Jessica Cunningham has opened up about her previous brush with fame on the pages of loaded way back in 2009.
The fashion entrepreneur has been a firm favourite in the loaded office ever since it was discovered that she featured in the magazine.
A 21-year-old Cunningham was one of six finalists in a special competition to find a new presenter for digital dance music video channel Flaunt.
“Back then I really wanted to be a television presenter,” she told loaded. “So when this opportunity came up, I just thought go for it.”
“It was a good experience,” Cunningham recalls. “It was literally just to present a couple of songs coming on. It was for about six weeks and just seemed like a fun thing to do.”
The Apprentice star still cringes looking back at the photos from the competition though.
“Oh my God I look horrific! A right porker!” she laughs. “I just looked at those pictures again and thought ‘bloody hell Jessica.’”
As entertaining and endearing a candidate as you are likely to find on the BBC One show, Cunningham’s bubbly persona and penchant for cracking jokes ensured she not only lived up to her own billing as the female Jim Carrey but will be sorely missed from the final.
“when Lord Sugar first pointed at me I thought he was going to tell me to go back to the house and get ready for the final!”
Cunningham received her marching orders following the dreaded round of exhaustive interviews that are a popular staple of the show.
“I’m absolutely gutted. I genuinely believed I was going to get through the process so when Lord Sugar first pointed at me I thought he was going to tell me to go back to the house and get ready for the final!”
Such confidence wasn’t misplaced either – Cunningham had been one of the standout performers on the show, garnering praise in particular for her professional pitch to a room full of gaming experts in the VR task – something that didn’t go unnoticed by Karren Brady.
More importantly, the 29-year-old won plenty of fans with her honest, emotional response to some of the trying and stressful circumstances they faced on the show. For Cunningham, it was just about staying true to herself, regardless of what the naysayers might think.
“In business as in life it’s important to be yourself. I actually got a bit of stick for showing my emotions with some people saying I gave women a bad name in business and wasn’t credible. But credibility should be judged on your skillset, your knowledge and how you perform on the actual tasks.”
Having survived the grueling 10 weeks of tasks, Cunningham is in no doubt as to where things went wrong.
“The business plan, 100%. There were loads of errors in there. I should have spent more time on it.”
The process has still been a life-changing one though with Cunningham making friends in fellow candidates like Grainne, Dillon (they bought friendship bracelets to prove it), Trishna and Courtney.
“Television is a fun industry to be in. If it happens, fantastic, but if it doesn’t I am happy anyway”
“It’s been life changing. I’ve learned I have more stamina and strength than I thought. I just believe in myself a bit more.”
Currently in the midst of adapting her fashion business, Prodigal Fox, to focus more on casual wear and lingerie, Cunningham has also collaborated with stars from shows like Made In Chelsea and Geordie Shore to help get the word out on social media about her latest lines.
And despite remaining steadfast in her focus on growing Prodigal Fox, she wouldn’t rule out a return to TV.
“Television is a fun industry to be in. If it happens, fantastic, but if it doesn’t I am happy anyway. I would look at any opportunity that comes my way and I would have to decide if it is right for me.”
Just don’t expect her to become the next Katie Hopkins anytime soon. “I’m just not mean enough!”
The Apprentice concludes this Sunday on BBC One at 9pm
Loaded staff writer Jack Beresford has produced content for Lad Bible, Axonn Media and a variety of online sports and news media outlets.