A Scottish beauty salon owner who describes herself as “a hustler” and compares herself to firebrand chef Gordon Ramsay is to battle it out in the boardroom in the next series of The Apprentice.
Natalie Hughes, owner of VIP Salon, in the east end of Glasgow, will be one of 18 contenders hoping to secure a £250,000 investment from Lord Sugar.
The 30-year-old - whose business also includes the designer fashion outlet Dolcie Boutique - will be up against a baking entrepreneur, a fashion magazine art director, the owner of a children’s clothing company, property consultant and a recruitment agent.
In her audition for the 12th series, Ms Hughes states: “My salon is called VIP, so I always say: ‘VIP - it’s the only way to be. Look VIP, act VIP and be VIP.
“I’ve got hundreds of enthusiasm, I’m quirky, I think off the mark, I think out the box, I’m hard-working.
“I would really liken myself to someone like Gordon Ramsay because I’m actually very forward, I like to get the job done, like he does, and I like to make changes in business. I’m always changing and keeping things interesting.
“I’m a hustler, I’ve got the hustler’s ambition. I know, I’ve done it from a young age, hustling in all different walks of life with all different kinds of people.
“I’ve got a lot to bring to the table. I know I will be successful. Failure is not an option for somebody like me.”
The new series of The Apprentice kicks off with the candidates being tasked with trying to sort out “treasure from trash” in a lock-up containing furniture, vintage clothing, toys, ceramics, silver and glassware - before attempting to sell it on at a profit.
Lord Sugar tells the new candidates: “You see 18 people here, and we’re here for 12 weeks - that tells you there are going to be occasions where more than one person is going (to be fired). And I don’t care how many it can be. I really don’t care.
“I’m very flexible and it is a very, very competitive situation. You can compare this to being on a life support machine and one of your colleagues here pulling the plug out just to charge their mobile phone up. That’s how competitive it will get.”
Other tasks for the candidates in the new series, which gets underway on 6 October, including creating an advertising campaign for jeans, manufacturing a range of sweets, designing virtual reality games and producing and creating their own brand of gin.
THIS YEAR'S CANDIDATES IN THEIR OWN WORDS
Alana Spencer, 24, cake company owner: “I am incredibly hard-working, driven and I’ll stop at nothing to get what I want.”
Aleksandra King, 38, business consultancy owner: “Like the Tasmanian devil in the famous cartoon, I will torpedo my way through to the win.”
Courtney Wood, 29, novelty gift company owner: “How would I describe myself in one sentence? I’ll give you one word - awesome.”
Dillon St Paul, 37, art director for a fashion magazine: “Sometimes batting the eyelashes can get you a lot in business. Hence, the mascara comes in handy - so they can see those lashes.”
Frances Bishop, 25, children’s clothing company owner: “I’m a pocket rocket. I’m quite fiery and live by the rule ‘kill them with kindness’.”
Grainne McCoy, 31, make-up studio owner: “I need guidance and a little bit of mentoring to help me make that first million.”
JD O’Brien, 37, beachwear company owner: “I won’t suffer fools. I will get upset by other candidates who don’t know their arse from their elbow.”
Jessica Cunningham, 29, online fashion entrepreneur: “A motto I live by is: There is no competition if you’re already winning.”
Karthik Nagesan, 33, IT consultancy owner: “If I wanted to be like everyone else, I’d have waxed my monobrow.”
Michelle Niziol, 35, property consultancy owner: “I work 15 to 17 hours every day. 100%, I’m a workaholic.”
Mukai Noiri, 36, digital marketing manager: “I feel sorry for Lord Sugar because previous applicants have been weak.”
Natalie Hughes, 30, hair and beauty salon owner: “I started at a young age, I’m a hustler, I’ve got the hustler’s ambition.”
Oliver Nohl-Oser, 33, food distribution business owner: “Sometimes I feel like James Bond when I’m in my suit.”
Paul Sullivan, 38, marketing agency owner: “I’ll play the team when I need to be part of the team, but I’m here to win; I’m not here to make up the numbers.”
Rebecca Jeffery, 31, design and marketing agency owner: “People often foolishly mistake my enthusiasm for silliness or positivity for naivety. I’m proof that you can get things done without whingeing.”
Samuel Boateng, 27, sales manager: “My creativity, my passion, my charm and my likeability all roll into one, creating one perfect guy.”
Sofiane Khelfa, 32, technology senior sales executive: “The best survivors in the world are the people who adapt, and I’m the best at adapting. I’m like a chameleon. I adapt to anything, anywhere, anytime.”
Trishna Thakrar, 28, recruitment agent: “My only tactic is to be myself; this alone will make sure I win."