Alana Spencer’s world was rocked after winning 2016’s The Apprentice and joining forces with Lord Sugar. However, that didn’t mean life was perfect
After 12 gruelling weeks I came out on top – winner of The Apprentice 2016 and in a 50/50 business partnership with Lord Alan Sugar. You might expect at that moment my life instantly changed for the better, became more exciting and that my business rocketed to the next level. Well, you would be half right. The opportunities that came have been life-changing but there’s another side to winning The Apprentice which people don’t see.
I was just a two-man band after winning. And when the final episode aired, orders for Ridiculously Rich cakes went through the roof crazy fast – and I mean crazy. I’m not scared of a little hard graft but that was something else. We would be up at five every morning packing or baking and wouldn’t stop until midnight with innumerable boxes of cakes going out the door. It was fantastic but it meant I had no time to think, process what just happened or do anything other than bake, pack, sleep and repeat.
When Christmas came around, I finally had time to ponder about everything that changed and what was to come. Of course I was excited but it also brought a great amount of sadness. Weeks of being away from the world during The Apprentice with just challenges and tasks to focus on had been my everything – you become almost conditioned to life inside the series. It controlled me, kept me in limbo and occupied my entire mind and suddenly, it was over. No more Wednesdays viewing my journey when the show aired, no more competing. Done. Finished. Over. Now, the only person I was competing against was myself and I had to prove to everyone I was worthy.
It’s funny – I spent the whole time on the show feeling like everyone wanted me to succeed. But when it’s over, all everyone wants to ask is “Are you doing well then? Have you gone far?” In fact, the pressure of people watching you after the series is at times unbearable. I often wonder if stopping and enjoying the moment is hard for all the winners of shows like The Apprentice or if I’m an anomaly. Now I’m surrounded by other winners – people who are three, four and five years ahead of me – it’s impossible to not compare myself to where they are. It makes me wonder whether there should be more preparation for such a life-changing experience, one that leaves you confused, excited, nervous and completely unprepared for the whirlwind you’re about to face.
Having said this, it’s certainly not all negative. After all, people would kill to be in my position and I can’t deny the exposure I gained from The Apprentice has worked wonders for my business. Nonetheless, it’s good to make people aware of the pressures business people born from TV shows can feel. After all, once viewers have watched you fight for your position for weeks on the telly, the feeling never quite goes away.