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Shaynna Blaze’s heartbreaking personal revelation in Celebrity Apprentice finale

Design queen Shaynna Blaze swept to a resounding victory during last night’s Celebrity Apprentice finale, earning almost half a million dollars for her charity, Voice of Change.

Design queen Shaynna Blaze swept to a resounding victory during last night’s Celebrity Apprentice finale, earning almost half a million dollars for her charity, Voice of Change.

In a radio interview this morning, Blaze explained the dealings unseen on screen that helped her earn a massive $326,000 from her final charity gala, with an “anonymous corporate donor” not present at the event helping secure the record-breaking win.

And as she revealed during the episode, she had a deeply personal reason for raising funds for the fledgling domestic violence not-for-profit organisation, which lists her as its “Co-founder, Director, Chairperson”.

“I haven’t had the best time in a lot of relationships, but I am not defined by what has been done to me,” she said, revealing that she had personally experienced domestic violence in her past.

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Later, during her final boardroom pitch to Lord Alan Sugar, and with her emotional adult son and daughter watching on, Blaze further explained that she had not been left “unscathed” by the scourge of domestic violence.

“This is my past and my personal life … I want other women out there to know that you can have a voice and there are people out there who want to give you a voice. You can still live a great life, be successful and still keep your integrity no matter what happens to you.”

Blaze appeared overcome with emotion when it was revealed she’d raised a grand total of $475,000 acros the season for Voice for Change, her new charity which she said had “zero dollars” in the coffers when she started the show. “This will save lives, so this is amazing,” she said.

In an interview with Nine published after the show aired, Blaze gave further detail about her own experience with domestic violence.

“It comes in many different forms of verbal, coercive, physical and financial control, which I’ve experienced,” she told 9Entertainment.

“It’s something that I didn’t know how to handle. I didn’t know what to do. All these things happen very slowly and get confused with what love actually is.”

Twice-married Blaze told the outlet the abuse she suffered did not happen during her childhood or in a recent relationship, but rather a “time earlier in her life”.

“The shame stops you moving forward. I think that’s the biggest thing. Not being able to communicate properly and not being able to get rid of the shame of what it is makes you struggle to move out of the situation,” she said.

“There is no shame against it because in the end you weren’t the person that did it.”

How Shaynna made such huge money

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Even Blaze herself seemed stunned when the final figures from her fundraising event were announced during last night’s boardroom: She’s raised an incredible $326,000 at the event, dwarfing comedian Ross Noble’s impressive $83,500 takings for his final challenge.

Viewers were shocked too, given they watched the event’s charity auction get off to a slow start, with a $10,000 diamond ring initially struggling to attract bidders.

Blaze explained on-air with Fitzy and Wippa this morning that a mysterious corporate donor had helped her reach her final, massive amount.

“It’s a corporate company that wants to remain anonymous, but it literally blew me out of the water – and the competition,” she said of her biggest donor.

“They phoned through, so we had a person (on the phone) taking large corporate donations while we were doing the auction. I mean, we were trying to sell face cream for $100: ‘Sell, sell!’”

She said they ended up earning around $120,000 to 130,000 from the auction, with the rest coming in from corporate donations.

Fitzy jokingly asked if Blaze had made sure the anonymous donor wasn’t last season’s mysterious Block buyer, the woman who purchased one of the couple’s houses only to flee Australia after the deal fell through.

“I know the money’s in my bank account, so it definitely wasn’t her,” she said.

What is Shaynna’s charity?

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Blaze’s charity Voice of Change “supports arts-based projects that give a voice to people experiencing, or who have experienced, family violence and their families in an effort to champion meaningful education about – and action against – family violence”.

Artists and mentors listed on its website include The Block co-creator Julian Cress, actress Michala Banas and singer Gary Pinto. Its currently listed projects are a movie and an installation both titled The Fort, which “tells the story of a mother living with family violence who creates a fort for her son that enables them to escape to a series of fantasy worlds”.

Speaking to Fitzy and Wippa this morning, Blaze explained how she was moved to co-found the charity while working on the film.

“The last five years, watching the news and seeing the amount of women that have been murdered, and their children … it’s just been intense, and it just kept getting stronger and stronger. As we were making this movie about domestic violence, the charity just naturally came about – it wasn’t something I went ahead to do, it was something I just had to do,” she said.

“It’s changing who we are as people, as a community. We’re all guilty of bystanding in some way, and we need to change – and that’s what Voice of Change is about.”

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