Leah Totton has admitted she "cried, finished crying, then cried some more" after being named this year's winner of The Apprentice, with Lord Sugar choosing her over her rival Luisa Zissman to be his business partner in a deal worth £250,000.
It was Leah Totton (right), not Luisa Zissman, who finally got the nod from Lord Sugar after an emotional final
Lord Sugar, weighing up the two between Luisa's safer bakery brand and Leah's potentially lucrative clinics, said, "The devil in me has got to take the risk. Leah, you're going to be my business partner."
"I'd convinced myself I wasn't going to win," Leah tells HuffPostUK, after her pitch for non-surgical cosmetic treatments was accepted. "I'd even planned what I was going to say to Lord Sugar, and to Luisa, if I lost."
As it turned out, it was Luisa who had to perfect her loser's smile after coming second with her online bakery brand. There were tears from her, too, after she felt her final pitch went terribly, in front of a room full of businessmen and entrepeneurs. "I was so nervous," she sobbed, while former rivals Neil Clough and Natalie Panayi tried to console her.
When it started going wrong for Luisa... but Natalie manages to say the right things
Leah on the other hand remained as cool as a cucumber, throughout, fitting for the cold persona she has been tagged with throughout the series. But Leah tells HuffPostUK now this isn't the case...
"I’m very shy, subdued, I wasn’t as confident as the other candidates with more business experience," she explains now. "So it took me a while to find my feet, and sometimes my professionalism and subdued nature might come across as slightly frosty.
"At the end of the day, I have a medical background so I invariably take a clinical approach. I’m much warmer on a personal level.
And in a hint of future steeliness, Leah is firm, adding, "I wasn’t in the process to become a clown or a TV star, I’m serious and I wanted to secure the investment."
"Luisa is the person I would have been happiest losing to," says Leah now. "We have grown close, and she was gracious and lovely. I have no concerns about her in her business life, she's going to do well."
One of Lord Sugar's concerns about investing in Leah's non-surgical clinics was the ethical risk of exploiting young women, unsure of their looks, something she defended stoutly during the interview episode.
Leah knew exactly what she wanted from her business pitch, even if she did have to change the name halfway through
She says today, "I don’t want to encourage young women to go and have those procedures. I’m 25. I know the pressure to look a certain way. I don’t want that for them.
"But the need is there, so I'd rather they came to me in a safe clinical environment, than go to someone not trained or qualified. I’m passionate about that."
And are these treatments she'd have herself?
"Not at my age, I’m turning 25. They’re anti-ageing treatments. I’m sure there’ll be people on the internet who have their opinions about my looks, but I don’t feel I need them."
So says a confident young woman with a cheque for £250,000 in her back pocket.
It's been a cracking series, with everyone from Welsh Alex, he of the eyebrows, to jaunty Jason sent to light up our Wednesday nights. In tribute to this lot, then, for the final time, here are 2013's Apprentice candidates... and their cat lookalikes! Well, why not?