The Apprentice’s Natalie Hughes: “I just wanted to get out of there”

loaded sat down with the latest casualty from The Apprentice to discuss denim among other things.

The Apprentice candidates for 2016.
The Apprentice candidates All of the candidates Image BBC

The Apprentice continued this week with 17 candidates put through their paces on an advertising task focused on everyone’s favourite garment: Japane…no, sorry just jeans.

It’s fair to say that both teams had their fair share of low points, with plenty of tears and tantrums to keep viewers entertained.

None of them involved the latest boardroom casualty, Natalie Hughes, who kept quiet for most of the task and ultimately paid the price.

Following her exit from the show, loaded spoke to the beauty entrepreneur about denim, speaking up and knowing when it’s time to go.

loaded: Now that the dust has settled, how do you feel?

Natalie: Mostly glad. I was grateful for the opportunity and the experience but by the end I just wanted to go home and see my friends.

loaded: So you aren’t disappointed to leave?

Natalie: No. If you watch the show you’ll see I was quite quiet and usually I’m actually not a very quiet person. I just wasn’t being myself and was very much out of my comfort zone.

I had actually packed and prepared the night before because I just felt like the whole thing maybe wasn’t for me.

loaded: You felt like it was your time to go?

Natalie: The programme is so unpredictable. After meeting everyone before the first task I was convinced that Michelle [who was sacked last week] would go on to win it. It’s just not something where you know for certain if anyone is staying or going.

Natalie Hughes from The Apprentice
Natalie Hughes The Apprentice candidate owns a beauty business in Glasgow. Image BBC

loaded: Would you change anything about your time on the show?

Natalie: I just didn’t like anything about it [the task] – jeans, marketing, any of it. Perhaps I could have spoken up a wee bit more. Part of me wished I had been a bit more argumentative but I wanted to go home anyway so I probably wouldn’t change anything, no.

loaded: Were you the right person to go?

Natalie: I don’t know, but I did feel like I had to leave the process. But it’s worth remembering that we actually made all of the deadlines on our task – the boys didn’t.

loaded: Has it put you off denim for life?

Natalie: (Laughs) No, of course not. It was only a task. I do feel like with the girls if we had worked more as a team we would have won it but no, it’s definitely not put me off denim.

loaded: Can you clear up who was supposed to be looking after the missing jeans then?

Natalie: Either Jessica or Alexandra but I actually think it might have been Alexandra.

“it’s worth remembering that we actually made all of the deadlines on our task – the boys didn’t”

loaded: How did you react to Jessica’s meltdown?

Natalie: I was in the other team so I never saw any of it but there were a lot of other situations where Jessica did really step up and was a leader.

She could have done some things differently like with the management of the sub-team though because I did feel like, with the lack of structure, I wasn’t really able to make much of an impact but then it wasn’t meant to be for me really.

loaded: Do you feel like Karren Brady stitched you up in the boardroom at the end?

Maybe she did but then maybe she didn’t. I did struggle on the task and at the end of the day there is only one winner of The Apprentice – someone has to go.

loaded: Who came up with the whole Japanese focus for the jeans?

Natalie: All of us to be honest. It just made sense to us for luxury jeans at the time. Even then, all I could think about was getting out of there.

We just made it too complicated to start with and the advert and packaging made no sense. I did have some great ideas but I feel like no one really listened to them. You can only say so much before you just shut up and stay quiet.

loaded: What went through your mind when you heard the words “you’re fired”?

Natalie: Just “Thank God, thank you Lord Sugar”. I just wanted to get out of there. I think I actually started running at one point (laughs) I just kept asking ‘Can I go home now? Can I go home now?’ I just wanted to get out of there.

loaded: Can you tell us about your business plan?

Natalie: I want to expand my business, VIP in Glasgow – a range of one stop beauty shops for women – across the UK step by step, which I have started on my own already.

loaded: Any favourite former Apprentice candidates?

Natalie: No, I have never watched an episode in my life – just a few clips on YouTube.

loaded: What advice would you give to anyone applying?

Natalie: Do your homework. Watch old episodes. Have a game plan, don’t be friends with anybody and focus on winning. Stay strong, get your head down and get on with it.

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