A Dubizzle employee and a PR worker won Societe Dubai's Best Job in the UAE competition, which drew to a close on Wednesday night at a special season-closing party in the Dubai Marina nightclub.
It was attended by all 18 of the shortlisted finalists as well as an audience of around 400 revellers.
As previously reported, more than 1,000 people entered the Best Job in the UAE competition, which was looking for two people, one male and one female, to fly around the world at Societe’s expense and document their adventures as brand ambassadors for an online travelogue series. The shortlisted entrants had all submitted a short video to further their cause and were anxiously waiting to find out who would walk away with a pocket full of airline tickets.
As the clock struck midnight, Societe Dubai’s director Gary Holliday announced that Olly Lewis, a Dubizzle employee from Swansea, Wales, and Claudia Klingbeil, a German PR, would be going to the ball as Societe’s debutante global brand ambassadors and, appropriately for a club that prides itself on its mixed clientele, the two seemed to have taken very different approaches to their entries.
Lewis, who has no previous experience of filmmaking, says: “I was just messing around with my phone, really, I took lots of random videos at various points in Dubai and just chucked it all together. It was a kind of a selfie video all around Dubai that I put some music over and that was really it.”
Klingbeil notes that Lewis’s approach was somewhat more laid-back than her own.
“That sounds so much easier than mine,” she laughs. “I bought a GoPro at the beginning of the year and I went to different countries and used my GoPro all the time. When I saw the competition I took all my raw GoPro footage, cut it, edited it, put music over it. I have skydiving, paragliding, children in orphanages, a safari in Tanzania. It was meant to be a 30-second clip, but I might have gone a little bit over. Maybe it’s because I’m German, but I do like to pay attention to detail and if I have a job to do, I like to do it right.”
The competition came at a lucky time for Klingbeil, who reveals that her ample footage was the result of a recent three-month travelling break, although she says her ambitions to see the world have been largely curtailed by work commitments over the six years she has been living in the UAE. Unsurprisingly, a love of travelling is something she shares with her fellow ambassador Lewis, who himself recently spent a gap year travelling. Both can now look forward to documenting visits to Sri Lanka, Thailand, Jordan, Turkey, Nepal and Lebanon in their new role. Lewis says: “I’m really looking forward to the experience as I’ve never been to any of the locations before. I think Petra is probably at the top of my list. My parents went there and said it’s amazing, but it’s hard to pick a favourite out of those places.”
Klingbeil is in agreement. “I’ve always really wanted to go there, plus my mother is called Petra, but there are so many great places on the list,” she says.
As well as representing Societe Dubai around the globe, the competition’s organisers will presumably be hoping to gather online views for the videos the pair come home with and Lewis is confident he and his new co-presenter can come up with the goods.
“It sounds like we’re both quite adventurous so we’ll get fully involved in the activities we take part in all the locations, keep it humorous and hopefully do it justice,” he says.
Holliday says with Societe Dubai now due to close over Ramadan, the pair can have a month to collect their thoughts and digest the reality of their new roles, as well as make tentative holiday requests to their employers. The duo will meet up with the club’s managers after the Holy Month to begin planning their first adventure, tentatively in August or early September.
• To watch the winning videos, visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=DUdTc0UMjC8 and www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFLmM9Gu0a8