10 Minutes With Katie Bulmer-Cooke | Living North

10 Minutes With Katie Bulmer-Cooke

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Katie Bulmer-Cooke
Living North spoke to Sunderland-born Apprentice contestant Katie Bulmer-Cooke about snap judgements and dropping her shopping basket
'I learned so much about myself. I’m stronger than I thought I was, I’ve got skills I didn’t know I had and I wouldn’t change a thing about it'

Why did you apply for The Apprentice?
I really believed in my business plan and thought that with Lord Sugar’s experience and backing, I could make it work up here in Sunderland. Ultimately, the reason I applied was because I wanted to win.

What was the application process like?
It was really tough and it got me massively outside my comfort zone because I’ve never had a proper job interview before. There were lots of interviews and it made me nervous but I quite liked being tested like that, so although it was really tough, it was definitely enjoyable. 

Where were you when you found out you were going to be on the show?
I was in Sainsbury’s with a basket in my hand and I even remember the aisle I was in. I was walking from the shampoo aisle to the pharmacy section and even though I was expecting the call at some point that week to let me know either way, when they said that they wanted me to be on the show, I was so shocked I dropped my basket. 

What was your first impression when you arrived in the house?
I’d been so excited about getting there and getting started with the whole process, but I quickly changed from feeling excited to feeling quite daunted by the whole experience. I wrongly judged quite a lot of people on first impressions or appearance and felt quite intimidated by some of them. It turns out I didn’t need to feel that way at all but at first I was like, ‘What have you done? This is too much!’ I quickly found my stride though and realised that intimidated definitely wasn’t the right way to feel.

Who did you get on with most in the house?
Roisin – by a country mile. We got on so well, shared a room together, had so much in common. She’s really down to earth, just a lovely person and we got on amazingly well.

…And least?
I think someone I wouldn’t be too bothered if I never saw again would be Stephen. You just never knew where you were with him. He used to change his mood and his attitude so quickly. He was like a Jekyll and Hyde character. He was either really nice or a bit aggressive and I like people to be the same all the time so you know where you stand.

How did you find being away from your family?
I’ve got a husband, Simon, and a little girl, Heidi, who’s four. It was incredibly hard being away from them. I’ve got a lot to thank Simon for, giving me the opportunity to go. I’m not sure there are many husbands who’d be that supportive. I left home for seven and a half weeks and he did everything.

Did you see it coming when you got fired?
Yes. Week 10 was my opportunity to shine because it was a food-related task and I knew, because the next stage was the final five, that if we lost, we were in a really weak position because the other team had four people in it, so that left only one place for the final five. I knew that if I hadn’t shone in that task there was a good chance that I’d be going home.

For people who didn’t watch the show, what was your business plan?
It was to open a healthy eating restaurant in Sunderland so that people can eat out without the guilt.

Are you still pursuing it?
I’m going to say… never say never. There have been people who’ve been interested in investing in it, but for me, it’s about finding the right person. At the minute, it’s on hold. If the right investor came along, I would definitely go for it but I’ve got to find the right person.

What are you doing currently?
I’m doing a lot of work, still connected with health and fitness. At the minute, I’m also doing a lot of professional speaking to young entrepreneurs. I’ve just launched my new online fitness programme called 3E which is Everyday Express Exercise and that’s gone down an absolute storm. I’ve also been working with Reebok and Very.co.uk. I’ve created a six-week home workout programme for Very’s customers which is really exciting and I’m doing a lot of consultation work for health and fitness brands. It’s all happening because of the show.

Do you feel like the show was a worthwhile experience?
Definitely. I learned so much about myself. I’m stronger than I thought I was, I’ve got skills I didn’t know I had and I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I wouldn’t change anything I did on it, the way I conducted myself, not a thing.

Do you think the right person won?
100 percent. Without a doubt. I’m so happy for him. He deserves it.

What was your favourite moment on the show?
I’ve got two. The first one was winning as project manager on the candle task in week three. I felt like that really put my stake in the ground and showed other people I was a contender. And in week eight when Mark and I were selling the hot tubs like we were selling cakes.

Head to www.katiebulmer.com to find out more about home workouts and keep a look out for Katie’s new book this spring.

Published in: January 2015

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