Former Apprentice winner Dr Leah Totton confirms she is no longer engaged
Dr Leah Totton talks to Helen McGurk about working with Lord Sugar, the ending of her engagement and why people shouldn’t be ashamed about having cosmetic treatments
Back in 2013, Dr Leah Totton, the former Foyle and Londonderry College student, with fairytale princess looks and a razor-sharp brain, was crowned the winner of BBC 1’s reality show The Apprentice, with plans to open a high-street chain of cosmetic treatment clinics.
Dr Totton, who worked in the accident and emergency department of a London hospital, convinced Lord Sugar, to invest £250,000 in her business, which she initially intended to call NIKS (‘skin’ backwards), but was persuaded by the Labour peer to change to Dr Leah.
Six years on business is booming, with turnover at £1.6 million a year. And yesterday, Leah Totton, opened her third cosmetic clinic in central London, adding to her sites in Moorgate, London, and Loughton, Essex.
Sadly, however, it hasn’t all been plain sailing for the successful businesswoman, as she confirmed her engagement, which she announced back in October, is off. The identity of her fiancé has always remained a mystery.
‘‘I was briefly engaged at the end of last year. The relationship ended at Christmas,’’ she confirmed.
‘‘My grandfather, whom I was very close with, passed away not long after, but I focused on my work and I am looking forward to the future and opening the new clinic today.’’
The new facility is a high-end luxury clinic, attracting royalty and very high-profile celebrities, who will be able to gain access through a secret underground entrance, for added privacy, and avail of a variety of new surgical treatments including hair transplants, mole removal and female health treatments, facials, anti-wrinkle injections and lip enhancements.
Lord Sugar remains a partner in the business, indeed, it was his idea to open a clinic on Baker Street, admits Leah.
‘‘He’s not hands on in terms of the day to day running of the business, but we have a board meeting every month and he’s very involved from a strategy level. ‘‘He’s great, we get on very well. Obviously I’ve known him since I was 24. He has been a huge part of my growth and development as an entrepreneur.
‘‘I think he’s an incredibly inspirational person. Obviously he’s got great business sense, but what doesn’t come out about him so much is that he is a real family man and very happily married. He has three great kids who all work with him in his own businesses and he spends a lot of time with his grandchildren. ‘‘His core values are really strong, that’s what I admire about him. He’s very straight - he says what he thinks and you know where you stand with him.’’
But again, due to tight time restraints, she admits she hasn’t watched subsequent series of The Apprentice since her own win.
‘‘I don’t no, but I know all the winners and have them and Claude (Littner), Karren (Brady) and Lord Sugar on my Twitter so I get an idea of what’s going on.’’
Unsurprisingly, for one so immersed in the aesthetic industry, Dr Leah says she herself has had a lot of treatments.
‘‘I am quite into skin, so I’ve had pretty much every skin treatment you can name from micro dermabrasion to laser hair removal, which is great. I’ve had laser resurfacing. I lived in Barbados for a while when I first qualified and I had quite a bit of sun damage, so I had that removed - it was painful, but it removed the sun damage.
‘‘In terms of the injectables, no not yet, but I definitely will in the future, I am quite confident of that. I really believe in the empowerment of women and being able to make their own decisions about how you age. I think it’s a personal choice and when the time comes when I have facial sagging and I want a thread lift, I will definitely be having one. And the same if I start to develop deep frown lines. I’m not adverse to having some Botox either.
‘‘I think they are great treatments and they shouldn’t be stigmatised - women should be able to say ‘I think I look miserable and saggy and I want to treat it’ and there should be no shame in that.’’