She may have a reputation as the "Queen of Mean" but Linda Plant was nothing but smiles when she greeted HELLO! Magazine at her elegant London home. If you're enjoying Linda's role on 2018's The Apprentice, you'll enjoy this look back at the time she invited us into her stunning Regent's Park abode. As one of Lord Sugar's ruthless interrogators, Linda hauls hapless candidates over the coals and rips their business plans to shreds in one of the final - and most excruciating - stages of the contest. This year, she promises, she's meaner than ever. "Karren [Baroness Brady] called and said, 'Linda, you're terrifying,'" she laughs, relishing the compliment.
Her fabulous five-storey house, which she shares with her son Jak, in one of the most desirable areas of London, overlooking Regent's Park, is a testament to her success. Linda won't be drawn on how much her house is worth but it's proof, if any was needed, of how far she has come from running a market stall in Leeds to owning an international interior design company. It's a rags-to-riches story - or "rags to being comfortable", as she prefers to phrase it - worthy of any Apprentice candidate.
The Apprentice's Linda Plant reveals how she went from rags to Regent's Park
Filled with pieces from the 1950s and 1960s, from its leopard-print carpets to the cocktail bar, the house is, she says, "homely and glamorous". There's a silk-padded wall in her all-white bedroom, hand-beaded with silver and crystal, and a walk-in wardrobe bursting with designer labels - Marni and Roksanda are favourites - along with countless handbags and shoes. "Not as many as Imelda Marcos," she jokes.
"I had a vision for the house – and that’s how my career has evolved, too," says Linda as we sit down to chat in her spacious living room with its wintry views across the park. "I was in the fashion business to start off with and love being creative, which has translated into my home as I have a design eye."
Linda was brought up in Leeds, an only child whose mum worked on a market stall and whose dad was a tailor. At 16, she left school to work full time on her mother's stall, which sold hosiery, handbags and costume jewellery. Linda later opened her own retail shops and founded her fashion brand Honeysuckle. She now runs Homerun, taking care of the interior design of London properties for clients on the "upper end of the scale" who most live abroad.