Fired Apprentice hopeful Sophie Lau said her boardroom experience was so stressful she actually wanted to leave.
The 22-year-old restaurateur found herself in Lord Sugar’s boardroom with contestants Uzma Yakoob and project manager Natalie Panayi after they lost a task to design and sell a piece of flat-pack furniture.
Sophie said: “Natalie and Uzma were just at each other and I couldn’t get a word in edgeways – it got to a point where they were just shouting and shouting and shouting at each other. I was like ‘I just want to go. Send me back to the house or make me fired, but I’ve been here for hours and they’re still fighting’.”
The third contestant to be fired from series nine said she believed she was better at teamwork than some of the other candidates. She said: “We lost all the time because we couldn’t work as a team. I went to university so I know what it’s like to work as a team, I did team projects every single week, but some of these girls who have their own businesses have no idea how to work as a team.”
Her team, Evolve, lost out to the boys’ team Endeavour, whose ‘Foldo – a table which turns into a chair – trumped the girls’ ‘TidySidey’, a storage unit, tray and stool that many of the team criticised as a ‘box on wheels’, with sales of 3,216 to just 174.
Sophie, responsible for the product’s market research, said there was ‘no way’ she would have the ‘horrendous’ item in her home and felt Uzma, who had design experience and input, should have been fired. “I felt she should have gone if that was her best work, if that was her peak, surely if that was the best she can do she should have left,” she added.
The candidate, who said that she did not design, manufacture, sell or pitch, wanted to carry out the market research, which she had written her dissertation on. She said: “I don’t really sell. I sold vodka shots in clubs when I was younger or whatever.”
Sophie would still like to see an Evolve teammate win: “I’d love to see a girl win after all the bad things we’ve had in the past three weeks. Francesca, she’s great. She’s a lovely girl, she’s been a bit underrated in the early process but will really shine through. She’s got years of experience, she knows what she’s doing. She’s just a normal girl. Either Rebecca or Fran I’d love to see at the end.”
Sophie is currently working on a ‘Speed Plating’ business, a form of speed dating done over a restaurant tasting menu, and said she could “definitely” match up some of the other contestants through it.
But she said she was unsure if the group held any future couples: “We possibly know too much for anyone to get along in a love sort of sense.”