The results are in for the APDM Top 50 for 2017! This is a list of the Top 50 most influential people in the Australian pole community for 2017 as voted by you.

Our aim with this list is to create a platform which allows you to show your appreciation for members of the community who have influenced you in some way. Be it through opening/running a studio, putting on a pole competition, coaching you, creating wonderful and inspiring costumes, taking beautiful images, being an inspirational performer, or even being the friendly receptionist always ready to help. So many people are making amazing contributions to our local community!

For this reason you may not know all of our Top 50, but rest assured they are doing great things in their corner of the country, and have touched many people with their work. We are proud to give you this opportunity to show them how much people appreciate their tireless efforts.

While we were flooded with votes we also know that not everyone will agree with the results. With so many contributors in the Australian pole community it is impossible to pay tribute to them all! Many small business owners, studio owners, event organisers, photographers, performers and teachers will not feature in this years Top 50 although several hundred people received votes.

We will be revealing the Top 50 in parts, ten people at a time. Here is the fourth installment.


20. Emma Salmon

Emma Salmon has been in the industry for seven years poling at Bobbi’s, but is best known for her photographs of some of the top pole dancers in Australia under her business name, The Black Light. When she wasn’t photographing one of over six hundred pole dancers at her studio shoots, she was found in hotel rooms, at beaches and various locations in Australia shooting pole dancers and models alike. In 2017 Emma had published features in Penthouse Australia and Penthouse USA and even shot the 2018 Penthouse Calendar. She also launched The Black Light coffee-table book which is a collection of her favourite shoots, as well as releasing her own merchandise range of tank tops.


19. Gem


Gem, aka Gemma Bardsley is the brainchild behind G-force Pole and Fitness, as well as the East Coast Pole Cruise. 2017 saw her running the fourth annual East Coast Pole Cruise and launched Pole Cruise USA. She also spent loads of time coaching and choreographing for her students in a variety of competitions throughout the year resulting in three of her students taking out first place, six of them taking second place, and two achieving a third place. Gem herself was a finalist in Pole Theatre Sydney – Pole Art, Pole Candy Pro and MPDNSW.

18. Felix Cane

Producer of competitions FCPC and FCAPC, and owner of the Felix Cane Pole Academy in Perth, her lucky students have access to the queen herself for around twenty classes per week. Aside from running the two competitions, her studio and her regular classes, she also spends around ten hours doing privates and coaching, yet still manages somehow to find time to fly all over Australia and internationally – last year teaching workshops in Sydney, Melbourne, Spain and Scotland. She judged the Alex Pole Championships and MPDA, was a guest performer at the Pride parade and a featured pole artist at Fringeworld. She also guest performed at Pole Theatre Sydney and in the opening number of Miss Pole Dance Australia. This woman truly is a living legend.


17. Mischka

Brand ambassador for Tatiana Active and contender for hottest woman alive, Mischka had a very busy competition year – performing at VPC, Pole Theatre, MPDV, APC, and MPDA, as well as being awarded First Runner Up at the inaugural Vortex competition. With her exercise rehab background she is a much loved and valued member of the teaching team at Pole Divas Moonee Ponds, recently making the decision to leave her day job and go full time teaching and coaching for PDMP. Mischka also travelled to Vietnam and ran some workshops there for the lucky locals while she was on holidays!


16. Miss Dani

Miss Dani aka Dani Blyszak is the founder and owner of Studio Pole where she coaches and mentors students in competition training. She also runs Hardcore Pole Dancing Championships which ran it’s 4th event last year. She has been poling for over 8 years and is a member of the Australian Pole Competition Committee. She competed in MPDNSW placing 2nd runner up earning her a spot in MPDA where she won the ‘Peoples Choice Award’ for her Barbie routine. Dani competed overseas for the first time in Singapore at the Asia Pole Championships as well as teaching workshops at Australian Pole Expo. She judged several competitions around Australia including APC.

15. Gracie

Gracie Buntine is no stranger to the stage and 2017 was no exception. She travelled all around Australia and the world performing, judging and teaching. She competed in FCPC, taught on East Coast Pole Cruise and at NZ Pole Camp. She was even flown to Poland to judge and perform at VFPC. Gracie did very well on the comp scene last year placing First Runner Up in MPDA and winning the professional Pole Art division at Pole Theatre. While Gracie is a passionate performer, her true passion lies in helping others achieve their performance goals. She has been developing her coaching style and is focusing much more on performance coaching for pole competitions.


14. Brad Edwards

Brad Edwards needs no introduction. He is at just about every single competition and event in Australia taking the photos you see plastered on all your pole idols Facebook and Instagram pages. 2017 was a relatively quiet year for Brad in comparison to other years but he still managed to get amongst the action shooting at twenty-one events and twenty-six studios all around Australia. Some of the competitions he shot included Dance Filthy Sydney, MPDA, Pole Theatre Sydney and Pole Candy. Brad saw over five hundred performances between all the events he attended and took forty-eight flights around Australia to get to them all. He also shot privately for over thirty clients.

13. Lisa D

Lisa had a busy year in the pole industry in 2017. She took home first place in the Comedy division of Pole Theatre Sydney for her hilarious horror-comedy romp as Freddy Krueger and judged over 500 competition routines at events including VPC, SAPC, Dance Filthy, Frisk, Vortex and PCS. She continued to act as a prominent industry commentator, raising important issues and discussion points for exploration. She toured to teach at numerous studios around Australia and New Zealand and gained popularity as an exotic performer, coaching and workshopping in her distinct #lisaexotic style. She also undertook further training in Boulder, Colorado at Marlo Fisken and Ken Kao’s ‘AnthroPole-ogy’ 10-day movement seminar.


12. Karla Richmond

Karla is the owner and manager of Addictive Pole Fitness Underwood in Queensland. She had a huge year in 2017, franchising her studio which now has three locations, and running/judging the Addictive in-house competitions “KISS IT”, and “KISS IT ~ Dirty”, where competitors are encouraged to be unapologetically sexual goddesses. She created the successful “Addictive Curves” program which encourages plus-size women to take up pole dancing to build self-confidence and celebrate their curves. She also became a Master Trainer for IPDFA PolePro and ran courses in Brisbane and Adelaide. On top of this, Karla produced the inaugural Pole Theatre Amateur Australia, and still managed to teach around ten classes each week!


11. Maddie Sparkle

In 2017 Maddie worked on making Dance Filthy, Pole Theatre, Step up, Pole Club and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, bigger and better than ever. She instructed and ran Summer Pole Camp at Bondi Beach, and toured internationally teaching workshops in Europe and the USA. She guest performed at Pole Theatre Greece, Brazil and USA as well as Pole Show LA in Las Vegas. On top of all this, she also competed in MPDA. Last year Maddie worked on building up the Alexandria Pole Dance Academy studio after the big move from Redfern, and this is now where she teaches almost every night. She also spent a lot of last year filming for as new set of tutorials that will be released in mid 2018.