The Sassiest Mama Awards 2015
This mama juggles not 1 but 6 businesses with 3 little kids and a very busy social life. One of her unfulfilled ambitions? To finally grow an organic garden. And her guilty pleasure? A once-in-a-blue-moon mega long lie-in – and we don’t blame her!
Who’s The Mama?
Full Name: Jelena Jakovljevic Bin Drai
Occupation: Founder of Al Das Medical Center, Vanilla by Jelena Ladies Salon and Spa, Asya’s Nursery, Jelena by Jelena Fashion Design Studio, Milk & Honey Gourmet Grocer, Trading and Cafe.
Children: Asya 5,Hilal 3 ,Hamdan 2
Nationality: UAE (born Serbian)
How long have you lived in Dubai? 15 years
1) Tell us about your business/businesses and why you started them.
I started my first business decade ago. Cosmetic salon and spa and fashion label was a natural step after 12 years of an international modeling carrier. Medical center and rest of business came out as ideal mix of opportunity which happened for us on Palm Jumeirah and my sense for fulfilling a gap in the market.
2) What do you feel have been your biggest achievements both in your personal life and career so far?
Career-wise, I think it is Al Das medical clinic and Asya’s nursery that make me so proud.Success of both of those business,quality of the teachers and doctors that we have are just showing dedication and time invested in growth of each of them. Clinic has 95% excellent feedback and I am very proud of the standards that we have in healthcare business.
Personal achievement is balance that I achieve between my family life and my work.
My family is most important in my life, but my work is also part of who I am, so balancing time dedicated to my kids, husband and our extended family is very important for me.
3) As a child what did you dream of being when you ‘grew up’?
I always wanted to be model and architect . It is me, it is who I am. I can be entrepreneur and a business woman, manager ,…….but modeling is my biggest love and architecture, design is where my heart is. I was lucky to have the opportunity to model for 12 years, and until today to be active in magazine and newspaper interviews that include a lot of photo shoots. Also architecture, which I studied, as I did all the interior design for all of our outlets alone, I am living my dream .
4) If you had 3 wishes, what would they be?
1. Great health to my family members
2. To fine tune my charity involvement
3. To finally grow an organic garden on our family farm
5) What does being a Sassy Mama mean to you?
I really admire your work and healthy and diverse approach you have. You are my main guide in Dubai related to “mama’s job” so to be one of your top mamas, it means a lot!
6) What’s a typical day in your life like?
Wake up, drop kids to school and nursery, do meetings of 1 h in each company :1h nursery, 1h salon, 1h clinic, 1h Jelena by Jelena, 1h Milk and Honey. Thanks god they are all located in same building ………and then each day I have one of those companies as a priority where I’ll spend few hours more than in others. Pick up kids, go home, play, swim, tell goodnight story, watch Tv, read, go to social events or go out with Husband. Yes……pretty intense.
7) What’s your guilty pleasure?
When I don’t wake up to go to the office. Once in a blue moon, I just don’t wake up until kids school pick up time.
8) What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given in your personal life and career?
To be old and wise, you need first to be young and stupid.
9) What do you most enjoy doing as a family in Dubai?
Spending time on our family farm in Al Awir. It is our haven.
10) What is the ‘best-kept’ secret in Dubai, something fellow mamas should know about?
I think that is night shift agencies. I discovered it only with my third baby and it made my life so easy. I had a 3 year old child and 1 year old baby when I delivered my third child. I was looking after them, plus I was working and I was thinking I will collapse at any moment. Then I got a night shift nurse and my life changed from the roots. I was sleeping during the night, I got recovered in no time, I was fresh for office, and I had a lot of energy to play and entertain my kids during the day.
11) Which three words best describe your personality?
Straight-forward, determined and artistic.
12) What advice would you have for a new mama?
Sleep when baby sleeps.
13) What advice would you give to a mama who wants to go back to work or start her own business but is worried about juggling family and career?
Know your priorities. Get organised. Take paper and pen and organize every hour of your day, otherwise you will be lost, tired and stressed.
14) If you were on an island and could bring only 3 things (family not included) what would they be?
15) Top 3 books?
1. Regards from the dead princess – Kenize Mourad
2. The twentieth wife – Indu Sundaresan
3. The Feast of Roses – Indu Sundaresan
16) Describe your style.
Classic, mix of west and east in one.
17) If there was a movie produced about your life, who would you choose to play you and why?
Julia Roberts or Jennifer Lawrence. I think both of them are amazing actresses. Julia is more experienced but both of them are fantastic performers, have a very natural appeal in front of camera.
18) Tell us something funny that your kids have said or done.
My daughter Asya and nanny Siti
A:Siti, please read book for me
S:I can’t read good English, just go to sleep as it is late already
A:So take a book and practice
S:Please forget book and go to bed, it’s 8 o’clock
A:You don’t know proper English, I am giving you chance to learn and you just want me to sleep
Thanks to The Studio for the gorgeous pics! Book your photography experience on (+971) (0)4 347 1745.
Special thanks also to Sassy Mama Dani for coordinating mamas and photographers while juggling 3 little ones too!