This year’s prospective Apprentices are already making headlines marred in controversy, and the series hasn’t even begun.
One candidate, Jessica Cunningham, reportedly has a not-so-secret past in sex work.
According to The Mirror, the young entrepreneur made up to £300 a night stripping for punters across clubs in the UK, offering lap dances for as little as a fiver.
The self-confessed ‘female Jim Carey’ – an unfortunate comparison considering the actor is currently embroiled in a legal battle over the suicide of his ex girlfriend – used to work as a stripper and pole dancer in venues across the north of England.
She confirmed the news to the Sunday People yesterday, saying:
I briefly worked in a strip club a long time ago for a couple of months and this is very much a part of my past.
She also has a little black book full of celebrity pals, including Geordie Shore‘s Vicky Pattinson, as well as Danny Cipriani.
Although she runs a successful online fashion business, Prodigal Fox, Cunningham’s rampant social media presence won’t get her very far with Alan Sugar, who notoriously has little time for fame-hungry candidates.
Lord Sugar said:
A lot of the candidates publicise themselves on social media that’s why so many flock to the auditions cause they want to be like them.
It’s only the ones that take it seriously that go all the way.
Jessica has certainly earned her place among this year’s crop.
Prodigal Fox’s luxury garments – which Jessica models herself – have achieved success within the fashion world, and the company has a roster of celebrity collaborations on its books.
However, her business nous and entrepreneurial savvy within the high-pressured confines of the show remain to be seen.
By the looks of things, she is set to be a popular but divisive candidate this year, and her past may earn her some unwarranted hate from commentators.
A friend of Jessica’s said:
Her favourite song to perform to was Private Dancer by Tina Turner. When that came on, she would work the pole and entice the punters to get a dance from her for £5 or £10. For richer clients, she would offer them private dances at £50 a time.
It was a means to an end but Jess made the most of it. She’s drop-dead gorgeous and was a real hit with the punters.
But that time in her life is firmly behind her. She is now focused on growing her fashion business. She has invested a lot of energy in it and she’s had a tough life, which has made her even more determined to do well.
The Apprentice, now in its twelfth season, is set to air on BBC1 on 6 October.
Watch this space.