"my friend sent me a photo of me on a giant billboard"
A Welsh woman has opened up on her glitzy Bollywood dancing career that saw her travelling across India and performing in TV adverts and music videos.
Swansea-based Emma Bolton started dancing aged three and dreamt of a career in showbiz.
But she did not know that she was destined to leave behind her Welsh roots in favour of Bollywood glamour and see her face on billboards across India.
As her day-to-day life in Mumbai consisted of music videos, TV adverts and performing at live events, there was no downtime for Emma.
She revealed: “We would get a message the night before and had to pack our bags to travel wherever the next day.
“I did one job where we thought it was just a small photoshoot and the next day my friend sent me a photo of me on a giant billboard, which was very strange to see.”
Emma moved to Essex at the age of 18 to train at Performers College where she studied for four years.
Essex provided a glimpse of how things could be different and Emma had everything to prove, with college alumni starring in the West End.
Her first job with TUI increased Emma’s passion for travel and performance.
This inspired her to teach dance to children in Beijing.
Then came an opportunity for her to work in Mumbai.
An initial six-month contract turned into a two-year stay and Emma was able to travel all over India.
She worked as a cheerleader for the Indian Premier League, racking up 60 flights in one year.
During her time in India, she explored parts that many never get to see.
Emma told Daily Post: “There were also lots of ridiculous costumes.
“I was once asked to greet guests with a lampshade on my head.”
However, it was not always glamorous.
Emma revealed that there were 20-hour days on set and hours spent in high temperatures and full costume whilst waiting to perform.
In 2020, Emma’s adventures in Mumbai were cut short as she returned to the UK on a government repatriation flight due to Covid-19.
She currently has a successful career in PR and communication.
But Emma hopes she can return to India one day to visit the friends she made there.
She added: “The only regret for me is that I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to people in India before I left.
“I had to just go straight away… we had built such a lovely little community.”