HER enthusiasm and calm, unshakeable boardroom manner have so far kept her in The Apprentice, showing that beneath Rochelle Anthony’s preened image is a sharp businesswoman.
As the beauty salon owner competes to win Lord Sugar’s £250,000 investment, she admits the 75-year-old tycoon’s “good aura” could have some women falling at his feet.
PAApprentice star, 35, Rochelle Anthony owns a beauty salon[/caption]
The sharp businesswoman reveals she does not see Lord Sugar as a sugar daddy but more as a father figureGetty
But Rochelle, 35, does not see him as a sugar daddy.
Frequently likened to US reality star Kim Kardashian, Rochelle explained: “Lord Sugar is the same age as my dad and actually reminds me a little bit of him, so I saw him as a father figure.
“Some women might be attracted to him because he has a good aura around him. He’s a good-looking man for his age but he’s not my type.
“I want to be a business partner, I don’t want to be a love interest. I don’t need a sugar daddy.”
Despite the show boss’s daunting screen presence and biting comments, Rochelle reckons he breaks the ice with his one-liners.
She said: “Lord Sugar made us feel really relaxed because of his jokes. He’s so fast-witted.
“You are in this high-pressure, really intense situation and you don’t want to breathe — then he makes you laugh.”
The brunette bombshell is proud to be compared to voluptuous billionaire Kim but is also inspired by Sun on Sunday columnist Baroness Karren Brady, who has been one of Lord Sugar’s aides on the BBC series since 2010.
Successful or sexy
When Rochelle set up her hair extension business The Dolls House, in Milton Keynes, Bucks, 12 years ago, she was scoffed at by some who believed it would be a non-starter. But she went on to prove them all wrong.
Rochelle said: “I get compared to Kim because of the dark hair but I’ve never ever said I look like her, I’m not that conceited.
“She is unreal. I love that she has paved the way for glamorous women.
“Business was always very male-dominated and very corporate. It’s all strait-laced, black suits.
“There was no room for glamour. If you were a woman who came in with a full face of make-up and nice hair you weren’t taken seriously, and that’s what I like about the Kardashians.
“They are all millionaires, billionaires, huge business entrepreneurs, and they are paving the way for women in industries. People didn’t take them seriously at first.
“When I started 12 years ago, men would laugh and be like, ‘You’re going to start a business?’ And now we have women like Kim and the other Kardashians who are showing that you can do business with a hint of glam.”
Rochelle reveals ‘Lord Sugar is the same age as my dad and actually reminds me a little bit of him, so I saw him as a father figure’BBCRochelle, second from left, and the female candidates on this year’s The Apprentice[/caption]
Rochelle has often been underestimated because of her looks but has stood her ground in the TV boardroom and is still in with a chance of winning Lord Sugar’s business investment.
She says: “Why should a woman be successful or sexy? Why should I dull down how I would like to feel and look?
“Make-up is an amazing mask, and when you have your hair and make-up done you feel good.
“I do that on a daily basis. So if I walk into the room and I’m confident and I’ve got a cute outfit on, that’s going to make me more confident.
“I’m not hiding behind it, I’m just showcasing that you can do the two. Some people have thought I couldn’t possibly have the brains to be in business.
“The beauty industry has such a negative stereotype. They put you in a box and say you’re an airhead because you care about your appearance.
“If a client sat in my chair and I didn’t make an effort, then they would probably be a bit concerned whether I could do the job.
“Beauty is a billion-pound industry and women are paving the way within it. So step aside men — the generation and business has changed.”
Rochelle is especially impressed with Karren Brady’s on-screen outfits and hair. She gushed: “Karren is bossing it. Her style is impeccable.
“She’s an inspiration. She’s glamorous, she’s in a male-dominated environment yet she’s so well-respected. She’s got such a presence about her.
“She says it like it is and she’s someone else that I look up to.”
Rochelle’s fellow candidates — male and female — made the most of her hair skills while they were living in a luxury North London house during filming.
She said: “I made a pop-up salon in my room. I was like, ‘Salon’s open, guys, come get waxed, come get your hair styled’. That’s how I kept myself busy in those down days.
“I did the girls’ eyelashes and I did the boys’ eyebrow waxing. I also loved cooking for everybody, too. I was like the mother of the house.”
Owning one of many small businesses affected by the pandemic, Rochelle was rocked by the revelation earlier this year that her firm owes £65,000, with just £500 in assets, as well as some of her smaller businesses being forced to close. She is defiant in the face of criticism and has fought to keep her salon going.
She said: “The pandemic was really hard for my industry and my salon was closed for a year in total. Before lockdown hit I was just increasing my space, getting more staff and I was really on the up.
“But then during the pandemic I wasn’t even sure I could pay my bills. I had staff to support and that was the toughest thing to navigate.
“I thought I would have to close my business, but I told my husband, ‘I’m not going down without a fight’. I realised I needed The Apprentice to get my business up and running.
“I’m happy to give hope to salon owners who have been on the brink of closure. If I can give one person that little bit of hope that things are changing, I would say, ‘Keep going, keep on pushing that little bit longer’.
“The beauty industry wasn’t taken seriously in the pandemic, but let’s come back fighting, because we make people feel good and you can’t put a price on that.”
Rochelle is also proud to be a mixed-raced role model and hopes to inspire young business entrepreneurs watching her on telly.
She said: “I want to encourage women of colour to go out there and say, ‘I can do whatever I want. No one’s going to pigeonhole me, no one is putting me in a box’.
“I want young women to follow their dreams. If you put in the work, you can achieve your dreams.”
Rochelle is married to a kitchen refurbisher and is mum to a son, five, and a three-year-old daughter. Their support has helped her enormously in The Apprentice.
She explained: “They wrote to me all the time. They sent me lovely drawings. I would look at their pictures and I’d be crying but it motivated me to keep going.
“My husband is an amazing man and such a good dad. He’s so present. I knew that they were in good hands.”
The Apprentice continues on BBC1 on Thursday at 9pm.AP:Associated PressThe brunette bombshell is proud to be compared to voluptuous billionaire Kim Kardashian[/caption]