By Vana C. Koutsomitis

When I was preparing to go on The Apprentice, I was constantly thinking of how I wanted to be portrayed. This was one of the biggest sources of stress for me prior to going into the house for filming. Not only did I have to mentally prepare to surrender my phone, computer, and all personal items, for 12 weeks in a house with complete strangers, I had to consider how they would film me and edit me when the show went live. Needless to say, I was nervous about the experience of living with strangers in a competitive environment; but I was even more nervous about coming across well on national television.

Photo Credit: BBC

During my preparation period, I thought about the reality television shows I had seen in the past and how outrageous some of the individuals seemed. Reality television stars tend to be exaggerated and the characters can seem pretty extreme. I did not want to be portrayed that way.

1. Be true to yourself.

This is crucial because authenticity is key to your personal brand. If people think that you are not being true to yourself, they question you and don’t trust you. Trust is an integral part of your personal brand because it makes you more reliable in the eyes of others.

2. If you don’t have something important to say, it’s better to not say anything at all.

Social media is a tool that you can use for your personal branding. You can choose which messages to share and what posts to publish. It’s easy to get caught up in the trend of posting often but reality television taught me that it’s important to only share information that you think is high quality and critically relevant. Quantity is not better than quality. The people on the show who tried to hog the camera time and speak as much as possible suffered the most in the final edit. It’s important to know when to speak up and when to keep your mouth shut.

3. Send a very clear message.

When we were filming The Apprentice, the directors often interviewed us individually and asked us questions about our views and opinions. Sometimes, these questions gave us in indication of what the storyline would be. This taught me the importance of consistency in your message. People don’t want to decipher what you are trying to say. They want you to tell them clearly who you are and what you believe in.

For example, if you’re an animal rights activist and you want to highlight this in your personal brand, people don’t need to hear all about your views on music and fashion. Instead, it’s more beneficial to curate your content based on the image that you would like to portray. Focus mostly on content about animal rights, policies and news.

Reality TV taught me that the bulk of your communication should be related to your end goal. If you want to send a message, you need to repeat it over and over again for people to fully grasp it!


By Vana C. Koutsomitis

Serial entrepreneur focused on connecting people. CEO of DatePlay online dating app, and VinobyVana, the low-calorie, fruit flavoured wine.