THE pole dancing craze has taken off in Shellharbour where Princess MeMe's has a new kingdom after opening a second pole dancing fitness studio in the village in March.
There is so much demand for her beginners classes she has had to put on additional ones.
Jess Hill is blown away by the interest south of the Windang Bridge and is delighted her decision to act on impulse has borne such fruit.
But with a dozen instructors she does not want to place an undue burden on any of them and is carefully managing both centres.
Her original concept a decade ago was to open a fitness business that helps develop toned bodies and improves self esteem.
The Wollongong studio has had more than 10,000 people through its doors.
It welcomes more than 200 students a week, but Princess MeMe said the new studio in the old Workers Club building on the corner of Addison Street and Mary Street was a better space with better natural light, while still retaining privacy for those who do her classes.
The entrance is also right next to and on the same level as the car park so entering can be discreet.
In the process she has changed people's lives.
As was the case in Shellharbour, the decision to open Wollongong was also made on a whim.
Princess MeMe's Pole School was a spur of the moment decision following the birth of her second child.
"I opened the studio in May 2005," she said.
"Since then it has matured along with me," she said.
"I was only 26 when I started the business and I did not have a clue what I was doing. I just decided to open a business one day and did it.
"It was because pole dancing had started to become a buzz word in the fitness industry and it just was something I was good at."
People who come to Princess Me Me all ask if age or size matters and she says no.
Another question she is often asked is 'is everyone who comes to your pole dancing classes beautiful'?
But once she coaxes them in the door and past their own insecurities on the first visit they keep coming back for the sense of achievements they constantly get.
The Vinnies annual CEO Sleepout is being officially launched by Wollongong Lord Mayor Gordon Bradbery on Thursday morning in the Wollongong Mall.
Anyone is invited along to join the launch by bringing their sleeping bag with them.
The actual 2015 CEO Sleepout will be held from Thursday night June 18 and funds raised will support the fight against homelessness in the Illawarra.
The Super Wrestling Heroes are coming to The Dapto Ribbonwood Centre on Friday to throw a Super School Holiday spectacular for Illawarra children.
Starting at 6pm, the fun event will include stage performances, interactive games, dancing, barbecue, face painting, the famous cake-in-the-face smash routine and lucky door prizes.
Tickets at superwrestlingheroes.com.au.
SCHOOL HOLIDAY ART
Little Leonardo's Art Studio is starting its well-established daily school holiday art program on Wednesday.
Little Leonardo's was the first to do what it does in introducing a diverse range of art workshops during school holidays and has a reputation for the nurturing environment it creates for students of all ages.
The hour-long workshops cost $15 and registrations for one or more classes can be made at www.littleleonardos.com.au.
EISTEDDFOD ON WAY
The Wollongong Eisteddfod is almost here.
General sections for one of the oldest and longest-running eisteddfods in Australia close on April 10 and no late entries will be accepted.
Publicity officer Lynne Sim said volunteers were needed for duration of the eisteddfod running from May 30 to July 4.
Further information on 0400 155 745.
CANCER LINK PARADE
Wendi Leigh is doing a Community Cancer Link parade on April 17. Mrs Leigh is doing it because of her passion to help dress women who might be afflicted by cancer or other disabilities, through designing and making specific outfits.
CAPTION - Belinda Duncombe, Emma Perrow, Wendi Leigh, Julie Price and Suzanne Haddon in Wendi Leigh Designs new Mother of the Bride/Bridegroom cum Cruisewear Collection. Picture by Greg Ellis.
She says she likes to create looks that make them shine, maintain a youthful appeal and give their confidence a boost.
Chairman of The Centenary of ANZAC Committee Terry Wetherall is inviting people to register for the Centenary of Anzac Luncheon on April 23, 2015.
Mr Wetherall said the guest speaker would be Damien Thomlinson, who is an ex-commando, author, aspiring Paralympian and motivation speaker. His life was changed forever when his unit drove over an improvised Taliban bomb in 2009. Tickets at www.ticketmaster.com.au.
HOUSE OF HOPE
Cristina's House of Hope is holding its annual White and Red Dinner Dance at the Lagoon Seafood Restaurant on May 2.
Cristina Magnante-Marrello said the annual dance was the charity's biggest social event of the year.
Further information and tickets at 4284 0656.
Coledale Oysters Winter Swimming Club is preparing to celebrate its 50th anniversary on May 24.
The celebration starts with a book launch at the Coledale RSL Club at 9.30am.
SUNSHINE COAST TOUR
A leading Sunshine Coast researcher joined a group touring IRT sites recently.
Professor Marianne Wallis joined University of Sunshine Coast senior development manager Kate Evans on a tour of sites such as IRT William Beach Gardens, IRT Links Seaside and IRT Catering at Unanderra.
IRT chief executive Nieves Murray said the visit helped strengthen the relationship formed with the university since IRT entered the South East Queensland retirement living market in 2012.
April 8 — Little Leonardo’s Art Studio school holiday art workshops begin.
April 9 - Launch of the 2015 Vinnies annual CEO Sleepout in Wollongong.
Illawarra ITeC Business Basics Workshop.
April 10 — Entries close for general sections of the Wollongong Eisteddfod which runs from May 30 to July 4.
April 11 — A BreastAware Education and Empowerment Workshop at the Lagoon Seafood Restaurant will encourage women to take two hours out of their busy schedules to learn life saving techniques. Maralyn Young and the BreastAware committee work on the premise that prevention is better than a cure so that fewer women find a lump when it’s too late.
April 15 — Former Wallaby and therugbybusinessnetwork.com (RBN) convenor Adrian Skeggs is hosting the inaugural Wollongong Rugby Business Network meeting at The Atrium on the ground floor of iC Central at the Wollongong Innovation Campus with former Hungry Jack’s boss Tim Tighe and former Waratahs’ players Peter Palmer, Michael Hayes and Richard Tombs.
Shellharbour City Business Network meeting with Melissa Browne sharing five tips on growing a business.
April 17 to 19 — Bravo Team Challenge.