Apprentice champion Sian Gabbidon has said she did not let racist taunts in her childhood hold her back from achieving her dreams.
The swimwear fashion brand owner, who is mixed race, also said she wishes she had had somebody like the Duchess of Sussex to aspire to when she was younger.
She said she hopes her own story can inspire the young girls of today after winning Lord Sugar’s investment in the BBC One business series, which concluded in December.
Gabbidon, 26, told Hello! magazine that she believe Meghan is “massively inspiring” as a role model.
Recalling her childhood in Leeds, Gabbidon said: “I noticed I was often the only mixed-race girl in the class, or one of very few. There were times I got racially abused but it never held me back.
“Now, when I look at Meghan Markle, I think if there had been someone like her back in the day, doing what she is doing, it would have been massively inspiring.”
She added: “I like to think that hopefully there are girls like me who are looking at my story, and thinking ‘I can achieve that’, and that is something very close to my heart.”
Gabbidon, who beat nut milk brand owner Camilla Ainsworth in the series finale, said she has “always put Lord Sugar very highly” as a role model.
“I love how he is on the show and I have come to love him even more since becoming his partner and working more closely with him on things,” she added.
Of her business, which will see her launch her new Tropical Goddess swimwear collection, she said: “I always loved fashion and wanted to have my own business.
“But I didn’t have much money to put into it and I was starting from scratch at home.”
Gabbidon praised her partner Clint Gordon, a property entrepreneur, for inspiring her to go into business.
She said she was 19 when they met and that she was impressed when she saw what he was doing.
“It is definitely Clint who inspired me to go down the business route,” she said.
Hello! magazine is out now.