EXCLUSIVE: interview with The Apprentice's Anisa Topan
Fancy your self as Lord Sugar's next apprentice? See yourself being the CEO of your own company? Not quite sure how to make that happen?
Well luckily for you, we've done all the hard work for you.
We speak to the fierce Anisa Topan (Yes, from The Apprentice 2017) on how to rock at being your own boss.
Anisa, we're in love with what you do. But when you were 16- did you know that this was what you wanted to do?
Actually, it was at the age of 15 that I knew I wanted to study fashion at Central St. Martins - so I called-up and requested a brochure. I was obsessed with Alexander McQueen at the time, and he was amongst their famous alumni - so that really decided it for me!
So at 15, how did you make that happen?
Strangely enough I wasn't doing Art at GCSE (I had to choose between Art or Drama), and so when I got to A-Level I had to make up for it by doing it then. I completely nailed the course - I achieved the highest A grade, and the Mayor of Kingston loved my work!
That's amazing, so what were your steps after that?
I took a life drawing class at Wimbledon School of Art and after getting to know the tutors and everybody there, I eventually ended up taking my foundation degree there. Despite specialising in fashion, my tutors didn't think that I had any hope in applying for St Martin's School of Art but I wasn't going to let them stop me - there's no harm in trying, right? So I applied, and I got in! But I worked soooo hard, I literally made 20 sketchbooks to take in with me, I think that may have helped.
So how was St Martin's? If you could go back, would you change anything?
It was character building. Being one of the 18 out of 1000 applicants to get accepted to such a prestigious fashion college felt like a real achievement. I wouldn't change that journey at all, but I would change the fact that I didn't have a clear goal. I'd only been focusing on getting into St Martin's, but when I actually got in I felt a bit empty, because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with my life after I left.
What are the three best things about your job now?
The freedom, the creativity, and being my own boss.
And the big question, how are you enjoying The Apprentice?!
It is definitely the toughest process I have ever been through in a work capacity - in my life. I would say that there are elements of fun (like winning the tasks) but the daily graft is hard and I have to say that my sense of humour and ability to laugh in sticky situations keeps me in a good place!
US: What advice would you give to anyone looking to do similar things?
I would say that I was lucky to go to university. When I was a student, tuition fees were still pretty low - with the fees so high these days, I would say apprenticeships are the way forward. I learnt a lot about PR through my internships on placement year (I did a four-year sandwich degree). I worked for Vogue, Agent Provocateur and a fantastic PR company who were doing a brilliant London Fashion Week project with Channel 4 which gave me brilliant grounding and understanding of the industry. There really is no better way to learn than by being on the job. I have nurtured many fashion interns through my company and some are doing some amazing things now. Recently, one of them hired me to freelance for his job at a thriving social media agency, which was super fun and super weird at the same time!
And finally, what advice would you give to your 16 year-old self?
I would say to be kinder to myself when it came to my ambition. It's so important to aim high and work hard, but at the same time enjoy what is in front of you, and take a holiday!