Bulgaria-born Bilyana started off her career aged six, collecting snails from her grandparents’ farm to sell to pharmaceutical companies, and is now training to be a wealth manager for British entrepreneurs. The former head girl, who prefers rollerblading to and from work, feels her biggest achievement is her attitude to life and a dedication to advancing by learning and working hard. She loves dancing, baking and travelling. She describes herself as positive and adaptable but feels her greatest weakness is dealing with confrontation.
She says: “I got myself from a Communist block of flats in Bulgaria to the top of a skyscraper in the heart of the City of London.”
Gabrielle’s first job was helping at her parents’ fish and chip shop when she was 14. She learnt how to ride a bike last year and loves running, photography, drawing and painting watercolours. She says that she rules her life on gut feelings, and as a result never has regrets. Gabrielle first got a passport at the age of 19 and has had the travelling bug ever since, once travelling to 13 different countries in a year. Gabrielle feels her persistency is her strength but her trusting nature is her biggest weakness.
She says: “When it comes to business I can be like an animal and I will roar my way to the top.”
Former 18-30 rep Jade grew up helping at her parents’ caravan park. She feels her strength is her resilience and says that she doesn’t have any annoying habits. She enjoys going to the gym, hosting dinner parties and her passions are money, her friends and life. Jade loves cars and often attends drag racing events. She lists her parents as her role models, as both have their own businesses, her father owns a holiday park and her mother is a funeral celebrant.
She says: “What I want is to be able to retire when I’m 45, but I’m such a workaholic that I’ll probably carry on until I’m 80.”
Jane is a mother of one, and lives in Kilkenny, Ireland. She admits to being opinionated and a workaholic but also says that she is determined and honest. An animal lover, Jane says if she never had to worry about money she would open an animal shelter for cats and dogs. Jane used to play hockey for her province and camogie for her county. Her role model is her glamorous grandmother, who is an empowered woman with 12 children.
She says: “Anything is achievable if you have drive, determination and a seriously good work ethic.”
Homebody Jenna has never been away from home for longer than a week and can’t cook or clean. Jenna spends her spare time horse-riding and competing in show jumping events and competed at the Wembley 1998 Horse of the Year show. She describes herself as a ‘people person’ but also admits to being a bad loser. Jenna is dyslexic and her role model is her dad, who is also dyslexic but set up his own business building horse boxes. Her ambition is to earn a million pounds before she turns 30.
She says: “My personality and character is ‘once seen never forgotten’.”
Katie is a huge football fan and loves to attend Fulham football matches. Katie, who got married last year, admits to talking too much but feels she can get on with anyone. Her first job was as a pot washer in a French restaurant when she was 13. Katie wishes she was the brains behind Heinz Baked Beans and says that she admires Barack Obama for his charisma.
She says: “I would call myself ‘The Blonde Assassin’. I let people underestimate me just so I can blow them out of the water.”
Laura is a mother of one who loves skiing. A former ice skater, she once skated with Torvil and Dean. She says her strength is that she will go out of her way for others however she admits to sometimes being stubborn. She is inspired by Michelle Mone as a powerful working mother from Scotland who created a business empire.
She says: “I am going to be one of Scotland’s next big exports”.
Bubbly Maria opened her own Greek restaurant at the age of 19 and is inspired by Gordon Ramsay. She admits that she is headstrong and cunning when it comes to business, and says that her persuasive charm helps her always get what she wants. She enjoys shopping, socialising and is an adrenaline junkie. Maria wishes she was the brains behind cotton buds as they are cheap to make but are used in every household.
She says: “If you chuck me in the deep end, I’ll swim, I won’t sink.”