Teacher 'fired' on The Apprentice reveals all
"I'm half machine," said Jaz Ampaw-Farr - teacher, self-styled "phonics ninja" and mother of three - at the beginning of the UK television show The Apprentice. "I can process things at a speed which is out of this world."
It was typical Apprentice bluster but Ms Ampaw-Farr (pictured below) is far from being the show's typical recruit. She is 42, wears no make-up, smiles rather than scowls and said things like "Oh maaaaan" to Lord Sugar, the technology magnate whom the contestants are vying to impress.
Ms Ampaw-Farr became the first to be fired as the series returned to British screens this week. Her downfall lay in trying to sell Chinese lucky cats to the Chinese. ("Like coals to Newcastle," Lord Sugar muttered.) Meanwhile, the boys' team offloaded their lucky cats on a casino.
But Ms Ampaw-Farr, who runs Which Phonics?, an education training business, was relentlessly upbeat about the entire experience ... well, almost the entire experience.
"The boardroom is absolutely terrifying. It is just like being in assembly in school when you're the naughty (12-year-old) boy and the headteacher has just seen what you've done," she told TES. "Lord Sugar is not evil but he does have this air about him. It is just a terrifying experience."
The task that Ms Ampaw-Farr volunteered to project manage began at midnight when the teams were sent to Tilbury docks, just outside London, to collect a container-load of goods, including the lucky cats, cat litter, toilet roll, jackets, Union Jack mugs, bottles of water and bubble wrap. It all had to be sold by 4pm. It wasn't. Despite Ms Ampaw-Farr's exhortations to celebrate each sale with their best lucky cat waves in the back of the taxi, the girls' team lost by #163;58.
Then there were the bits we didn't see. "I was up the entire night the night before, writing letters to my kids, a letter for each one, for every night I might be away," Ms Ampaw-Farr recalled. "So it was gruelling but the show is done with such integrity. It is how you see it: everyone was excited but there was this underlying exhaustion. I wore the same pants for 32 hours - that's dedication."
She is now back in Milton Keynes and is still working on the business plan she had hoped that Lord Sugar would help to fund. Surely her children - Trinity, 9, Jacob, 7, and Leonardo, 15 months - must be delighted to have her back?
"I asked Jacob who he wanted to win. 'Tim,' he said. Not his own mother," Ms Ampaw-Farr said.
"But my daughter thinks it's amazing, incredible. 'At last,' she told me, 'I'll have something for show-and-tell.'"