Shama Amin has discussed the difficult decision to quit The Apprentice after struggling with her rheumatoid arthritis, which made it too hard for her to carry on.
The nursery-owner from Bradford, 41, told how her condition became too painful to continue with the process, as she revealed MailOnline during an exclusive interview: ‘The bottom line is my health comes first.’
Shama revealed she had a ‘build up’ of pain while completing the second week task, which involved marketing a new toothbrush, before deciding that she could no longer continue with the BBC reality show.
Candid: Shama Amin has discussed the difficult decision to quit The Apprentice after struggling with her rheumatoid arthritis, which made it too hard for her to carry on
Mother of five Shama said: ‘The days are long but in task one, I was fine. At home, if my body needs to rest, I just know, I can put my feet up and rest.
‘But obviously, I couldn’t do that in this situation. It was in task two where the swelling started to get worse, but I didn’t want to have to leave halfway through the task. I was determined to get through it, and I did.
‘We then had a day off and I was struggling to get my shoes on and knew I was going to have to make a decision. It was such a difficult decision, but the bottom line is my health comes first. It was very much a heart vs head scenario but first and foremost, I’m a mum and after all this I would be going home to my children.’
Shama explained that she could not risk being bed-bound when she returned to her family and be unable to fulfil her role as a mother.
Decision: The nursery-owner from Bradford, 41, told how her condition became too painful to continue with the process, as she revealed MailOnline during an exclusive interview: ‘The bottom line is my health comes first’
She said: ‘I spoke with production and my husband and do you know what, both were absolutely incredible. So supportive. It wasn’t an easy decision, but it was the right one and it was mine. Not once did anyone ever make me feel guilty.
‘Production offered me everything I could have asked for to help keep me in but always supported that it had to be my decision.’
Shama revealed that she ‘could not have asked production to do any more’, and even offered her the seven days rest advised by medics.
Shama explained that doctors advised she needed a week to rest, however she didn’t want to ‘let anyone down’, so she then made the decision to leave.
Hard decision: Shama revealed she had a ‘build up’ of pain while completing the second week task, which involved marketing a new toothbrush, before deciding that she could no longer continue with the BBC reality show
Although Shama believes that she made the right decision, she said that she feels emotional and ‘cried her eyes out’ about the way she had to exit the show.
She said: ‘Gosh, I’m getting emotional just talking about it now. Do you know, when the penny finally dropped, and I’d made the decision (to leave), I was overcome with emotion and just really upset.
‘I cried my eyes out; this wasn’t how I wanted to leave. When you’ve been through so much to get on the show and then you’re there in the moment and on a roll – I was just in my element and absolutely loving it.
Mother of five Shama said: ‘The days are long but in task one, I was fine. At home, if my body needs to rest, I just know, I can put my feet up and rest’
‘I’m just so gutted and disappointed but the team were so supportive – they really were fantastic and that’s why I can’t have any regrets.
‘I know nothing else could have been done to change the outcome. I’m a positive person in life – I’m human. I’ll cry but I can laugh too, and life goes on.’
When asked what the most challenging part of the process was, Shama said: ‘In terms of my health condition – rheumatoid arthritis is an invisible illness and no-one else knows what you’re going through.
Not taking any chances: Shama explained that she could not risk being bed-bound when she returned to her family and be unable to fulfil her role as a mother
‘Hours and hours of filming goes into it, and I can’t stress enough how physically demanding it is; you’re on your feet so much. It’s go go go go go.’
Shama said that they did take breaks but the condition means that when something is physically demanding on her body, she just needs to slow down.
During her time on the programme, Shama said she specifically bonded with Navid, who she described as a ‘little brother’ to her.
She said: I was out of my comfort zone, I’ve never done anything like this before, but Nav has and could help me understand.’
Hopefuls: (L-R) Ashkay Thakrar, Stephanie Afflek, Aaron Willis, Francesca Kennedy Wallbank, Alex Short, Amy Anzel, Harry Mahmood, Kathryn Louise Burn, Conor Gilsenan, Harpreet Kaur, Akeem Bundu-Kamara, Nick Showering, Brittany Carter, Shama Amin, Navid Sole and Sophie Wilding
Shama also admitted she wanted the opportunity to ‘break down barriers than can exist about ladies of colour’, saying: ‘That I wear a hijab (head scarf), you know.
‘But I’m such an empowered woman that no one’s opinion or decision will impact me otherwise – I’m stronger than that.’
The businesswoman insisted that other people’s behaviour on the show did not impact her decision to leave the show.
She told MailOnline: ‘ If anything, that behaviour just motivates me more! I just thought I’ll wait for my moment and when I’m PM – well, obviously I didn’t know this (leaving the process due to my health) was going to happen…’
Tough decision: Shama revealed the physical strains of the challenges were too much
However had she stayed, Shama confessed she has no doubt she had the ability to win the show and accept the deal with Lord Sugar.
She explained: ‘I was in it to win it. I’m a competitive person and there is no doubt in my mind that I could have got to the end. That’s what I was visualising – me and the other finalist sat in the boardroom. Walking away with that investment was the only goal.’
When asked if she would return given the chance, Shama said: ‘If I’m completely honest, with the way I’ve had to leave, I would absolutely take the opportunity again to prove I could get to the end – and win.
‘I really would love to do it again, but nothing changes the fact that I have this condition and ultimately, the same thing could happen again. I’d have to be realistic.’
Shama insisted that viewers haven’t seen the last of her and she hopes to pursue her business plan as well as shine a light on rheumatoid arthritis awareness.
WHAT IS RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS? THE AGONISING LONG-TERM ILLNESS THAT IS INCURABLE
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects around 400,000 people in the UK
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) affects around 400,000 people in the UK and nearly 1.3 million adults in the US.
Women are up to three times more likely to develop the condition than men. Those with family history of rheumatoid arthritis are also more vulnerable.
It is a long-term illness in which the immune system causes the body to attack itself, causing painful, swollen and stiff joints.
RA, the second most common form of arthritis that often begins between the ages of 40 and 50, tends to strike the hands, wrists and knees.
Scientists are currently unsure as to the exact cause of RA, but smoking, eating lots of red meat and coffee drinkers are at higher risk.
A cure has yet to be found, but treatments are available and proven to help slow down the progressive condition.
RA is a complex autoimmune condition that is diagnosed and treated by a Consultant Rheumatologist in secondary care and the patient is followed up on a regular basis by a consultant-led multi-disciplinary team in hospital.