The Apprentice: what 2007 finalist Kristina Grimes did next

Kristina, then aged 36, was the single mother and former pharmaceutical sales manager living in Harrogate who skilfully navigated her way through the many challenges thrown her way to fight for the chance to be Alan Sugar’s apprentice.

Readers with long memories will remember the series – not least Katie and Kristina becoming arch enemies and Katie describing our local participant as a “snake in the grass”.

The Northern Echo: Kristina Grimes, centre, in The Apprentice boardroom in 2007Kristina Grimes, centre, in The Apprentice boardroom in 2007

In an interview with York Press back in 2007 Kristina brushed off Katie’s comments and said: “She’s screwed up and she’s not happy. I got her number from day one, and nobody else did. I mistrusted her and I didn’t even know what she was saying off camera.”

Kristina also admitted that she was completely floored when she lost The Apprentice final – and the chance of a £100,000-a-year dream job with Alan Sugar.

READ MORE: Rude, smutty and silly street names and pubs in York

READ MORE: Changing York: how landmark hotel became York’s favourite shop

“It took me two weeks to get over it,” said Kristina whose story of how she was a teenage mum but put herself through university and built a decent life for herself and son, Graeme, warmed the nation’s heart.

“I put all my hopes on winning The Apprentice. Eighteen years ago, people told me I’d ruined my life. Winning The Apprentice would have been affirmation that I hadn’t. Not to win was like being kicked in the teeth again.”

She admitted she did not take the news well. “I ran off. I escaped out of the building. Everybody was texting me and phoning me, really, really worried.”

Kristina managed to pull herself together to take part that evening in an interview with Adrian Chiles which was broadcast immediately after The Apprentice final.

But what we did not see was Kristina and Graeme crying in front of the audience – those scenes were edited out. “I’m tough, but also a big softie,” she confessed.

But the tears did not last for long. She revealed that she had 100 job offers after The Apprentice – including one from Alan Sugar.

The Northern Echo: Kristina and her son Graeme in 2007Kristina and her son Graeme in 2007

After careful consideration, she took up a top post with leading property company Dandara as an investment sales director – on a salary which beat the one snapped up by Apprentice winner Simon Ambrose.

In November 2007, Kristina was in York and was the after-dinner speaker at The Press’s prestigious annual business awards at York Racecourse.

The following year, Kristina teamed up with fellow Apprentice competitor Jennifer Celerier to host a series of large-scale training seminars featuring leading motivational speakers, business experts and fellow Apprentice stars.

In 2010, Kristina was the force behind Raising The Bar, an event at the Harrogate International Centre aimed at giving business leaders a competitive edge and featuring former Tory cabinet minister Michael Portillo.

By 2011, she was working as a business development director at Spicerhaart, one of the UK’s leading estate agency groups.

Between 2015 and 2018, she worked for property software supplier Dezrez.

In 2021 it was reported that she won a £21,000 unfair dismissal payment from the software giant.

Currently, it appears that Kristina is following one of her big passions in a new career path and is selling horses. She is a talented horsewoman and has taken part in one-day show jumping events, boasting she has “the broken bones to prove it”.

She documents her new life on Instagram at @KristinaGrimes50.

The Press approached Kristina for an interview but had not heard back at the time of publication.

The Northern Echo | What’s On