Model manager has got the X Factor
This entrepreneur loves the iDrive on her BMW X5 but has her sights set on a modern classic
A sparkling black BMW X5 pulls into the car park, the door opens and, following a pair of long, brown legs, comes the rest of high-flying entrepreneur Kelly Mackinnon, who disembarks gracefully from the vehicle in a black dress and high heels.
Introducing herself as a carbon credit trader, media advertising executive and model agency manager, this business hotshot was raised in Essex, England, and has lived in Dubai for more than four years.
Having arrived in the city armed with experience selling optics, she has quickly shot up the career ladder and recently bought the X5 to complement her image and job, which keeps her on the road day and night.
"This BMW is like a model carrier as I'm regularly driving glamorous girls all over Dubai and Abu Dhabi," she says.
"It can cause a bit of a scene when guys pull up beside my car and it's full of stunning women.
"I've already counted four different occasions where men have followed us, driving close to the side of my car, with their windows down trying to engage us in conversation, but I leave them in a cloud of dust."
With an edge of truth in her voice, Mackinnon laughs: "Perhaps I should darken the windows as it's an accident waiting to happen."
And it transpires an accident has already happened when her fiance, Darren, was sent to collect some food. "Having been sent to our favourite takeaway - the delicious Ravi's restaurant in Satwa - he drove around a lorry and caught the side of my beautiful car on the loading bay which was sticking out the back end," Mackinnon says.
"I was absolutely devastated and it took me a while to forgive him."
She confessed she has already racked up more than 10 speeding fines since buying the car in December and blames the powerful 4.8L engine, which has significantly more grunt than her previous car - a standard hired Ford Focus.
It soon became clear her favourite feature of the SUV is the iDrive, as she proceeded to demonstrate the technology that came as part of the fully loaded version of the X5 she paid Dh250,000 for. The iDrive is a computer system that controls most of the car's secondary systems using a LCD panel on the dashboard and a controller on the centre console.
"This is a great gadget where I can control the climate, music, sat/nav and take calls over the speakerphone," she enthuses.
"I absolutely love it and, considering I spend so much time in my car meeting clients and on the phone organising girls for events and shoots throughout Dubai and Abu Dhabi, it really makes my life easier."
Mackinnon also thinks the BMW's cooling seats are another great feature, as many of her shoots are outdoors on location. "It's important the ladies in the car are kept cool and looking perfect when heading between jobs - especially me. The weather's just hit 45 degrees, so heading back into a furnace after a shoot does not work well with perfectly styled hair, make-up and designer dresses."
Having only recently shelled out the cash for the X5, Mackinnon already has her sights on something else and, quite unexpectedly, professes her love for a modern British classic. "The BMW is stylish, sleek and fashionable, like my models," she says. "It's also big and bold and makes a statement, but I've already got my eye on something much sexier.
"It has to be the TVR Tuscan - ever since I saw one in the film Swordfish, where John Travolta and Hugh Jackman use it to get away from a gang of hitmen, I've never been able to get its alluring curves out of my head."
Finding a TVR in the UAE could be one of the most challenging models Mackinnon has ever tried to get on her books.
Published: August 11, 2011 04:00 AM