How many women go from a childhood of poverty to dating Elvis Presley to marrying a billionaire -- and then go on to launch a global collectible doll empire worth millions? (I could go on.) My life has been filled with both trials and triumphs, great challenges and great successes. Through it all, I've developed both an appreciation for the small things, and a keen sense for the next opportunity. If there's been one constant in my life, it's that starting over at any age is possible.
I grew up in dysfunctional home, dropping out school in the 7th grade -- not the best start, right? I got married at 16 and, at 19, was left homeless and alone. But with lots of determination and a little luck, three months later I landed my first starring role in a movie. It wasn't long before I was working regularly in both TV film. (The irony is that my life story is better than some of the movies I was in!) As part of the celebrity lifestyle, I dated Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and other entertainment heavyweights.
Then, at 25, I married billionaire Dwight Stuart, president and heir to the Carnation fortune. Sounds like a fairytale, right? But there's always a twist: Certainly, I lived like a princess -- one in a gilded cage -- but I learned that all the money in the world doesn't matter if you don't know what's truly important.
I divorced after a few years, penniless, uneducated and with no career prospects. But neither the marriage nor the divorce stifled my entrepreneurial instincts -- and I did manage to learn a thing or two about business during my stint as a rich man's wife. And I had always loved dolls.
I eventually established a vintage Barbie Doll empire, a million-dollar business that had me traveling the world, overseeing dozens of employees and building a mail-order client case of more than 40,000 collectors. I found not only a business opportunity, but also my voice. As a rising female entrepreneur, I became a spokesperson for the dreams of countless other women, appearing on hit talk shows such as "Oprah" and "The Montel Williams Show" and in the pages of the L.A. Times and the National Enquirer. My mission: to inspire and educate others on how to overcome adversity and emerge on the other side of life with confidence, self-esteem and true happiness. And a lot of Barbies.
Today, I use my story and insight on a personal level to offer one-on-one business consultation, life coaching and inspiring talks to select groups. Whether you're a single mom with a dream or a serial entrepreneur struggling with your next big idea, I can help light the path ahead -- or just a light a fire under you!