The Apprentice victor Stella English has praised her great aunt for giving her the drive needed to win the show.
The 31-year-old beat rival Chris Bates, 24, to become Lord Sugar’s new Apprentice after 12 weeks of gruelling tasks on the hit BBC One TV show.
She won the six-figure salary job, despite having a difficult start in life – Stella’s father abandoned her when she was a baby and her mother was unable to look after her.
Her great aunt, Stella Brockman, raised her on an estate in Thamesmead, south-east London, meaning she did not have to go into care.
Stella told BBC Breakfast: “I think Stella taught me some really good values, ones that I live by now.
“Those values got me through this process. She’s taught me to set your sights as high as you possibly can and that the only thing that can hold you back is yourself.”
The mother of two boys, aged two and four, said of her upbringing: “I grew up on a council estate, like a lot of people did. I did have a difficult time.”
Stella, who left school with no qualifications but rose up to become the only female manager on a trading floor of a Japanese investment bank, said she would have no problems juggling motherhood with her new job.
She said of being a working mother: “It’s hard. I’ve managed for the last few years. I’ve got a very good partner who’s very supportive. It’s about being organised.”
Stella starts her new job on January 4 and said: “Lord Sugar did say you can have the rest of the year off. That’s a couple of weeks (until 2011). He’s a true salesman.”