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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 19 August 2018

Day in the life: A star-studded career

Celebrity PR and marketing specialist Sarah Omolewu works long hours to fit in with her clients. Her 14-hour working day is manageable though, as she only needs six hours of sleep.
Sarah Omolewu of Maven Marketing & Events brings celebrities to Dubai to work with local companies. Sarah Dea / The National
Sarah Omolewu of Maven Marketing & Events brings celebrities to Dubai to work with local companies. Sarah Dea / The National

Sarah Omolewu has worked with dozens of celebrities throughout her career and counts many of their managers as personal friends. As managing partner for Maven Marketing & Events, the American brings celebrities to Dubai to support the marketing, communications and corporate social responsibility campaigns of companies here. She has recently orchestrated appearances by top US basketball players Kobe Bryant and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and worked with companies including Mubadala and Etihad Airways. She speaks about a typical work day which begins around the same time many others in the city are arriving at the office, but often ends some 14 hours later.

6.30am

I get up. I am a complete morning person. My mind is active and the first thing I do is go to the gym. And then I come out on my terrace. I have a beautiful view of Burj Khalifa. I do my morning meditation there. It’s excellent for balance and I have realised that it really helps me begin the day very centred and focused.

8.30am

I get to work. My mind is very sharp and I write quickly and get a lot of things done so I fire off emails and plan my day. I was headhunted to come here, so Dubai found me. I love it. I have been here five-and-a-half years. I have been able to travel the world because, obviously, Dubai is so close to so many exciting destinations. Being in the States, you could never imagine doing a weekend trip to Hong Kong.

10am

This is when we typically have our team briefings. Right now we are launching Maven Distribution with a focus on bringing or expanding celebrity fashion brands to Dubai and the region.

10.30am

It sounds very clichéd but there truly is no average day. I might meet with one of the luxury retail outlets. I look at the layout of where the clothes would be displayed, things of that nature.

12.30pm

I have lunch with the media. It’s very important for us to maintain strong relationships with the media. When a celebrity comes to Dubai, we put together a very solid PR and marketing campaign that really enhances their presence and brand recognition in the region. We have to choose celebrities who are very personable and enjoy what they do and understand that they are basically being an ambassador for a brand. Particularly in Dubai, a lot of our clients, the families, are worth billions … many are worth more than the celebrities themselves. So a stuck up attitude doesn’t work. There obviously are the diva celebrities but we just tend not to work with them.

2pm

I meet with my attorney because we have a number of celebrity contracts currently under way. I would rather not name them. Once we have a client who is interested in booking a celebrity we manage the contract, negotiate the terms of the agreement. What the celebrity is required to do while they are here, obviously their fee – things of that nature and their rider as well.

3pm

We have a big event for New Year’s Eve, a big celebrity event. I go to the venue with the client and run through the programme as well as look at where the screens are, how the branding is going to appear on the screens. Something big that we always need to be aware of when looking at venues is the security entrance and exit points for the celebrity, potential risks. People who attend these events just go and are completely unaware of all the thought and the planning that goes into these events, particularly with celebrities.

5pm

I go back to the office and finish off any pending emails.

6.30pm

I leave work. I don’t stay in the office too late.

7.30pm

I typically attend a launch event or a gala dinner; it is a way for me to network … and see what the market is leaning towards. It’s almost research.

9.30pm

I get home and schedule my conference calls with Los Angeles or Atlanta with celebrity management because that’s when they start waking up. I really love what I do and I think when you enjoy what you do it doesn’t necessarily seem like work.

10pm

I finish off pending emails and unwind, either by watching a movie or reading a book.

12am

I am in bed. Six hours of sleep a day is all you need.

business@thenational.ae

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