In just a few weeks “The Apprentice Asia” is set to make waves across Asia. While we’re prepping ourselves to take the heat from the highly challenging, Asian adaptation of “The Apprentice”, we took aviation tycoon Tony Fernandes aside for a little Q&A. Did we already mention that he was wearing a suit during the interview?

What a rare occasion!

Why are you without your cap, Tony?


“Very good question! Because I’m being sponsored to wear this. I think they want me to be someone who looks more business orientated and my general attire doesn’t really fit my role here. I kinda enjoy wearing this – I normally look like a slob. I look at myself and I feel quite good about it. It’s kinda nice to wear a suit and a tie once in a while.”

Speaking of image, and we know what first impressions are important – what was your first impression of the “The Apprentice Asia” candidates?

“Well, I’ll answer this very delicately because I want you to watch the show but the first thing was the diversity. It was quite a diverse group of people from all walks of life and I thought, wow..this is going to be fun! Cause I love meeting new people, right? I love meeting new people from different countries, different ages, different genders, and different industries. And there was fire in their eyes! They all wanted to win and that..was impressive. I’ve done a lot of things in my life but to go through what these kids have gone through in the show, I admire them. It’s tough, right, to be locked in the room for five days with no ways or means to communicate – no TV, no internet, no phone, I mean..I’d die without my phone. I’d be a mental wreck. So what I saw in them and what I began to learn about them was that there was a real desire – they really wanted to be my apprentice. It was impressive.”

The Apprentice Asia Tony Kathleen

While we’re still on the topic of image and impressions, what do you think is the biggest misconception about you, Tony?

“Me? I think arrogance? Especially for people who don’t know me because I make very acidic comments, right? So they’re like..what an arrogant bastard. But I’m really quite the opposite. Of course misconceptions like those did affect me. I think the show, especially, would make me look like an absolute asshole. But you know, if you wanna be in the public world, you have to everything that comes with it. Will I be channeling Donald Trump? No, no.”

You know, you’re obviously a very busy man. How do you find that work-life balance?

“Mm..there’s no such thing. There really is no such thing. If anyone ever tells you that they’re living a well-balanced life, they’re lying. You’re either having too much fun or otherwise. But in my own way I guess it’s balanced. You see, if you give too much time to your social side then you may think that you’re neglecting your work. You gotta find what your own balance is and adhere to that. Have I found the perfect balance? Absolutely not. But I’m lucky that I enjoy what I do.”


The Apprentice Asia Judges Tony Fernandes Mark Lankester Kathleen Tan

“The Apprentice” was created by reality TV guru Mark Burnett (The Voice, Survivor) with multi-billionaire Donald Trump as host and co-executive producer. It has been a worldwide runaway success since its debut in the United States in 2004. The Asian adaptation of the mega hit reality series, “The Apprentice Asia” will be hosted by aviation tycoon Tony Fernandes; with the production helmed by Fremantlemedia Asia.

For more information, visit their website.

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