Wednesday 31 May 2023 1:32pm

Pippty Pop - image
Pip Milford-Hughes, aka Pippity-Pop, with Brontosaurus Dave, one of her creations for the reality game show Blow Up.

Winning a national game show with her impressive balloon twisting skills has given Pip Milford-Hughes plenty to smile about.

But that's never been a problem for the children's entertainer and play therapist – known as Pippity-Pop – who also works as a research assistant in the Department of Women's and Children's Health, Dunedin School of Medicine.

“In a previous job I was told by my supervisor, 'if there's any hilarity in this office, you are always at the centre of it'. Sadly, he didn't see it as a good thing.

“It always makes me smile to think that now I'm being paid to provide colour and fun, and hilarity!”

Mrs Milford-Hughes works part time in diabetes research and as well as carrying out administration, she also entertains patients to take their minds off medical procedures.

In April, she won the TV Three reality game show Blow Up and says being on the show was “like a different world”.

While Mrs Milford-Hughes knew she would be pushing herself hard, she wasn't prepared for so many cameras and interviews, and the extremely long days. She really enjoyed the experience though and the reason she took part was to show what goes into creating balloon art.

“I always undersell myself, so it's so lovely to get messages from people, saying they had no idea of the cost, time and creativity that's involved in turning a simple piece of latex into something really unique and special.”

Pippty Pop win - image
Pippity-Pop takes her place on the throne after winning reality game show Blow Up.

Mrs Milford-Hughes says she was honoured to have won the competition. It meant a great deal, given she was representing the South Island and all the people who had supported her, especially her family and friends.

“I'm sure I experienced every emotion in that split second.”

Her fascination with balloon art began when she was about eight years old and saw a balloon twister at a local A & P show. Mesmerised, she spent all her show money on three balloon animals and persuaded the balloon twister to sell her some balloons so she could remake the designs at home. It was difficult to buy twisting balloons back then so it was years later before she could reignite the passion and 'Pippity Pop! – Balloonologist' was born.

“Twisting is an art form that also entertains – and your guests get to take a little of the magic home with them.”

- Kōrero by Andrea Jones, Team Leader, Divisional Communications

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