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The Apprentice – The Contestants Revealed

When I wrote a previous blog about The Apprentice being an attractive option for the unemployed I had only been joking.

But apparently my prophecy is true there are quite a few unemployed people on the show. I wonder if being/applying for a reality TV show meets the Newstart allowance job search criteria?

Anyway your saying who are the contestants – well thanks to TV Week we now know:
Amy Cat0 25 – The Wannabe PM

Ambitious Amy Cato has always had lofty aspirations. “At 15 I told John Howard I would be the next prime minister!” she tells TV Week. “It made national ABC news.” And while she’s not in office yet, Amy did start her own recruitment company at just 24, managing to keep the business afloat despite losing her backer in the financial crisis.

“I believe fortune favours the brave,” she says.

Andrew Morello 23- I was bedridden

The fast-talking realtor is a real livewire but Andrew Morello wasn’t always so energetic. Four years ago he was struck down with chronic fatigue syndrome following a bout of glandular fever. “There were mornings [when] I couldn’t move,” he reveals. “It was a physical and emotional battle that I thought wouldn’t end.”

Lynton Pipkorn – 30 – Aussie Battler

Being made redundant was far from the end of the world for Lynton Pipkorn who recently set up an online social networking site for property buyers. While the venture is the proudest achievement, he’s equally passionate about his girlfriend of four years, Simone, who he describes as “gorgeous, my best friend and the love of my life.”

Carmen Parnos – 44 – I Went Bankrupt

“There’s not a lot I can’t handle,” declares tenacious single mother of two Carmen Parnos – and she means it. Although she’s run her own businesses for tow decades and has even penned a book on leadership, Carmen went bankrupt last November. 

“I lost our home, I lost everything,” she reveals. “For the first time, I just didn’t know where I fitted into the world.” But the resilient, divorced blonde is confident that she’ll always be fiercely independent – both in the business arena and in her personal life. “I’m not dating, ” she tells TV Week. “Not interested.”

Mary-Anne Lowe – 30 – I’ve lost 30 kg

Mary-Anne Lowe could have given contestants on a different reality show a run for their money after losing more than 30 kg recently following gastric band surgery. But for this business woman who runs a wedding reception centre, The Apprentice,  was written in the stars.”I should have been in the US when the auditions were on but I ended up in hospital and saw [an ad],” she reveals. “Destiny bought me here.”

John Van Yzerloo – 44 – My year of hell

Life hasn’t been very kind to the father-of-three over the last 18 months – he lost his mother, his wife left him, and he was made redundant. But don’t expect any self- pity from the 44 year old engineer. John said he is ready to start “a new phase” and “not wallow in pity”. The family man also believes the toughest part of the challenge will be “coping with missing my kids.”

Heather Williams – 31 – I Almost Died

Don’t let this married mum of one’s bubbly demeanour fool you – she’s overcome some serious hardships in her life. When Heather Willams was 11, she battled a rare illness called Stevens-Johnson syndrome that saw her spend a month in hospital “clinging to life.”

“My family was told to say their goodbyes,” the 31 year old ad sales manager remembers. “Amazingly, that same night my fever finally broke.”

Sabrina Houssami – 23 – Beauty & Brains

It’s no surprise that this stunning Lebanese – Indian model was crowned Miss World Australia three years ago and has since been named Miss Asia Pacific. Proving she’s smart to boot she is also a member of Mensa and says her biggest challenge is “convincing every new person I meet that I’m not the stereotypical beauty queen.”

Angela “Jane” Barclay – 54- Older and Wiser?

She may be the oldest of the pack but she insists she’s far from over the hill. Having been made redundant after 35 years in the travel industry, Jane – as she prefers t be called – says: I believe I have an enormous amount to contribute and a lot to learn from the Gen-Y and Gen-X competitors.”

But don’t go thinking her advanced years means she’ll suffer fools – Jane reveals her biggest challenge will be “getting along with contestants who have little to offer.”

Gavin McInnes – 33 – The Alpha Male

He may not be big on emotion “I don’t get sad,” he tells TV Week – but this fiercely ambitious lawyer certainly isn’t lacking in the ego department. Gavin has said he’s achieved “every one of my respective goals in life” and  boldly claims he can “talk the talk and walk the walk.” While his chiseled features have also seen him land a couple of TV ads, Gavin readily admits that riches mean more to him than fame. “Money is as important as breathing,” he says.

Sam Hooper – 19 – Dealing with OCD

The youngest competitor the law student is the first to admit that he has “the most to learn”, but he see this as a positive in the competition. “I feel that I can be moulded into the perfect Apprentice,” he insists. One obstacle that may prove too much for him, however is dealing with his obsessive- compulsive disorder while living with 11 other people. “I’m very particular about neatness,” Sam admits.

Blake Chandler – 28 – Family First

While he admits he’s highly driven to succeed the father of two is constantly strives for a healthy work-life balance and follows a wellbeing checklist to make sure he devotes enough time to his family.

“Shifting my priorities from focusing on myself to focusing on my children has been life-changing,” he reveals. And don’t be surprised if we see the customer service manager’s “beautiful, talented” wife pop up on a reality show of her own in the future – Blake says his other half “cooks like a master chef!”

Well the casting looks good, I must admit I am really looking forward to this show. It starts this Monday night on Channel Nine at 9.30pm.


1 Karen { 09.23.09 at 12:21 am }

Oh great, sounds like it’s going to all tears and sob stories a la “So You Think You Can Cry/Biggest Loser/Idol/Masterchef”.

Fingers cross it’s going to be straight-shooting like the original Trump version but since it’s Australia I’m predicting tears and sooky-la-las.

2 CG { 09.23.09 at 1:34 am }

I don’t see much “real” business experience in the whole lot. Is there even one MBA, anyone who speaks a foreign language, anyone who has worked outside of Aus? Me thinks Ch9 is trying to copy the Ch10 MC formula and produce a line up of “battlers” and everyday people that will relate to the broadest audience possible including a beauty, a fatty, a single mom, a single dad, etc. etc..

The problem is the Apprentice as a concept doesn’t lend itself to such a broad casting (IMHO). I think the Apprentice UK has produced the brightest contestants by far. This Aussie lineup may be entertaining – in other words lots of drama and New Idea stories – but are they really the best potential business leaders in the country (willing to appear on TV). I suppose it is kinda like the dilemma facing government/political parties where the best candidates won’t run because of the media scrutiny on their families where they can’t have skeletons in the closet, etc. Presumably the “best and brightest” potential business leaders in Aus are in jobs that they can’t take a break from and/or wouldn’t put their careers at risk by appearing on reality TV.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m looking forward to the show but I have a feeling it will either be a big hit or a big stinker and “hit” may be defined as being a big drama. YMMV.

3 Reality Raver { 09.23.09 at 11:30 am }

CG – I think you are right. The lawyer is the only one who appears to have tertiary education quals there could be a few others. Sabrina who says she is a member for mensa does not appear to be at uni but I could be wrong.

I have got a feeling it is going to be a hit. Fingers crossed.

4 MissEm { 09.23.09 at 3:06 pm }

I loved the US version so if it’s half as good as that I’ll be happy. We’ll have to wait and see..

5 Missy { 09.23.09 at 3:48 pm }

The line up looks interesting, half look like morons, but I read online that the wedding planner mary has lots of other business interests so I think it depends on how they are pitched to the public. Should be worth a laugh, but I agree I think they are trying for a soft “nice version when we watch for the bitching and backstabbing. The lawyer does seem to have the qual for this role, but the beauty queen? come on, she might be a member of mensa but she has not even done a degree.. and dont get me started on the blonde bimbo I keep seeing on the ads! If nothing else it should be up for a comedy or bad drama award…

6 Laura { 09.24.09 at 12:16 am }

I agree with CG.

7 Chris { 09.24.09 at 10:34 am }

The UK version was very good, with Sir Alan Sugar as the boss exceptional. I don’t know if Mark Bouris can live up to that. I know of three contestants, Gavan, Sam and Lynton, who I understand each have a number of Law and Commerce degrees and have worked in the corporate world, but I think the rest do not.

8 Reality Raver { 09.24.09 at 1:45 pm }

Missy – I think there will be so many type A personalities in that house that there will have to be fireworks at some stage. Well fingerscrossed.

9 Reality Raver { 09.24.09 at 1:47 pm }

Chris – Also a uni degree may not be an advantage in this show.

10 sourkraut { 09.26.09 at 12:57 pm }

R R Your last post. spot on ( even though I am a proud owner of a Uni degree and no i did not find it in a Wheeties packet, It was actually a mail order from the back page of a Phantom comic)
Anyhoo they ALL sound like clutterf#%ks

11 Sooty { 09.27.09 at 10:44 am }

Good Lord, snob-by! One of the fellows on the tv promos is an engineer.

Richard Branson, Sir Alan Sugar, Donald Trump – not as far as I am aware noted for their ‘uni degrees’.

I gather those making such comments have said lofty degrees – but are commenting on this reality tv blog. Hmm. Must be masters of industry with odd hobbies/much spare time…retired?

12 sourkraut { 09.27.09 at 2:14 pm }

I think you misunderstood me. I was actually trying to say that a uni degree would NOT be an advantage on the show, as SOME of the people with uni degrees could be considered to be educated idiots (just look at many of our uni degree politicians on both sides for proof of that). In fact I was actually parodying the fact that i have a uni degree, BIG DEAL. I have never intimated that this gives me ANY advantage over anyone.
However, i still think having watched the US original few series, and the names of the contestants on this Oz version that the contestants on this type of show are largely clutterf&*ks

13 Sooty { 09.27.09 at 10:24 pm }

sour k – wasn’t referring to your cheeky post!

14 sooth { 09.28.09 at 10:51 pm }

Hmm. Houssami is one of the best looking women I’ve ever seen, but Mensa? I wouldn’t be surprised if there’s some string-pulling going on there. I know one person who’s a top chess player, computer programmer, artist, and talented scientist, he missed out on Mensa by a couple of points! Mind you he did have some anti-government views so…………

15 sourkraut { 09.29.09 at 12:03 am }

I woz right………… They ARE all clutterf*@ks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Marvellous schadenfreude tonite. More later

16 Pierre { 09.29.09 at 1:47 pm }

Lynton is soooo sexy. i love his pout. What an alpha male. Sex on a stick he is

17 Miss Apprentice { 09.29.09 at 2:17 pm }

With Jane already gone, none of the remaining women contenders will be any good.

My guess is they will keep Carmen going for a while, only for entertainment and/or aggravation value, not because she would ever be considered a serious contender unless Mark Bouris has lost his mind.

He may want to keep “Hello I Am Miss World” going for a while too, as sex sells and keeps ratings going, so that’s why she is in the mix, but the more serious and relevant contenders must be amongst the men.

Having said that do any of the winners of previous shows overseas actually start with these Companies or is it all smoke and mirrors ??

18 MissEm { 09.29.09 at 3:39 pm }

I agree Carmen makes good tv! As far as I know the winner absolutely gets a gig with the’d want to get something after jumping through so many hoops! I can’t wait for next week!

19 sourkraut { 09.29.09 at 9:35 pm }

Miss A
“more serious and relevent contenders?” you gotta be yankin my chain! They’re all media whores. You watch, I bet they disintegrate into total dropkicks, each and every one, and by the end i doubt if any of them will have a shred of decency left. Yes I am a SOUR old B, but I’ve seen it all B4. Hope I’m wrong though.
Miss A
I watched I think it was series one (or two) of the Yank trump shows and the winner turned up later on the show as one of the Don’s lickspittles in the judging panel along with sourpuss (no relation), so presumably he at least did get a job with the Magnificent Wig

20 johnny rotten { 10.01.09 at 7:09 pm }

Carmen Parnos, Phew !!! What a piece of work she is. That women owes money all over Australia, and they are portraying her as some kind of ethical business women. Word has it she owes publishers of her book money and won’t even pay her medical bill for her children. Yep.. Shes a piece of work that one.

21 Reality Raver { 10.02.09 at 2:16 pm }

johnny rotten – methinks you have your tongue firmly placed in cheek.

22 Hmmm { 10.03.09 at 7:48 pm }

So Blake may not be un-employed…but he does work for Centrelink! lol

23 johnny rotten { 10.05.09 at 8:44 am }

Reality Raver – believe me this women knew she was going bankrupt but continued to run up huge amounts of debt. And here she is on TV playing the victim with a tear in her eye telling us how she lost everything. That women has the business ethics of a Christopher Skase. Yep, she’s a piece of work that one.

24 The Apprentice – Episode 2 – The Cereal Challenge | reality ravings { 10.05.09 at 11:09 pm }

[…] that Carmen Parnos is the bad guy in the show, with some commenter’s on a previous post here talking about her dubious business practices. However she was not given much air time this […]

25 Ramesh Chandra { 10.22.09 at 2:40 pm }

If I was Mark Bouris, I would already have had the winner in my mind, but would let the show ride on, which he is doing. My bet is it is Andrew Morello unless he does something drastically wrong.

26 Maeve { 10.29.09 at 10:57 am }

I agree Morello is looking good. However there are still a few other contenders that I think may be in with a chance. I felt sorry for John this week and I just watched his leaving interview on ninemsn and it’s worth a watch.

27 Reality Raver { 10.29.09 at 8:17 pm }

Maeve – not sure about JOhn he came across as undynamic as he did on the show.

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