Tell us more about yourself
I am Yvonne, most people call me Von. I used to be a teacher for 7 years before entering corporate life in recruitment. Throughout my career, I've always loved dancing and took up pole in 2012. I used to learn and teach dancesport as a CCA when I was a public servant, so dance has always been a large part of my life.
I fell in love with pole because of the beautiful tricks, grace and strength involved in the sport. Its like combining gymnastics and dance all-in-one, and once I started, I was hooked! As I progressed in my pole journey, I started realising that I really enjoyed helping other polers unlock a new trick or tip.
My background as a teacher allowed me to break down moves and give hints and cues to people. Whenever I was able to help someone achieve a new trick, I've always felt a sense of satisfaction that I was able to help them understand their own bodies and give them the tools to do it themselves. Throughout my years in pole, I've never forgotten how it was like to start as a newbie student, and the intimidation of a new class or trick.
As a teacher, I've always been passionate about helping others, so, eventually, I took a leap of faith and started my own pole studio. I wanted to blend my love for teaching and meeting new people into one! Thus, DIVA was born.
My philosophy at DIVA has always been about creating an inclusive community, because pole can be for everyone and anyone! As the Mama of DIVA pole, I've always taught my other instructors the importance of being able to break down a trick, and the technique of proper spotting. I always want all my students to feel safe in my classes.
In my free time, you can catch me lazing by the pool, by the beach, or where there is a general spot of sunlight. If I'm not there, I'm probably sneaking in a mouthful of cheese by my fridge!
Tell us more about your business in an elevator pitch
Diva Pole Academy offers a safe space for everyone - man or woman, who wants to let their hair down and explore themselves. Whether you prefer the acrobatics of tricks, or the sensuality of heelwork or exotic dance, I highly believe that our space is a no judgement zone. We offer Pole, Striptease and Flexibility classes so there is something for everyone, We also offer private lessons if you prefer a more customised learning experience, or more one-on-one time with an instructor to get you to the next level.
Why did you choose to do this?
At one point of time, I was working multiple jobs and teaching pole was the one thing that didn’t feel like work for me. I get a sense of fulfilment watching my students grow stronger and becoming more confident in themselves.
What was the inspiration behind your business?I am just one pole teacher, but I wanted to start an inclusive studio with other like-minded teachers who believe in the same thing as me. As a teacher, I believe that giving confidence to your students is one of the best things you can give - because you're teaching them that they can! Anyone can pole, no matter what - as long as you believe in yourself.
How do you see your business impacting other women?
I hope every single lady who stepped into DIVA will learn something different about themselves. Learn to appreciate their bodies, their strength and not belittle themselves.
How do you think you can uplift the community?
I hope that DIVA along with the other pole studios in Singapore can develop Pole Dance as a more mainstream art form while acknowledging the origins of pole dancing. Sensuality and sexuality is a part of ourselves, after all, and I believe that we should celebrate this, instead of hide it away. Hiding things can create bigger problems later on.
Do you collaborate with other women? If so, how and why? If not, is that something you'll consider exploring in the near future?
Yes! Diva have collaborated with other women-owned businesses such as Firenight Apparel and Rebelle Activewear. We are definitely looking to expand to work with more women-owned businesses to promote the synergy within the community. One day, I hope to even be able to collaborate with other pole studios - I hope that we can come together to create collaborations that support our strengths in the business, and uplift each other, and our small little Singaporean community :)
Any wise words for other women looking to venture into running a business?
Trust your gut and try not to let your insecurities override your decisions. Also, consistency, and finding a balance between work and play, is key. You don't want to burn out. Running a business is constant - its blood, sweat, and many tears. After the joy of opening night, there is a lot of grind involved. It is not glamorous at all, but the results are all worth it. Being able to collaborate with my other DIVA instructors, seeing my students progress, and collaborating with my pole idols from across the world - and supporting them too - has all been worth it.