

After the show, Charleine received TV offers including Celebrity Big Brother but turned them down because she had “no interest” in furthering her “five minutes of fame”.

I thought I’d be gone in week one so I was proud of how far I got. I made it to the final five

She returned to her award-winning hair and beauty business, which won the best salon in Plymouth three times before she sold it in 2017.

Charleine and her husband Scott now run property management firm Ocean City Living.

In 2017 they had a rental portfolio of more than £1million in owned properties and now claim to take on 10 new properties every month.

She says: “Property is a great thing to invest in, I can’t recommend it enough. It’s something that always goes up with inflation and while it may take dips, will always go back up.”

Charleine has no regrets about going on The Apprentice, claiming aspiring entrepreneurs would be “crazy not to”.

She adds: “You make great contacts, gain a lot of experience and make business friends who support you.

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“I recommend doing it, it opened so many doors for us… I had a great experience, it was life-changing.”

The BBC did not reply to The Sun's request for comment.

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