Going on The Apprentice and fighting it out in the boardroom to be Lord Sugar’s next business partner was never Jackie Fast’s dream.
In fact, she only applied out of boredom after making herself take a year off from her multiple successful businesses to focus on herself and try new things.
While she loved the idea of tacking the challenges the show throws at its determined and competitive candidates, she was worried it could be “career suicide”.
Speaking to Mirror Online, the Canadian entrepreneur said: “If it wasn’t on TV I would have done it years ago.
“I would do it again, but it was never my dream. I was all about the experience, I don’t take myself so seriously.
“To be able to do ten different jobs over a couple of months is a really unique experience.
“I’m really passionate about being a really successful business person and I think this experience is a unique opportunity to try my hand at different skills.”
Despite loving the process of the hit BBC show, Jackie says she couldn’t stand living in the London mansion with all the other candidates.
She said: “I hated living in the house.
“I’m 35, I don’t want to sharing a bedroom. I haven’t lived with three people in one room ever.
“It’s just personal space. It’s like living in a locker room.
“Everyone wants to look their best because it’s on TV but there are three mirrors, so there are logistics issues.
“You’re all running around and there is no time. And there are camera crews. It’s mayhem.”
But Jackie is clear to point out her hatred of living in the house had nothing to do with her fellow candidates, who she says were “lovely”.
“Everyone was so nice, we still have a WhatsApp group and talk all the time. We had a really good time but it was just challenging.”
Jackie has a number of successful businesses, including the first UK company to sell ice wine, but she still found parts of the show challenging.
She said: “I had to really fight for my voice to be heard and my opinion to matter.
“In my normal world people know who I am and they care about what I have to say. But here nobody knew me from Adam. It was humbling.
“It was interesting having to build trust with people who I had no history with. It was definitely something I took from it.
“I don’t think my initial approach was the best. I was a bit naive to understanding how badly people wanted this.
“I just wanted the experience, I was so excited to do the tasks, but for some of those people this was a huge opportunity for them.
“I would approach it differently now, I would be a bit more sensitive.”
And things weren’t any quieter when filming was finished and the show was on TV.
“It was crazy. I would have 1,500 DMs on a Thursday morning.
“I was one of the older candidates. They were on it, responding to everybody but I was like this is just not feasible.
“It was really overwhelming but it was great.”
But her pathway to being on the show was slightly unusual.
With a number of successful but demanding businesses to her name Jackie, who also gives motivational talks encouraging people to be more ballsy in their careers, decided to give herself a year off to focus on herself.
“I hadn’t even had time to go to the dentist. I just thought, this is going to be my year.
“I just wanted to do everything. I went to Burning Man, I got married, I took up dog walking.”
While she loved her year off, she found herself bored at home a lot of the time which is how she ended up filling out The Apprentice application form.
“To go from working as hard as I had been doing to nothing was a big challenge for me.
“As part of doing nothing and being super bored, I watched the last series of The Apprentice and I said I should just apply.
“I thought, I wonder what the application is like. When I got asked to the audition, it was an opportunity to fill time with something.
“When I got on I was like ‘holy s***’.
“I was really hesitant when I got on, I already had a pretty successful career. I thought it might be career suicide.”
But now back in her normal world, Jackie is back with a bang with her new ice wine brand REBEL PI.
The wine is only produced in Canada, and it’s a long and complicated process which makes it a very special product.
The grapes stay frozen until they are crushed, with just one drop of liquid in each grape. A normal wine gets about 10 drops from each grape.
Jackie said: “It is fabulous.
“Drinking one glass of ice wine is like tasting 10 glasses of white. It’s all about the flavour.
“I’ve grown up with ice wine, it’s very common to have it at Christmas as a treat, much like Brits have sherry or port.”
However she realised it wasn’t enjoyed around the world when she left her native Canada and spent 16 years working in different countries for work.
So now she wants to introduce Brits to the product she loves so much, and her passion for the wine is obvious when chatting to her.
She said: “It’s very rare to experience a ‘first’ or really have something you’ve never done before.
“To be able to bring not only the story, but to find it’s giving somebody something they’ve never had before and they’re going to really enjoy. To do that in the food and drink business is unheard of.
“That’s why I’m so excited about it. I love it and I’m so proud of it.
Jackie’s last business was selling sponsorship packages, with an impressive customer list including Richard Branson and the Rolling Stones, but she wanted her next venture to be a physical project.
“My background isn’t in creative products. I didn’t really appreciate how much of a slog it was.
“It was definitely a learning curve.”
Later this year she will launching the second product in the range, an ice wine spritzer which will be sold in a can.