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by Laura Bazile

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The Peninsula Hotel in Hong Kong, a trendy spot you would choose to invite some friends for a special night. Eli Homawoo was the glamorous Manager of Salon de Ning, nested in the basement of this venue placed under the label “Let’s taste the Hong Kong lifestyle”. She is currently a Managing Partner in charge of Public Relations, Communication and Branding for Drop HK.  Drop is considered one of the top and best nightlife destinations in the city and is recognized for booking the best DJ’s and having the best music.

 

Hi Eli, Thank you very much for accepting Black Expat webzine invitation. We are delighted to have you here.

Tell us a few words about you, where you are coming from, what is your current life in Hong Kong?

I was born in Lome, Togo and went to school in several countries namely Ghana and the UK but I did most of my scholastic years in the United States. I went to boarding school at Darlington in Rome (GA) then to Hampton Universty in Hampton (VA) where I graduated with a BA in Political Science and a minor in Public Relations.

I worked in New York city for 7 years in Fine Dining and Luxury Hospitality for various establishments namely Jean Georges at the Trump International, Marcus Sammuelsson at Aquavit, the St Regis at the Essex House and Jumeirah. I then moved to Copenhagen, Denmark in August 2006 where I lived a little over year before moving to Hong Kong where I am currently residing.

What would you say was the most rewarding moment as a Black woman when you first arrived in Hong Kong?

When I first moved to Hong Kong, I never focused on the fact that I am a Black woman. When I moved here 5 years ago there were many professional Black women or men, but that was never an issue for me because I am quite comfortable in my skin. That said, if I had to choose a moment of pride, I would refer to it more as a ‘period of pride’; I am the first Black woman to work in Senior Management at The Peninsula HK where I was a Manager in Food & Beverage for 4 years. There are over 700 staff and I was the only Black person, yet I felt comfortable and content. The Peninsula HK is an exquisite establishment and I feel privileged to have worked there. My second memorable moment of pride is when I became Managing Partner of Drop HK which is the first nightclub of Hong Kong. To become a part of Drop, an establishment with a legacy that has been around for 15 years has been great.

You happen to be an avid traveler, you have lived and worked on different continents. What made you “feel like home” in your different experiences overseas? The food, the people, the culture – a combination of it all?

I have indeed had the privilege of traveling as well as living in several countries and I consider that a blessing. I have always loved to travel and still do so very much. In all the countries I have lived, there has always been something that helped it feel a little like home. I feel that no matter where you live, the people you surround yourself with help to create a small home away from home and that’s how I feel about Hong Kong. Of course I adore the city and have enjoyed almost all the destinations I have had the chance to visit, but ultimately I have always loved people, real and good people to be precise. Aside from that, I love learning about different cultures and discovering new places, food, fashion, music, etc…

You have a hectic lifestyle. Did you have time to visit places/countries around Hong Kong?

I do have a rather hectic life in Hong Kong but because of my passion for traveling I have had the opportunity to visit quite a few cities around, such as Beijing, Shanghai and Sanya in China, Phuket, Krabi and Bangkok in Thailand, Tokyo (Japan), Boracay, Cebu and Manila (in The Philippines), Kuala Lumpur (in Malaysia) and many other lovely destinations.

How do you stay connected to your culture or would you rather say you create your own?

It’s not hard to stay connected with my culture because I am close to my family. I also consider myself in many ways a ‘citizen of the world’ so I embrace other cultures as well. I find it very enriching.

What would be your piece of advice to Black Expat community members who are either traveling to Hong Kong or planning to live and work there?

To any Black Expat community member visiting Hong Kong, firstly I would say “lucky you!” because you are in for a treat. I would also invite them to be open-minded and ready to explore. I would also advise that they get a lot of rest and take vitamins because Hong Kong is the ‘NYC of Asia’ in that it never sleeps and it is packed full of energy. Lastly, I will say “don’t be afraid to engage in conversation with strangers”, because some of my best encounters were made that way and it’s a blast.

 

Laura_tbnl

 Read more from our guest writer Laura Bazile via her about me page.

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One Response to “Interview: Eli Homawoo in Hong Kong”

  1. Adrianne says:

    Looking forward to an upcoming trip to Hong Kong. Continued best with your career there.

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