I MET Paloma Vivanco many years ago,
before Lucire had even branched out into print editions.
Imagine our surprise earlier this year when she told me that she
had been on the UK version of The
Apprentice, a BBC-licensed version
of the Mark Burnett show, with Lord Sugar in place of Donald Trump.
Last weekor more correctly, half a year ago, as
The Apprentice is not liveVivanco was fired
from the show, after having been portrayed as a hard-nosed businesswoman
in her five weeks on the latest series. The BBC
believes that she is the first person with a major New Zealand connection
to appear on the UK version of The
Apprentice, and I interviewed her last week as news of the firing
Lucire: You and Lucire first came into contact in New Zealand. How did you or your family find your way down there?
Paloma Vivanco: My father is a geneticist, so his work took him around the globe
and the family followed.
New Zealand was supposed to be a small stop before
going back to Peru, but we fell in love with the beauty that is
What prompted you to move to Great Britain?
Being quite the nomad, I got itchy feet and decided that I needed
to give the UK a go. My brother was
already living here and I had a burning desire to work and travel
around Europe. I also wanted to practise my Spanish more and contemplated
moving to Spain at some point.
How did you get on to The Apprentice?
I was always unsettled and suppressed in a corporate environment.
Although I love my career, Ive always had an entrepreneurial
spirit and saw The Apprentice as a way of testing my raw
business skills. I also thought it would be an amazing experience
meeting Lord Sugar and competing for the chance to work for him.
I remember going into the audition thinking there
was no way they would pick methere were thousands of people.
I was really surprised I got a call back.
One of our former cover girls is Stacie Jones Upchurch, who appeared
in the second season of the [original] American Apprentice.
She felt that she was unfairly portrayed through editing. What was
I would tend to agree. I was very much depicted as the hard-nosed,
corporate bitch and it was a shame that only the serious footage of
me was only ever played. There were certainly a lot of laughs and
gags throughout the time with other candidates so it would have
been nice to get a more balanced perspective of who Paloma Vivanco
was. But as well as being a job interview this was very much a TV
series and with that comes all the pantomime characters they needed
I did play up the character they wanted me to
be at times, as [it was] felt it would be a bit boring behaving
in your normal business manner. The boardroom got spiced up. It
is TV, after all!
One thing that the Brits have and the Americans dontat
least not to the same extentare the tabloids. What was your
experience with them, and do you want to set the record straight
The tabloids are very supportive of telling the pantomime story
alsoanything which solicits an emotion or response out of
people. I was an outspoken character in this series so I was subject
to a lot of feedback. I found it hilarious people actually thinking
I would carry on like that in a normal business environment.
There were a lot of scenarios that werent
fairly represented on the show and resulted in me looking like I
made bad business decisions. But again, they had a story to tell
and every week they need to justify why it is that everyone leaves.
The media arent very sympathetic to the nuances of TV
Overall, did the media do their job when it came to your story?
Not really, but I was expecting that. I had a brief interview on
Youre Fired but this was a light-hearted comedy show
which I loved doing but not really the platform for me to talk about
Having said all of this, it was still an amazing
experience which has opened up other opportunities in my life. I
just wanted the real Paloma to be shown a bit more.
Now to your latest venture, a fashion label called Inacia (spelt in all caps in the company’s own house style).
Where did the impetus for Inacia come from?
I love knitwear! And sustainable business is something that I am
very passionate about. Inacia blends my passions for knitwear, sustainable
business and my cultural roots. It has been in the making for years
and pleased it is finally launched.
You have a fairly staple range, which should sell well. What
can we expect from Inacia in the future?
The cardigans have been my best sellers so far and so have the dresses.
Alpaca fibre is such a warm and durable fibre. Id like to
begin looking at coats and Ive also had enquiries about Ugg-type
boots so watch this space!
What are your ambitions for the Inacia label and has The Apprentice
helped on that front?
Obviously Inacia, being my creation, is something I am passionate
about sharing with the world and hoping people will enjoy wearing
the garments as much as I love creating them. I also hope to raise
peoples awareness about this valuable quality rich fibre,
A few others have looked into alpaca wool. What makes your brand
Most of the alpaca labels Ive seen so far tend to be great
in quality, but lack design and are not very fitting. Ive
tried to blend the best in design with this wonderful fibre. Also the gauges I use are a lot finer than most alpaca labels I have seen.
You have South American heritage yourself. Is there any connection
back to that with your brand?
For sure. I think Inacia is very much a reflection of who I am.
I am very much in touch with my culture and the complexities of
the manufacturing industry in my home country. When someone buys
a product from Inacia they are buying into my values also, and the
respect I have for sustainable and ethical business practice.
I think that the terms social and ethical
responsibility tend to get overused as a marketing tool though.
Im keen to spend some more time on my
website defining what Inacia means by this but also how we actually
back it up. Id like to think that Inacias ethical values
are not just about it is the right thing to do, but
actually its always worth paying for unique fibres that are
crafted by rural communities with years of expertise and integrity.
I was very much depicted as the hard-nosed,
corporate bitch and it was a shame that only the serious footage of
me was only ever played. There were a lot of laughs and gags with
other candidates so it would have been nice to get a more balanced
perspective of who Paloma Vivanco was
Below Some of the looks from Vivancos
sustainable Inacia label, made from 100 per cent alpaca wool.
I think that the terms social and
ethical responsibility tend to get overused as a marketing
tool though. I’m keen to spend some more time on my website deﬁning
what Inacia means by this but also how we actually back it up
Jack Yan is publisher of Lucire.
||Cheryl Cole headlines
Cheryl Cole was the big news last night in Cannes as she performed
at the de Grisogono dinner party
photographed by Sean Gallup for de Grisogono/Getty Images
||London sparkles at
the Love Ball
Celebrities headed to Camdens Roundhouse on February 23 for
the De Beers-supported Love Ball London, benefiting the Naked Heart
photographed by Claire R. Greenway and Chris Jackson, and courtesy
De Beers and Getty Images