Londonderry's Leah Totton crowned Apprentice winner
- 17 July 2013
- From the section Northern Ireland
Londonderry doctor Leah Totton is Lord Sugar's new business partner after winning BBC One show The Apprentice.
She got a £250,000 investment for her cosmetic procedures business after Lord Sugar told her "you're hired" in Wednesday's final.
She said she did not expect Lord Sugar to become a client any time soon: "I think his face is fine as it is."
The 25-year-old triumphed over Luisa Zissman, who had pitched an online wholesale baking supplies business.
Dr Totton plans to offer anti-ageing skin treatments, including chemical peels and dermal fillers, at a chain of clinics where she hopes to raise the standards of the beauty industry with her medical credentials.
The former Foyle and Londonderry College pupil, who works in a London hospital, managed to assuage Lord Sugar's earlier worries about the ethics of her business NIKS Medical.
But the brand name has changed to Dr Leah at Lord Sugar's request, and Dr Totton is continuing with a masters degree as well as planning to keep her hand in with clinical work as a locum.
She said: "To have Lord Sugar show his faith in me is absolutely unbelievable. It's amazing.
"I had much less experience than the other candidates in business coming into the process and I really can't believe that I've got this far and that I've actually won it."
Afterwards, Lord Sugar described Dr Totton as a "very determined young lady".
"She was the most interesting candidate and had the most interesting business proposition," he said.
The finalists in the ninth series of the show brought back previous candidates to help them in branding and marketing their business plans before presenting them to a room of industry experts.
But series tough cookie Ms Zissman broke down in tears after feeling she had bungled part of her pitch for her business, Baker's Toolkit.
Dr Totton was seen bossing her team around much more than usual in the final task.
She said: "When I watch with my colleagues they won't believe it's me. My family couldn't believe it either but I'm hoping I keep that assertiveness. (Luisa) took some of the softer side of me and I took some of her bossiness."
Despite worries about her entering the tough process, the doctor said her family were "delighted" at her win.
"I'm the first person in my family to have even gone to university so it's such a massive achievement for the whole family," she said.
Many of Dr Totton's family and friends gathered in Londonderry to watch the final.
Her dad, Trevor, described his daughter's win as fantastic and said he was "very emotional".
"That would have been about the happiest and proudest moment of my life," he said.
"She is a very quick learner and enthusiastic. She'll be very successful."
Lorraine Totton said her daughter had been very composed.
"That was fantastic. To relive that again with family and friends was brilliant," she said.
"I thought she was very composed and she spoke very well.
"She really did find it tough but Leah can be very focussed and won't let anything beat her."