The Apprentice winner thought she'd lost until phone call with Lord Alan Sugar

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The winner of The Apprentice has revealed that right up until the moment that Lord Alan Sugar announced her victory, she thought that she’d lost out on the life-changing investment.

Marnie Swindells and Rochelle Anthony went up against each other in the final episode of the 2023 series in a bid to impress Lord Sugar and a plethora of experts from their respective industries.

Rochelle tried to win the business mogul over with her desire to expand her hair salon, catering for all different types of hair and offering tutorials – but in the end Marnie’s inclusive, emotion-focused boxing gym concept saw her reign supreme.

During a conversation with, Marnie opened up about the moment she found out that she had the £250,000 investment in the bag – as it actually happened off-camera.

While the final episode did show Lord Sugar reveal his decision in the boardroom, in real life, Marnie and Rochelle were both informed of the result on the phone.

‘Lord Sugar does let us know after who he decides to go with, so it was difficult and we were left in suspense for a little while. I really didn’t think that it was going my way,’ Marnie admitted.

‘I remember that morning that we found out thinking, “Just put me out of my misery. I know I didn’t win.” Then he gave me the shock of my life and said I had, so I also had to process that and try and deal with that feeling that I’d had that I hadn’t, and then I had, and it was a lot.’

When asked why she thought that she’d lost, considering how confident she appeared in the vision for her business in her pitch, the entrepreneur responded: ‘It’s actually quite sad. I just feel like I never do enough. Even when I’m giving it everything, I’ll always find fault in it and criticise myself. I’m quite hard on myself.

‘So I think I was just reflecting that I could have done better, I could have done more, I should have said this. I really internalised that and it made me believe that I hadn’t won. But I was just so shocked when I did.’

Recollecting the fateful phone call in question, Marnie said that ‘it would have been very comical if there was a camera on us in that moment’, describing the conversation that she had with Lord Sugar as one that she’ll ‘never forget’.

‘I’ll never forget that conversation and I will always hold on to it very dearly,’ she added.

Looking back on her win, Marnie said that it still doesn’t ‘feel real’ and it’s very hard to comprehend’ as she continues to absorb the ‘whirlwind’ journey that she’s been on.

She’s currently in contact with Lord Sugar so that they can figure out the next steps of her business, which has been rebranded from the final episode to be called BRONX, found at @bronxldn on Instagram.

Comparing the way in which the business was launched in the finale to the reality of the company, Marnie stated: ‘I’ve always been very certain on my messaging and what I want the gym to stand for and that remains throughout the process and has translated into my gym in real life.’

However, she acknowledged that the ‘execution is very different’, in particular when it comes to what the company has now been called, as well as its logo.

With the boxing gym situated in Camberwell, South London, described on its Instagram profile as ‘championing community’ and ‘creating change’, Marnie revealed that she’s considering organising an Apprentice-style task at BRONX so people can get a taste of what it’s like to be a part of the process.

Let’s see if any more budding boxers out there also have what it takes to show off their business prowess!

The Apprentice is available to watch on BBC iPlayer.

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