The Apprentice fired candidate Marianne Rawlins interview: ‘I didn’t have a connection with Lord Sugar’

The latest Apprentice candidate to be fired by Lord Sugar has been revealed – and she’s not surprised by his decision in the slightest.

For the show’s ninth challenge, the candidates were tasked with signing up and represent a new music artist.

Things didn’t end too well for 36-year-old risk management consultancy owner Marianne Rawlins, though, who was sent home in a shock double firing alongside Thomas Skinner.

Following her elimination, we spoke with the American candidate about what it was like working alongside bigger personalities and why she expected to be fired at this stage of the process.

Why did Lord Sugar fire you?

I think Lord Sugar made a decision based on our connection. I don’t think we had much of one and I don’t think he could relate to me. That relatability is key if you’re going to enter this partnership with somebody.

Did you expect him to point his finger your way at the end there?

I did. One hundred per cent.

Your Apprentice journey was very linked with Thomas’s. You both seemed to have yours ups and downs, but what was the dynamic like for you?

I love Thomas. I really do. He lights up any room he’s in. There would be some mornings where I would be exhausted and just dragging my way through, and the moment Thomas came into the equation, it was like taking an energy shot. It was an absolute pleasure to work with him; it’s just an absolute nightmare to manage him.

I was surprised to see you elect to work alongside him again in this task having struggled with his “bulldozing” in previous weeks.

I was so determined going into this to really put my foot down, and I did. What wasn’t shown is that I sat down with Thomas as sub-team leader before we met with the artist and, without any uncertainty whatsoever, I didn’t agree with where he wanted to start the negotiations. What I said to mitigate that was, “Look, Thomas, you need to prove that you can not bulldoze and this is your opportunity to do so. I am going to be responsible for initially establishing that rapport with the artist and then we won’t start negotiating until I set the starting point – then you can jump in.” They cut that whole thing out – and then he just didn’t listen [laughs].  

This series has had a mix of professional and let’s say more controversial candidates. Could you sense that divide?

You could definitely spot some that had more of a… TV interest. I could feel that, yeah.

Did working alongside the bigger personalities obstruct productivity?

I think it’s difficult to get work done and film a TV show at the same time. So, yes, there were elements of people trying to be heard and trying to make their mark, and that oftentimes got in the way of trying to get the job done.

How did you find trying to remain professional in a television environment?

It was just once in a lifetime. The whole thing was surreal. That’s the best way I can describe it. 

Do you have any regrets?

I’d say no, because I think at the end of the day, the reason I was let go had more to do with my connection and relatability to Lord Sugar than my performance on any task. So, yes, I could have made some decisions that were better, I could have put myself forward in different scenarios and not put myself forward in others. There were a number of things I could have done better, but I still wouldn’t have won.

Is there anyone there you think should have gone long ago?


When I asked Thomas, he said Dean.

What people don’t realise about Dean is he’s also young. He’s only 20, and is actually one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met. He is the salt of the earth. I really like that guy. 

Who do you predict will win?

I would say I hope it’s Scarlett. I was closest to her in the house. She and I got along really well. We just speak the same language – with different accents.

You two seemed to try and stay out of the drama.

We definitely did try to stay out of it. I didn’t usually know what was going on in the house, because I was too busy reading a book and Scarlett was reading hers, too.  

What prompted you to apply in the first place?

I’ve run a successful business for the past four years. It’s turnover has multiplied many times year over year and I am at that stage now where I’m ready to scale and bring it to the next level. I wasn’t necessarily thrilled about giving 50 per cent away in exchange for £250,00, because I felt that was undervaluing my business, but in exchange for somebody with the calibre of Lord Sugar and the platform it would have provided, it was fair. So I’m disappointed not to get it, but I’m still cautiously optimistic there’s an investor out there that is interested in a consulting firm like mine.

What’s next for you?

I’m going to try as hard as I possibly can to find an investment in the UK and, failing that, I will move back to California.  

The Apprentice continues every Wednesday at 9pm on BBC One

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