Spanx billionaire reveals mortifying moment she discovered the British meaning of the word 'fanny'… live on the BBCSara Blakely on Spanx: 'It's all about the fanny. It smoothes your fanny, it lifts it, and it firms your fanny'Entrepreneur only realised lexical error when British interviewer 'went white'
17:55 GMT, 7 May 2012
She one of America's youngest self-made female billionaires, recently gracing the front cover of Forbes magazine.
But while the founder of Spanx Sara Blakley, 41, might be applauded for being business savvy she has also had her fair share of blunders.
Asked about her 'Favourite Mistake' by Newsweek, the entrepreneur revealed a mortifying moment live on the BBC during her first sales trip to the UK.
Character building: Spanx founder Sara Blakley has revealed she has had her fair share of business blunders before finding global success
'I called around and got some interest, and the BBC agreed to interview me. It was a live interview that would reach more than a million people. I was very nervous,' she tells the Daily Telegraph.
'The interviewer asked, “So Sara, tell us what Spanx can do for the women in the UK.”And I smiled really big and said, “Well, it's all about the fanny. It smoothes your fanny, it lifts it, and it firms your fanny.”
'I knew instantly I had done something seriously wrong because the interviewer had lost all the colour in his face. He stopped me and said, “I think you mean bum.” I said, “Yes, right, bum.''
'When I got off the air, I found out that fanny means vagina in England…'
While the word 'fanny' refers to female genitals in the UK, in the U.S.
and Canada it is an informal way of describing the buttocks of both men and women.
Blakley is one of America's youngest self-made female billionaires
Blakley, who originally hails from
Florida but is now based in New York, is the youngest self-made woman to
make the Forbes' Billionaires list.
She first came up with the idea for body-shaping hosiey in 1998 while putting on pants in front of the mirror and not liking her rear view.
Two years later, she founded
Atlanta-based Spanx Inc., which went on to introduce more than 200 types
of body-shaping garments — ranging from Mama Spanx to swimwear and,
most recently, Spanx for Men.
In its first year, the company, that
is still owned entirely by Ms Blakely, fetched $4million in sales with
an impressive $10million the next.
Today, Spanx is a multimillion dollar
company employing 105 staff and around
10,000 retail locations around the world stock its slimming garments.
She lists Richard Branson and Oprah Winfrey as inspirations, as they 'had nothing handed to them and made their own way'.