Apprentice winner reveals all on her future with Lord Sugar and keeping secrets

After 12 weeks of boardroom bust-ups, tough tasks and awkward blunders, Apprentice candidate Sian Gabbidon has won Lord Sugar’s approval and has become his business partner.

The 26-year-old from Leeds impressed industry experts and the big boss himself with her swimwear fashion brand and managed to bag his £250,000 investmentIn tonight’s final episode, Sian went head-to-head with nut milk enthusiast Camilla Ainsworth, who she managed to pip to the post.

Sian spoke to Mirror TV about her win, boardroom battles and her future as Lord Sugar’s business partner…

Did you ever dream that you would win The Apprentice when you first applied?

I mean I did dream – applying for the show I did know that I had it in me and I did know I really wanted it. I wouldn’t have applied if I didn’t think I could get as far as I did. I am over the moon that I won it, I can’t believe it.

Have you been able to tell anyone you won it?

I’ve been able to tell my boyfriend. I want to keep it kind of a secret, really. I quite like the surprise element. My family are going to be over the moon.

Are they trying to get the truth out of you?

Everybody has! As soon as you’re on the show it’s like, ‘What happened? Where did you come?’ but you obviously know it’s not something you can tell anybody.

Was the final stressful trying to think up a name, create your brand, etc.?

Yeah… but do you know what, it was also the most enjoyable but also the most stressful. As a business owner it’s such a big thing – a name… it’s a massive deal. And you get 10 minutes to think of a name and it took me ages. Even when I picked it I wasn’t overjoyed. It was more to tell a story than anything. Everything we did was like, this isn’t just another task, it was my life, it was my business and it was very important. 

Have you changed the name? 

Yeah, the name is Sian Marie which is the original name. There were many reasons for [Apprentice name] but Sian Marie is me and I am the brand and it’s got lots of areas for expansion so it’s much better.           

What was the most frustrating part of the final? I think we can guess…

The GIF! Well to be honest, I was really unhappy with that and I’m sure watching it you might think ‘Where’s that come from?’ Because I was like, ‘Am I being harsh here or is that nothing like what I asked for?’ I was like, ‘What is this?’ It looked like they’d tied a belt around her neck and I just thought, what is this? 

But [I realised] that it wasn’t something I could change and I thought about how I could get around it in my pitch. Because I knew in the pitch that I was going to have to talk about it, so I had to use my quick thinking to think ‘Right, what I’ll do is briefly talk about it and switch over to the next slide’. But the people there knew that it was the team that made it not me, so it wasn’t a true reflection of me or my brand. 

Things got quite catty in the boardroom – did you expect Camilla to criticise your brand?

I think in the process you had two sides – you had your business side and your friendship side. Me and Camilla, we’re cool, we’re friends. Even in the interviews you’ve got yourself bolted up ready for the criticism. 

Every time I was in that boardroom I was ready and I was ready for someone to criticise how I’d performed on task, my business… we all came in this process to win it, we didn’t come in it to make friends. Well I didn’t anyway, and I did make friends [in the end], because that’s what happens, but you’ve got to stay focused and you’ve got to keep your eyes on the prize. 

She said things about my business, I said things about her’s and we hashed it out – we didn’t even hash it out afterwards, we hugged it out and moved on. You learn that that’s just what you have to do in business in that situation.

Have you started working with Lord Sugar on your brand yet?

Yeah, we’ve had our first meeting and it’s great. People are like, ‘Are you having some time off?’ and I’m like, ‘Nope!’ I might have a cheeky little holiday but other than that I’m ready to go. I’ve got my business plan and it’s basically ready, it just needs us to have a chat through properly, yeah we’re ready. 

How will you be watching the episode tonight?

So we’ve got a little room where we’re going to have some food and have a TV in. We’ve got friends and family coming round and we’re going to have a nice little evening together. It’s one of those ones where you just want your loved ones around you. I can’t wait because my family are just going to be like, ‘Oh my gosh’. It’s going to be crazy, I can’t wait.

They’ll be fuming and say, ‘I can’t believe you didn’t tell us!’.

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