Former Outwood Grange pupil Francesca Macduff-Varley was fired by Lord Sugar on last night’s episode of The Apprentice after making it to the final three.
The 32-year-old who had vowed to ‘fight to the death to become his business partner’ told the Express she was very proud of her effort but would not do it again in a million years.
She said: “I had never watched the show before and just decided to go for it because I needed the investment for my business idea. I never dreamt I would get as far as I did.”
Ms MacDuff-Varley who already runs a look-a-like agency, professional dance agency and fitness studio, had hoped to secure the £250,000 Lord Sugar was offering, to open a string of city-centre fitness and dance centres.
She added: “It was an amazing experience that will stay with me for the rest of my life, but if I had known then what I know now, I wouldn’t have gone for it.”
Lord Sugar said firing Ms Macduff-Varley was a ‘difficult decision’ and said her business idea ‘had legs’ but he decided to take fellow contestants Leah Totton and Luisa Zissman through to the final.
Ms Macduff-Varley added: “Some people went on massive journeys and have changed things about themselves, but I went in as myself and was really true to myself all the way through. I went in for the investment, didn’t get it, but I have the idea, the expertise and the work ethic. I have proved with my existing businesses that this business model does work. If someone believes in me, they will invest.”
She urged anyone with a dream or idea to give it a go if they want it badly enough, adding: “I didn’t go to private school, wasn’t born with a silver spoon in my mouth and mummy and daddy didn’t buy me a pony or anything like that. I borrowed £5,000 on a credit card to start my first business.
“My education at Outwood helped put me on the right path and I worked very hard to get my grades.”
Ms Macduff-Varley was fired at the interview stages of the competition, and shocked the panel when she admitted plucking a figure on her business plan from thin air. She said: “I had never had an interview in my life before this, because I have always worked for myself, but I held my own and did ok.
“She added: “I might not have won, but I really do feel like a winner. I got some really good comments and they liked my idea.”