Spy: All is fair in Love and War – meet The Apprentice Aotearoa cast

Fourteen Auckland-centric, mostly millennials are vying for the title of The Apprentice Aotearoa – and today Spy lifts the lid on who they are.

As Spy reported recently, Luxury LAS CEO Kyria Warren is on the show and we hear the feisty brunette will have jaws dropping at some of her one-liners.

Bari Samadi may add a touch of class – he is the founder and managing director of WaiLife, an upmarket Kiwi bottled water company that has the ruler of Dubai and other Middle Eastern royalty on his client list.

Samadi came to New Zealand as a refugee from Afghanistan and has since started 15 companies and created the world’s first DIY vitamin gummy kit for children.

The automotive world is represented by Ish Ryklief, a car salesman from Sydney. He is called Mr Nice Guy but don’t cross him.

When asked how competitive she is, beauty brand founder Erna Basson says she thinks she is a 12 on a scale of 1-10. Spy hears the blonde bombshell has ruffled more than a few feathers in the cast. Originally hailing from South Africa, Basson already has a claim to fame being on the cover of US business magazine Fast Company, and claims she has mingled with the likes of John Travolta, Mark Wahlberg and Charlie Sheen.

Nicola Spicer’s swimwear brand Zingiber has been worn by the likes of Hailey Bieber and Kourtney Kardashian and also been modelled on the covers of Cosmopolitan and Women’s Health magazines. After a few years of worldwide success, Spicer sold the business, bought three villas in Bali and ventured into the Airbnb business.

Shardae Mitha is an event planner – who is also a boxing coach and personal trainer with a black belt.

Mike Wilson is a boisterous, extrovert auctioneer. Wilson says people are intimidated by him and at times he uses that to his advantage. Marketing specialist Megan Fernandes is a sneaker customiser. She learned at a young age that bedazzling things with glitter would help her master myriad side hustles.

Meanwhile, mental health clinician Gabriel Elkhishin is a self-described, “zillenial”, who is all about finding gaps in the market. He has big plans to invest back into the future of our country.He plans to couple his background in psychology with investing, to make a difference.

Viewers will have a weekly dose of the combative and hot-headed drama on TVNZ 2 from next Monday.

But don’t expect to see anyone from south of the Bombays – 13 contestants are from Auckland and one is from Sydney.

Spy hears the drama is real and contestants have left the show despising each other. There are showdowns and rumours of a contestant hook-up.

The show’s host, mortgage broker CEO Mike Pero, does not have any would-be contestants who seem to have followed in his industry footsteps. Instead, the contestants are mainly from the social media and marketing worlds. Pero is lucky to have advisers helping him – marketing guru Cassie Roma and tech and digital specialist Justin Tomlinson. Like Ivanka Trump on her dad Donald’s US version, they help Pero decide which contestant will win $50,000 and mentorship with a new business venture.

Spy has picked six stand-out contestants as ones to watch

Tony Collins

The 24-year-old has an enviable black book of business contacts. He started off interning with event company Darkhorse before starting his own business The Content Company three years ago.
Collins and his team are leaders in the social media content world, aligning brands and vision behind the scenes. He is a man about town and will attend the opening of an envelope to network.

Olivia Rogers

Rogers is also an A-lister at events around town. The 31-year-old marketing specialist is the driving force behind TourismHQ, the company famed for its Spring Break Fiji escape parties. Rogers says her determination to succeed stems from her father’s alcoholism and gambling, which taught her what she didn’t want to be in life. Her five-year plan is to become general manager of TourismHQ.

Kennedy Anderson

A social butterfly, and business dynamo, 23-year-old Anderson has three innovative businesses on the go, including whitening people’s smiles with his premium teeth kits.
Last year the boy from Waiuku, who says he learned from a young age that a positive word-of-mouth, is one of the best marketing tactics, sold his social media management company Kollab for a share transfer into a much larger operation.

Stephen McDowell

Another social media content creator and adviser is 28-year-old McDowell who prides himself on his interviews with Helen Clark, Chloe Swarbrick and Tiki Taane, and has the online nickname “The Buzzy Kiwi”.
He says his “buzzy” character stands out compared to others at The Apprentice mansion in Grey Lynn.

Vanessa Goodson

Goodson owns OMG-Ness Event Styling, known for all the fabulous balloon displays you see at celebration parties. The 30-year-old put together the displays for Hannah and Beauden Barrett’s engagement party and baby shower. She says her trade and skill is to find the best in every person and situation she encounters. However, mess with her money or her eyelashes and Goodson won’t hold back.

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