The Apprentice fired candidate Kenna Ngoma interview: ‘Some people are different on camera and off – Lottie was exactly the same’
‘Lottie always wants to be the topic of conversation’
Kenna Ngoma probably imagined his second week on The Apprentice would be a walk in the park, with a challenge seemingly tailor-made for him. But the 24-year-old ice cream entrepreneur from Manchester ended up somewhat cursed by his day job, with a task producing luxury ice lollies proving unexpectedly tricky.
Confidently putting himself forward to lead the boys, Kenna ultimately struggled to manage two loose cannons on his team, both of whom were quick to shout at each other in the street and in the boardroom, and produced lollies that better screamed Ann Summers than they did luxury. As a result, Kenna was sent packing.
Disappointed but also eager to talk about where he thought the blame truly lay, Kenna sat down with The Independent to discuss Ryan-Mark’s sabotage, only some of which was shown on TV, and whether Lottie is any different off-screen than she is when the cameras are rolling. Spoiler: she isn’t.
How are you feeling right now? It’s week two, which isn’t exactly the worst week to get booted out on...
It’s the second worst! But I’m gutted, to be honest. I planned to be there six or seven weeks plus, and I was hoping in the lead up to [the show] that my task of expertise would come later down the line. I was 100 per cent sure I’d still be there. So yeah, it was gutting.
Ryan-Mark and Dean were massively argumentative with one another all episode. Did you feel you were slightly stitched up when it came to Lord Sugar blaming you for the team’s problems?
As soon as I got appointed PM and there was a case of picking who would be sub-team leader – it wasn’t shown, but Ryan-Mark made a comment [about me] saying, ‘He’s a dictator, it’s his way or the highway’. Which isn’t true, because I gave everyone 30 seconds to pitch themselves – him, Dean and Solomon. I picked Dean, so it is what it is. Yet as soon as I picked him, Ryan was really tough to manage. Dean as well, to be fair. But [Ryan] was really disruptive and abrasive throughout the task.
There was the suggestion later on in the episode that Ryan-Mark may have tried to sabotage the task or at least undermine it, almost as a protest. Do you think that could have been true?
He did! There’s no other way to say it. From the jump it’s impossible for you to take offence just because someone else was picked to be sub-team leader. It’s exactly what Lord Sugar says: ‘If your boss tells you to do something, you do it.’ You just get on. It’s almost counterintuitive because the more [Ryan] argued, the tougher it was for us to win. And that means you’ll be dragged into the boardroom, which he was. So it doesn’t make sense.
Do you think it’s an age thing? Because I was shocked when it was said in the episode that Ryan-Mark is only 19...
I think they say that he’s a "60-year-old stuck in a 19-year-old’s body". When I actually met him for the first time in the boardroom, I was like, ‘Wow!’ But it’s weird because he flips sometimes, so you’re like, ‘This guy is really mature’. And then sometimes you’re like, ‘Yes, you can tell he’s 19.’ Because what he says, most of the time, is actually correct. But it’s how he says it. So he’s like, ‘Dean flip-flops, [he’s] Mr U-Turn’, and he’s technically right, but then he was doing it in the middle of the street, shouting at him. So what he was saying was technically correct but he executed it wrong.
To be fair to Ryan, Dean also seemed difficult to manage. What did you think of him?
He wants to be the main man. He’s someone who says: ‘Right, I want to stand out, I want to shine’ – whether or not it results in us winning, he basically doesn’t care, because he’s gonna do it his way. So it was tough.
In hindsight, what do you think you could have done to save yourself?
I don’t think I was the one to blame for it. If we created a product that genuinely was horrible, which ours wasn’t, I’d take full responsibility for it. I think it was really, really close. If you look at the girls’ product, you see they sold it for £3.50 [despite them putting] six inches worth of rosemary in each one. Whatever people say ours looked like, it still looked all right.
Should you have spent more money on ingredients?
I was going off the framework the corporate team gave us, so glitter and raspberry and coconut milk. I would have maybe added tiny little things, maybe fruit bits or something miniscule to give it a bit more of an oomph. But I wasn’t going to spend so much more. I don’t think that would have made a difference.
Lottie has definitely emerged as one of the bigger characters on the show this year. You didn’t get a chance to work with her, but what were your thoughts on her while you were sharing a house?
Living with her, some people are slightly different on camera and off camera – she was exactly the same. She was as fiery... abrasive is a harsh word but [she was] difficult off-camera. She always wants to be the topic of conversation. She’s exactly the same. Some people get more confident or build up their confidence as [the series] goes, but her – that’s the way she is.
Who do you think has what it takes to win the show this series?
I would probably say either Lewis or Carina. Lewis, in the first task, was really confident, knows what he’s talking about, backs himself, gives people responsibilities and is really fair. It’s the same with Carina. She’s really, really good.
So what is next for you?
The plan is to launch our product before Christmas, which is our vegan, alcohol-infused ice cream. And all I’ve said is I’ll never use lavender or glitter in any of my ice creams, that’s for sure.
The Apprentice airs every Wednesday on BBC One at 9pm