Jade English on growing up in Cheshire and competing on the Apprentice
PUBLISHED: 00:00 29 November 2017 | UPDATED: 12:18 04 December 2017
Thanks for the opportunity Sir Alan...Macclesfield businesswoman Jade English reveals what it’s like to take part in the hit reality show The Apprentice.
It’s difficult meeting Jade English in the early weeks of The Apprentice TV series not least because I want her to tell me if she’s won, and there again, I don’t! But as it happens I don’t have to issue a spoiler alert, as she is sworn to secrecy about the outcome.
The Apprentice - for anyone who has been living on the moon for the past 13 years - is a BBC reality programme in which aspiring entrepreneurs enter a ‘process’ which ends in tycoon Lord Alan Sugar backing one of them to the tune of £250k.
It aims to create a tough environment in which contestants have to prove to the moneybags lord that they are worthy of the cash. But with the varying levels of arrogance and incompetence exhibited by the wannabe business moguls, not to mention the in-fighting and petty betrayals, it’s also very entertaining.
This year one of those to make the latest crop of apprentices is Jade. She’s the pretty, elegant blonde one who’s not afraid to speak up for herself and in episode three project-managed the girl team (Graphene) who made a surprising £54k selling a robot prototype to John Lewis.
In person, contrary to the feisty go-getting slightly scary image she projects on the show, Jade is a lovely, warm, open young woman who was a content marketing manager for Bank Media in Trafford before getting the call from Lord Sugar to enter the ‘process’ .
The reason she applied is simple. She had a business idea and she also believed she could cut it on TV.
‘I can’t explain in full detail exactly what the idea is - but it’s digital and will help people get into careers that they want and hopefully teach them some skills along the way,’ she tells me.
‘Everyone said I had the business acumen for it but when I applied, I didn’t expect to get through to the first round. Not only that, I got through the second round and before I knew it there I was living in the house in London in front of Lord Sugar.’
What helped her she thinks is the power of positive thinking.
‘I believe that if you want something enough, you’ll make it happen, so I actually stuck a cheque on my ceiling above my bed for £250k ‘from’ Lord Sugar and although it was a surprise getting in I knew deep in my heart I should be there,’ she reveals.
‘So when I walked into the house it felt quite normal. Obviously living with different characters is challenging but I’ve lived in hostels when I went travelling and at university I lived with an array of personalities so I found it alright.
‘I believe strongly that everything happens for a reason and I think this was the route I was supposed to go down.
‘It was an amazing experience and still it an amazing experience.’
She has what she calls a ‘blended family’. Her mum Carole Griffiths, split from dad Simon Booth when Jade was five. She has a 36-year old sister Rebecca English, who works in marketing in Wilmslow, a 17-year old brother, Eliot, at Sir John Deane’s College and an eight-year-old brother, Theo, at Hale Prep.
The most difficult thing about being on the show was that she couldn’t tell friends until it was actually aired on TV and like all the other contestants she had to invent a story for her absence.
‘A lot of people choose jury service,’ she laughs. ‘I’m quite into meditation so I told my friends I was going on a meditation retreat. “I absolutely can’t speak to you. I’m sworn to silence” I told them. It was so funny.
‘I have the best friends in the world. They are amazing. Every Wednesday we all get together, have a glass of wine and watch the latest episode. They are so supportive. When it eventually all came out it was a huge relief.’
Considering the contenders usually have 20 minutes to put their face on before heading out to meet Lord Sugar and mentors Karren Brady and Claude Littner, the level of grooming on the show is suspiciously expert but Jade insists there are no stylists lurking in the shared luxury accommodation.
‘Nobody believes you have 20 minutes to get ready. I am telling you. It’s true. You’ll get woken up by the cameras and that is a shock. And then you get rushed down. You get very good at doing your hair and make-up and I’ve never had such quick showers in my life.
‘Preparation is key, so I kept a little booklet of outfits that I was going to wear each day and I would make sure I did my hair the night before... and slept very still.’
She went shopping before entering the show but even so, with limits on how much could be brought into the house it was a challenge working out enough looks for the indefinite period she may be there.
‘I had to make sure I had some key pieces in there like black trousers and shoes that are comfortable but ones that also look good on camera. I live in Zara - I think half my wardrobe is from there.’
On the day I meet her at a favourite haunt, the Refuge in Manchester, she’s wearing a top by Vera Moda, a pair of Fenn Wright Manson trousers and a pair of red patent shoes from Zara.
‘I like fashion but it’s not who I am,’ she says. ‘I wear it because if I look good I feel more confident in myself but it doesn’t define who I am as a person.’
As someone who has made her living from social media there was another surprise in store for Jade.
‘I wasn’t on social media while I was on the process and I cannot tell you how refreshing it is,’ she exclaims.
‘ I’ve never had a clearer mind when TV, social media, magazines and everything else didn’t exist.
‘This is why I feel so fortunate because you are truly 100 per cent away from everything and you do start to realise what you actually want to achieve. I’m very, very lucky.’
While the show is being aired, she’s still somewhat in limbo as viewers won’t know who has won until the latest run of The Apprentice finishes in December. Meanwhile Jade is enjoying doing all the things she was unable to do while in the house, especially indulging in one of her favourite pastimes, dining out.
‘I’m a massive foodie. Tapa in Bollington is brilliant, Cibo in Wilmslow is another favourite - it’s amazing. I had scallops with pancetta there with a pea puree and, honestly, it was divine.
‘Altrincham Market. I could live in that place! They’ve just opened Mackie Mayor in Manchester and it’s just the same amazing thing. Wolfhouse Kitchen does the most incredible pecan blondie rocky roads. OMG I can’t even tell you how good they are.’
The Apprentice is on BBC 1 at 9pm on Wednesdays www.bbc.com