Living a Colourful Life with Vanessa Branson


Alex and Mimi are joined today by an important guest and great friend, Vanessa Branson.

Vanessa is the founder of Marrakech Biennale, a cutting-edge contemporary Visual Art, Literature, and Film festival in Morocco. She is the owner of Eilean Shona, a tidal island near Loch Moidart, in Scotland, She is also the owner of El Fenn a luxurious hotel in the heart of Marrakech, a trustee of the British Moroccan Society and a trustee for the Virgin Unite, a charitable arm of Virgin. If you’ve not guessed it yet, she is also the sister of the Infamous Richard Branson.

Alex and Mimi first met Vanessa while hiking Ben Nevis, the highest peaked mountain range in Britain. No mean feat for someone just about to turn 60 years old. Vanessa tackled it like a pro, she can leave people half her age breathless in her tracks with how fit and full of energy she is. Vanessa believes we owe it to ourselves, our families and the bodies we were born into to keep ourselves oiled and running properly.

In this episode we chat about her up and coming memoir that she has just penned and awaiting its release. As a child to world war 2 survivors, it’s possible you’ll never hear Vanessa complain about anything, from the cold of snow capped mountains to the rain in London, she pays tribute to how much her parents suffered. And explores how a tough upbringing shaped hers and her brothers mindset, allowing them the confidence to become the super entrepreneurs they are.

As an active voice on climate change, she shares how Trump getting elected prompted an emotional reaction, so deep and fearful, that she had to ask ‘where in the world are we headed?’. This was the catalyse of her new book. And she started with telling the story of her a Father, a man who was always a beaming source of happiness and inspiration. Someone that could provide her the hope that she needed in that moment.


“It was as if i were scraping my fingers across the sediment of the river of my life, these bubbles were surfacing, I just started catching them. From that point doors just started opening” - Vanessa

Her exploration of her past lead to enlightenment as people from came back into the picture and memories were re-lived. Finding old letters from her first love in boarding school, transported her back to being a 16 year old. She reminds us that we simply don’t re-read emails, of the magic of putting pen to paper. A skill that came in handy all those years ago when she writing to artists when she opened a gallery in her 20’s


“When the strands and strings of your life’s experiences come together to weave a tapestry that you like the look of” - Vanessa

Here’s what else we get into and so much more:

  • Can ‘Cruel to be Kind’ parenting make billionaires

  • How a dead pony incident led to Vanessa’s independence

  • Having no limits on her childhood allowed the Branson’s to reach for the sky

  • Why we have to take risks and jump into cold water

  • Turning what she didn’t like about hotels into a passion for design

  • Befriending, respecting and trusting your employees

  • Live like the Quakers and ‘See Good in Others’

Books from this episode:
The Surrender Experiment - My Journey into Life's Perfection by Michael A Singer

Letting Go - The Pathway of Surrender by David R. Hawkins MD PhD

Designed to inspire you to live your own dream life.

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Hope you enjoyed this week’s episode with Vanessa Branson, you can find out more about her here:


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Produced by Jason Sanderson - Podcast Tech