Belfast Telegraph

Thursday 24 July 2014

Derry doctor Leah Totton wins The Apprentice

Leah Totton is unveiled as the winner of The Apprentice, in London. Ian West/PA Wire
Leah Totton is unveiled as the winner of The Apprentice, in London. Ian West/PA Wire

Leah Totton from Londonderry got a cash injection for her cosmetic procedures business when she heard the words "you're hired" from The Apprentice's Lord Sugar.

The Northern Irish doctor, who works in London, was named winner of the ninth series of the BBC1 show and bagged £250,000 to plump up her business finances.

Totton triumphed over cake shop boss and pal Luisa Zissman to secure Lord Sugar as her new business partner.

Despite Sugar's earlier worries about the ethics of her business NIKS Medical, Totton managed to reduce his frown lines by ironing out the wrinkles in how her plan would work.

The finalists brought back previous candidates to help them in branding and marketing their business plans before presenting them to a room of industry experts.

But series tough cookie Zissman broke down in tears after feeling she'd bungled part of her pitch and her baking supplies online wholesale business, Baker's Toolkit, failed to rise to success in the boardroom.

Sugar's new business partner Totton was seen bossing her team around much more than usual in the final task.

She said: "When I watch with my colleagues tonight they won't believe it's me. My family couldn't believe it either but I'm hoping I keep that assertiveness. (Luisa) took some of the softer side of me and I took some of her bossiness."

Totton, 25, plans to offer anti-ageing skin treatments including chemical peels and dermal fillers at a chain of clinics where she hopes to raise the standards of the beauty industry with her medical credentials.

The brand name has changed to Dr Leah at Lord Sugar's request and Totton is continuing with a masters degree as well as planning to keep her hand in clinical work as a locum.

She said she did not expect her new business partner to become a client any time soon: "I think Lord Sugar's face is fine as it is."

The winner also remained tight lipped about whether her fellow contestants had booked in for treatments, saying: "That's confidential, I can't tell you what enquiries I've had."

Despite worries about her entering the tough process, the doctor said her family were "delighted" at her win: "I'm the first person in my family to have even gone to university so it's such a massive achievement for the whole family."

Totton said of her plans to celebrate: "I'm not really a big partier. My colleagues are coming round tonight, I'm going to cook and we'll watch the show together. I'm going to go back to Ireland and be around my family."

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