10 mins with Emirates Cabin Crew- Magdalene Odigie
By Yemisi Suleiman
Magdalene Odigie a Nigerian Economy class cabin crew, working with Emirates for a few years now. For one who had always aspired to become a cabin crew ever since she encountered an Emirates cabin crew on a flight, her journey with the Emirate has been an exciting one, filled with amazing opportunities. Working with Emirates she says has instilled skill sets both professionally and personally, that she attributes to her training and working in a diverse environment.
As the world marks International Labour Day on, May 1st, also known as Workers Day, we celebrate Magdalene Odigie’s distinct work and lifestyle as she takes us into her very exciting world.
At what point did leave Nigeria?
I left Nigeria over 13 years ago, when I was 15 years old. I was born in Ikeja here in Lagos and my parents are both from Ekpoma in Edo state, but I am based in Dubai. My two sisters are still in Nigeria though, and I do come to visit. One of them lives in Lagos, while the other lives in Abuja and so I always come back to see my family.
What did you study in school?
I studied fashion journalism in the UK.
How did you end up being a cabin crew, was it what you planned for?
It was something I had always, dreamt of doing especially when I first moved to the UK and I travelled in an aeroplane for the first time. While on the plane, I kept admiring the crew members and was always wowed just imagining what they did for a living, the places that they would have visited. So when the opportunity came, I applied but I had to be patient, and when the opportunity came, I literally jumped at it and it was the best decision I ever made.
As a career woman, and as a cabin crew, how do you deal with the challenges of discrimination and probably harassment, considering the values that Emirates stands for?
I personally have not encountered any harassment or discrimination, but the Emirates offer an incredible amount of support 24 hours. They have a peer support group for crew members or any staff of the company can seek. It is a company that will always support its staff.
Do you make extra plans when traveling to certain destinations?
For every destination I make plans. With Emirates, they are very respectful with people’s culture. And the crew members are always kept in the know so that we are not offending any body’s culture. I have never been put in a position where I have to worry about a country I am going to because there is always that safety guaranteed by the company I work for. Which is the Emirates.
As a female cabin crew, some day you will get married and when that happens you intend to keep flying across the world and raising a family?
Absolutely, I do.
What plans do you have to ensure that you have a balanced family and work life?
Personally, I don’t have that issue now because I am not currently married, but we do have a lot of crew who are still married and still fly. There is no interference in their personal life in terms of keeping a balance in their home. Again, I have a lot of colleagues who are married to crew, and it is such a good opportunity because your spouse can get to travel the world with you together, regardless of the fear of missing out on being with your spouse or children, you still have the ticket where you can bring them along whenever you travel.
What is the unique selling point of the Emirate?
The unique selling point of the Emirates is that it is a cosmopolitan airline, meaning every day I work with someone from a different culture and it gives me the opportunity to learn where they are from. So today, I can work with someone from Montego or Brazil. So whenever I go to Brazil, I don’t feel strange because I have gotten to meet people from that culture. It is such a global, multinational and multicultural company, which makes it easy to settle down.
Is training a crucial part of your job?
Yes. We are trained regularly and so well too. When I joined, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. The first eight weeks were my training and it wasn’t any kind of training. I was trained on security, on how to deal with hostages, or hostage event, I was also trained on airplane specifics, things to know about an air craft so it is not just the pilot that knows about this, also you as crew knows certain things that passengers wouldn’t know. I was trained on medical. How do deal with medical case, how to attend to medical shock and a whole lot of other things. In that eight weeks you are learning, you write exams and then if you pass the exams you start flying. So every year you get retrained, meaning you have to go in for another exam. You are constantly reading, and learning about your job well, when you go for flight you have a briefing, during the briefing they ask you questions about the aircraft, so you have to be constantly alert. Which is such a good thing, because your passengers know that they are safe because you are aware at all times.
Let’s talk about fashion, how has been a crew member influenced your fashion style?
This job has given me the opportunity of going to different countries, meaning I get the opportunity to have access to fashion from all over the world. I can go to the UK, Ghana, Nigeria to their markets, I have access to tailors and I give them fabric to make an attire. So the job has had a lot of impact in my fashion, in terms of colours, and how I dress. Also, I dress according to the weather, if it is cold or hot.
How would you describe your dress sense outside work?
I am a very stylish person, I am very fashion forward, I don’t follow trends but I do set my own fashion style.
My specific fashion icon is the late Princess Diana, I love the way she used to dress, she was very elegant, very classy, very fashionable and very clean. I love very clean clothes, I like a lot of tailoring, so I wear like tailored pants, and a Tshirt, it looks casual but it is still very formal so I can juxtaposition, but if I want to make it classy I wear a stiletto.
When you are off duty what are the things you like to wear?
Because I have this fashion background, I love a lot of dresses, anything flora anything that is comfortable. For me comfort is more important, so I wear my sneakers and nice over size dress or a nice pants or blouse to go with it. I do love comfort over anything.
What is your beauty routine like?
Usually when I wake up, I wash my face with a nice cleanser, or a bar soap which I buy in the Uk. Then I use a toner from Korea, I love Korean products, they are really good for skin care. After my toner, I moisturize my skin, I use coco butter Dr palmers that is what I use to moisturize my skin. And then I put my makeup which is Mac products. I use my prima, and my foundation. And usually because we wear a lot of make up on board, it is very crucial to take care of your skin and drink a lot of water.
Do you have a fitness routine?
I go to the gym whenever I am on a layover, which is easier. But I don’t do too much heavy lifting and when I am in Dubai I go for yoga any thing to stretch because you need to be well relaxed when next you fly. Also there is that self discipline, and awareness. I know when to rest, when to eat, when to have fun.
When it comes to perfume, which is your favorite?
I love Chopard, and it is sold duty free by Emirates.
How would you describe your social lifestyle?
After your flight, people might want to have dinner together, they want to go sight seeing together, that is social. And then it gives you the opportunity to meet other people and make friends. But you know that you have to rest for your next flight. That is it for me.
Are there restrictions to places your company allows you to go to for safety reasons?
No, they just tell you to be safe, which is normal, like common sense, you know where to go and where not to. You just make that personal judgment.