I was an Apprentice finalist – there's a weird list of things you're banned from in house and a harsh '10-minute rule' | The Sun

IT’S known as the most extreme hiring process in the country – but it seems The Apprentice is even tougher than we could imagine.

Michaela Wain, who was a finalist in the 2017 series of the BBC show, has revealed the house is more like Big Brother when the cameras stop rolling.

All the candidates’ phones are taken off them, they’re cut off from the world – and there are strict time constraints on how often they’re allowed to speak to their loved ones.

In an exclusive interview, Michaela reveals the whole process is “built so you're just out of your comfort zone and everything's really intense”.

Cut off from the world

The construction business owner – who already had a son, Harrison, while living in The Apprentice house – tells us: “You get one 10-minute call home to your family a week, but if you had children, then you got an extra 10-minute call. 

“But it just was not enough. 

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“So the whole time I was only speaking to my son, so I had no idea what was going on with my companies. 

“There's no radio, no music, no TV. We'd be begging, 'Please can we just watch Netflix? Just half an hour, just one series!'”

On TV, it seems as if there is a task just once a week for the Apprentice candidates to take part in, but Michaela reveals, in actual fact, that each task is done one after the other – with a rare day off.

“You would usually do one task day, then another task day and then a full day in the boardroom and then task day, task day, boardroom again straight away,” she says. “Occasionally you got a day off in between each one, but most of them last for three days – two days out and about doing your thing and then one full day in the boardroom.”

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2am wakeup calls

Michaela and the girls had a plan to ensure they got ready in 20 minutesCredit: BBC

But one thing that is real is the extremely early wake-up times, which sometimes were as early as 2am.

Michaela says: “You don't know what time they're gonna get you up. They just say it'll be early or it'll be super early. 

“I'm not lying, I am horrible without sleep, and on our first night there, I went to bed at 10pm.

“Everybody was staying up getting to know each other and I was like, 'I know I'll be a nightmare if they get me up at five'. 

“Then they woke us up at two in the morning, and by 3.30, I was standing at a fish market.

“I was like, 'What have I done? Just take me back to Bolton.'”

She adds: “Most days we were getting up at four o'clock. I remember it being five o'clock and saying, 'Oh we had a lie-in!'”

20 minutes to get ready

Candidates are given just 20 minutes to get ready to leave the house for their task when they’re woken up, so Michaela and her housemates – especially the girls – hatched a plan to make sure everyone had enough time to get themselves together.

She recalls: “We would say, ‘You four have the showers in the evening, and you four in the morning' and we'd alternate that, so everybody has a turn.

“Then you basically have your shower, brush your teeth, get ready with your hair and anything you can't take with you, and do your make-up in the car. 

“In our series, everyone was walking out of the house to the car looking absolutely rough as hell, and then by the time they get out of the cars everybody's all glammed up. 

“But they literally do give you 20 minutes and then the producers are all there in your room shouting at you, 'You need to get downstairs, you need to get your microphone on!'

“My hair was a right state the whole way through, I looked like an absolute wreck!”

Tiny alcohol limit

In every series of The Apprentice, you see all the winning candidates waiting in the house with a glass of prosecco in hand – to find out which of their opponents have been fired by Lord Sugar.

But, surprisingly, that’s the only alcohol they’re allowed during the whole week – unless they win a task, and are sent to a cocktail-making class.

“Occasionally, on those, they might let you have one cocktail," says Michaela.

“One of our treats was in a bar and we were allowed one or two, but that was getting closer to the end. It was a little bit more chilled the further on you got.”

Speaking of the ‘treats’, Michaela confesses they “weren’t always fun” – but they were better than being stuck sitting in the house all day doing nothing.

She recalls: “They sent me on the world's highest slide. I'm scared of heights so I was like, ‘This is not a treat. This is my living f***ing nightmare!’

“You're just relieved to get out of the house though. You know you don't get to sit in the house all day.”

Waiting on a proposal

Michaela’s life has changed enormously since being on The Apprentice – both in terms of her career and her love life.

She met her partner Harrison Jones on the show, and the pair have a a son, Grayson, turning four later this month.

Michaela – whose brother Josh Ritchie was a finalist on the first series of Love Island – laughs: “Not in my wildest dreams did I think I’d meet my partner on The Apprentice. My brother’s always saying he went on Love Island and I ended up finding somebody while I were in The Apprentice!

“But even when we were there, it was nothing like that. We were genuinely friends. It was after we'd come off the show, you have a three-month gap before it goes on TV.

“You've just had this whirlwind experience and nobody knows about it, so we remained friendly because otherwise you do your family's head in talking about it, and then when it came on TV we all wanted to be with each other and watch it all together.

“And we were allowed to drink alcohol then – which is when me and Harrison grew closer!”

While she and Harrison aren’t married yet, Michaela confesses she’s waiting on a wedding proposal imminently.

She says: “He's not my husband yet, but hopefully he will pop the question soon! He's being a real slug about the situation.”

'The Apprentice changed my life'

And, with regards to her career, Michaela says The Apprentice  “changed her life”.

She now runs five building and construction-related companies, is running her own podcast BigDug, and started the first ever Women in Construction Awards.

“I really want to push forward with Women in Construction stuff, and really make an impact,” she says. “I think there's nothing better in life that you can possibly do than help to change other people's lives and to leave a legacy. 

“Women come over and they'll tell me they were inspired to get into construction because they read an article or saw me on a podcast, or follow me on social media, and that is the best feeling and the best thing about doing what I do.

“So I need to try and push forward and really change the demographic of the construction industry.”

So what’s next for Michaela?

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