“The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition” is scheduled to premiere next month, and already, it has ONE fans abuzz with excitement. The unique take on the iconic reality television show produced by Asia’s largest martial arts organization is a slight departure from ONE’s usual content of hosting martial arts extravaganzas.
Among 16 “candidates” chosen to participate in the competition is Lara Pearl Alvarez, a single mother born, bred, and based in Baguio City, Philippines. Alvarez recently talked about her experience participating on the show, and why she wanted to join “The Apprentice.”
“I just wanted to give my son a better life, that’s what compelled me to try and audition for The Apprentice. At the time, I didn’t really imagine I could get in. But I was determined to give it a shot. So when I got the news that I was accepted, I was in shock. I just couldn’t believe it. But I was super happy I got in, and from there, I was motivated to succeed,” said Alvarez.
“Participating on the show was incredible. The production was top notch and it was nothing like I had ever experienced before. Getting to visit Singapore and see the way locals live, see the beauty of the country, it gave me a deeper sense of pride for my own country. It gave me hope, not just for my own life, but for everyone else as well with all the difficulties we’re dealing with today. I definitely learned a lot from my time in the boardroom.”
When Alvarez got pregnant by her then-boyfriend at 22, it wasn’t exactly what she had planned for her life. Like many of her colleagues at Team Lakay, Alvarez had trained to become a martial artist, learning the discipline of wushu and wanting to compete.
The child’s father ended up abandoning Alvarez even before the boy was born. But with the help of her family, Alvarez took on the enormous responsibility of being a single parent.
With incredible determination, Alvarez didn’t let the circumstances keep her pinned down. She constantly worked to improve her situation. Fast-forward to present day, and Alvarez can’t wait to relive her time on The Apprentice, which she says will be an experience she will remember for the rest of her life.
“Flying to Singapore to film the show, it was my first time leaving the Philippines, my first time getting on a plane to fly out of the country. And to be joining a globally acclaimed TV show, I can say I was pretty mesmerized by the whole ordeal. It was a little overwhelming, but I was excited. At the same time, I missed my son terribly. I had never spent so much time away from him, nor left him in the care of others. I tried not to let it affect me, but every time I thought of him, it would bring me to tears,” said Alvarez.
“I’ve been through a whole lot, and everything I’ve done so far is for my son to have a better life. Up to now, I still can’t believe I was on The Apprentice. I’m glad I took a chance. It’s made me a stronger person, and a better mother today. I’ve gained more confidence in myself. I think I’ve proven that being a single mother is not a setback. It is far from a setback. It’s a blessing because I was able to push myself harder. It gave me the strength to push past my limits.”
“The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition” is touted as the toughest version in the show’s history, consisting of both business and physical challenges. The franchise itself has aired in more than 120 countries around the globe. The first season of ONE Championship’s spin on the reality show premieres in March and consists of 13 episodes.
Alvarez was one of 16 selected from a field of thousands of applicants to compete for a US$250,000 job offer to work directly under ONE Chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
“The Apprentice really showed me what’s possible in my life. I’ve definitely grown from the experience. It’s opening up a lot of doors that I just couldn’t see before, a lot of opportunities. Now I’m excited for what the future holds,” said Alvarez.
“I can’t wait for people to watch it. Many of my friends have shown their support for me. Since the trailer aired, there has been a lot of excitement. I’m thrilled I get to talk about it now and I have a lot of stories to tell as we go along. I know fans of both ONE and The Apprentice are going to love it.”