A FORMER Apprentice has lifted the lid on the hit BBC show – revealing how contestants survive on four hours of sleep a night and get just one five-minute phone call a week.
The Apprentice is known for pushing candidates to the limits, but conditions can be even more gruelling than they appear on TV, according to former contestant Sabrina Stocker.
The bubbly entrepreneur, who narrowly missed out on a place in the final of series 14 in 2018 with her tennis events company, answered the age-old question of how the stars actually manage to get ready in 20 minutes.
The sporty star said the women had a sneaky trick for getting ready for the taxis at break-neck speed.
Sabrina, 26, who is originally from Middlesex, claimed: “You get 20 minutes, sometimes the girls would get up a bit earlier and get ready and go back to sleep.
“We’d always prepare the night before so you were ready for the next day.
“You’d have to mic up, you’d have to have all the basics ready to leave the house. It’s a very intense moment.”
She added that her Dyson hairdryer was her “best investment” as it only took her 10 minutes to do her blonde locks.
Although the Apprentice hopefuls always look slick and pristine on camera, they only get four or five hours sleep a night.
Sabrina said: “We were getting up at four or five am every single day, we would get back from the task at eight or nine or 10pm at night, I would go straight to bed. It was a mindset shift.
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“It was intense, we got one or two days off a week.
“In terms of those days, it was pretty much relaxing, catching up on sleep, going to the gym or supermarket. The days were honestly long.”
Despite the long hours of filming, Sabrina, who now runs her own PR company, Two Comma PR, said she loved the experience and would do the show “a thousand times over”.
And she also revealed that she overhauled her image before filming began.
She explained: “I spent thousands of pounds going in.
“The Apprentice did give me a small budget, I did spend money from my business as well.
You get 20 minutes, sometimes the girls would get up a bit earlier and get ready and go back to sleep.
“The Apprentice look is interesting because you can’t wear certain things on TV.
“Nothing designer or elaborate patterns as it’s not great for the camera.
“For me it was a bit of an investment as I’d been coming off the courts at the time, so I had jogging bottoms.
“You are in front of so many people so you do want to look good and hopefully candidates going on do have a business savvy brain and are looking a little bit ahead.”
You may not have noticed, but Sabrina claimed contestants rotate between just three outfits in the boardroom, although they could have other clothes for tasks.
She said: “I think mine were black, blue and red. I only noticed that when I was in the show.”
You couldn’t have anything that could enhance your bodily performance, for example, caffeine tablets.
Many Apprentice fans will recall how the fired contestants leave the boardroom and wheel a small overnight suitcase away with them to do their exit interview in the taxi.
And Sabrina claims that the cases were in fact “empty” and also that the boardroom is a set.
She said: “The suitcases were empty.
“Actually they had enough clothes and overnight things for you in case you were fired.
“In which case you have a bit of a break from the main house and then you have your normal main suitcases.”
Speaking of Lord Sugar’s boardroom, she claimed: “It is like a set, it is such an intense moment that having it in an actual building would have been too chaotic.”
And while she was able to bring a huge suitcase filled with her Apprentice outfits, certain items were contraband.
Sabrina claimed: “You couldn’t have certain books about a certain topic.
“You couldn’t have anything that could enhance your bodily performance, for example, caffeine tablets.”
She added: “They want to make it a very clear playing field.
“One of the things I did like was everyone is from different backgrounds and has different monetary backgrounds going into the show.”
Alcohol, hook-ups and mobile phones were also prohibited during filming, and they had to do their own hair and make-up other than for the boardroom.
Sabrina said: “The only time we could drink was when we were celebrating winning a task.
“The rest of the time, alcohol just wasn’t allowed.”
The businesswoman who runs her business remotely and is currently in Mexico, described the tasks themselves as “chaotic”.
She said: “From the audiences’ point of you, you have the whole day to make sales.
“In reality, you have to drive to the location, get permission to do the filming, do your intros and exits a few times and then the crew and you have to take a break and lunch break. “When you start off with 12 hours, it gets condensed into five or six hours.”
And sales only count if they are captured by the filming crew, Sabrina claimed.
She said: “If you are making a sale over here, and it wasn’t caught on camera, it doesn’t count.
“It is very important, which you pick up, to make sure the camera crew have that sale on camera.
“I think I realised early on, they want us to succeed, but if we were doing too well, it’s not going to make good TV.
“I started to notice what the producers and the team were doing behind the scenes.
“Because I clocked onto that early on, I think it was easy for me to get to the final five as I had to think what was going to go wrong before it happened.
“It made it a little bit more interesting for us.”
And she said that the production team will veto some ideas before they get aired.
She said: “There is a certain amount of control they need.
“Because it is such quick time frames, they haven’t got long filming, they don’t want it to be boring, they don’t want the same team to come up with the same idea.
“Whatever team makes the decision first and locks in the decision, they get priority over what happens.”
Although her pitch to Lord Sugar was for her tennis events company, she did have to pivot her business during the pandemic.
She explained: “I was running about 400 events a year. Unfortunately when the pandemic did come, I was pretty much left at zero again.
“Everything I had worked for for the past few years just stopped overnight.
“It was emotionally a little bit hard, I’d worked so hard, so many hours, 14/16 hours a day getting that business up to a place.
“During the pandemic what kept me going was running a website called Shopping Slot where you’d type your postcode into the site and see your local delivery slots.
“We had 100,000 people on our website and it crashed.
“Six weeks later, we had just under half a million users.
“It is still running today and that was a bit of a lockdown project.
“On the back of that people were like how did you do the PR for it, and that’s how I founded my PR company.”
Speaking of the impact The Apprentice has had on her, Sabrina gushed: “It was just so much fun, I loved it.
“It seems really intense but behind the scenes it’s a nice experience.”
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