Hi, I'm Sapphira, the founder of Sapphira's Showgirls is a burlesque dance academy that takes students beyond the classroom and out into the exciting entertainment industry.
Oh, and we love Sir Richard Branson.
Why did I started Sapphira's Showgirls?
This is a picture of me at 8 years old, I knew at this early age all I wanted to do was be a singer and dancer.
An entrepreneur from the outset, I entered myself in local talent quests and won two of them at the age of 17.
Tragedy struck at the age of 21, due to a huge amout of personal stress, I had a catastrophic mental breakdown and was hospitalised involuntarily in the high dependency unit of a psychiatric ward. I was told I was one of the most severe cases of bi-polar disorder the doctor's had seen.
When I recovered, I escaped to London and reinventented myself. Armed with stage name, dancing beneath the glittering night lights of the underground cabaret circuit, I found strength.
Sapphira was born.
I realised I could help other women who had body confidence issues or had experienced mental illness by sharing my experiences. I took the money I had saved to buy a house to start dance school and also record my first album.
Now seven year's later, Sapphira's Showgirls has taught 15,000 women and we have had 30 contracted dance teachers and performers on our books. What sets our dance school apart is that we are committed to taking students beyond the classroom and out into the entertainment industry. This is because I believe there is a break-through moment for a woman when she sees herself captured on TV or printed in the press that is profound and boosts self-confidence immeasurably.
Our Sir Richard Branson Tribute
I began campaigning to meet Sir Richard Branson when I wanted to take a core group of girls from Melbourne, my hometown, to London to show them the exciting burlesque scene in the major capital city.
Initially, it was just a joke.
I launched My Heart Belongs To Branson on Valentine's Day 2013. A YouTube tribute asking for flights for my dance troupe.
When got a response from Sir Richard, I was inpsired. I began reading more about him.
I loved his unconventional way of doing business.
Since that time, every year on Valentine's Day I have continued my tribute to Sir Richard and I have attended events that his business creates to support entrepreneurs like me.
Now the My Heart Belongs To Branson campaign has involved over 250 people in 6 cities as well as 3 World Records, I'm honoured to have been on the front page of the paper 3 times with Sir Richard.
I recently entered Sapphira's Showgirls in the UK wide entrepreneur search, Pitch To Rich and he tweeted a personal note of encouragement.
I nearly dropped my phone!
Help me raise £250
Now Sir Richard will be in London on the 3rd of October and I have started this page to raise the funds to purchase a ticket.
I hope I can at last meet my idol and learn from his wisdom in business.