You mentored Nathan John-Baptiste. How did you come across him and will you be mentoring other youngsters?
Well, I mentored two boys, Nathan and Kovalan. Nathan seemed to get the most publicity, as the story of his “tuck shop empire” was probably more appealing to the press. Kovalan’s business was IT-related - and he’s a brilliant kid too.
One of the reasons I went in to The Apprentice was to prove certain things to myself but I also wanted to use it as a platform to help others. I read about both boys and wanted to become a mentor. I am also going to be teaching business at the local college in September.
Despite being a self-proclaimed man’s mans and heterosexual, you’re looking to help young LGBTQ people who struggle in life. How has your empathy come about?
A realisation about how guilty I had been of using derogative sayings for gay people, even though I have gay family members. The awaking was when my uncle came out as gay at the age of 53.
I was mortified when I thought about how he’d had to stand in the pub with me and others as we went on about “shirt-lifters” and the like. He was not able to be himself and it must have been really painful to witness the prejudice of others. I have never regarded myself as anti-gay but I have joined in the banter and that is wrong.
As a human being I want to help stamp this out, not just for young people but anyone struggling to feel part of the mainstream in the face of the ignorance of others. I am well aware that many young LGBTQ people are still not accepted by their families and it can affect their further education. I’ll be setting a mentor scheme up for that too.
Your own childhood had some chequered parts that could have led you down the wrong path - how did you avoid this?
By luck, to be honest. I was in a prison cell and could have been given an eight-year sentence. The person pressing the charges never turned up and the case was dismissed but I had a long think about what I had done.
I am not making any excuses, but I was badly bullied as a kid and through my teenage years and my reaction was to hit back. It was the only way I knew how to deal with the aggression towards me. Since then I have managed it through therapy and self-reflection. I am not that person today.
Are you still in touch with the any of The Apprentice contestants?
I never went in to make pals but I still talk to a few - J.D and Samuel Boateng. I have loads of friends though and you can’t spread yourself too thin.
Would you like to do more television - for instance, can you hear the jungle calling?
I never went in to the show to become a reality star but I would be mad not to take up new experiences. I would still like to do some other shows, political debate and the likes. Part of me would love to do the jungle - it would give everyone a great laugh because, despite how I look, I am scared of everything, even flies!