The Apprentice's Baroness tells Woman she won't be making a drama of her big 5-0...
There’s no denying that Baroness Karren Brady has worked extremely hard to get where she is today. As we meet Lord Sugar’s Apprentice aide, she tells us she’s already been in ‘a few meetings and interviews’ despite it only being 10am.
Karren, who has been married to her husband Paul Peschisolido, for 23 years, is turning 50 next year. But here she tells Woman why she won’t be celebrating the big day, how her time at boarding school gave her ambition, and why she’s worried about her two children Paolo, 19 and Sophia, 21, now they’ve flown the nest.
‘I never celebrate birthdays. But I think it’s great to have got to 50 and still have a sense of humour. Ageing doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I don’t feel concerned or worried about it at all. I think it should just be treated like any other family birthday celebration.’
‘I think my ambition and drive probably comes from the fact I went to a boarding school until the age of 18. At boarding school, nothing is your own, you wear what you’re told, you eat what you’re given, you go to bed when you’re told and, frankly, you do what you’re told. All I really wanted in life was my own independence. I knew that having your own independence came from making your own money, so I didn’t go to uni, I went straight into work and got a job and kept on with it.’
‘My grandmother used to tell me, “You should never look down on anyone unless you’re helping them up.” I’ve tried to live my life by that rule.’
‘When I was growing up, there was no pressure at all to go on a diet or anything, I never even thought about it. This generation is far more body-conscious than I ever was.’
‘I do worry about young people being pressurised by social media to look a certain way, to have the bum of Kim Kardashian, the hair of someone else and the face of another woman, and not measuring up to what you’re quite supposed to be. Having the confidence to overlook those kind of pressures is the key to overcoming those difficulties.’
‘The secret to a happy marriage? Respecting each other, talking and communication is always important, having a laugh and a common interest. The thing we love and both have in common with each other is our children, so that’s important to us and I think being friends.’
‘My two kids are my greatest achievement. One is at uni and the
other has left home, and they’re both healthy and happy. It hasn’t been easy being a working mother.’
‘I worry about my children. I don’t like it when my daughter is in the paper or when they take photographs of her, because I don’t want her to be under that kind of media pressure – because young people think of the negatives much more than they do the positives. She isn’t a model, by the way. I have no idea where that story even came from – not that she couldn’t be a model, because she’s gorgeous!’
‘This year’s The Apprentice will be bigger and bolder than we’ve ever seen before and we go to some very exciting places as Alan is very keen that all the candidates can trade on a global scale. So in the first show we see all 12 potential candidates shipped off to Malta with just a map for the buying task, so it’s a real baptism of fire from the start. Whatever you think can go wrong does go wrong, and there are some real stand-out characters.’
‘It depends where you work, but people are definitely still subjected to sexism in the workplace, whether that’s being told what to wear, not being given a promotion or being sidelined because you need to go on maternity leave.’
‘The gender pay gap really needs to be addressed. We need to understand why women still earn 14% less than men. There needs to be a much broader approach to promotion and flexible working, as well as affordable childcare.’
The Apprentice will air weekly on Wednesdays at 9pm on BBC1 from 3 October, followed by You’re Fired at 10pm on BBC2. Catch up on episodes on BBC iPlayer.