Natasha Scribbins and Susan Ma reveal tough childhood in The Apprentice 2011: Final Five

Natasha Scribbens

The Apprentice 2011 candidates Natasha Scribbins and Susan Ma revealed their tough upbringing in a special one-off show The Apprentice: The Final Five. The documentary, which airs on BBC One at 9PM this evening, will profile the five remaining contestants ahead of next week's penultimate task.

In the show, 31-year-old Natash recalls: “I went out and worked from a young age. It’s crazy – but I used to not take the free school meals and instead used the money I earned to pay for my food.”

Her mum Gillian tells the cameras: “She shared a bedroom. It was busy at times, but she just got on with it. On a council estate it’s leave school, get a job or get pregnant. Tash was doing the opposite to everyone else – she stayed in and studied.”

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Gillian adds how the family weren't able to help fund Natasha when she went to university 10 years ago.

Susan Ma had an equally upsetting sob story about her childhood, explaining: “We had no heating, no electricity or gas."

Susan, who was raised by her single mum Shu Mei Lu in Shanghai, China, added: “It was freezing all the time. I had a bucket that my mother bathed me in and a hole in the ground to go to the toilet. When I was seven I moved to Australia.

“I was bullied every day because I couldn’t speak English and I didn’t understand the culture or anything we were learning at school. It was a really tough time for me. I had to help her get bank loans, find places to live and enrol myself in school.

“I don’t know how we got through, but we got there in the end.”

Nick Hewer says of the youngster: “She's quite a little force to be reckoned with. Susan started in business as a teenager and at 21 is already a seasoned businesswoman.

“There are a few problems too. She has a knack of rubbing people up the wrong way.”

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