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Reality TV Interview

Yasmina Siadatan ('The Apprentice')

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Yasmina Siadatan ('The Apprentice')
After twelve tasks, twelve boardroom battles and a final challenge to design a new chocolate brand, Sir Alan Sugar finally picked his fifth Apprentice tonight. 27-year-old restaurateur Yasmina Siadatan ultimately triumphed, pipping Kate Walsh to the £100,000-a-year job. We caught up with this year's victor shortly after Sir Alan revealed the big news to find out about her highs and lows over the series.

Congratulations Yasmina! What do you think swung it for you and got you the job right at the end?
"I'm just ecstatic. I'm pretty much in shock that I won. Kate was a formidable contender and Sir Alan made that so clear, but we are just different people. The kind of job Sir Alan has lined up for us, I imagine that I'm better suited to it than Kate. I think he saw us developing as different people throughout the competition and I don't think there was one specific thing that swung it for me. He described it better than anyone on the You're Hired show, where he said, 'I can't explain why I'm hiring Yasmina, it's just a gut instinct'. That for me speaks volumes in my mind."

Do you think Sir Alan's criticisms that Kate was almost "too perfect" cost her?
"I think what Sir Alan meant when he said 'too good to be true is sometimes not the best thing', is that when people make mistakes you see their true character. If you push people really far, they are more likely to make mistakes. If you look at all top business players in this country, they will all have companies behind them which have failed. I think Sir Alan wanted to see someone really push themselves. On the catering task he claimed that I made more profit than anyone in the show's history. But then the next week I'm pouring the sandalwood down the drain. I yo-yoed, but my highs were always higher than Kate's. So perhaps yes, her perfection was her downfall."

Will Kate's relationship with Phil have impacted on Sir Alan's final judgement?
"No, I don't think so. I think it caused Phil some problems. He got fired for other reasons, but that clearly didn't work in his favour. I think the way Kate handles herself and articulates herself is spot on. Her answers to questions about Phil were always the same, straight-down-the-line and I think Sir Alan saw that as a great quality in her. Other women might have crumbled under that pressure and said, 'oh yeah, I did fancy him', but she just said, 'you guys have got kids outside of here, boyfriends outside of here, I won't mention them, let's crack on'. She's a very strong girl."

How much of a difference is that £100,000-a-year going to have on your life?
"I think the job itself is going to change my life. I will be working in a completely different industry and I'm going to be leaving catering, which is a massive passion of mine. That will be tough because I'm a pig and I love food. I'm going to have go out and pay for it! But the money itself I don't think will change me. I love camping, I love eating out, I love spoiling my friends, so I'll just be the same old 'Mina, but in a different job industry."

What's the job with Sir Alan going to entail?
"I'm going to work for Amscreen, which is an arm of Sir Alan's company. I will specifically be working on Amscreen healthcare, where we are getting out networks of digital screens in the NHS. We will also sell advertising on the screen. Lee McQueen also works for Amscreen, but he's more involved in the retail side, where he recently did a really big deal with BP. I will do a little bit of work with him."

During the series, which contestants did you find it the hardest to work with?
"I think you tend to always gravitate to certain character traits and nearly always clash with people who are similar to you. Debra and me clashed because we were so similar. We definitely didn't bring the best out of each other. But then on the other hand, I loved working with Howard. The final was the first time we'd teamed up and I just clicked with him straight away. I always knew from the beginning that Kate would be my biggest contender though."

Was there any point where you doubted your abilities to win the show?
"Yeah, loads! I think that came across. Just before the presentation in the final episode, I have never been so scared in my entire life. I had never given a presentation before. You are in this huge room and you can hear the murmur of all these voices, the pitch is swirling around your head and you just don't know if you're going to mess it all up. Not only that, but it's on the telly and against Kate Walsh, who is the best pitcher of all five Apprentice series. It was enough to make me feel sick."

Sir Alan's just been given a job by Gordon Brown in the Government. Do you think we could see Sir Alan running the country one day?
"I've been asked this question before and I think Sir Alan would make a great Prime Minister. Even though he has worked in this industry his entire life, he has the real business skills. He may need a course in international affairs to properly do the top job, but he could certainly offer something for the Department of Trade & Industry. On the other hand, I think running the country is a really hard job and I like Sir Alan, so I want him to have a good life. It doesn't look like Gordon Brown is enjoying himself much at the moment, so I would hate to see him go through that. I'd rather see him spend time with his grandkids!"

We've seen other candidates talking about media careers this year. Did you ever consider going down that path when you were on the show?
"No, not really. I've been quite shocked by the whole thing actually. I don't have any mates in the media, so I'm astounded by how interested people are in the contestants on The Apprentice. I just went on there for the job, but then suddenly everyone wants to know about my boyfriend, my mum and my dad. So, no, I was never interested in any of that. I always like to look on the bright side and think that people didn't go on the show for that. I think it's just that people's heads can easily be turned when they no longer have loyalties to the show and production agency. They are young, impressionable and I just wish them all the best really."

Applications are currently being accepted for next year's Apprentice and also the first ever Junior Apprentice.

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