Belfast Telegraph

Riley fired after Big Apple flop

Apprentice candidate Lauren Riley's American dream turned into a nightmare in tonight's episode when she was fired following a trip to New York.

The 28-year-old solicitor lost her place in the competition following a task to design and advertise a soft drink for the US market, in which three members of each team travelled to the Big Apple to pitch their product while the others stayed at home to develop it.

Lauren's team - headed by show colleague Mark Wright - lost with a lacklustre pitch and poor label design for Aqua Fusion while their rivals triumphed with their drink Big Dawg.

Lauren, who was criticised for giving a dull pitch to a room of US marketing executives, claimed she had been unfairly portrayed by the way the programme was edited.

After seeing the episode, she said: "It was hard to watch, but not because of the pitch, but because of what they showed.

"People might have thought the whole thing was a little dull but I had two members of that panel come up to me on the streets of New York and congratulate me on an excellent pitch.

"To see the episode focus on a couple of seconds of poor presentation but ignore 20 minutes that were great, that is really hard to take."

Lauren added that she felt Lord Sugar, who complained that she and fellow lawyer Felipe Alviar-Baquero had offered no excitement to the sales pitch, may have been swayed to point the finger at her because she was a lawyer.

She explained: "Lord Sugar did take every opportunity to highlight that I was a lawyer and I think it's well-documented that he doesn't like them.

"The week that I was fired, it was public knowledge that he sued his own lawyers, which didn't bode very well for me.

"We'll never know the real reason that he fired me but it would be disappointing if it was just because I was a lawyer, because he knew that before I entered the process."

She went into boardroom battle against project manager Mark and Daniel Lassman, who had been left behind to work on the UK side of the task and said the divide in the team had been difficult.

"Dan was clearly so bitter and aggressive about the fact he hadn't been chosen to go to New York, any opportunity he had to have a go at the people who went, he was going to take... I was caught in the crossfire between Dan's disappointment and Mark's decision not to take him to New York," she said.

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