The Apprentice's Pamela Laird flies in for the opening of pal's new Northern Ireland beauty clinic
The Apprentice candidate Pamela Laird hopes to follow in the successful footsteps of the 2013 BBC series winner, Londonderry's Dr Leah Totton - and the two savvy businesswomen have more in common than fans of the show have yet to realise.
Although she's a Dubliner, Pamela's father Sylvo Laird hails from the picturesque seafront village of Killough, Co Down.
And her Northern Ireland connections go further, as in her younger days Pamela chose to study beauty therapy in Newry, at the multi-award winning Younique Aesthetics Clinic beauty college on Monaghan Street.
To show her support for Younique, the 29-year-old is flying to Belfast today to attend the launch of the company's new clinic on Chichester Street.
"I learned so much from the Younique team in Newry and the owner, Aine Larkin, has always been so supportive of my career in the beauty industry," said Pamela.
"I'm really looking forward to having a couple of glasses of Champagne at the launch party - Belfast is such a great city. And it will also be a chance to catch up with my cousins in Killough."
Pamela has made it to the halfway point in the current 12-episode series of The Apprentice, leading her team to victory in week three on a task to create a toy for six to eight year-olds.
The owner of an innovative beauty products company, Pamela credits both her parents for her entrepreneurial streak.
Her Northern Irish dad Sylvo Laird - a former stunt man who once worked with Hollywood stars Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor at Ardmore Studios in Wicklow - ran his own high-profile car dealership in Dublin city centre before his retirement.
And her Dubliner mother Yvonne owns and runs the renowned Beauty Parlour salon near the family home in Terenure, in the west of the capital.
"I probably get my head for business and my work ethic from both mum and dad, and they're very proud of me," said Pamela.
"I helped out at the Beauty Parlour from no age and mum's friends let me practise putting hair extensions on them and let me do their nails while I was training as a nail technician.
"It was mum who suggested Younique beauty college in Newry for my formal beauty therapy training, because of their brilliant reputation. They really are the best at what they do in Ireland."
Meanwhile, Pamela's friend Aine Larkin, a highly qualified former nurse, has seen Younique go from strength to strength, culminating in the company's win at the prestigious 2018 Aesthetic Awards for Best Aesthetic Clinic in Ireland. Aine and her colleagues have also developed their own-brand affordable skincare range this year.
"Pamela was one of our star pupils at Younique beauty college - I'm not surprised to see her doing so well in business," said Aine.
"It has always been my dream to open a clinic in Belfast."