The Apprentice star Sanjay Sood-Smith head-butted in horrific homophobic attack

The businessman was targeted when a fellow student discovered he was gay


by Owen Tonks |

Sanjay Sood-Smith was the victim of a horrific homophobic attack before he rose to fame on The Apprentice.

The reality star, who was given the boot from the show last night, was assaulted by a man at university.

He told “I remember one guy at my university not taking kindly to it when he found out I was gay and he head-butted me in the face.

“He walked off and I remember sitting there in disbelief. When I told the bouncer in the bar we were in what had happened, he simply responded, ‘Well what am I supposed to do about it?’”

The businessman was also subject to abuse as a young child and was even forced to leave his primary school two years early after being bullied.

He said: “As an eight year old, having the nickname ‘Sad-gay Sod-Smith’ chanted at you all day, every day, really was very distressing.

“I think the thing to note is that anyone who is perceived by others as being different can potentially become a target and I think we just need to work towards getting rid of the concept of ‘being different’ entirely and just see people as what we are, individuals.”

However, Sanjay’s experiences haven’t put him off being open about his sexuality and he is still happy to reveal his feelings to people when they ask.

He concluded: “As I’ve got older coming out for me is no longer a case of ‘if’ but more a case of ‘when?’”

GALLERY: The Apprentice 2014 - meet the contestants


The Apprentice 2014: Meet the contestants

Bianca Miller
1 of 20

Age: 25Occupation: Owner, Personal Branding Company Lives: LondonBianca would describe herself as determined and ambitious, but says she can be quite pedantic. After university, she joined one of the worldu2019s largest management and technology consulting firms as an HR advisor, before moving on to a brief stint in recruitment. In 2012, Bianca took the leap to launch her own business at the age of 23 and her personal branding company, The Be Group, was named as one of the Startups 100 businesses of 2013.She says: u201cI regret not becoming a scientist so I could clone myself and be more successful in half the time.u201d

Ella Jade Bitton
2 of 20

Age: 23Occupation: Business Management GraduateLives: HertfordshireElla Jadeu2019s interests include design and fashion, and her first job was working as a fashion studio assistant for Jonathan Saunders. At the age of 16, she negotiated an interior design concession stand in Harrods for her family business lasting three years. At university she was the president of the Kingu2019s College London Business Club and, since leaving university, she has worked for her familyu2019s interior design company, responsible for their marketing strategy and online presence.She says: u201cThe future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.u201d

Jemma Bird
3 of 20

Age: 26Occupation: Operations ManagerLives: West MidlandsJemma is passionate about the arts and is a trained dancer and dance teacher, having first taught dance at the age of 13. She says she is organised and creative, and her proudest business achievement to date has been founding an entertainment cabaret agency, for which she scouts performers, sources bookings, produces performances and markets the business. One of her role models in business is Simon Cowell, for his success story within the entertainment industry.She says: u201cIu2019m always the girl that nearly wins, Iu2019m hoping this time it will be different.u201d

Katie Bulmer-Cooke
4 of 20

Age:27Occupation: Fitness EntrepreneurLives: Sunderland Katie is a personal trainer, and has been awarded Fit Pro UK Fitness Professional of the Year 2013, IFS UK Personal Trainer of the Year 2012 and Fit Pro & Life Fitness Worldwide Personal Trainer To Watch 2012 Top Ten. She creates and markets her own work-out programmes and DVDs and has also been a health and fitness expert for Argos. She would describe herself as honest, down-to-earth and energetic.She says: u201cIn business Iu2019m like a little stealth bomber that flies under the radar and smashes the competition before theyu2019ve even realised Iu2019m here.u201d

Lauren Riley
5 of 20

Age: 28Occupation: SolicitorLives: London Lauren is a family solicitor, specialising in family law including divorce, separation, finances and property, and is passionate about achieving fair outcomes for her clients. She says she is outgoing and ambitious, and wishes she had had the idea for Facebook, as it has achieved phenomenal success with a fun concept that has provided entertainment to users across the world.u25a1She says: u201cIu2019m absolutely not a shrinking violet. Iu2019m very known for speaking my own mind.u201d

Lindsay Booth
6 of 20

Age: 29Occupation: Owner, Swimming AcademyLives: LeicesterLindsay has been a swimming instructor for 14 years and is the founder of a swimming academy, which she developed from teaching just one child to renting local pools to teach hundreds of children over the past four years. She says she is determined to be successful, and that her passion is teaching children to swim as it is a skill that could one day save their lives. She would describe herself as compassionate and ambitious.She says: u201cThe other candidates will underestimate how feisty I am, and how I will fight and prove that I can get to the end.u201d

Nurun Ahmed
7 of 20

Age: 36Occupation: Marketing Officer & Fashion RetailerLives: PeterboroughNurun works full-time as a marketing officer while also running three of her own businesses. She says she is thoughtful, considerate and a multitasker, and the business brands that inspire her include Innocent, as it is a prime example of a UK start-up that shook up its industry. Her proudest business achievement is setting up three small businesses within 18 months. She says: u201cIu2019m the type of person that doesnu2019t take five hours to do one job, I do 20 jobs in five hours.u201d

Pamela Uddin
8 of 20

Age: 23Occupation: Assistant Brand ManagerLives: Dublin Pamela graduated from university with first class honours, and received a scholarship to complete her masters in International Business. Since leaving university, she has worked in brand marketing and is inspired by brands such as Nike, for their inspirational and motivational advertising, and Paddy Power, for their tongue in cheek communication. She would describe herself as logical, charismatic and a good decision maker, but says she can talk too much.She says: u201cI am street and people savvy as well as being business savvy.u201d

Roisin Hogan
9 of 20

Age: 32Occupation: AccountantLives: DublinRoisin is a qualified Chartered Accountant who is now following her dream of starting her own business. She lists businesswoman Bethenny Frankel as one of her business inspirations, as she saw a gap in the market to start Skinny Girl Cocktails and sold it for a huge profit. She says she is confident, driven and creative, and being a risk taker has also made her a keen poker player in her spare time.She says: u201cManipulate, persuade and conquer. I would identify my opponentu2019s weaknesses and pick them off one by one.u201d

Sarah Dales
10 of 20

Age: 32Occupation: Former PA & HypnotherapistLives: LondonSarah works as an executive assistant for a top financial firm, having previously worked at companies including Goldman Sachs, while also running her own hypnotherapy and match-making businesses. She describes herself as hard-working, positive and tenacious, though she can repeat herself if she feels she is not being listened to. She is a trained hypnotherapist, and says her proudest business achievement to date is setting up her hypnotherapy practice on Harley Street.She says: u201cI am the pioneer and the ground breaker, and I possess all the talents to succeed.u201d

Chiles Cartwright
11 of 20

Age: 35Occupation: Company DirectorLives: Shropshireu25a1Chiles currently owns two companies, a consultancy business and a building materials supplier. Prior to owning his own businesses, he spent nine years working in management for international consumer brands. He describes himself as self-motivated, loyal and committed to everything he does, and he also has a passion for martial arts, holding a black belt in karate.He says: u201cI consider myself one of the most credible candidates in this process. I donu2019t believe that anyone has the wealth and breadth of business acumen that Iu2019ve gained over the years.u201d

Daniel Lassman
12 of 20

Age: 27Occupation: Director, Pub Quiz CompanyLives:EssexDaniel runs his own company planning and running events, including pub quizzes, for companies and individuals across the country. He describes himself as motivated, determined and always playing to win. His first job was a yearu2019s contract to play for Hornchurch FC, which wasnu2019t renewed due to injury, before working as a market trader in the family-run business. He cites James Caan as a business figure that inspires him due to his calm and collected manner. He says: u201cI will out-sell them, I will out-class them and I will perform the best just by being me.u201d

Felipe Alviar-Baquero
13 of 20

Age: 33Occupation: LawyerLives: KentColombian-born Felipe is a solicitor for an international law firm and was selected as one of the Top 100 Colombians in 2012. His biggest business achievement to date is designing and launching a childrenu2019s play area, and he was also chosen to carry the Olympic Torch on its route to the London 2012 games. He is passionate about social entrepreneurship and is a trustee for a British charity that helps support vulnerable children in Colombia.He says: u201cI studied law because I wanted to change the world. But my real passion is business.u201d

James Hill
14 of 20

Age: 26Occupation: Multiple Business OwnerLives: ChesterfieldJames first started in business by setting up a hand car wash in his local area. He has had multiple business ventures including supplying gaming machines to bars and clubs in the UK, which he later expanded to Ireland, and opening a restaurant and bar. He describes himself as enthusiastic and energetic with a drive to succeed, though says he can be a bit of a know-it-all.He says: u201cMe and Lord Sugar could build an empire together. I think I am him when he was my age.u201d

Mark Wright
15 of 20

Age: 24Occupation: Sales Manager, Digital MarketingLives: LondonAustralian-born Mark is a Sales Manager supporting internet marketing consultants and he has received repeated recognition for the highest revenue growth within his company. He has over nine years’ experience in selling within the digital and health and fitness industries, though his first job was washing cars at his dadu2019s business. He would describe himself as easy to talk to, organised and ambitious, and is inspired in business by John D. Rockefeller, Andrew Carnegie and J.P. Morgan as they are entrepreneurs that built their own empires.He says: u201cIu2019m very, very aggressive. I will not leave the room without getting a sale.u201d

Robert Goodwin
16 of 20

Age: 25Occupation: Marketing ManagerLives: East SussexRobert is responsible for the global marketing of an international brand in the sports nutrition field, including managing a campaign for the companyu2019s largest ever advertising spend. His first job was as a tennis coach at the age of 15, as well as working in his uncleu2019s art shop. He is inspired by business figures including Harry Selfridge because he created inspirational market-leading retail services, and brands such as Net-A-Porter for their luxurious, aspirational qualities.He says: u201cIu2019m fearless, and if I donu2019t shut up about something, you should just trust itu2019s a well thought out decision.u201d

Sanjay Sood-Smith
17 of 20

Age: 27Occupation: Senior Manager, BankingLives: LondonSanjay is a senior manager responsible for the online sales strategy across three national banking brands. In his previous role as a bank manager, he increased the ranking of his branch from the 900s nationally to 30th in the space of six months at the age of 23, before being put in charge of 14 retail branches in London. He says he is practical, enthusiastic and generous, though admits he can worry too much.He says: u201cIf I had to choose between friendship and profit Iu2019d choose profit. Iu2019m not in this process to make friends with people, Iu2019m here to win.u201d

Scott McCulloch
18 of 20

Age: 24Occupation: Clinical Development StrategistLives: East Kilbride, ScotlandScott first worked as a trainee resource consultant for a recruitment company after leaving school, and is now responsible for global strategic partnerships within companies in the clinical development field. He previously held roles in business development in clinical research, travelling all over the world to work with emerging markets. He describes himself as determined, trustworthy and hungry to succeed and admires brands such as Pfizer and GSK and businessmen such as Peter Jones.He says: u201cFrom the minute I wake up to the minute I go to sleep, making money and conducting business is on my mind

Solomon Akhtar
19 of 20

Age: 24Occupation: Clinical Development StrategistLives: East Kilbride, ScotlandScott first worked as a trainee resource consultant for a recruitment company after leaving school, and is now responsible for global strategic partnerships within companies in the clinical development field. He previously held roles in business development in clinical research, travelling all over the world to work with emerging markets. He describes himself as determined, trustworthy and hungry to succeed and admires brands such as Pfizer and GSK and businessmen such as Peter Jones.He says: u201cFrom the minute I wake up to the minute I go to sleep, making money and conducting business is on my mind.u201d

Steven Ugoalah
20 of 20

Age: 25Occupation: Social WorkerLives: London Before moving to London, Canadian Steven spent a year travelling the Arctic to do community development social work with remote Inuit communities. He currently runs his own social work consultancy as well as managing a property portfolio. He describes himself as resourceful, dynamic and a great negotiator, but says he often becomes frustrated when people donu2019t have the same high standards as him.He says: u201cI can deliver in minus 50; I can deliver in plus 10. If we went to Mars right now, Iu2019d find a way to be excellent.u201d

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