In Conversation with: Desree Chikavanga
I am an ambitious, strong willed and mostly (chuckles) confident woman. I was born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe. I have brothers and sisters, though I am my parents' first girl, so I have the honour of being an example to the girls, lol. I went to Daramombe High School, which is a missionary boarding school in Chivhu for 6 years and thereafter proceeded to study for my first degree at the University of Zimbabwe. I am a proud mum to two boys.
What are you most passionate about in life?
My family and my goals.
How did you get to become Cabin Crew?
Well, firstly I researched on what it took to become a cabin crew. I went on YouTube and online to research the pros, cons and qualifications one needed because different airlines have different requirements. For example, some airlines will require you to be at a healthy BMI, a specific height, no visible scars, tattoos, gaps in teeth and so on. So, after becoming aware of the company's expectations I began working on firstly my grooming (how to apply makeup and style hair according to the expected standard) and the skills expected on the job (luckily for me, I had worked extensively with people in service, so this was a little adjustment). Of course, as I prepared myself, I made my application for the job and started working on interview questions and how best to answer them. Getting an opportunity to be Cabin Crew is not so easy. If you are applying for an international airline, you face competition from all over the world.
What advice would you offer to those looking to become a Cabin Crew member?
Be aware of what a specific airline wants. Ask yourself if you are ready and willing to spend extensive time apart from family and friends. Go for it and exude confidence even if you don't necessarily feel that way. lol
How have you found living away from home?
Living away from home is not as easy or glamorous as it looks. I have had tough moments where I would feel isolated or disconnected from my family. However, truthfully speaking I am eternally grateful for this opportunity because it has made me become more aware of what I want for my life. I have met new friends. I have been exposed to a different way of thinking and I certainly have a deeper appreciation of different cultures and humanity as a whole. I am more self-aware and confident as I know that my willingness to survive will certainly help me in overcoming challenges.
What advice would you have for someone considering moving there?
Puhhhhhhlizz, remember even if the city is made of gold, it is not your gold. Have realistic expectations but at the same time be willing to fight back against odds. Never ever let people's negativity pull you down. Remember, this is your second home, appreciate what you have now and allow yourself to be open minded.
How did you get into blogger and what do you hope people will take from reading your blog?
I have always loved writing as far as I can remember but I have never been confident enough to believe in myself. When I moved here, I found myself having more me time and I decided to start writing again. It is the one thing, that I realise I love doing as it gives me fulfilment.
I hope 'The Classy Chiks Blog' will mainly inspire women from all over the world especially Africa through articles on health, weight loss and travel. Furthermore, I hope the blog would be a platform where we share lifestyle articles like beauty tips, cooking and kids. Sort of like an informative, educating, inspiring and motivating online platform you know.
Who are the rocks in your life?
My mum was my rock. She recently passed on this June 2018.
What is your proudest achievement?
Studying for both of my degrees pregnant and acing them both! #womanpower
What have been the highlights of your career so far?
The first is when I got promoted with a few months of working with Crowne Plaza Zimbabwe straight from University.
The second as an award I won as a Product Champion with Econet Wireless.
The third is my current promotion to Cabin Crew.
The best though, is discovering that I am an entrepreneur and writer also! I love selling, marketing, providing solutions and connecting with people!
Although, I'm still at 'baby phase', I am super excited for the future. #watchthisspace
How would you describe a typical day in your life?
As much as possible, a Skype call with my family is first. Followed by breakfast as I listen to a motivational/ educative/ sermon on YouTube. Then of course work work work (i.e fly fly fly). If I am on a layover, I will tour the city I am in or if I am too tired to go out, I will go to the gym, sauna, work on my project or simply sleep. Let me say though, my day is never really 'typical' because one day my 'breakfast' is at 6 am, the next day it’s at 10 pm or 2 pm all this in different countries. However, the above is the general sequence of most of my days after I wake up.
When are you happiest?
Mmmmm, this is difficult because there are mainly 3 things that make me happy. Spending time with my boys, finishing a blog post and working on my business. Of course, time with the children triumphs it all.
Where is your dream destination?
Again, difficult cause I have different places I still want to go to. (thinking..). Ok, Bora Bora Island! Yep that would be magical.
What else do you get up to when you are not working?
Sleep. (Laughs). I mean travelling can make you jet lagged. I sleep a lot to avoid fatigue. I also exercise or simply scroll through social media.
If you were to give something up for a year what would it be and why?
Biscuits!!! I mean this is the major thing that certainly destroys my otherwise relatively healthy eating. I love cookies, I can literally have them every day. Imagine what damage it also does to my teeth (prays).
If you could change anything about yourself what would it be and why?
I think I feel too much. If I didn't I would have probably avoided some pitfalls I have been in or simply be out of my feelings a little bit more.
What important lesson has life taught you?
Be confident and trust in yourself as you try to strive after your goals yet appreciating other people's views even if you do not see eye to eye. Plus, this sounds cliche, but it’s true and I have learnt this more than ever now with the passing of my mum. Life is short, do what you need or want to do. Live YOUR life and work on your relationships with people. Ultimately, family matters.
What advice would you give to younger self?
You know, I even have this article on my blog and on my Facebook? My top 3 are:
Stop being so anxious!
Don't be afraid to follow your gut or move away from the norm.
Take care of your body through healthy eating and exercise.
What is the soundtrack your life?
Mmmm another difficult one. As you know there are many sides to a human being's existence. Probably, "Alive" by Sia.
What are you most proud of about being Zimbabwean?
Our legacy of being educated. Trust me, as you get global, this aspect is empowering and inspiring. I pray, that as a country we will continue to educate and empower ALL.
How would you like to be remembered?
That woman who fought odds and achieved her dreams of writing a book, owning and running a multi-national business whilst making her society better through philanthropic work.
Facebook: Desree Chikavanga
The Classy Chiks Blog website: www.desireechblog.wordpress.com