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DR. AMIT KUMAR On the Forefront of Cancer Research PRESENTING Which Luxury Car Are You? Extraordinary Living

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Contents

COVER STORY DR. AMIT KUMAR and ITUS Corporation leading the battle against cancer

BECOME A MEMBER Experience the Power of Media www.totalprestige.com

PHOTOGRAPHY: Brian Byllesby

10 TALKING WITH… RODNEY GLASS......................................................................30 PHILIPPE HOERLE-GUGGENHEIM................................................46

WHICH LUXURY CAR ARE YOU? MERCEDES AMG GT 63 S 4MATIC.............................................6 LAMBORGHINI URUS...............................................................36 JAGUARI-PACE.......................................................................42

LUXURY ISLAND MOSTEXPENSIVE ISLAND DESTINATIONS IN THE WORLD.................................................26

EXQUISITE TIMEPIECES LOUIS MOINET SKYLINK..........................................................16 HUBLOT UNICO RED MAGIC....................................................17 JAQUET DROZ GRANDE SECONDE SKELET-ONE........................18

BUSINESS Q & A WITH INSPIRING PROFESSIONALS...................................20 DAVID WERDIGER - DR. JAMES NITIT - RISHABH CHOKHANI – BEN IVES - ISHMEET SINGH - CYRUS PAKRAVAN – ROBB MANCINI - CYNTHIA GOMEZ.

FASHION BRIDAL. REEM ACRA NEW YORK..............................................50 04 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

FOUNDER, PRESIDENT AND CEO Rose Marie Perez PUBLISHER TOTALPRESTIGE MEDIA CORP MARKETING DIRECTOR Natalia Weber EDITORS Samuel Lewis, Kathleen Collins, Lino Hayes MANAGING EDITOR Eddy Milovert PR MANAGER Marc Ziegler PHOTOGRAPHERS Brian Byllesby CONTRIBUTING WRITERS Esther Keller, Miriam Tanveer, Anne Miller, Eric Weisman, Drew Farmer, PRODUCED BY TOTALPRESTIGE MEDIA CORP LEGAL CONSULT Don Barton Attorney at Law DESIGN & LAYOUT Boris Newson, Kailash Kumar FOR ADVERTISING RATES & INFORMATION advertising@totalprestigemagazine.com GRAPHIC DESIGN & PRODUCTION Boris Newson E-MAIL contact@totalprestigemagazine.com WEBSITE www.totalprestigemagazine.com www.totalprestige.com

TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE IS NOT RESPONSIBLE FOR INCORRECT PRICING OR INFORMATION LISTED OR FOR THE LOSS OR DAMAGE TO UNSOLICITED MANUSCRIPTS STATEMENTS. OPINIONS, PHOTOGRAPHS AND POINTS OF VIEW EXPRESSED BY WRITERS AND ADVERTISERS ARE THEIR OWN AND DO NOT NECESSARILY REPRESENT THOSE OF THE PUBLISHER. COPYRIGHT 2017 BY TOTALPRESTIGE MEDIA – UK, USA, EUROPE, ASIA MIDDLE EAST, AFRICA, NO PART OF THE PUBLICATION MAY BE REPRODUCED, IN WHOLE OR PART WITHOUT PRIOR WRITTEN PREMISSION FROM THE PUBLISHER. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Mercedes

AMG GT 63 S 4MATIC

By Totalprestige Magazine Images courtesy by Daimler AG


Even more individual flair for the AMG GT 4-Door CoupĂŠ

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o mark the launch of the new AMG GT 4-Door CoupĂŠ in September 2018, Mercedes-AMG will be offering an Edition 1 model for a limited period of 12 months only. By emphasising the sporty aspects of the exterior and reinforcing the high-quality finish of the interior, this model offers even more exclusivity and distinctive appeal. The AMG Aerodynamics Package and the foil applications underline the affinity between this latest member of the AMG GT family and the world of motorsport. In conjunction with the 21-inch AMG cross-spoke forged wheels, the paintwork in designo graphite grey magno, diamond white bright or graphite grey metallic immediately draws the eye. The interior is made even more sportily exclusive by AMG Performance seats in Exclusive nappa leather in magma grey/ black with yellow contrasting topstitching, while the AMG Performance steering wheel in DINAMICA microfibre with yellow contrasting topstitching and the AMG matt carbon-fibre trim add further highlights.

08 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE


front apron, an enhanced demand-optimised diffuser and a fixed rear spoiler, the blade of which can be mechanically adjusted. The driver is thus able to adjust the balance of lift and the driving characteristics to suit individual preference or the specific circumstances. The perfectly coordinated interaction between the various elements serves to optimise aerodynamic efficiency. Compared with the standard vehicle with its adjustable spoiler extended to the maximum, at 300 km/h an additional 30 kilograms of aerodynamic downforce press the rear axle down onto the road. The larger front splitter also reinforces the effect of the AIRPANEL active air management system: if the adjustable louvres are closed, the lift at the front axle is further reduced. Another advantage of the complex work that has gone into this Package: the Cd value is even lower, despite the higher downforce. This win-win combination improves both the longitudinal and the lateral dynamics as experienced by the driver on the road or race track. The Edition 1 is available exclusively for the top-of-the-range Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4MATIC+ 4 Door Coupé, which features the most powerful version of the 4.0-litre V8 biturbo engine with an output of 470 kW (639 hp). This allows a top speed of 315 km/h and can propel the car from a standing start to 100 km/h in 3.2 seconds.

THE AMG AERODYNAMICS PACKAGE “AND THE FOIL APPLICATIONS UNDERLINE

The Edition 1 will be available to order from summer 2018. The first vehicles will be delivered to customers from September 2018.

THE AFFINITY BETWEEN THIS LATEST MEMBER OF THE AMG GT FAMILY AND THE WORLD OF MOTORSPORT.

The limited-edition model is available as the Mercedes-AMG GT 63 S 4MATIC+ Edition 1, featuring the 470 kW (639 hp) top-of-the-range V8 engine (combined fuel consumption 11.2 l/100 km, combined CO2 emissions 256 g/km).

GT 4-Door Coupé lines up in the portfolio alongside its two-door brothers. As the first four-door AMG GT model, it furthermore combines high everyday comfort with many options for individualisation and the very latest in sports car engineering.

Superb longitudinal and lateral dynamics and a striking silhouette with classic proportions mean that the Mercedes-AMG

The Aerodynamics Package for the Edition 1 encompasses such features as a larger front splitter and integrated flics in the TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 09


Dr. Amit Kumar and ITUS Corporation leading the battle against cancer By Drew Farmer Images credit Brian Byllesby

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TUS Corporation is on the cutting-edge of the world’s battle against cancer. The biotechnology company is working to develop new systems to detect cancer, and therefore, treat patients effectively. ITUS is a leader in the medical field when it comes to cancer research and product development. The man at the forefront of ITUS’s work is Dr. Amit Kumar. The Caltech graduate and Harvard post-doc has worked in the biotechnology field for over two decades. During his time in the industry, Kumar has worked diligently to advance the products that can benefit cancer patients. The company’s work may revolutionize medicine, and Kumar is helping lead ITUS forward into the future. Firstly, Dr. Kumar, you joined ITUS Corporation in 2016. As a biotechnology company, it is developing technologies to battle cancer. Tell us more about ITUS and your work. I became Chairman of the Board of ITUS in 2016, shortly after I brought a new method for non-invasive, early cancer detection to the company. I then added the roles of President and CEO in July of 2017. ITUS has two programs underway. The first is our early cancer detection technology that has already demonstrated excellent scientific results in human testing. It is a non-invasive method to determine if an individual is tumor-bearing. Because it only requires a simple blood sample, it is very easy for the patient to take this test. It does not require prepping and it is not painful or uncomfortable like some other tests for cancer such as mammography or colonoscopy. While we have already performed testing in humans, we are still developing the test and we hope to launch it sometime in the near future, assuming our R&D progresses

as planned. We have partnered with some of the top cancer centers in the US to help us with our development. We also hope to partner with larger corporations to help us commercialize this test. We are very good at innovation, but we want to work with partners for commercialization. Our other project is a therapy for ovarian cancer, which may also work for multiple other cancers such as prostate, lung and pancreatic cancer. The experimental therapy utilizes a new technique called Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell therapy. With the goal of not getting too technical, CAR-T therapy is a new technique that has worked amazingly well for certain leukemias and lymphomas, but no other cancers like solid tumors. Our approach to CAR-T technology could be the first effective technique to battle ovarian cancer, which is one of the deadliest cancers with few options for patients. The technology has shown amazing results in animal tests, and we are hoping to get into human testing by the end of 2019. Let’s talk about the ovarian cancer in a moment, first tell us more about the early cancer detection? How important is it to create new technology to find cancer at an early stage? That is a very good question Drew. If you look at the history of cancer, it’s clear that we have learned a lot, and we have become better at treating it. We have better surgical and radiological procedures, better therapies, and supportive treatment. However, the greatest impact on both mortality and morbidity has come about from early detection. The statistics are clear, when cancer, is caught at an early stage (usually Stage 1 or 2) the chance for a good outcome for the patient is high. If the same patient is diagnosed with cancer at Stage 3 or 4, it’s very rare that the patient will survive. Even with the most sophisticated medical care,

the best therapies available, and the best hospitals and doctors, late stage cancer patients generally do not survive long-term. There are exceptions, but the majority of late stage patients may gain a modest extension of life, and their quality of life is not very good. Ever since Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act into law in 1971, our society has spent orders of magnitude more money on developing drugs than on developing early cancer detection technologies. More recently, there has been a greater focus on early detection, because of the advances in our understanding of biology, better analytical technologies and computational innovations. ITUS is using these innovations in a unique way to develop our non-invasive cancer detection technology. It’s important to note that when considering early cancer detection, one has to be careful not to create what are known by practitioners as “false positives” or “false negatives.” All widely used cancer screening techniques like mammography for breast cancer or prostate specific antigen (PSA) for prostate cancer have certain levels of false results. That is why it’s important for any new technique, like ours, to minimize false results while identifying the cancer as early as possible. Kumar and ITUS are continually working on new technology. The organization’s advances are helping researchers learn more about cancer every day. ITUS is using products such as artificial intelligence to detect tumors in patients, which is proving more capable of finding cancer than doctors. Can you tell us how your technology works? Many of the other approaches to early cancer detection focus on measuring something circulating in the blood that has been shed by the cancer, like the actual cancer cells or DNA from tumor cells. Our approach is very different. Over the last few years, we have learned that there is a complex and dynamic interaction between our immune systems and a tumor. We can monitor those interactions by analyzing certain white blood cells in a patient’s blood and evaluating patterns using artificial intelligence. Basically, we are using the immune system of each patient to tell us about the existence of a tumor. We have demonstrated that we can find 20 different tumors, and we believe this technology will TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 11


work with any tumor type. Why do you need artificial intelligence? The AI application we use is something called a neural network (NN). NNs can identify complex relationships in quantitative data that humans cannot. NNs can also be trained to understand these relationships, and they learn and get better over time. AI is being used for many applications like autonomous driving or facial recognition. We are using it to help us make a medical decision based on a lot of data. We have found that our AI is better at finding cancer than the best trained doctors or scientists. In fact, I was the primary inventor of this technology, yet I cannot look at the data and make the calls as well as our NN software. Other scientists and highly experienced doctors including oncologists and pathologists cannot either. It is clear that AI is going to have tremendous impact in many fields including medicine. Kumar is also looking for better ways to treat patients. Years ago, he realized it was important to become more proactive rather than reactive, and it has led to a new approach to the disease. In the past, you have worked with companies that focus on precision medicine, helping to extend cancer patients’ lives. You have mentioned previously that biotech companies should be more aggressive in finding cancer in patients much earlier. How and why did you come to this realization? I was previously the CEO of a company that was developing methods to evaluate the genetics of advanced cancer patients, so we could provide a better understanding of how to treat those patients. What I realized, and others have as well, was that even if we had the superior genetic tests, the best we could do was to extend the patient’s life by a short period of a few months to a year or two. What would be better would be to catch the patient’s cancer a year or two earlier, in which case it could be removed or treated before it spread. In most of those cases of early detection, we could save the patient’s life and also save money for our healthcare system. 12 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

In addition to running ITUS Corporation and driving our cancer technologies, I am a volunteer board member of the American Cancer Society, which is the largest non-profit cancer organization in the world. ACS has a number of programs including funding research, subsidizing cancer therapies, and compiling extensive data on our battle against cancer. All of this data demonstrates that the greatest impact on cancer deaths has come from two activities: reducing smoking and early detection. Despite the billions spent on developing drugs to treat advanced cancer, early detection has a greater impact. That is why I am a big proponent of developing early detection technologies like our technology. Many times when people think of cancer therapy their minds are cast to chemotherapy. ITUS works in the cancer therapy and treatment arena. What new developments has ITUS been working on and are there any new cancer treatments patients may be able to access in the near future? While our initial focus was on early detection, we knew there would always be people who are diagnosed with cancer at a late stage. Scientists and physicians are constantly showing us technologies that address cancer, and for many reasons, we often decline. However, last year, one of our collaborators, The Wistar Institute, made us aware of technology they had developed that addressed certain types of ovarian cancer, for which there are no good options. After extensively reviewing the technology, we de-

cided we wanted to invest to develop this technology. This technology utilizes a new form of immunotherapy and gene therapy that is known as CAR-T. We licensed the technology from Wistar and entered into a research collaboration with the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida for further development. We chose to work with Moffitt, because it is one of the top CAR-T cancer centers in the world, and the key scientist who lead the team at Wistar moved to Moffitt. We now have a passionate team of very enthusiastic oncologists and other physicians and scientists at Moffitt working on getting this technology ready to test in human ovarian cancer patients. We are all very excited about this technology because CAR-T technology has demonstrated its ability to save the lives of many leukemia and lymphoma patients for whom there were no options. Unfortunately, CAR-T technology has not worked on other types of cancers including solid tumors. The Wistar team discovered a unique biological characteristic about ovary cells that they felt would enable CAR-T to work. They conducted and published extensive animal research testing their hypothesis. Based on those animal studies, we decided to continue the development at Moffitt. We are completing the studies that will be submitted to the US FDA, enabling us to test this technology in women with ovarian cancer. Also, we have found in the scientific literature that other types of cancer might also respond. So, if we can demon


strate this technology works in ovarian cancer, it may work in other tumors like prostate, lung, pancreatic and others. This whole area of therapy is broadly classified as immunotherapy. Chemotherapy tries to kill cancer cells directly, but with a few exceptions, chemotherapy kills too many healthy cells as well. In contrast to chemotherapy, immunotherapy seeks to improve the ability of our own immune system to battle the cancer. While there are still side effects, immunotherapy of different types has demonstrated success in many areas where traditional chemotherapy does not work. I and the scientific community believes that the immunotherapy revolution will dramatically change the way we treat cancer in the future. I also want to say that that this revolution in treatment is being driven, not only by scientific advances, but also tremendous investment. Kumar holds degrees from some of the biggest and most famous university in the world. His vast scientific knowledge gained from Stanford, Caltech and Harvard led Kumar to cancer research. However, it wasn’t always Kumar’s plan to spend his life researching cancer and developing products to treat it. 14 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

Dr. Kumar, how did you get involved with cancer research and what specifically drew you to the ITUS Corporation? Cancer is something that has touched everyone, including my family. In the US, 1,700 people die of cancer every single day. If we can develop our technologies and extend the lives of some of these people, the rewards to society would be tremendous. I was not formally trained in cancer research. During my Ph.D. at Stanford and Caltech, my research focus was on electronic materials and solar cells. During my postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard, I spent my time performing more materials and microfabrication research. It was only when I left my academic training that I became a biotechnologist and have been working in that field for over 25 years. I began as a scientist and eventually also served as an executive, director and investor in a number of firms. I came to ITUS, because I had a scientific idea and ITUS was a vehicle that enabled me to test and develop that idea. As Chairman and CEO of ITUS, my job is to do my best to create long-term shareholder value, and the best way to do that is to develop these life-saving technologies.

You have a glowing resume with major biotech companies listed on it, and you attended three of the top universities in the world: Stanford, Harvard and Caltech. What has been your biggest career highlight so far? I have been fortunate in my career and lots of great things have happened, but I like to think that my biggest career highlight is yet to come. I was lucky enough to study, as you noted, at some of the best universities in the world. Those institutions enabled me to study and conduct research with the most accomplished scientists of our day, in many different and interdisciplinary fields of science. After my formal education, I was again fortunate enough to work on some very exciting projects. It has been rewarding to know that many of the products developed by me, and companies that I helped build and run, have helped thousands of people. It was my mother’s wish that I choose to be a physician like her, but I decided I liked research better. As it turns out, I feel that I have had a bigger impact by developing products that have helped more people


than I could have as a physician. It’s very rewarding to run into people who tell me they used something, with which I was involved, to help them in a particular situation. Dr Kumar, how will cancer detection and treatment change over the next 10 years? The next 10 years will see revolutionary changes. Even though we have only scratched the surface of our understanding of the physiology of cancer and immunology, indications tell us that we have identified many approaches that will work better than our traditional chemotherapies. I truly believe we will look back in a decade or two and be aghast at how we deal with cancer today. Is there a chance, with the continued developments made by yourself and ITUS and other companies, cancer could be eliminated one day? I hesitate to say that cancer can be eliminated, because cancer is really thousands of different diseases. All cancers, by definition, are characterized by rapid and unencumbered cell growth. The pathways which induce that immortality in those cells are many for different cancer types and even within the same organ system. Each pathway is a different disease, and over time all cancers will be characterized by their genetic signature, rather than organ system. Regardless of the type of cancer or the genetic mutations that characterize it, catching it early is the greatest determinant of survival for the patient. Cancer has always been with us and will continue to be. We are getting better at battling it and detecting it early, so in the future it may not be such a scary disease, but I don’t think we can eliminate it and curing all cancers is not something I can envision in the near future. Kumar’s life isn’t just about research and building a better tomorrow for cancer patients. A devoted husband and father, Kumar has worked hard to instill strong values into his children. He is now seeing his daughters leave home for university, and they too may begin making their marks on society just as their father has.

and she had to practice medicine and raise three children -- myself, a younger sister and brother -- by herself. Fortunately, we had lots of help from our grandparents. My grandfather was instrumental in instilling in me a curiosity and love of science. When I was older, I married my wife of 25 years, Ruma, who is also a physician. We have two precious daughters, Anika and Anissa.

Tell us about your family and personal life? Throughout my life, in good and tough times, I have been fortunate to have a wonderful and supportive family. My physician mother was a single mom as my father had passed away when I was seven. She was one of very few female OBGYNs in the 1970s,

When they were young, we again were fortunate to have help from their grandparents, my in-laws. Without their help my wife and I would not have been able to advance our careers. Anika has left home and is a freshman at UC Berkeley, and Anissa is finishing her junior year in high school and will also be leaving home in a year. My

wife and I are still trying to figure out how to handle our soon to be empty nest. We know that we have instilled strong values in our daughters and it will be wonderful to see how they navigate their lives. Kumar and ITUS may not eliminate cancer completely in the world, but they can make it easier to detect and treat. The future looks bright for Kumar and his company; and it could be even brighter for those suffering with cancer as well. ITUS Corporation 3150 Almaden Expressway Suite 250 San Jose, CA 95118 https://www.ituscorp.com TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 15


L

ouis Moinet celebrates the Apollo-Soyuz mission that changed the face of the world with a timepiece called Skylink, recalling the link that was quietly forged between two men, each representing their nations, in the depths of space. The Skylink’s dial depicts this sidereal expanse. A graphic process that is exclusive to Louis Moinet allows the creation of colours reminiscent of a nebula – a collection of interstellar dust and gases of infinite hues. Two of Louis Moinet’s hallmark “dewdrop” hands glide over this composition. The raised three-dimensional hour markers reaching out across this dial give the piece a real sense of depth – an architectural aspect that further enhances their very special finish. Their sides feature a diamond-cut, satin-finish section that reflects light deep, deep into the dial, setting the timepiece sparkling with life. The colour contrast is enhanced by each hour marker being lacquer-coated. The seconds are marked off on their counter at 9 o’clock; subtle changes in its hue, from dark blue through to purple, can be seen as light strikes its fine metallised coating. At 3 o’clock sits a special, exclusive Skylink feature: a micro capsule containing, for all eternity, a fragment of Kapton foil – the polyamide fabric which protected Apollo on its return to Earth on July 24, 1975 – together with fibres from the Russian Sokol-K spacesuit. Used for the first time on Soyuz 12 in 1973, the same model is still in use today.

Louis Moinet Skylink Watches You Should Know About ….and Own By Samuel Lewis

Image courtesy by Louis Moinet 16 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

Louis Moinet’s capsule establishes a physical link connecting the adventure of 43 years ago, space itself, the astronomy from which watchmaking originally derived, and each of the owners of the watches in this unique collection. This very limited edition of 19 white gold, 19 rose gold and 75 steel watches comes on a dark blue or black strap. The numbers are a tribute to 1975 – the year of the Apollo-Soyuz mission. The dial of each piece bears an authentic reproduction of Alexey Leonov’s signature.


Hublot Unico Red Magic Image courtesy by Hublot Making the impossible possible, Hublot creates the first vibrantly coloured ceramic. The Hublot R&D department and Metallurgy & Materials laboratory have succeeded in inventing a magic formula that allows the creation of vibrantly coloured ceramics. This has previously not been done in industries using technical and aesthetic ceramics. In addition, Hublot has refined all the procedures necessary to produce every component of the watch case from this special material. In total, it took Hublot four years to master this discovery and develop it from initial idea to its industrialisation. The invention is 100% Hublot and the expertise has been patented. Hublot continues to make strides in the research into materials. This newly developed ceramic is incredibly dense, boasting a hardness of 1500 HVI compared to 1200 HV2 of convention-

al ceramics. This results in an extremely resilient material. The colour is achieved through a major innovation whereby a fusion of pressure and heat sinters the ceramic without burning the pigments. Having mastered the basic hues with this method Hublot is now ready to introduce a whole new world of coloured ceramics to its watch collections. The first vibrant colour release is vibrant red, which also increases the hardness of the Hublot ceramic. With just 500 pieces released, its 45 mm case and bezel are made from Hublot’s

patented red ceramic, boasting a polished finish. The flange, indexes, minute and seconds counters, Arabic numerals and hands all match this hue, adorned in the same red to highlight the contrast with the mechanism of the Unico HUB1242 manufacture movement and its column wheel, visible on the dial side through the sapphire crystal. This theme encompasses the entire watch, matched with a lined structured red rubber strap. Drawing attention from every angle, and captivating all who see it, the red ceramic is set to be a showstopper. A major invention which once again demonstrates that Hublot is continuously pushing its Art of Fusion further, and that, under its impetus, the world of materials and alloys will never cease to be reinvented. This is a material true to the Hublot motto: “be the first, be unique, be different!�


tween full and empty. Similarly this new interpretation in total transparency – a first for JaquetDroz – accords ample breathing space to the time indications. Hours, minutes and seconds stand out in a new transparent aesthetic bathed in light. JaquetDroz has left only the bridges showing, which structure the piece’s movement. The sapphire dial, on which the large seconds hand turns, perfectly complements the skeleton movement, constructed in successive layers, themselves visible from the side. The plate is now entirely openworked. The casing-up circle has been eliminated, allowing for a more opencomposition. At 12 o’clock, the hours and minutes turn

THE COMPOSI“TION STAYS TRUE IN ALL ASPECTS TO THE ORIGINAL INSPIRATION OF THE GRANDE SECONDE, PLAYING WITH DECORATED SURFACES AS MUCH AS EMPTY SPACES.

Jaquet Droz Grande Seconde Skelet-One Image courtesy by JaquetDroz

The Grande Seconde incarnates the essence of the JaquetDroz watchmaking art. While the brand has oft varied its design, for the first time it proposes a sapphire dial integrated within a skeleton composition. The Grande SecondeSkelet-One marks a true stylistic turning point in the brand’s history, as part of its prestigious 280th anniversary celebrations. The objective of this creation was to let light shine to the deepest reaches of the Grande Seconde, all while preserving the figure “8” shape that is its aesthetic signature. To do so, JaquetDroz maintained 18 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

the uncluttered character of the dial that is distinguished by the legendary hours and minutes counter with Roman numerals at 12 o’clock, intertwined with the large seconds counter with Arabic numerals at 6 o’clock. The composition stays true in all aspects to the original inspiration of the Grande Seconde, playing with decorated surfaces as much as empty spaces. As in music, where rests count just as much (if not more) than notes, the Grande Seconde finds balance as it alternates be-

around a sapphire hour ring, set on a base of gold. The ensemble is held together by five indexed screws, oriented in a chosen direction. Used for the first time by JaquetDroz, this procedure was derived from an existing armory system and adapted by the brand’s technical teams. The oscillating weight in gold has also been openworked to let light diffuse freely into the heart of the movement. The Grande SecondeSkelet-One, equipped with a silicon double barrel, balance spring and pallet lugs, features a hand-assembled Caliber 2663 SQ. It is the first to reveal the mechanical choreography beating at the heart of the Grande Seconde. The Grande SecondeSkelet-One, with a diameter of 41 mm, comes in three interpretations: red gold, white gold and ceramic.


experience and advice with audiences as he helps CEOs and company presidents take their lives back from the jaws of burdensome businesses. Recently, Totalprestige Magazine sat down with the highly sought after speaker, writer, and business coach to pick his brain about a number of topics. Werdiger spoke to us in-depth about his career, book, one-onone coaching and how he changed his life from burning the candle at both ends to the one he leads today. David, you have been a successful entrepreneur, bestselling author, and in-demand speaker. Firstly, tell me how you started your career and about your early ventures? After completing university studies, I was itching to get a job. I started as a software developer for a large stockbroking firm, then spent a year at the same firm in the research department as a quantitative analyst, which was a relatively new thing for the time – late 1980s. While working on that job, I started importing niche software development tools from the US on the side. Before too long, I decided to bite the bullet and leave fulltime employment to focus fully on the software import business as well as custom software development.

David Werdiger By Totalprestige Magazine Images courtesy of David Werdiger

International Bestselling Author. Founder & Chairman of Billing Bureau

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avid Werdiger has the magic touch. As a businessman in the late 1980s and early 1990s, Werdiger created a number of companies and each became more successful than the previous. However, Werdiger suffered a health setback that made him take stock of his life and re-evaluate his career. After working 10-plus hour days, six days 20 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

a week for years, Werdiger knew he had to change his life. Werdiger parlayed his success as an entrepreneur into helping other business owners. His book, Transition, became an International Bestseller and it received praise from all corners of the globe. Werdiger not only created an informative and helpful book for business owners, but he became an in-demand speaker. Werdiger shares his knowledge,

Unfortunately, the import part of the business eventually fizzled, so I decided to focus on software, which was what I knew best anyway. But really we were just selling time, and there is only so much of that one can sell. In the back of my mind, I wanted to be a software vendor instead. In 1989, you established the Billing Bureau company as a solution to problems businesses and individuals have when it comes to billing and payments. How did the concept for the company and software come about? How difficult was it to get people to invest in your vision in the late 1980s? On one level, it came about purely by chance, but on a deeper level, it was destiny. The custom software development business was purring along for a few years, and I had a few other developers working for me. I had moved into a new office, but because the fit out wasn’t yet complete, my developers were using some unoccupied space elsewhere in the same building. As it happened, someone else was also using that space, and he was in the process of establishing a new phone company. He approached my people and said, “Can you


develop a billing system for me?” I met with him, discussed the requirements, and although not having done anything like that before, responded with a resounding “Yes!” On reflection, my entire career as a software developer revolved around dealing with huge datasets. Firstly at the stockbroking firm, then as a quant analyst. In my own business, the projects that came my way involved lots of data, so it seemed only reasonable that I would end up building a new business making sense of millions and millions of phone call records. The businesses – both custom software and billing – were self-funded, so getting people to invest in the vision wasn’t the challenge. The billing business got started in the mid-1990s, just as the Australian market was deregulating. After developing and selling the initial billing systems the traditional way, we adapted the delivery model to a service bureau – what people nowadays would call SaaS. It was exactly the delivery and pricing model that startup telcos needed, so it was easy to get their buy-in. As an entrepreneur, this is a perfect example of there being signs of the direction you could or should be going in your business. At the end of the day, you just have to be open to these signs and act on them when the opportunity arises. If you do that, the direction of your business and life could be set on a path you never thought of but thoroughly enjoy. You created three seven-figure businesses from scratch and you are a self-professed serial entrepreneur. What was life like for you during those heady times? How many hours and how much work were you putting in each day? It was pretty crazy. Once the billing business was going well, other related opportunities for new businesses popped up, and I just had to take them. Like many business owners, I got caught in the trap of working in my business and not on it. I was working 10 hours a day on average, six days a week. In addition, we had a young and growing family. Fortunately, my wife was comfortable in the role of mother and homemaker – when we travel, she lists her occupation as “CEO of Domestic Affairs”. We are Sabbath-observant, so one day a week, I was able to switch off from the computer and work, and had some quality family time. The more I worked, the more I appreciated that weekly respite.

There was a time when you were incredibly invested in the businesses you created and ran. Due to the strain, you experienced health issues that took you away from the day-to-day stress of the companies. How did the strain of running large companies affect your health and make you rethink how you work? I was able to maintain this for quite a few years without really feeling the effects. When things are going well, you just keep forging ahead, taking on more and more, and you feel invincible. But then it sort-of crept up on me almost out of nowhere. I clearly remember the moment when I noticed the first symptom – standing at the elevator with my briefcase in hand waiting to go home, and there was this strange weakness in my hands. It started to affect me more frequently while grabbing or holding objects. That led to a diagnosis journey that took several months and a number of specialists, and was itself, very scary. It messes with your head as much as with your body, and you imagine how your life could be decades in the future. Needless to say, it was a very different picture from what I had always imagined. The diagnosis was a rare, degenerative autoimmune disorder – but rather than giving me some certainty, it was a dive into a whole new world of unknowns. There is no known cure for this condition. Treatments work, for a period of time, and then cease to be effective. No one dies from it, rather they tend to end up crippled for life. The treatment regime was quite unpleasant – it took several days each month because of the side effects. But more than that, the whole episode was a wake-up call to the lifestyle I was living. It simply wasn’t sustainable for me to work 60-plus hours a week. My body was probably telling me this for quite a while, but I didn’t listen until it got this bad. So, part of dealing with the condition was learning to listen to my body. I was already on a journey of stepping back from some of the day-to-day aspects of the businesses, but this was like a call to arms to change my approach to how I worked and how I engaged with my businesses. It was the start of reshaping my business life completely.

David, you work in consulting businesses as a direct effect to the health issues you faced. Tell me about the consulting work you do with companies and how can you change the way a business is run? I work predominantly with business owners, because change within a business comes from the top down. Many owners end up being indispensable in their businesses and are slaves to the business. This can come at the expense of their families and their health. So, I help owners develop a vision of their wealth creation plans – vis a vis their business – and how they want their lives to look, and help them understand their priorities. We use this to review their own role as leader of the business and the leadership structure. Often, their goals and priorities need realignment to help them realize they are building a genuine asset, not a lodestone around their own necks. The goal is to make your business sale ready, even if you never actually sell it. By doing that, the business becomes a tool that allows you to live life on your terms. You are a bestselling author and your book, Transition: How to Prepare Your Family and Business for the Greatest Wealth Transfer in History, has been widely regarded as a fantastic business book by major media outlets. Why did you decide to begin writing books and what can the average businessperson learn when reading your works? I actually failed high-school English, so ending up as a published author has been an incredible journey for me. My writing developed late, initially through business blogging. I’ve written over 300 articles on my site and several other blog platforms. Now, I just love writing and sharing ideas. Pity my English teacher is dead – he’d be pretty surprised to hear that! After finishing a Masters of Entrepreneurship, I decided the next challenge would be to write a book instead of doing a PhD. Actually, my second book is well underway and that’s a big idea book about the impact of social media on society. My aim with that book is to get people thinking about the things that are happening in their lives that usually just pass them by. Transition came about due to the experiences I had from being born into a family with a successful and eventual multi-generational business. There are many latent issues in families that have wealth and/or a TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 21


family business, and rarely are these issues ever discussed. Too often, the focus is on the day-to-day. But you can’t keep sweeping issues under the carpet. So, the book is about helping family members of all generations develop an understanding of the generational differences in a family, how to bridge those differences, and build a stronger and more resilient family. It’s about having a healthy attitude toward family wealth and the family business, so people can avoid the old cycle of “make it – grow it – blow it”. The fact that the book became a #1 International Bestseller and was the #1 book in all of Amazon during its launch is still hard to wrap my head around. To hear about how it’s changing the lives of others who are going through the process of transitioning their wealth and business to the next generations definitely makes it worth the effort. Speaking to groups and companies, along with consulting, keeps you in-demand around the globe. Who are some of the businesses you have spoken to, and what lessons do you share with them? I’ve spoken at many conferences for highnet-worth families and business around the world. I cover topics such as the culture of wealth, how families – especially subsequent generations and family offices – understand entrepreneurial risk, and how to adapt to generational shifts in the approach to investment and philanthropy. I have some talks coming up about dealing with death, and about greed and envy in wealthy families. All of these issues exist in most families, but people are loath to talk about them. I love bringing those issues out into the open, so families can better deal with them; because once those things are dealt with, the business is much more free to grow the way it needs to, in order to better serve the family. My experiences speaking led me recently to create a private mastermind group exclusively for owners of high-net-worth family businesses. The more I spoke with people after my speaking engagements, the more I realized that there are little to no resources for people like us. There’s little opportunity to work through personal feelings within a small, safe group of people in similar situations. So, the mastermind is that safe space and a sounding board to really work through the challenges we face so we can become more effective leaders and communicators. 22 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

Can you tell me about your Master Your Business, Master Your Life Coaching Intensive program? Who are the ideal people for this program and can the lessons learned be adapted to all types of businesses? This is an intensive one-on-one coaching program specifically for business owners who are caught up in their own business. I give them the benefit of my experience and help them take back control of their lives, so they can avoid the, often disastrous, consequences of burning the candle at both ends. The benefit is a stronger business that has far greater intrinsic value. The lessons – in terms of company leadership, delegation, value creation – are applicable for all businesses. Sometimes, it just takes having an unbiased, additional set of eyes on the challenges your business is facing and someone who has “been there and done that” in order for your business to move forward. That’s what my one-on-one coaching program does. As a consultant, coach and serial entrepreneur, what is the biggest problem most business owners make today and how would you fix them? Business owners don’t spend enough time on company culture and governance. They develop risk mitigation plans, but often don’t realize the risk that sits with them, if they have to make sudden changes to their own lives. Being indispensable means you can never take a vacation. It means the business loses money when you’re not attending to it constantly. It means that if something happens to you tomorrow, the business won’t survive.

The solution is to understand the governance and custodianship aspect of being a business owner. It’s not just about running your business on a day-to-day basis, it’s about building and creating something of value to you and to the world you serve. So culture and governance have to become conscious and integral parts of ownership, rather than afterthoughts. Finally, as a consultant, what advice do you give to anyone starting a new business in 2018? Lots of business owners seek to mimic tactically what other successful people have done, but that is impossible because success is achieved within a certain context and that context can never be replicated. What they should do instead is understand why businesses fail, and seek to avoid making those mistakes. I also believe that you should learn from others who have already achieved what you are looking to accomplish in your business and life. In today’s world, information is readily available, but real experience and wisdom are in short order. Having mentors who have your best interests at heart, who can guide you, teach you, and push you through your own barriers is more valuable than all the information you can find online or in a textbook. For more information on David Werdiger, please go to his website www.DavidWerdiger.com. If you would like to purchase his book, Transition: How to Prepare Your Family and Business for the Greatest Wealth Transfer in History, please visit www.TransitionBook.co


Specialized in luxury residential properties.


Dr. James Nitit By Totalprestige Magazine Image courtesy by Dr. James Nitit

Founder and President of Intellegend Corp. We discuss today with Dr. James Nitit, Founder and President of Intellegend Corp. Dr. James Nitit, you founded Intellegend Corp after gaining extensive experience in marketing and managing world renown companies. Why did you decide to create Intellegend Corp? I decided to create Intellegend to help businesses prosper by treating people as the most valuable resource. Other investment firms consider capital to be the most valuable resource. We are not only supporting them in capital but we also mentor and nurture the professionals with the most potential, then deploy them in the myriad businesses that Intellegend oversees. These talented executives then go on to groom, cultivate and inspire other talented people to continue the legitimate prosperity. It creates a positive cycle that eventually leads to business success. 24 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

There are various tangible and intangible assets that can aid others to jumpstart their business and move forward in unison. I also realized that I have distinct dimensions of experiences such as: vast academic knowledge, extensive experience as a business mentor, the willingness and open-mindedness to invest in talents that need support, and new technology. I also have great experience of owning intellectual properties almost 30 years accumulation. It is these crucial experiences that can help new generations achieve sustainable growth. You give a lot of advice to entrepreneurs and business people around the world. What led you to share your expertise with others? Whenever people talk about their greatest inspirations and motivations, it leaves you with a good feeling because you know they’re incredibly passionate about what they do. Yet, very few people share about how to truly improve productivity and ac-

countability. To create strong, impactful businesses that survive in the industry, we have to add tangible value to the customers. We have to go beyond generating good feelings and work toward making significant change. I decided to share this expertise with others, to help them gain a better understanding about this industry. Can you tell me about your book NeuroPreneur™? What led you to write the book and what has been the response? I decided to write a book that takes an innovative approach in this ever-changing industry. We are currently in Information Overload Knowledge Overflow (IOKO). Engagement and innovation come and go too quickly, and concepts soon feel dated and obsolete. Customers are smart enough to see through the same old entrepreneur strategy. I coined the term “NeuroPreneur™” to describe successful entrepreneurs’ ability to understand sensory feeling. They have an innate sense of


what consumers want and design strategies to win and gain attention from them. This trait is incredibly important in trying to reach millennials and centennials, who have an especially acute attention span. In today’s disruptive environment, businesses can disappear faster than they appear. The way businesses grow must be intentional and ingrained within their leaders. This new generation of entrepreneurs needs to have the special skills to better understand the customer’s mind and convince them that their choices are the right ones. This leads customers to remember your products or services rather than being persuaded by marketers. I heavily focus on this one skill because new technology such as AI, machine learning and deep learning are beginning to take control. I believe that the only chance to survive in this era is to strengthen this skill. You suggest businesses and companies to adapt new technologies. Can you explain what new technologies you believe should be focused on currently, and why? I see great potential and future in blockchain technology, because it is incredibly powerful. I can see this innovative technology has already begun to transform business in five distinct areas: smart contracts, supply chain applications, cross-border payment, digital identity authorization, cybersecurity. Dr. James Nitit, you have spoken about businessmen and women being lifelong learners to grow. Tell me about the importance of being a lifelong learner. The world of business today is no longer governed by old-school, brick-and-mortar companies. Everything is rapidly changing, and businesses can face major disruptions at any given moment. The knowledge we have today may be obsolete by tomorrow.

1. Flexible planning – The purpose of a business plan is to establish a course of action and then follow it through to best of your ability while making adjustments along the way as needed. Shift your focus away from distracting issues and center your attention on how you can execute on your plan to achieve business growth. 2. Accentuate all actions, regardless of their size – It is often said that “great things are done by a series of small things brought together”. This holds true for the development of successful businesses. Making a lot of correct small decisions eventually leads to success, and vice versa. 3. Create a strong team unified by an inspiring leader – Seek to lead others by example and you’ll be a source of motivation for employees, customers and potential collaborators alike. The people you surround yourself with are arguably the most important factor to the success of your business. 4. The power of an inspirational vision – Consistently share your vision with employees, customers and stakeholders. The power of an inspirational vision should not be underestimated. For example, Tesla’s overarching vision isn’t just electric vehicles. The grand vision for Elon Musk is to eventually settle humans on Mars. All of his companies – Tesla, Solarcity, SpaceX – are actually working toward that goal. Tesla employees know this, and believe in it. With the rising technology of blockchain, what advice do you have for companies using digital currencies and similar trends? Blockchain technology is inevitable and will have a massive impact on how we conduct business. It will disrupt almost all aspects of our lives.

If you do not have lifelong learning skills, you will be forced to change without any other options for survival.

Some will be apparent, others will be behind the scenes. But make no mistake, it is a fundamental shift in how technology works.

Can you explain the four pillars of successful businesses and how they should be applied by companies? There is no silver bullet for creating a successful business, but there are tips to guide you in the right direction. These four pillars of successful businesses can help any company emerge through their challenges stronger and more resilient:

This new wave of technology will wash over us and completely change the world. Therefore, we are faced with two choices. Either we are not prepared for disruption and end up as a casualty, or we prepare to adapt to blockchain. Regarding digital currency, I believe it is too early to implement it on a mass scale as cryptocurrency does not function by real demand but through

investors blindly betting on future profits. However, I do believe eventually digital currency will greatly benefit everyone, but we are only at the very early stages. There are obvious uncertain factors as to timing and how it will all play out. I would encourage all entrepreneurs to prepare for this new wave by learning about how blockchain and digital currencies work so they can make informed decisions when the time comes. Previously, you collaborated with PayPal Asia. It’s influenced you to write about ways to do business in Asia. What is the difference in doing business in Asia and the rest of the world? In my opinion, doing business in Asia is no different from any other place in the world. I believe that a professional businessperson must have strong core competencies and the necessary social skills as their essential tools. However, the local culture and style may vary based on location. This shouldn’t be the determining factor of successful international business ventures. Today’s world has no borders. Culture and knowledge flow easily, and so does business. In terms of working in Asia and doing business with companies there, is there a different way to do business in each country on the continent? What are some examples of differences? As I mentioned before, I believe that a professional business person will face no problems when doing business in a foreign location. The local culture, social rules and norms are the only thing that may be different. I am confident that when blockchain becomes mainstream, there will be even fewer differences. In all of your experience what is the most important lesson you have learned in business? My motto is: “Moments and feelings are temporary. But accountability is permanent.” If entrepreneurs use marketing tools that only leave customers momentarily excited, then the business shelf life will be short. We must add value, contribution and accountability to customers and also stakeholders. I always practice this business principle and emphasize it to my mentees as well. For more information on Dr. James Nitit and Intellegend Corp., please visit www.intellegend.com TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 25


The Most Expensive Island Destinations in the World By Drew Farmer

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othing conjures up luxurious exotic getaways like an island destination. Regardless of your decision to travel, venturing to a luxury island can quench your travel thirst. From Dr. No-esque, secluded islands to manmade retreats beaming with brilliant beaches, there is a luxury island for everyone. Whether it is an exclusive resort or a vivacious villa, these islands have everything you need for a truly memorable holiday. 26 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

Laucala Island – Taveuni, Fiji If you travel to Fiji, you could visit a new island nearly every single day of your visit. Of the nation’s 300 islands, Laucala is the most must-see. This private island paradise has everything you could want inside and outside. Fancy a rainforest walk or to visit local farms and get your hands dirty? You can do just that on Laucala. If you would prefer to hit the beach and relax in the sun, then you can. There is also worldclass golf to play on the island’s course.

OR A VIVACIOUS VILLA, THESE ISLANDS HAVE EVERYTHING YOU NEED FOR A TRULY MEMORABLE HOLIDAY.

Luxury Island

WHETHER IT IS AN “EXCLUSIVE RESORT

Spending a night on the island at one of the private hilltop residences could set you back around $170,000 all in. It is worth it and you will be shocked by Laucala Island’s sheer beauty. Laucala Island was created by Red Bull energy drink owner Dietrich Mateschitz. He has made the island one of the best – if not the best – luxury escapes in the world. Getting to the island is easy. Simply take your private airplane or yacht to Laucala’s shores. If you don’t have a jet or yacht don’t worry. You can book a seat on the island’s own private airplane to deposit you on Laucala.


Calivigny Island – Grenada Where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Carribean Sea, you will find the lush island of Calivigny. The island is all about luxury living, and if you are looking for your next family holiday, this is the place. The island boasts two French colonial mansions that can be rented. So, if you have a large family, you can impress them with a stay at the island. Calivigny also has three cottages and each has its own special characteristics. Inspired by Indonesian design, the cottages and staff can accommodate your every request. Whether you want to have large parties or it is just a few friends and family staying with you, the resort’s chefs can whip up a great dining experience. North Island – Seychelles North Island has only 11 villas, but don’t late that get you down. These holiday hotspots are great thanks to being secluded. Each is beautifully built and decorated, and their exclusivity makes them a perfect spot to spend a few days or weeks. Just outside your front door, you will find miles of white sand beaches and crystal-clear waters. The North Shore resort has everything you could want of a holiday including a spa and gym to help revitalize your body while

away from home. The villas open up to the beaches and offer one of the most romantic experiences you and a loved one can ever have. There is only one way to get to North Island and that is by helicopter. Once you are there, you won’t want to leave, unless you are hopping on a boat to go fishing in the Indian Ocean. The price to visit North Island is much lower than that of Laucala. It costs around $2,700 per night. Despite the lower price, in some ways it surpasses Laucala Island’s experience. One of the coolest aspects of the resort are the villas’ master bedrooms. Each has a retractable roof, so you can lie in bed and look up at the stars shining over the Maldivian paradise.

Each villa has its own relaxing pool to plunge yourself into and let the stress of work melt away. The villas also open up to a 3.4 mile stretch of lagoon that make for the perfect beach experience. Each villa is located on the lagoon and you will spend nights suspended above the water while sleeping.

If you take the entire family, you will find a fantastic restaurant, a kids’ club and more beach and watersports than you will know what to do with. The largest villa at SonevaJani goes for $20,000 a night. Of course, you can get the smaller villas for around $5,000 at the most; but where is the fun in that?

STEP OUT ON THE “BEACHES AT THE MAL-

Necker Island – Virgin Islands (Great Britain) Necker Island isn’t just an unbelievable luxury island escape, but it is Sir Richard Branson’s private Carribean home. The island typically welcomes A-list celebrities looking for a getaway; and often times, Branson is there to greet them and hang out with guests. The 74-acre island’s centerpiece is the Great House. It is a grand home with nine bedrooms for guests to relax in. The island has six other Bali designed houses. There are 100 members of staff on hand to wait

DIVES’ MOST EXCLUSIVE RESORT, SONEVAJANI, AND YOU WILL HAVE 360-DEGREE VIEWS OF THE INDIAN OCEAN.

SonevaJani – Maldives Step out on the beaches at the Maldives’ most exclusive resort, SonevaJani, and you will have 360-degree views of the Indian Ocean. The resort has just 24 exclusive and luxurious villas.

There are beach activities and watersports available on the island’s shores. You can also find plenty of yachting adventures ready to take you out into the Carribean.

TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 27


on you and keep food and drink plentiful. You won’t have to do a thing on a holiday to Necker Island and you will be surrounded by a Carribean paradise. If you head to Necker Island, which was bought by Branson for £60,000 at the age of 27, you may find some of Hollywood’s stars trying to lie low. It can make for a great vacation and you can party with celebs from dusk until dawn, if you play your cards right. By the way, Necker Island is informal and you will be able to lounge around in beachwear and then head to dinner without changing. A stay at Necker Island will run you around $52,000 a night.

Hayman Island – Great Barrier Reef, Australia Hayman is the nearest island to the Great Barrier Reef. The resort offers visitors an optimal nature experience, and holidaymakers can find a wealth of outdoor activities and watersports all within touching distance. If you want to find a romantic spot, then just head to Langford Sand Spit, where you can enjoy a secluded day out. Picnic with a loved one or family before taking a speedboat back to the resort. The resort’s design is in contrast to the nature that surrounds it. The building is decorated in a modern Australian style, but it allows for traditional aspects to be incorporated. Hayman Island can accommodate large numbers of guests with its 160 suites and villas. The resort’s restaurants and bars provide you with a multiple eating options. There are seven restaurants to choose from during your stay.

Como Parrot Cay – Turks and Caicos Situated on its own private island, Como Parrot Cay is a retreat for Hollywood celebrities and business executives from around the globe. The island is known for providing a therapeutic and rejuvenating experience. Yoga, fine cuisine and deep-water diving are just a few activities that provide a revitalizing holiday. The resort’s villas provide open access to the beach. They also have their own exclusive

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pools that you can enjoy whenever you like. There is 24-hour staff service, so if you wake up at 3 a.m. and need a snack, you can get one brought to your room in no time. The Spanish-themed architecture melds with the resorts surroundings. The 1.5-mile beach is perfect and its powdery white sand is cozy and relaxing. The Carribean Sea laps onto the sandy shore and makes Como Parrot Cay one of the dreamiest destinations in the region.

With over 500 members of staff, Hayman Island has its own little world. Many of the resorts employees are young and offer excellent service. The best option for you when it comes to rooms are the beachside studio villas. Each has a private pool to plunge into in between sips of your morning coffee. If you plan to take your children with you, the villas have an optional children’s room included.


Talking With

Rodney Glass By Drew Farmer

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odney Glass is the Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President at HID Global, a worldwide leader in trusted identity solutions.

a position he has worked hard to earn, and Glass takes pride in the company’s production of cutting-edge, identity security products and services.

It is highly likely that the security smart card and access control system you come in contact with on a daily basis in buildings were made by HID Global. Headquartered in Austin, Texas, HID Global creates and builds the world’s most trusted identity security systems. The company’s products can be found around the globe in over 100 countries. HID Global’s COO Rodney Glass is the man tasked with running the operations of the company. It is

A veteran of the manufacturing field with Ford and Motorola, Glass joined HID Global in 2009. Eight years later, Glass was named the company’s COO. In just under a decade with the HID Global, Glass has discovered his love for inspiring employees and works hard to grow the business and those that work with him. His passion comes from his love of teaching others, and Glass strives to improve those around him.

HID Global is prepared to make even more strides in security. Glass is excited for what the future holds, and his vision is to build on the reputation created by the company in the years to come. Rodney, tell us about HID Global RODNEY GLASS: At the highest level, HID Global powers the trusted identities of the world’s people, place and things. It’s not an exaggeration to say that millions of people use HID products every day, whether it’s an employee badge that you use to get into a building or secure credentials used to log into a network. And, we help to identify more than two billion things, verified and tracked using HID technologies. We sell to governments, banks, hospitals, universities and some of the most innovative companies on the planet. I like to put it this way: HID is part of the conversation when an identity needs to be verified, whether physically or digitally. It’s all about trust. Who can you trust to enter a build TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 31


ing or to access your organization’s network or your bank account? In an increasingly uncertain world, trust in identities means something more significant today than it used to; there is a value connected to it. At HID, we essentially create trusted digital and physical environments. What led you to join the company? RODNEY GLASS: I joined HID because I saw an amazing opportunity to head up the quality organization and truly improve the customer experience around quality. I wasn’t very familiar with HID but when I researched them, I realized it’s an in exciting space. HID was a pioneering company in the physical access control market, innovating with smart cards and readers to open doors and turning itself into a strong 32 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

industry leader. When you look at those little black boxes with the thin red or green light next to doors in buildings, airports, universities and government agencies, you realize how pervasive the presence of HID is in buildings. HID is everywhere; and so many people are carrying an ID card, made by HID, in their pockets every day and they don’t even know it. Because HID has continued to innovate, I loved the vision and the company’s growth trajectory. That’s why I first joined and why I have stayed for almost a decade; I think HID is just getting started to make the world a more trustworthy place, a place where you can trust that the right people have the right access to the right things at the right time.

You joined HID Global in 2009 and have worked your way up through the company. What has it been like to move up the ranks to COO of HID? RODNEY GLASS: Exciting. Challenging. Transformative. It has been exciting to take on new challenges and bigger responsibilities. But what has meant the most to me are the people I’ve met along the way. As I have taken on larger roles, I have become a better listener. I have loved helping other people to develop into better leaders themselves. As a senior executive, the shift becomes more on leading leaders and developing those leaders. I love to teach and inspire other people. I want them to learn from


HID Global makes a number of security products. How important is security in the 21st century? RODNEY GLASS: Security is vital in this day and age. I don’t think anyone would argue with that statement. The kind of security that HID develops is primarily identity security. We help keep the so-called ‘bad guys’ out of your building. If you don’t know whether the identity of the person walking the hallways has been verified by the use of an electronically-connected credential – whether a smart card, a mobile phone or a wearable – you don’t really know if your workplace or your school is safe. Beyond that, we also protect corporate and government networks by authenticating digital identities. For example, the U.S. federal government has made a shift to multi-factor authentication for that second layer of security for digital identities – HID is right in the middle of it. What are the biggest worries companies and individuals have when it comes to security now? RODNEY GLASS: I’d say that the biggest concerns that people have are whether they can trust the person walking through the front door, including an employee, a visitor, a contractor or otherwise. Can they trust the people and, increasingly, can they trust the things that are accessing their resources digitally? my mistakes and stand on my shoulders, so I can make them go higher. As I have gained experience over the years, I have really come to see how important EQ [emotional intelligence] is, even more than IQ in some areas. Ultimately, I have learned that it’s important to deliver results in collaborative ways, and this is the kind of culture of collaboration that I aim to drive across the organization as chief operating officer. The security of identities is a major concern for individuals and businesses today. It isn’t just physical threats that worry people, but businesses are concerned with being hacked as well. These physical and digital security threats have led HID to build products that put people’s minds at ease.

The blurring of the physical and digital world has created enormous challenges. This is why you see data breaches that are devastating. This is why you see hackers stealing people’s usernames and passwords and pretending to be someone else. That’s a situation of lack of trust. So, HID’s customers are looking to us to shore up their potentially vulnerable areas, which is why they are coming to us for predictive analytics and to help them manage risk. The biggest worries of organizations are becoming opportunities to reassess how identities are managed and used within physical and digital environments. In addition, people are also concerned about privacy, which is part of the same coin of security. How do you balance both more security with more privacy? So many companies and governments are looking for a

path forward. I talk to customers all the time about these matters. At the other end of the spectrum, some leading firms layer on top of those concerns a desire to allow their employees to move across their environment without friction. While it certainly creates a new challenge, we work closely with solution providers and leading companies to enable frictionless access. At the end of the day, HID has an opportunity to be a trusted advisor on all matters related to identity security and privacy. HID Global is regularly on the cusp of innovation. The company is always looking for new ways to build better products and services. One area the company is supporting facial recognition. It may sound like science fiction, but in the 21st century, it is a technology that could keep people and information safe. There have been reports of HID supporting facial recognition. Where do you see security going in the future? RODNEY GLASS: Yes, our HID Approve two-factor mobile authentication and verification platform supports Apple’s iPhone X Face ID facial recognition system. We expect facial recognition to play an increasingly important role in authentication offerings, combined with threat and fraud detection. Facial recognition is featured on Apple`s new iPhone X phone to secure access to online or mobile banking and digital signatures used in banking transactions. Apple’s Face ID feature can also be used to secure remote access to employee data and applications. With HID evolving into more of data-driven company capable of delivering risk-based intelligence, our customers now have an easier way to implement Face ID, using our mobile authentication platform for identity verification. Glass spent years with other companies before joining the identity security industry. It was while working at these major players that Glass learned how to be a manager. He also learned that customers should always be your main focus, especially, when you cannot be the first in to develop a product. TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 33


You got your start at Ford Motor Company and later Motorola. How did those experiences prepare you for working at HID Global? RODNEY GLASS: This is a very interesting question. I cut my teeth at Ford. I learned all about the value of standardization, consistency and pragmatism. Both at Ford and at Motorola, what was ingrained in me was customer focus. Getting the right things done for the customer, no matter what. I have taken that same mentality to my role at HID. As I look back, I also learned through my days at Ford and Motorola that the evolution of an organization is continual. It must be thoughtfully approached, intentional and connected to a larger strategy for transformation. There is no place for complacency, no place for 34 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

sitting back, as if everything will stay the same. You have to prepare for the future, be ready to respond quickly to market invaders, but, most of all, delight customers with an experience that is better than any competitor and one that connects a remarkable experience emotionally to your brand.

As time passes, first is not always the most important. A remarkable customer experience is. Being customer-centric is.

Today, customers don’t want excuses. They want a one-click-away experience. Every time a person taps an HID card to a door reader or swipes a mobile banking app that HID secures or fills an electronic prescription that was protected by an HID digital certificate, the customer wants “amazing,” more than they want “first.”Ford was first to mass-produce cars. Motorola was the first to produce a cell phone. HID was the first to make contactless smart cards the de facto standard for physical access control.

RODNEY GLASS: Technology and digital business are moving so fast that I have needed to change over the years. When I got out of college, I sought to take action with certainty, but decision-making needs to be faster today and it needs to be done with a tolerance for a certain degree of uncertainty in exchange for speed. I have become a more educated risk-taker to move our company forward in our efforts of digital transformation. As a manager of teams across operations and business excellence,

Since entering the business world in the mid-1990s, how have you changed as a manager and employee?


tion on a day-to-day basis, while I focus on long-term planning and strategic investments to ensure that HID will be where it needs to be years from now. What has been your greatest achievement so far in the business world?

I have learned to listen to people at every level. That’s how you find the diamonds in the rough; you never know where a great idea will come from. And rather than via command-and-control, I try to manage my teams of smart, hard-working people to live up to their potential and rise up to the level of their role and responsibilities. When I first started out, it was more about me. Now, it’s more about them, and I can coach them, resource them and provide strategic direction, but today it’s more about making my leaders, who report to me, the go-to people, the thought leaders, rather than throwing my weight around. Becoming COO of HID reminded me that I needed to be more of a leader than a manager. I need to guide my teams to do the right things, not just do things right. Then I empower them to run the organiza-

RODNEY GLASS: I have invested almost a decade of my life to HID Global, because I believe in the company and I have had the opportunity to make a difference. I would say that the greatest achievement that comes to mind is to see the results of my applying three critical and strategic actions across Operations and Business Excellence (OBE) – expanding market presence through customer relevance, increasing product leadership through innovation, and improving cost efficiencies. But even more than my doing it; equipping my team to do it, too. I have been able to multiply my impact through other people for years, and this makes me think that part of my greatest achievement is identifying great people to work for and with me in order to reap the benefits of our company’s three strategic actions. I have been able to operationalize a transformative model or business system that goes beyond ops and quality. In a tangible sense, my system has saved the company more than $100 million, has uncorked new value for customers, and aligned with new innovations that are transforming our industry of identity technologies.

citizen IDs (such as the U.S. Green Card, which HID makes), secure issuance, IoT, cloud, and identification technologies. When I look at the next 10 years, I foresee very interesting developments in the identity technology industry in terms of artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, sensors, ubiquitous connectivity, blockchain, and a host of new use cases and applications that will require identity verification. In a way, I feel that the last nine years at HID has prepared me for the next 10 years, and it will be nothing short of digital transformation of a traditional company and determining our own destiny before someone else does. Indeed, it’s going to be a wild ride, but it’s the kind of stuff that goes into Harvard business cases. We have an exciting future at HID Global. Glass wants to leave his mark on the security industry, and with HID Global, he is doing just that. After nearly a decade with the company, Glass is ready to devote the next decade to making the world a more secure place. Security is vital today, and the industry is booming. Thanks to Glass, HID Global has continued in its role as a world leader.

Where do you see your career going in the next 10 years? Will you continue to work in the security arena or do you see yourself looking for a new challenge?

With new technology and innovations emerging from the company’s facilities, HID Global’s status and reputation should remain intact under Glass’s watchful eye.

RODNEY GLASS: I believe in the vision of HID to become number one in trusted identity solutions across all areas of mobile access, identity and access management, location services, government-issued

HID Global 611 Center Ridge Drive Austin, TX 78753 UNITED STATES www.hidglobal.com TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 35


Lamborgh


hini Urus


Lamborghini Urus A Visionary Approach By Totalprestige Magazine Images courtesy by Automobili Lamborghini

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amborghini launched its third model the Lamborghini Urus, the first Super Sport Utility Vehicle, and creates a new niche in the luxury segment with benchmarking power, performance and driving dynamics, unparalleled design, luxury and daily usability. The Urus features a 4.0 liter V8 twin-turbo engine delivering 650 hp (478 kW) at 6,000 rpm, maximum 6,800 rpm, and 850 Nm of maximum torque already at 2,250 rpm. With 162.7 hp/l the Urus claims one of the highest specific power outputs in its class and the best weight-to-power ratio 38 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE


at 3,38 kg/hp. The Urus accelerates from 0-100 km/h in 3.6 seconds, 0-200 km/h in 12,8 seconds and with a top speed of 305 km/h it is the fastest SUV available. A multi-faceted personality The Lamborghini Urus is as much a luxury SUV as the most powerful, with a super sports car dynamism to be enjoyed by both driver and passengers. Its low-line coupĂŠ styling and commanding road position belie the very comfortable ride, higher ground clearance, and luxurious space within together with the latest technologies. The Urus provides easy driving in the city, maximum comfort during long journeys, thrilling super sports car dynamics on the road and track, and versatile off-road abilities in a range of environments. The Lamborghini Urus has a dual personality: it is multi-dimensional. It can be specified to be as sporty or as elegant as the owner wishes, and can equally be used as a daily luxury drive or provide an exhilarating super sports experience. TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 39


Rishabh Chokhani By Totalprestige Magazine Image courtesy by Rishabh Chokhani

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Founder & CEO of Naturevibe Botanicals

n 2017, Rishabh Chokhani founded Naturevibe Botanicals. Rishabh’s creation was inspired by the unhealthy lifestyles led by people around the globe. As a child, Rishabh knew exactly what being obese from junk food was like, and his decision to start a company that markets healthy, organic products came from his own trials and tribulations with health. Naturevibe Botanicals focuses on all-natural products harvested from planets that are grown organically and without the use of chemicals. The natural food and organic product market is on the rise around the world, as more and more people turn to the industry as an alternative to prescription medicines and processed 40 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

foods. Chokhani hopes the world will turn to natural superfoods as a way to improve its lifestyle as a whole. It is a big hope, but with products that can encourage the fight of diseases, illnesses and disorders, there is an opportunity for organic products to be a bit hit; especially in the western world. Chokhani recently spoke to Totalprestige Magazine about Naturevibe Botanicals and his vision of a healthier world. Rishabh, can you please tell us about Naturevibe Botanicals and its products? Naturevibe Botanicals was recently founded in 2017. It specializes in providing an entire range of the highest quality organic bo-

tanical health food products from around the world, thereby encouraging people to choose a healthy, nutritious, chemical-free lifestyle. Naturevibe Botanicals guarantees products that are gluten-free, contain no preservatives, have no artificial chemicals and are privy to ingredients which are only found occurring in nature. We offer a variety of organic products, including but not limited to: superfoods, botanical extracts, spices, essential oils, herbal raw powders, bulk teas and capsules. Can you please tell us how Naturevibe Botanicals began and what some of the highlights have been? We began by creating a botanical brand, and from there, we conducted extensive research and brainstormed how to create the highest quality products to best benefit consumers.


It has been a major team effort to produce exceptional superfoods that are not only affordable and conveniently available online, but also incredibly life-changing. Naturevibe Botanicals differs from other superfood providers, because it is not limited to one location for its source ingredients; we offer an array of organic health products from around the world. All Naturevibe Botanicals products are organic, meaning we ensure you are not ingesting pesticides or chemicals. They provide the correct daily dose of vitamins, minerals and nutrients for a healthy body and mind. We guarantee all our products are 100% non-GMO, raw, gluten-free and vegan. What exactly are botanicals and why are they so popular? A botanical is simply a substance obtained from a plant and is used typically in medicinal or cosmetic products. However, botanical ingredients are present in almost every ingredient we use in our daily lives: spices, herbs, medicinal herbs, dietary supplements, food, sauces and more. Botanicals are popular to all people who are interested in choosing a healthy, nutritious lifestyle, because not only do they add flavor to your food, but they also boast tremendous medicinal properties which prevent and treat innumerable health conditions. How did you first become interested in botanicals? What or who encouraged you? I was a junk food lover from the start and, not surprisingly, was an obese child. As I grew up, I realized the ill effects of ingesting chemicals and the negative effects it has on the body. So, I chose to transform my lifestyle into a healthier one by integrating natural foods into my diet. It was this journey that led to my realization of what nature can offer to humanity. With the botanical market on the rise, how do you see the future of botanicals growing? As the botanical market continues to grow and expand, I see the United States as one of the biggest markets for botanicals. Americans are highly interested in dietary supplements, alternative medicines and wellness. At this point, there is a lot of awareness and growth of natural, organic and non-GMO products with a growing trend of going for completely raw products. I find this interest encouraging, which should hopefully lead to a new generation of people who find the use of botanicals simply a natural part of their everyday lives.

Rishabh, what is next for Naturevibe Botanicals? We plan to continue to create more products that help bring nature and botanicals as close to consumers as possible. It can be extremely difficult for people to find specific natural products that are not geographically near them. We hope to reduce the distance between authentic natural products and consumers. Our ultimate goal is to help people lead the healthiest lives with the finest nature has to offer. What is the most challenging part of your work? All our botanicals come from farmers across the world, so this makes it challenging to connect with each culture and language. Yet, we strive to find a middle ground of communication to be able to deliver the highest quality product for all our consumers. Rishabh, what is a day in your life like? My day starts at eight in the morning with a cup of strong black coffee, followed by work in the office where I give instructions on the latest sales and strategies. I then leave for the factory to conduct a routine check-up on the quality and production. Finally, I head back home, but I am always connected to work through my phone and laptop. What makes you smile? Two things that make me smile are the doors of opportunity and unwavering hope. There are endless opportunities everywhere, we just have to learn to look for them and never give up. When things get tough, it is especially important to have a ray of hope. Believing in a better tomorrow can help us bear difficult situations and overcome adversity. What scares you? I am scared of failing, and it is this fear of failure that makes me work hard every day and hence it makes me more pragmatic. What is your greatest achievement? I believe my greatest achievement is yet to come. What is your secret talent? I am intuitively able to know when to speak and when to refrain from speaking. Words often cut deeper than knives, so it is crucial to know when to speak, what to say and when to say it.

Which historical figure do you most admire? Mahatma Gandhi, because he was a spiritual visionary who expended his energies in service of others. Gandhi practiced incredible compassion and gave his mission the greatest effort possible. Gandhi said: “Just continue to give your best. If you fall, pick yourself up and march on.” This strongly emphasizes the importance of working hard and putting in the best effort regardless of the obstacles you may face in life. Rishabh, do you have any hobbies or interests? Yes, I love good music, being connected to nature and exploring marvelous food with healthier alternatives. What are you never without? I am never without my phone. I am always checking emails, texting, closing deals and communicating with my team. So, wherever I am across the globe, I am always connected. Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us? “It’s okay to be confused. Confusion is the route to all the clarity in the world.” “If you live by your fears, everything that could go wrong will go wrong.” What inspires you? Our customers, they are incredibly vocal and passionate. They are also brutally honest, so not only do they share what they love about our brand, but they also inform us about want they want improved or what they would like to see next. If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be? I would eradicate poverty, that would ensure everyone gets food to eat. Rishabh, what would be your first advice for a healthy lifestyle? A healthy lifestyle doesn’t necessarily mean sweating for hours on end in the gym and only eating salad leaves. Small healthy changes to your daily routine can generate a greater impact. By simply walking an extra mile every day, drinking more fluids and managing your diet, you can lead a healthy lifestyle that that will not only leave you looking healthier, but feeling healthier. For more information on Rishabh Chokhani and his healthy lifestyle company, Naturevibe Botanicals, please visit www.naturevibe.com. TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 41


Jaguar I-Pace The Electric Vehicle Drivers Have Been Waiting For By Totalprestige Magazine Images courtesy by Jaguar


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ith a state-of-the-art 90kWh Lithium-ion battery using 432 pouch cells, the I-PACE delivers a range of 480km (WLTP cycle). Owners will be able to achieve a 0-80 per cent battery charge in just 40 minutes using DC rapid charging (100kW). Home charging with an AC wall box (7kW) will achieve the same state of charge in just over ten hours – ideal for overnight charging. A suite of smart range-optimising technologies includes a battery pre-conditioning system: when plugged in the I-PACE will automatically raise (or lower) the temperature of its battery to maximise range ahead of driving away. Two Jaguar-designed electric motors – which feature driveshafts passing through the motors themselves for compactness – are placed at each axle, producing exceptional combined performance of 400PS and 696Nm, and all-wheel-drive, all-surface traction. The high torque density and high-energy efficiency characteristics of the motors deliver sports car performance, launching the I-PACE from a standing start to 100km/h in just 4.8 seconds. The instantaneous per44 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

formance is matched with exceptional ride comfort and engaging driving dynamics. The bespoke EV aluminium architecture uses advanced riveting and bonding technology to deliver a light, stiff body structure. Together with the structural battery pack, it has a torsional rigidity of 36kNm/ degree – the highest of any Jaguar. The battery is placed centrally between the two axles, and as low down as possible with a seal between the housing and the underfloor. This location enables perfect 50:50 weight distribution and a low centre of gravity: together with the advanced double wishbone front and Integral Link rear axle with (optional) air suspension and configurable Adaptive Dynamics, this delivers agile handling and outstanding ride comfort. There will be nothing else on the road that looks or drives like the Jaguar I-PACE. It is designed and engineered to take full advantage of its smart electric powertrain and maximise the potential of the packaging benefits it brings. This cab-forward design contrasts with its squared-off rear, which helps reduce the drag co-efficient to just 0.29Cd. To optimise the balance between cooling and aerodynamics, Active Vanes in the grille open

when cooling is required, but close when not needed to redirect air through the integral bonnet scoop, smoothing airflow. Inside, the layout optimises space for passengers while sophisticated materials – including the option of a premium textile Kvadrat interior – and exquisite attention to detail identify this as a true Jaguar. While a mid-sized SUV, I-PACE’s cab forward design and EV powertrain means interior space comparable to large SUVs. In the rear, legroom is 890mm while, with no transmission tunnel, there’s a useful 10.5-litre central storage compartment. In the rear, tablet and laptop stowage is found beneath the seats, while the rear luggage compartment offers a 656-litre capacity – and 1,453-litres with seats folded flat.


Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim with Artist Marc Gumpinger

Talking With it. After spending time working in finance, Hoerle-Guggenheim decided his true calling was to open the HG Contemporary Art Gallery in New York City.

Philippe, please tell us how the HG Contemporary began and what some of the highlights have been? HG Contemporary was founded a little over four years ago. At the time, I was an art advisor for private collectors, but then saw the opening of the gallery as a way to give artists the opportunity to show their work and establish myself on the primary market as well. Highlights have been numerous, but I’d like to list the opening of a second location as well as the many exciting collaborations with brands such as Aston Martin, Louis XIII and others. And each exhibition in and outside the gallery has been a highlight on its own.

Hoerle-Guggenheim’s hip, cool and trendy art gallery shows off some of the best new artwork being created today by hot new artists. The Anglia Ruskin University graduate now sees his calling as a purveyor of the arts and has found his niche in the world. The HG Contemporary Art Gallery is thriving and Hoerle-Guggenheim couldn’t be more pleased with its potential as one of the upcoming art houses in New York City.

How did you first become interested in art? Who encouraged you? Art was everywhere I looked growing up. Whether in our home, family friends that were artists, the many museum tours my mother dragged me to at first – until I started dragging her to the work my family did within art. A true career in art was not something I had thought of until I set foot in the field on a professional level. Two art-

Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim By Eric Weisman Images courtesy by Wajer Yachts

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hilippe Hoerle-Guggenheim has a famous last name that is synonymous with the art world. A distant relative to the Guggenheims who founded the museum of the same name in the United States, Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim has cut out a path of his own. What this French-German living in New York City also has in common with the other Guggenheims is his passion for art. Hoerle-Guggenheim’s love for the arts was developed at a young age. Inspired by his mother and grandmother, the German-born 36-yearold fell in love with art and those who create

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also have three living artist that will create a couple of works inspired by Eldon. What sets your art gallery apart from other galleries? We are distinct in finding unique talent and we are not afraid to take risks where most galleries would not dare to go to. We create great opportunities for artists and collectors alike. Public art projects such as the large scale wall on 22nd and Tenth Avenue painted by Italian artist Pixel Pancho and other public art installations. We try to add value and invest in the artists we work with.

Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim, Diane Stafrace, and Fabrizio Cerina ists asked me separately from one another to host their events during Art Basel Miami that year. I felt an immediate connection, and found myself right at home. Everything happened the way it was supposed to. The HG Contemporary Art Gallery has regular exhibits from up and coming artists. The gallery shows off some of the hottest new exhibitions that features creators pushing the boundaries of contemporary art. The cutting-edge exhibits have helped give HG a reputation that few galleries are able to gain in such a short timeframe. Please tell us about the different art exhibits and other shows you are organizing? The artists represented at HG Contemporary are all unique talents and the most promising talents in the art world right now. We had shows for Tim Bengel, a thorough sensation, who connects our affinity with social media and communication and unique medium of using sand and gold resulting in distinct pieces of artwork with video that reaches millions. We had shows for Laura Kimpton who creates powerful words and large scale sculptures that have become famous beyond just the burning man community. Marc Gumpinger, a treasured digital artist, who translates beautiful images into oil on canvas paintings. The list goes on. Our upcoming show on Thursday, April 12th, is by Jan Larsen, a contemporary artist exploring contemporary culture and philosophy in his work. Working in digital and traditional media, his work is bold and playful, while holding serious 48 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

philosophical impact and long-term meditative and aesthetic value for viewers. How do you choose the artists you show? I primarily look for what is unique, something that I have not seen before. It appears easily and often times tempting to choose artists that replicate something from the Warhols, or Basquiats of this world. Though they may do it successfully, and are certainly also good artists, we are looking for approaches that have not been touched before. It’s important for the future and positioning. At the same time you want to create value for artists and collectors alike. Hoerle-Guggenheim has scheduled a number of unique exhibits found nowhere else in the art world. The gallery owner has worked hard to establish the HG Contemporary Art Gallery in New York City, and now sees the fruits of his labor pay off with his all-new Madrid, Spain-based gallery opening this summer. Philippe, what is next for HG Contemporary? HG Contemporary Madrid, opening in June, is a very exciting venture. There are amazing shows coming up, one of which is Dan Eldon’s work exhibit in September. He is a beautiful artist that has devoted his life to spread light and life in crisis areas in Africa, and unfortunately, he lost his life doing working there. A foundation was started in his name that continues to do good, and the artwork he created will be shown at HG Contemporary. We will

What is the most rewarding part of your work? Seeing artwork gain value over time due to your doing. Artists all work hard to get the recognition they deserve. We are here to facilitate it and make it possible. For that to happen, we create win-win situations. It is rewarding to see artists happy to see progress in their careers. Having an impact in it is a blessing, and I truly enjoy every bit of it. Like most entrepreneurs and businesspeople, Hoerle-Guggenheim finds his days packed with various tasks as he helps raise the profiles of his artists. Although many may think an art gallery director’s life to be easy, Hoerle-Guggenheim proves it is a non-stop, 24-hour, seven-day a week labor of love. But it isn’t all work and no play, as Hoerle-Guggenheim finds plenty of time to savor life outside of the HG gallery. Philippe, what is a day in your life like? Gallery life for me is just project after project. Often, I find myself with meetings back-to-back all day. Connections are important, and I’m always working on the next new idea to bring to the gallery. Right now, we’re in midst of getting Laura Kimpton’s sculpture on the outside of the World Trade Center. She’s a fabulous artist, and her monumental LOVE sculpture will really make a powerful statement. What makes you smile? Seeing the artists we represent be recognized for their talent is something that makes me ecstatic. They all have such innovative powerful work, and showing the world all their effort, and seeing their careers take off is something that makes me smile. I love that I get to be a part of the process. FYI, our next show is opening May 3rd with a collaboration between Domin-


go Zapata and Alejandro Sanz, the world famous singer. It is called SMILE. What scares you? Irrelevance. The world today, especially being in New York, everything changes so fast, and I pride myself on keeping the gallery fresh and innovative. The thought that what I do would turn stagnant, or that I would get stuck doing the same things over and over scares me. I really thrive on that fear, it’s this energy that drives me forward. What is your greatest achievement? Making the shift from the world of finance to the art world was a big step, and starting HG Contemporary and having such success with gallery in a short time in NYC. I take as a point of pride. I’m very happy with what we’ve achieved so far, and I can’t wait to see what the future brings.

a great way to get some fresh air after too much time in the city. I’m actually competing in a half ironman next month which I’m really looking forward to. The event will benefit the Bowery Mission as well as a fully matched donation to Elevate NY. It feels good to be part of such a wonderful group of people. Investing your time into helping others help themselves is so significant, it’s a lifelong investment in them as people. What are you never without? My phone. These days communication is everything, and with so many things happening so fast, I always have my phone on hand. It’s an addiction I know, but it’s my guilty pleasure.

What is your secret talent? I’d like to think my secret talent is my intuition. So much of the work I do at the gallery is about people, working with artists and collectors. Being able to trust my gut is something I rely on. Art, especially cutting-edge contemporary art, is about the impact it makes, so, especially in finding new artists, I put a lot faith in my intuition.

It keeps me going, social media is a rush, seeing my artists get feedback is such a invigorating, validating feeling about what I’m building.

Which historical figure do you most admire? Charlie Chaplin was an innovator is his own time. He rose out of low circumstances to make a career as one of the most famous silent film artists ever to perform. I admire the force of will that career required, the vision and the drive to make such a name for himself.

“The purpose of art is to lay bare the questions that have been concealed by the answers.” – James Baldwin

Philippe, do you have any hobbies? I love to be outdoors and to exercise, it’s

Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim

Can you share your two favorite quotes with us? “The secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” – Socrates

What inspires you? Influence and fame is something I find motivating. There’s something remarkable about how widespread an effect just a small handful of people have. Being the source of dramatic change in the art world is something I strive for. If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be? I feel really invested in giving kids greater access to art education. It’s something I’m passionate about, fostering young creative minds – the next generation of groundbreaking artists. Elevate NY is a foundation I work closely with, and they’re doing really valuable work teaching underprivileged kids the skills they need to become success stories themselves. Hoerle-Guggenheim has plenty of advice for personal art collectors, but his No. 1 tip with those who want to being buying pieces for their home is simple. Anyone can purchase artwork, and finding the right piece is down to a personal connection rather than any other reason.

Philippe Hoerle-Guggenheim with Designer Karim Rachid

If someone wants to start a personal art collection, what is your No. 1 tip? In starting a personal art collection, the most important thing is finding work which speaks to you. Art is something to be experienced and reveled in. The works should be something you feel passionate about; or not even passion specifically, it could be another strong feeling, a feeling of nostalgia, or of inspiration. Art which speaks to something deeper inside you. Is there anything else you would like to add? Someday, I hope to write a book. Spending my days around so many creative people, I hope to add something of my own to the world. The HG Contemporary Art Gallery has quickly made a name for itself in New York City’s art scene. But it isn’t just the city that never sleeps that Hoerle-Guggenheim wants to conquer. In June, he will open the HG Madrid and take his cutting-edge art gallery and unique exhibitions to a whole new audience in Europe. In just four short years, Hoerle-Guggenheim has turned his love of art and quaint art gallery into one of best new venues for artists to show off their work. With a new gallery opening soon, the sky’s the limit for Hoerle-Guggenheim and his contemporary art galleries. HG Contemporary www.hgcontemporary.com 527 W 23rd Street New York, NY 10011 P. 212-366-4490 F. 212-366-4481 info@hgcontemporary.com TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 49


Bridal Special Reem Acra - New York ReemAcra rocketed onto fashion’s most wanted list in 2007, with the launch of the labels ethereal bridal collection that fused contemporary designs with classic elegance to create effortlessly glamorous and chic silhouettes. Lebanese designer ReemAcra has dressed some of Hollywood’s most famous women, including Taylor Swift, Angelina Jolie and Kate Hudson. Coveted for their timeless elegance, her glamorous gowns and separates are beautifully made using luxurious fabrics, intricate embroideries and ornate embellishments.


TheWajer 55 S Explore the S-Factor By Eric Weisman Images courtesy by Wajer Yachts

Wajer Yachts in the Netherlands has unveiled its latest motoryacht model, the Wajer 55 S. Eighteen months after the release of the flagship Wajer 55, this sportier version is based upon a centre console concept. The new model has the same hull as the Wajer 55, but with a completely different deck layout. This gives the boat an even more dynamic look and room for all kinds of watersport toys. This combination of sportiness, luxury and comfort is why Wajer is calling the new model a Sports Utility Yacht. The S-Factor The S-factor in the Wajer 55 S meets all the requirements of modern watersporters. Three powerful 435 HP Volvo Penta IPS600 engines for joystick driving and dynamic positioning, offering an impressive top speed of over 40 knots.’ Fun and comfort The new model features the finely tuned finishing, comfort and aesthetics to which Wajer owners are accustomed. The Wajer 55 S’s hardtop roof consists of removable panels and can be extended to provide shade for the lounging area aft of the captain’s seats. The outdoor galley, with grill, 54 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

refrigerator and icemaker, is another new feature pioneered by this model. Navigation is very simple and clear thanks to the built-in Volvo Penta Glass Cockpit System. Four forward-facing Stidd captain’s seats and two elegant Garmin touchscreens allow the whole family to take part in navigating. And the state-of-the-art custom-made audio system makes any stay on board a party. The boat can be expanded

as desired with a stabilising system, carbon finishing and a swimming platform for even more comfort. Like its flagship sibling, the Wajer 55 S was designed in partnership with Sinot Exclusive Yacht Design, while Vripack Naval Architects designed the hull.


Ben Ives By Totalprestige Magazine Image courtesy by RapidVisa

Founder & CEO of RapidVisa

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he United States of America is a country built by immigrants. Every American citizen can trace their family tree back to their relatives that immigrated to the country. Still today, the US is one of the most popular countries for foreign nationals to move to. The US receives an estimated 1,000,000 legal immigrants per year, which includes people already living in the country who have their green card status updated. A former United States Air Force member, Ives found out first

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hand what it was like to bring a foreign national to the US following marriage. It was an eye-opening time for Ives, as he worked tediously on paperwork to bring his wife Jocelyn to the US. In 2009, Ives opened RapidVisa to help alleviate the stress customers are consumed with when applying for a US visa. With nearly a decade of helping people and over 35,000 approved visas under his belt, Ives’ company has become one of the premier businesses in

immigration services. Ives spoke with Totalprestige Magazine about RapidVisa and the difficult process immigrants and family members must go through to live in the US. Ben, you launched RapidVisa in 2009 after an intensive period of developing the company. You found out first hand just how difficult the visa process is when marrying a foreign national. Can you tell me about why it was so difficult to legally bring your wife to the United States? For a country founded on immigration, most of us are pretty ignorant about the process, including me at that time. Most people can’t explain the difference between a visa, a green card and a passport.


I thought a quick web search would get me going, but I learned that nobody back then was doing what we are doing now to automate the process of bringing a family member to the USA. While the process is tedious, the real problem is finding all the information you need to complete the long process. Years before founding RapidVisa, you spent time in the US Air Force. How did your military service influence you as a businessman later on? My four years in the US Air Force was transformative. The primary lessons I learned that have helped me in business is just how important it is to be organized, punctual and reliable. Additionally, the three years I spent in Germany really opened my eyes to the bigger world and the importance of cultural differences. Focusing on RapidVisa, how can the company ease the typical burden of gaining a visa to live in the US, and how difficult is it to gain admittance to the country? Immigrating by way of a family visa is really not difficult at all, if you know the process and give the government everything it wants. RapidVisa facilitates the process by holding your hand through the entire six to nine month process. We make sure the government gets what it wants when it wants it, and that you don’t miss important submission dates and appointments. It is a very stressful process for most people just because of the obvious importance tied to getting your loved one to the United States. We are here seven days a week to keep our customers moving through the process, and give them the peace of mind that everything is going as planned. Under the Trump administration, there have been new restrictions on people entering the US to live. How often do people seeking a visa get denied? The current travel ban is having a negligible impact on our business. The seven countries listed in the ban account for a tiny part of our business. Of course if your family member is one of the applicants banned from entering the US., the personal impact is enormous. The bigger impact the Trump administration is having to our business is byway of “extreme vetting”. While this increased scrutiny doesn’t seem to be impacting approval rates, it is dramatically slowing down the process. We estimate that approval times have increased by two to four months since the new administration arrived.

Is it going to getting more strict or difficult for people to gain entry into the US to live? Obviously, if you are from one of the seven banned countries it is nearly impossible to immigrate right now. But for everyone else we are only seeing increased wait times, with no discernable increase in denial rates. However, our experience is probably not representative of the whole industry since we turn away applicants who have complicated legal situations that require the advice of an attorney. What are reasons people get denied a visa today? The number one reason we see for denial is finances. The government requires that you demonstrate adequate income to support the intending immigrant. For most people, this means showing income of at least 125% of the poverty level for your household size plus the immigrant. Many people need the help of a joint sponsor, similar to a cosigner, to meet the requirements, but it can be very difficult to convince somebody else to commit to financially supporting your migrating family member or fiancee. However, even with these cases the approv al rate is actually quite high considering all the rhetoric around curbing immigration. The current approval rate with RapidVisa is about 97%. The RapidVisa website and social media is full of testimonials from those you have helped. What does it mean to you to help these people, especially after you went through a similar situation? I love to tell people that we have helped over 35,000 people immigrate legally to the United States. That’s an amazing number that I’m quite proud of and it grows everyday. I have been fascinated with migration from an early age and very much enjoy being a small part of modern day migration. Humanity is so much more than any one country. When individuals prepare their own immigration applications and papers, what are the biggest mistakes that they make? Most mistakes are caused by not knowing what forms to file. While it’s easy to figure out what primary form you need, there are always supplemental documents which can vary depending on your situation. But even when customers figure out all

the forms and documents they need, they struggle to know exactly when and where to file the forms. It is not a “file and forget” process. You have to file several sets of documents, all to different offices at different times throughout the process. What’s the major differences between RapidVisa and hiring an immigration attorney? Three things – Value, Service and Specialization. It costs a lot of money to run a law office. An attorney simply can’t afford to sell at our rates. And when is the last time you found a law office that was open seven days a week to take questions by phone, email and chat? But perhaps our biggest advantage over an attorney is our volume. We process more visas in a month than one attorney may do in her entire career. Because most attorneys are focused on serving only their local community, they must take a variety of case types to keep their billable hours up. Because our services are sold throughout the world, we can focus intently on just a few visa types. This specialization gives us unparalleled information about the rapidly changing requirement from US embassies throughout the world. Of course, we are not a law firm, so if a person has a legal problem with their immigration request we would refer them to a qualified immigration attorney. This is one reason we don’t provide services to undocumented immigrants. Ben, of course you run a company and a very successful one, but do you also see yourself as someone doing – for a lack of a better word – humanitarian work to help people? It would be disingenuous to put ourselves in the same league as the many great humanitarian organizations working in the immigration space. We are proudly a for-profit company. However, we do try really hard to keep our prices as low as possible. The legal industry in this country has positioned itself as a luxury product. Just look at the iconography around their marketing. The good news is that while the legal industry has failed to bring value to the average consumer, RapidVisa and other companies are bringing innovation to areas like divorce, bankruptcy, probate and immigration that are dramatically driving down costs. RapidVisa is proud to play its part in this disruption. For more information on Ben Ives and RapidVisa, please visit https://rapidvisa.com/. TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 57


Ishmeet Singh By Totalprestige Magazine Image courtesy by Ishmeet Singh

Advisory Board Member of DEEP AERO, Expercoin and Digital Disintermediation

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shmeet Singh is a serial entrepreneur with extensive expertise in investing and technology. It is Ishmeet’s experience in these areas that led him to become an advisor at DEEP AERO. The fledgling company is building autonomous drones that are powered by artificial intelligence and blockchain.

platform that will revolutionize the industry. Ishmeet is working in various capacities with DEEP AERO as he helps the company grow. He believes that his experience will add more value to the company as he works as a business strategist, ICO advisor and uses his knowledge of technology and business to help build DEEP AERO as a company.

DEEP AERO believes its work will provide the world with an autonomous, intelligent and self-governing drone traffic management

Recently, Totalprestige Magazine caught up with Ishmeet to talk about DEEP AERO and its plans for the future.

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Ishmeet, please let us know about DEEP AERO and the services you provide. DEEP AERO is building an autonomous drone economy powered by AI and blockchain. DEEP AERO is a global leader in drone technology innovation. It is building an AI-driven, autonomous, self-governing, intelligent drone/unmanned aircraft system (UAS) traffic management (UTM) platform on the blockchain. It is designed to enable safe low-altitude civilian flights of manned and unmanned aircraft in the shared airspace. Current airspace management and air traffic flow management systems don’t have the capabilities to handle the type of operations relevant to drones. In addition, the anticipated traffic density of drones is far beyond the capabilities of current air traffic management systems.


DEEP AERO is currently researching prototype technologies such as airspace design, dynamic geo-fencing, congestion management, terrain avoidance, route planning, rerouting, separation management, sequencing and spacing, and contingency management.

What’s next for DEEP AERO? These are very exciting times for the DEEP AERO team. The team is growing, and we plan to hire top-notch talent to build the platform. The focus is to complete the ICO and release the beta version of DRONEMP platform.

DEEP AERO’s DRONE-UTM includes universal drone registration standards, secure identification systems, tamper-proof flight data recorders, accurate and trustworthy 3D mapping data, dynamic weather information, and secure vehicle-to-vehicle communication.

Ishmeet, instinct versus expertise: Which is more important and why? Both are equally important. Expertise is necessary to perform and deliver. Having good instincts is necessary to compensate for unforeseen things and events. Both are required in equal measure to function at the highest possible level of our ability.

DEEP AERO’s DRONE-MP, a decentralized marketplace, will be a one-stop shop for all products and services for drones. This platform will be the foundation of the drone economy and will be powered by the DEEP AERO (DRONE) token. Please tell us what some of the company highlights have been? And what are its goals and objectives? The Company is building autonomous drone economy from the ground up. We foresee the technology evolving from manual to semi-autonomous to fully-autonomous drones contributing in our daily lives. The technology that is being built is very innovative and will be the foundation of drone traffic management in the future. Ishmeet, what really sets Deep Aero apart from competitors? Our work ethics, culture, thought process, vision and our amazing and talented team of engineers, researchers and the management. We respect our competitors and view them as prospective partners or clients. We respect the effort that our competitors are making though many times we may not agree with what they are building or executing. Please tell us about the DRONE token and how people can invest? DRONE token is going to be the soul of the Drone economy that DEEP AERO is building. People can contribute with as little as 0.1 ETH. It’s a crowdfunding campaign where people are enabling us to build the future. It’s a very easy process. They need to visit the ICO website and click on “Buy Drone Tokens” button. You will be asked to create an account on the website and you will be shown the DEEP AERO (DRONE) token sale smart contract address where you need to send your ETH contribution.

What is the most challenging part of your work? Convincing and getting team members to work together towards one common objective. What was your most rewarding professional experience? What we are doing now at DEEP AERO is incredibly rewarding. As a blockchain and ICO advisor, I am working with some really great new companies such as Digital Disintermediation Pte Ltd and Expercoin. These companies have been set up by really smart people. It’s intellectually stimulating and rewarding working with such great teams and the satisfaction of getting these projects off the ground is the best reward that one can ask for. Ishmeet, what drives you? The intent to make myself better every day by a small fraction in all aspects of my life and learn something new every day. As a member of the advisory board, what is a day in your life like? I start my day early. I like to strategize early in the morning. I build my To Do list for each day in advance, and I like to get things off it in the first half. Most of the day is planned ahead and a lot of time goes into speaking with prospective investors and partners. I like to finish my work early and be home and spend time with my family. I do some of the online meetings from home.

What is your greatest achievement? Yet to come. What is your secret talent? I love to sing. I am always singing whenever I am alone. Which historical figure do you most admire? I admire two historical figures the most – Guru Gobind Singh and Abraham Lincoln Ishmeet, do you have any hobbies? I love playing chess, basketball, badminton, reading books and dancing. What are you never without? I have a photograph of my family with me always. It keeps me grounded and focused on what’s really important in life. Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us? “I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the community, and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work, the more I live. Life is no ‘brief candle’ to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got hold of for a moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it on to the future generations.” – George Bernard Shaw “Mastering others is strength. Mastering yourself is true power.” – Lao Tzu If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be? I would change myself to be a better human being. What advice would you give to anyone starting a new business? Starting a new business is like trying to skateboard on burning lava oozing from an active volcano. One should do it only if they have the passion and the grit to make it a success come what may.

What makes you smile? My daughter.

If you cannot deal with uncertainty and cannot learn to say no to a lot of things, you shouldn’t consider starting a business.

What scares you? The thought of not being able to learn or be independent in my later stages of life.

For more information on Ishmeet Singh and DEEP AERO Drones, please visit www.deepaero.com. TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 59


championship – it became an integral part of my life. I have since lived in Washington DC, New York City, Connecticut and South Florida; therefore, I was able to train in many styles and systems such as Wing Chun, kickboxing, Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I always loved the competition in martial arts along with the discipline that it helps you develop over time. These attributes certainly helped me incorporate structure in my life. I think my 31-years in martial arts have undoubtedly helped me overcome many difficult periods in my life. I’ve lived in five countries and four states, had a tumultuous Wall Street career, took care of my sick parents while raising my own children – it’s been a roller coaster to say the least. I’d say the mental aspect of martial arts training has helped me stay somewhat sane during my crazy journey.

Cyrus Pakravan Owner of Giraffe Choke By Totalprestige Magazine Images courtesy by Cyrus Pakravan

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fter 23-years of working on Wall Street, Cyrus Pakravan decided to leave his job in the financial industry. Mr. Pakravan had come to a crossroads. He could continue working in finance, or he could follow his dreams and passion for the martial arts. Mr. Pakravan chose the latter and began forging a new path. Part of the decision was made due to the untimely illnesses that overtook his parents’ lives. It was an eye-opening moment as Mr. Pakravan took care of the two most influential people in his life. It took all the energy he had to help his mother and father, while raising his own children. Now, he is putting that energy into his own martial arts influenced clothing line known as Giraffe Choke. Mr. Pakravan saw that the mixed martial arts and combat sports world had clothing only focused on violence. So, he did something about it and began creating unique and fun apparel and accessories that he coined as “technique gear”. 60 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

Totalprestige Magazine recently caught up with Mr. Pakravan to learn more about Giraffe Choke, his life and career. Cyrus, you’ve led an interesting life that saw you walk away from a job on Wall Street to follow your martial arts dream. Firstly, how did you become involved with martial arts and tell me about some of the training you experienced? I don’t think that you can ever really “walk away” from Wall Street after a 23year career in financial markets. I check up on markets daily but not as intensely as I used to. When I was six-years old, I became enamored with Bruce Lee and the martial arts. By the time I was 17, I immersed myself in a Korean-based martial art style called Won Hwa Do. I chose it, because at the time, it was the closest to a singular complete style. I practiced Won Hwa Do for six years and earned a national

Mixed martial arts is one of the most popular sports in the world today thanks to the UFC, which began in the early 1990s. Did MMA and its rise in popularity help you with your decision to leave Wall Street? I’ve always enjoyed following the UFC and in my opinion, MMA is the most misunderstood sport in the world, but I wouldn’t say it was the reason I left my Wall Street career. I worked in a business model that revolved around market volatility and we had abnormally low volatility levels for years. At the time, I had been training a lot in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and realized that there really weren’t any fun brands in the market. I started to indepthly research the space. In early 2018, Giraffe Choke began designing and selling clothing. What influenced your decision to release a line of merchandise? I felt there weren’t any fun brands in the market. Most brands depict aggression and violence. There really aren’t any brands that express the camaraderie you develop and fun that you have with your training partners. We are always pranking and joking with each other, but if you just look from the outside, it can seem intimidating. In a previous interview, it stated you “couldn’t see yourself wearing the MMA [clothing] brands currently in the marketplace”. Can you explain exactly why that is? A majority of the brands in the marketplace are either generic name brands with a logo or they depict aggression and violence. For example, you’ll see shirts with skulls and crossbones, fake blood droplets,


etc. I think there’s a level of machismo that exists in the martial arts; therefore, the idea of being a “tough guy” goes hand in hand with wearing “tough guy” brands. In reality, some of the professional fighters I know are the most humble, down to earth people you will meet. They love to joke around, but when it comes to their craft, they train extremely hard. That craft happens to be in an area where violence occurs. The fun side of martial arts is rarely expressed in the marketplace. I decided that I will develop the brand that will fill that void. Cyrus, you have competed in combat sports competitions previously. For those who have never competed in MMA or martial arts, what is the training like for a competition both mentally and physically? I think martial arts are a microcosm of our lives. You get input based returns – it’s cliché, but the harder and smarter you work, you’ll generally receive better results. You need a relentless drive that accepts the inevitable tough periods, some of them unforeseen. The physical training compliments the mindset you develop. If you’re unfocused and your mindset isn’t stable, you will most probably have a tough time dealing with obstacles that are placed in front you – whether that obstacle is a deadline at work or an opponent across a ring or cage that wants to defeat you in every possible way. At the end of the day, you have to train both physically and mentally. Just as in life, your weaknesses will get exposed at some point; therefore, you need to keep improving and growing. This kind of consistent mindset allows for a greater potential of a successful outcome, whether it’s at a martial arts event or in your everyday life. Now with a clothing line on the market, are there any fighters you plan to sponsor at the various levels of MMA or other combat sports? We don’t sponsor any fighters in the UFC as they presently have a contract with Reebok. I do however work with one of the top MMA gyms in the world based out of Florida, called Hard Knocks 365. It’s headed by the top striking coach in MMA, Henri Hooft. The gym is home to other top wrestling, grappling and MMA coaches and professional fighters. They’re building a fantastic gym and I’m fortunate that Giraffe Choke is linked to such a great crew. I am looking to start a profit sharing program with some of the fighters that should

help augment their earnings as they chase their dreams to become world champions. The fighter’s pay isn’t commensurate to how hard they work. Giraffe Choke donates a portion of its net proceeds to charity. Can you explain why donating to charities is so important to you and what kind of legacy you hope Giraffe Choke will have? My father passed away from a form of Leukemia and my mother has developed Alzheimer’s. These two diseases dramatically changed the way I think about life. My parents were inseparable and helped raise me to become who I am. They were very hard working and grew up in noble and respected families. The Iranian revolution in 1979 sent their lives upside down. They raised me in the Washington DC area and, through example, they showed me the meaning of hard work, humility and love. I am indebted to them. I took care of them with every ounce of energy I could. What these horrible diseases did to the two most influential people in my life was such an eye opener that I decided that my business will donate to these charities, so that maybe someday in the future, families won’t fragment and suffer the way mine has. What is something most people don’t know about you? I graduated college with a Fine Arts degree, although I pursued a career in finance. I ran my own business in college that I had to eventually close down due to the recession at the time. Oddly enough, it was Art History classes that forced me to learn pattern recognition, which in turn helped me in financial market trading. I also think my mind thinks far more creatively than the typical business mind. I feel like I’ve been able to solve problems in more non-traditional ways than your typical business student. They seem to all think and act the same and have similar solutions to problems. Many are clones of one another and no one wants to step out of line. I don’t want to say that Fine Arts graduates are great for businesses – it just happened to work out for me.

idol growing up was Bruce Lee, but I also was a big fan of the Dutch soccer player, Johan Cruyff. Royce Gracie also stands out for me. Although it was his family that brought the world closer to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it was Royce who had to go into UFC 1 and perform. I’m not a fan of politics; therefore, most politicians don’t make the list. In essence, I admire anyone who has overcome great odds in order to enhance others’ lives within a greater society. What are you never without? I’m never without my cell phone. I don’t like it, but it’s a necessary evil. I’m conscious of the changes I see in people walking around with their cell phones and I think it’s ridiculous. People have become zombies without realizing it. I make a concerted effort to stay off the phone as much as I can. Can you share three of your favorite quotes with us? “The one who doesn’t fall, doesn’t stand up.” – Fedor Emelianenko “Only a fool tests the depths of the water with both feet.” – Proverb “A smooth sea never made a skilled sailor.” – Franklin Roosevelt If you had the power to change just one thing in the world, what would it be? If I could change one thing, I’d eliminate profiteering. I’m 100% a capitalist by nature, but profiteering is different. In my opinion, capitalism is highly important in building out a better future and helps to improve societies upon the greater good principle. Profiteering does just the opposite. Many mistake these two as being the same. They’re not. I cannot think of any part of the world that operates on pure capitalism and not on the profiteering principle.

What makes you smile? I smile when I see people that I love in my life are happy and smiling. Cute, chubby babies also make me smile.

Cyrus, what advice would you give to anyone starting a new business? Businesses are headaches and obstacles. When this is accepted, then the headaches and obstacles disappear. Persevere through enough difficulties until the business gets to where you want it to be.

Which historical figure do you most admire? I’ve been a sports junky my entire life; therefore, many figures I have a great appreciation for happen to be athletes. My

For more information on Cyrus Pakravan and to buy Giraffe Choke apparel and accessories, please visit www.GiraffeChoke.com. Be sure to also check them out on Facebook and Instagram @GiraffeChoke. TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 61


What’s the Most Popular Cocktail in the World Right Now? By Anne Miller

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he ‘Old Fashioned’ has been revealed as the most popular drink being ordered in bars right now, according to a survey of the world’s best bartenders. Ordered by James Bond himself in Thunderball, it’s made by mixing sugar with bitters, a generous glug of bourbon whiskey, like Bulleit bourbon, and a twist of citrus rind. It’s traditionally served in a short tumbler called an ‘Old Fashioned glass’ - hence the name. And now it’s been crowned the consumer cocktail of choice. Diageo World Class recently carried out this far-reaching survey of the consumer preferences, in time for World Cocktail Day 2018. No stone was left unturned in finding out cocktail secrets from behind

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bars across the globe with respondents from a vast mix of countries, including: Puerto Rico, Portugal, Greece, Norway, Iceland, UAE, Beirut, USA, Canada, Hong Kong and the Philippines. Hot on the heels of the Old Fashioned is the Italian dark horse ‘Negroni’ - made with one-part Tanqueray No.TEN gin, one-part vermouth rosso, one-part Italian aperitif and garnished with orange peel. Old Fashioned and Negroni’s retro charm is all part of a cocktail revolution that’s taking the world by storm. In the latest IWSR report, beer volumes fell 1.8% around the world, and wine sales dipped by 0.08% (IWSR drinks market analysis 2016). But sales of spirits like gin and whisky, are on

the up. And it’s the millennials that are leading the cocktail charge, with almost 9 out of 10 (88%) younger drinkers enjoying mixed drinks on a night out (Cellar Trends). And that’s because, according to World Class Bartender of the Year 2017 Kaitlyn Stewart, consumers no longer see cocktails as an afterthought. Whisky Sour, Margarita and Moscow Mule are next, when it comes to consumers’ current likes. Espresso Martini, Daiquiri, Dry Martini, Tom Collins and Manhattan also squeezed their way into the top 10 favourites list. Manhattan 1.5oz Bulleit Rye Whiskey 0.5oz Sweet Vermouth 2 dashes Angostura Bitters 1 dash orange bitters 16.7 grams of alcohol (according to ml of the serve)


Margarita 1.5oz Don Julio Blanco Tequila 0.5oz orange liqueur 0.75oz lime juice 0.25oz simple syrup (1:1 ratio) salt rim (optional) 17.1 grams of alcohol (according to ml of the serve)

Old Fashioned 2oz Bulleit Bourbon 4 dashes Angostura Bitters 1 sugar cube 1 orange peel 22.6 grams of alcohol (according to ml of the serve)

Negroni 0.75oz Tanqueray NO. TEN Gin 0.75oz Italian liqueur 0.75oz Sweet Vermouth 14.4 grams of alcohol (according to ml of the serve)

Daiquiri 2oz Zacapa Rum 1oz lime juice 0.75oz simple syrup (1:1 ratio) 18.9 grams of alcohol (according to ml of the serve)

MoscowMule 1.5oz CĂŽroc Vodka 0.5oz lime juice 3.5oz ginger beer 14.2 grams of alcohol (according to ml of the serve)

Drink

Responsibly

Dry Martini 2oz Tanqueray NO. TEN Gin 0.25oz Dry Vermouth 1 dash orange bitters 21.3 grams of alcohol (according to ml of the serve)

Espresso Martini 1.5oz Ketel One Vodka 0.5oz coffee liqueur 1oz cold brew coffee 0.5oz simple syrup (1:1 ratio) 16.6 grams of alcohol (according to ml of the serve)

Whisky Sour 1.5oz Johnnie Walker Black Whisky 0.75oz lemon Juice 0.5oz simple syrup (1:1 ratio) 1 Egg white 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters 14.5 grams of alcohol (according to ml of the serve)

Tom Collins 1.5oz Tanqueray NO. TEN Gin 0.5oz lime juice 0.25oz lemon Juice 0.25oz simple syrup top with soda 15.3 grams of alcohol (according to ml of the serve) TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 63


The Art of Mechanical Astonishment The Signing Machine by JaquetDroz By Anne Miller Images courtesy by JaquetDroz

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our years of development were required to complete the project launched in 2014. The Signing Machine, unveiled for the brand’s 280th anniversary, continues the centuries-old tradition of mechanical Astonishment begun by its founder in 1738. It is no accident that the JaquetDroz signature is often mentioned in relation to its aesthetic and mechanical creativity. The brand has been perpetuating the Art of Astonishment since the 18th century. It was the first, under the impetus of Pierre Jaquet-Droz, to blend the worlds of Fine Watchmaking, the Arts and Automatons. Today, it is likely the last. As such, the revelation of “The Signing Machine” is a milestone, and part of the brand’s 280th anniversary celebrations – an event highly anticipated by collectors, who were treated to a first glimpse of The Signing Machine in 2014. What began as an ambitious project is today a finished automaton thanks to four years of additional development. It is a continuation of the Pierre Jaquet-Droz legacy of creating mechanical marvels – unique pieces able to mimic the living with a masterful stroke of magic and mystery. The Writer, The Musician and The Draughtsman, his automa-

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tons currently on display at the Neuchâtel Museum of Art and History, laid the foundation for an art that has crossed centuries and continents, from the Royal Court of Spain to the Imperial Court of China, via Paris, London, Geneva and Moscow. The Signing Machine unveiled this year at Baselworld is the culmination of this vision. It is the subject of two patent applications and takes inspiration from both The Writer and The Draughtsman. The automaton’s movement has been reworked for fluidity, carrying out perfect, more consistent signatures. It now displays the power reserve allowing it to complete two full signatures before having to be wound by a lever located on the side of the Machine. Together, 585 parts operate within an extremely complex mechanism that is entirely assembled and finished by hand. The programming of the signature – or the mechanical coding of its imprint over three cams – is also carried out entirely by hand. The signature reproduced by the Machine is thus unique and personal. It can only be activated by unlocking a 4-digit code chosen by the user,

who also selects the majority of the decorative elements of his or her Machine, keeping with the philosophy of JaquetDroz to create truly unique objects of art, executed by hand within its workshops. The piece, polished and satin-finished, and finished with hand-engraved red gold or blackened hard wood, has been designed to be portable and will come with a leather pouch. “The Signing Machine” by JaquetDroz will thus be able to travel the world, as Pierre Jaquet-Droz did in his day, carrying astonishment across borders and oceans.


Robb Mancini

Composer and Producer By Totalprestige Magazine Images courtesy by Robb Mancini

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n April 2018, Robb Mancini’s musical vision came into fruition. After years of playing music and writing songs, Mancini saw his band, Version 2.1, release its debut record “One Fight”. It was a seminal moment in the music career and life of Mancini. Like his bandmates, the Southern California born and raised musician had dedicated much of his life to playing music. Now, Mancini has achieved one of his main goals, to write original music that combines a wealth of influences into one fantastic album for people to hear. Version 2.1’s sound cannot be pigeonholed. Each member of the band has had influence on the songwriting, and Mancini feels the group’s diversity will help Version 2.1 make a lasting mark on the public. Although the band won’t be touring in support of the record, as life dictates each member must contend with other responsibil-

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ities, Version 2.1 will continue playing locally in Southern California. Recently, Mancini sat down with Totalprestige Magazine to talk about Version 2.1, “One Fight” and his music career. Robb, your band Version 2.1, released its first full-length album in April 2018. Can you tell me about the writing processes and creation of “One Fight”? “One Fight” began to take shape starting back in 2015. I was playing music in my cover band The Moktonots and having so much fun. After a while, I wanted to take steps toward making original music that we could play at our shows. It wasn’t really a conscious effort to say “I am going to make an album”, but rather a collection of music from the past and present. I wrote most of the songs going forward from

2015 through 2017; yet a couple tracks were from previous recordings. I wrote the bass lines and put some drums to it then added keys and finally wrote lyrics. I enlisted Frank Pledge, my long-time friend and guitar player, to record guitars. Each song has its own story of how and where it was created. Getting this album recorded and produced was a lot like a salmon swimming upstream. The current of life is

Jerry Mancini and Robb Mancini


pushing you in so many directions, but to get this music out has been a singular focus. I work full-time as a lead technologist in a radiology department in downtown Los Angeles. Finding time and energy to do music is often a luxury in today’s busy world. In 2017, I was out due to a knee injury and had time to do some research. I found a great mixing and mastering team in Blake at binksound.com to do my mixes and he suggested Colin at singmastering.com. It was incredible to hear them transform our recordings into radio ready music. Another really key component to the success of “One Fight” was finding studiopros.com. Due to scheduling conflicts and expenses, I chose to hire them to re-record the drums and add a few special touches. Boll3t, our drummer, is often on tour with other projects and can play anything he is presented. What is really magical about this music is how my wife Rhena Lee was able to step into the studio and take my lyrics and really breathe life into the songs. Rhena has a truly beautiful and soothing voice that I feel was meant to be heard. I am so proud of her for stepping up to the challenge. Recording was very emotional and a bit of challenge at times for us to get thru as some of the songs have profound personal meaning. Just as a kid starting out playing music, it really has become a way for me to express inner feelings and thoughts. It’s so cool now to watch our two kids sing along to their momma in the car and it really just brings us joy after all the sacrifice it took to make. Shannon Nelson, a.k.a. Big Snell Dog, never considered himself a vocalist. Shannon and I have worked together in the medical field since 2005. He had left the field to pursue his own business in 2014. We kept in touch and he would come to our shows and our children became great friends as well. In 2015, Shannon would visit and I would show him the music I was working on. I gave him some lyrics for him to tryout and handed him the microphone. I didn’t know this, but Big Snell was a natural. He has a great tone to his voice and has real depth in his lyrics. “Real Right” was the first song he recorded and it was such a fun process we kept duplicating for the next two years. Often, I would give him lyrics and he would ask me what the song is about. He would take a while to think about it and get into it then he would re-

Boll3t, Big Snell, Rhena Lee, Robb Mancini, Big Mike, Frank Pledge

write some words or write new words all together. Watching Snell open up in the studio was such an amazing experience, because I was the only person who got to watch him transform into a true artist. As the lead singer for The Moktonots, Mike Williams, a.k.a. Big Mike, is always hungry for performing in the spotlight.

tions. Frank was Born in South Korea, but moved to the United State at a very young age and Boll3t was born and raised in Brazil and came to the US a few years ago.

He is a natural lyricist and I knew this. Mike is an ICU nurse where we work at California hospital. One day, he asked me if I was looking for a singer. I said I sure am, and he sent me a demo recording of him singing “Let’s Stay Together” by Al Greene. Though he had zero band experience, I was totally inspired by his great sound and willingness to sing all genres as that was a mandatory requirement of The Moktonots.

The album was released through Deep State Records, how did you come together with the record label and what has it meant to have them behind the band’s debut? Deep State Records is a label and recording studio that I actually came up with to represent not only Version 2.1, but any other artist I produce. Having the experience of recording five different vocalists on “One Fight”, gave me a unique perspective and desire to produce other artists. It’s kind of a great feeling to take a person who has never recorded music before and then hand them an album with them on it.

After a while, Mike began showing me his own songs he wrote. “One Fight” the album title track was a song he had written which Boll3t, Frank Pledge and I came up with the music while we were still performing as The Moktonots. In 2016, I invited Mike over to the studio to record his amazing song “One Fight”. Naturally Big Mike was hungry for more and approached me with several other songs he had written.

I know many talented vocalists and musicians, and have plans to release them on Deep State Records in the future. Deep State Records, the name to me, represents what I love about music. Getting into a song on a deeper level and it having a positive, profound impact. Transforming unknown talent into amazing recording artists and performers is the mantra of Deep State Records.

I decided to include “Babydoll” and “What’s Your Name” on the album as well and our new supergroup Version 2.1 was complete. I am so proud of our band’s diversity, the variety of sounds on the album which really reflects the diversity of living in Southern California. We are sort of a United Nations of bands. I am Italian and Mexican, Rhena Lee is Filipino and Indian, Big Mike is Brazilian and African, and Big Snell’s family is from Africa, but his family has been in the United States many genera-

Let’s go back to before Version 2.1 and talk about your music career. Robb, when did you start playing music and what were some of your earliest influences? That is a great question! I really discovered my passion for music back in the 80s as a young kid. I think instead of focusing on school, I spent a lot of time daydreaming about being a rockstar. What stands out in my memory as early influences is “Simply Irresistible” by Robert Palmer and the “Top TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 67


gether with his great guitar sound. We really put the two in version 2.1, the point one being everything and everyone else. I think after adding Rhena Lee, Big Snell and Big Mike to the lineup, as well as getting Boll3t to do the vocals on the song “Another Last Chance” and remix my song Real Right to be more of a hip-hop vibe, we wanted to come up with a new name that represented the diversity of what we are doing.

Frank Pledge & Robb Mancin Gun Anthem” by Harold Faltermeyer. Another early influence I cannot forget was DefLeppard. They helped shape and set in stone my love for rock music. When I was 10-years old, my father bought me my first electric guitar. A cherry red Kramer with a small amp. I didn’t really take to lessons as my first guitar teacher told me on my first lesson that music was hard and there was no future in it. It was discouraging and I was certainly not the kind of musician who would practice a scale for hours and hours. Music has been more of a way for me to express personal feelings. I have never been very outspoken, and I guess you can say, I can be an introvert most of the time. Over the years, I would pick up my guitar and play it alone where no one could judge me for my lack of technical ability. I would spend months at a time on my guitar and then not touch it for another period of time. After a while, I began my interest in drums. In High school, I would go to a friend’s house who had drums and we would jam and have fun. Growing up, my mother had a piano in the house that really would collect dust most of the time. Out of my brother and sister though, I was the one who would use it the most, really just making noise and having fun. I took a piano class in college, but was not able to keep up with it. When I was in my 20s, computer technology really ramped up. I started recording songs and at 25-years old, I started finding other musicians on Craigslist to jam with. I met many musicians and have great memories of that. In 2014, my son was born and while at home, I decided to pick up the bass guitar. Playing guitar my whole life and creating 68 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

music had given me a head start on the bass. It was an amazing feeling to plug it into a big amp and pump out the rhythm while the rest of the band played along. I guess the bass is sort of a foundation and rhythm instrument and that is really how I see myself. The Moktonots were born after that and we had a catalog of over 100 songs. Like a lot of musicians, you have experience playing covers and Version 2.1 was originally a cover band known as The Moktonots. Why did you make the decision to change the band’s name and to move away from being a cover band? Moktonots was a play on the words Astronaut and Mock – or copy. We played each cover song as closely to the original as possible, but we did play with our own unique sound and style. Playing music allows us to escape our regular lives and become the rockers we always wanted to be. In 2012, I finally met a great musician that I really clicked with in Frank Pledge our guitar player. We had a saying that we wanted to play music that kept people dancing and having fun. We then found our Drummer Boll3t through Craigslist and the three of us really enjoyed playing covers of all genres together. Our favorite band without a doubt is Muse. Throughout the years, for me the desire to do more started to emerge. Boll3t was alway very busy with various other projects, but he always made time for us. Frank was also very busy with work and school, and I was just doing my nine to five job. I started to devote time and money into just recording original music with the hopes of getting the guys together to do shows. Frank started coming over and working hard on bringing the music to-

Version 2.1 is always updating itself and coming out with new sounds and styles. What can you expect next from Version 2.1? It could be a Spanish love song or it could be Trap music. We want to play music that really resonates with us and brings out the joy of creating music with a diversity of people. Going from a cover band to a group that writes its own material, how different is that for a musician and what is the creative process like? For me, starting The Moktonots was a great way to learn the bass. It was a new instrument and challenge, and being able to learn bass lines from a diverse array of artists like Marvin Gaye, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and David Bowie kept me ahead of the game. After a while, I stopped writing music on my guitar and began writing bass lines. I am lucky to have Frank to bounce ideas off of and work on songs with. I usually like to come up with a riff or some changes and then I will write it down on sheet music just to solidify it. As time goes on, I might forget what I came up with, but if I tab it out, it is always there. In my experience, it’s always hard for people to let go of control. As a musician, and life in general, it always seems like one person has to have control of the idea and the minute you’re opinion differs then you are out. To me, accomplishing goals is all about teamwork. It’s intimidating to think your music won’t be liked or accepted by your bandmates or fans, but that is not what it’s about. Sitting alone in silence and comping up with sounds and music to play, and then showing it to your group and seeing it build and build until now there are five other people playing your song is an incredible feeling. Sometimes, I compare it to cooking as I love to cook. You can grow some basil in your yard and come up with an idea for a dish. You can plan and prepare it alone, but in the end, you will need to depend on farmers and butchers for the other ingredients. If it turns out good, it will feed your family and friends and inspire others to do the same.


One listen to the album “One Fight”, shows the numerous influences you and your bandmates have. R&B, hip hop, alternative rock and jazz can all be heard on the album’s songs. Was there a conscious effort to add all of these elements or was it just something that happened organically? I think Frank, Boll3t and I are mostly 90s kids. We were raised on the Seattle grunge sounds of Soundgarden, Alice N’ Chains and Nirvana – although Boll3t was raised in Brazil. At our heart we are an alternative rock band, but music, I don’t think can be contained to just one genre. The great thing about our cover band was the conscious effort to just play great songs from every genre. I think this translated into the album organically. Having our vocalists be willing to sing to any style of music was also a stroke of luck and goes back to teamwork. In particular, to have Big Mike learn rock songs was so much fun to watch and I think it helped him develop into a true artist. We may decide to put out an EP of just one style of music or we may continue to mix it up. I hope that is a little bit of mystery that keeps people interested in our music. Music has changed greatly in the last 20 to 25 years. Previously bands would tour in support of their albums incessantly. Now, many bands are able to play shows here and there but have a presence thanks to the Internet. What are Version 2.1’s plans for the future now that the album is out? “One Fight”, for us is just the foundation of what we want to do. I think our main goal for now is to continue to write and produce music until we have a really great catalog of music. We would love to go on tour and support or music. In reality, we have full-time jobs, children and spouses and all that competes for precious time, energy and financial resources. Having played extensively with The Moktonots and the scene for a typical act is not all that glamorous. Long hours practicing and traveling only to do small shows. My goal for Version 2.1 is to have so much great music that we will build a following from the ground up. We are planning on releasing a couple of new singles and an EP, and really fine tuning how we want to take our music to the stage. Robb, what is a day in your life like? I work full-time in radiology and my job is very interesting and fulfilling. I have two beautiful children, Luca and Gavin, who take up a majority of my time. Of course,

wealthy civilized people would claim to be servants of God, yet keep poor people as slaves is a story that still existed in the United States up until 1865. To hear about one man, Spartacus, who had nothing, yet was able unite his fellow man and wage an all out war against the oligarchy of his time is truly inspirational. What are you never without? Unfortunately that object is my phone. It’s crazy how naked you feel when you forget it at home. I guess, I too am a victim of technocracy. my lead singer and beautiful wife Rhena Lee keeps me very busy as well. When I am not attending to all of those life interests, you can usually find me down at Cideshow Studios in Gardena with Frank and Boll3t rocking out! What makes you smile? I get a truly hearty smile when I am lost in the moment playing music just looking over at my fellow bandmates and seeing us all perform at our best. Watching my kids grow up and also furry little kittens. What scares you? I think I am most scared about a breakdown of human interaction and communication like road rage. To me, nowadays everyone is too focused on selfies and social media likes. While I too am guilty of this, I think when you put the phone down and just give people your attention it goes a long way to restoring humanity. I think about life before the Internet, and while people still owned CD players, to me that was a great time. People had time for each other, to listen and to hang out. What scares me most is seeing everyone becoming so selfish that we forget we are all in this together no matter what part of the planet you are from.

Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us? “Our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.” – John F. Kennedy “I’m here to chew bubblegum and kick ass, and I’m all out of bubblegum.” – “Rowdy” Roddy Piper What inspires you? I have to go back to teamwork. I really get happy when I work together or I see people working together. Accomplishing something greater than yourself and being a part of something bigger is something that only comes from sharing and teamwork. If you had the power to change just one thing in the world, what would it be? I think I would have to change the idea that we are not different than each other despite the way we look or the language we speak or the religion we have. I like the idea that we are all humans and to respect people’s cultures and traditions is amazing. The idea that one group of people is better than the other, to me, is toxic thought.

What is your secret talent? I really shouldn’t say this, but when I was 15, I got in trouble and my parents would not let me stay home alone while they went out dancing. They made me go with them, and for a couple years, I was one of the hottest cloggers in the country. Clogging is sort of like tap dancing, except you have double taps on the shoes. That’s really embarrassing to me now though.

Robb, what advice would you give to anyone starting in the music world? My best advice is to play music for yourself, for health and happiness. To express yourself and enjoy playing music together with others. If you have a goal you should always keep it in mind. It’s like sailing. Sometimes to get to the destination you cannot take a straight line, rather ride the winds and keep your eye on the destination.

Which historical figure do you most admire? The story of Spartacus inspires me deeply. The idea of rich and poor has not changed since the beginning of time. The idea that

For more information on Version 2.1, to buy its new record “One Fight” or to find out when the band’s next live show will be, please visit www.version2point1.com. TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 69


Cynthia, StoryTime Me is a unique, oneof-a-kind company that allows people to tell their stories in book form. How did you come up with the idea to produce other people’s stories, and how does StoryTime Me work? StoryTime Me is actually a product and division of CG Communication & Design, which I launched in early 2017 after being laid off from a position as director of publications and content development at a small company. I was burnt out and didn’t really like the idea of going back to work for someone else. With CG Communication & Design, I help businesses and organizations tell their stories to gain visibility, stand out from the competition, and better engage with their clients. I’m a storyteller at heart, so this seemed like a profitable use of my skills. However, I found that I just didn’t have the enthusiasm for marketing my business like I should have been, and it was because that wasn’t the kind of storytelling I really wanted to be doing. So, as I found my income streams dwindling late last year, I knew I had to do something different — something that would allow me to wake up excited to get to work every day. But I didn’t yet know what that was. The idea for StoryTimeMe came from speaking with my best friend one night. He said it was clear to him why I was, and had been, unsatisfied with prior jobs and my current work. He pointed out that I had studied journalism because I wanted to tell people’s stories and I wanted to make a difference in the world; but I wasn’t doing that. He was right.

Cynthia Gomez

Founder & CEO of StoryTime Me By Totalprestige Magazine Image courtesy by Cynthia Gomez

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ike so many people in the world today, Cynthia Gomez found herself wanting more from her career. A trained journalist with over 20 years of experience in writing, academic and professional development publishing and design, Gomez decided to launch her own publishing venture . However, her concept isn’t your typical book publishing company, rather it is a unique way for average people to tell their own stories

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to pass down to family and friends. In early 2018, Gomez launched StoryTime Me, a full-service book creation company that takes the stories of normal, everyday people and turns them into children’s books. StoryTime Me allows parents, grandparents or anyone who wants to share a story to do just that, and Gomez’s team of high-quality writers and illustrators takes care of everything.Recently, Gomez took time out of her hectic schedule to speak to Total Prestige Magazine about her one-of-a-kind company.

It all came together from there. I had toyed with the idea of children’s books in the past, and it occurred to me that children’s books could be a way for people to teach and be taught, in a fun and accessible way. I’ve always felt that we all can learn something of value from every person we meet. Think about it. As human beings, the stories we tell ourselves and others about our lives are so much more than just stories. These narratives allow us to extract meaning from our experiences, develop a sense of identity, hone our sense of purpose, and better understand one another. While people may know us from our shared interactions and social conversations, can they really know us until they understand the set of personal experiences, social interactions, cultural frameworks, environmental factors, and intrinsic nature that made us who we are? However, the most common way for people to share their life stories is through memoirs, and well, let’s face


I understand that book publishing can be daunting, so I set out to make the process as simple as possible. Clients can choose their package from our “Pricing and Options” page. Books are illustrated digitally using high-quality stock illustrations that are customized as needed to better fit clients’ stories and lives. However, clients can also choose the “Custom Artwork” add-on if they want a professional illustrators to hand-illustrate their projects from scratch. Other add-ons allow clients to receive an elegant electronic flipbook and order additional hard copies. Orders normally come with four hard copies of their books. Clients may also email us for projects requiring special pricing. We offer special pricing for large book orders, or if say, someone wants to write or illustrate his or her own project, since we’re not doing all of the work. Once payment is received, we email clients a “story-naire” to complete and send back. This is a questionnaire designed to help clients tell us the basics of the story they’d like to tell. It helps us to create a basic lifescape. The story-naire contains a unique order number, which they can use when calling or emailing with questions. We’ll then schedule a phone or chat interview between the clients and the writers assigned to their projects for filling in any gaps in their story-naires. Once a story takes shape, clients receive a draft to review and approve. When they’re happy with the story, a designer — or illustrator if they chose the

I’VE ALWAYS FELT “THAT WE ALL CAN LEARN SOMETHING OF VALUE FROM EVERY PERSON WE MEET. THINK ABOUT IT. AS HUMAN BEINGS, THE STORIES WE TELL OURSELVES AND OTHERS ABOUT OUR LIVES ARE SO MUCH MORE THAN JUST STORIES. UNDERSTAND ONE ANOTHER.

it, not everyone has the skills or desire to write a long book. Meanwhile, personal storytelling is increasingly getting lost in the modern world. Children no longer sit by fires listening to the tales and reflective insights of their elders. We’re so preoccupied with the daily business of living that we’re forgetting that the most important thing we can share with the world is ourselves. My background in journalism and all the years I spent in the publishing world meant that I had the complete toolbox of skills to launch a successful children’s book publishing venture. However, StoryTime Me isn’t just a solution for my own professional dilemma. It’s a solution for a world that needs more wisdom, and in which not enough is being passed down. It’s also a way to help writers and artists with whom I contract to write and illustrate to make a fair living from their respective crafts. StoryTime Me represents the belief that it’s possible to use our artistic skills and talents to make the world a more beautiful, kinder place.

“Custom Artwork” option at checkout — will be assigned to the project. We may ask clients for additional information at this time, like the color of the house in which they grew up, or what their childhood pets looked like. This is to make sure that everything about their story is uniquely theirs. They receive a PDF to review before their books hit the printer, and books then go directly from the printer to them. Who are the people that contact you to produce their books? Are they everyday people or are they people with incredible stories that would make for great reading? StoryTime Me is for anyone with a story to tell, and I believe everyone has a story worth telling. Think about grandparents, who have lived through so much of our modern history, and are now turning their thoughts to the kind of legacy they want to leave behind for their grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Parents can use StoryTime Me as a way to help their children get to know them as more than providers, and share the big life lessons they want to pass on. StoryTime Me is also a great option for expecting parents as a way to tell their future child how he/she came into existence, and the kind of life they want him or her to lead based on what they’ve learned about life along their own journeys. I mean, what a cool birth present, right? Individuals get-

ting married can chronicle their road to the altar. Blended families can create a story of how they came to be. Family members of deceased individuals can chronicle their loved ones’ lives for younger family members to remember them by. Individuals with medical conditions affecting memory can get their life story in writing before it’s gone. Patients can chronicle their battles with illness, because whether they win or lose, the battle is important. Pet parents can create a record of their fur babies’ lives and the lessons they taught them, because our pets never live long enough. Even business owners can use this as a way to share their what they’ve learned along their professional journeys. The possible applications of StoryTimeMe are endless. StoryTime Me recognizes that all of our lives are the ultimate works of art. As human beings, we transform experiences and circumstances into wisdom. We weave from our highs and lows beautiful tapestry and extract from the pattern a meaning that only we can truly see. On an individual level, recognizing our life stories as the meaningful work of art they are can help us gain greater clarity and purpose while also healing painful wounds. We extract meaning from our lives through our personal narratives. Our stories are worth telling, and not just for ourselves. On a family and community level, wisdom sharing through storytelling turns us into transformational leaders; change-makers. Think of all of the things you wish an older, wiser version of you had taught you along your journey. We can all light the way forward for others in our respective circles, helping others as we help ourselves. On a global scale, StoryTime Me recognizes that we hold the creative power to heal our world. If narrative storytelling is how we make meaning out of the chaos of our lives, humanity is how the universe makes meaning out of the chaos of existence. After all, we’re the ones who can tell the stories about ourselves and others. When we allow our collective wisdom to emerge, we are able to come to a greater understanding of our interconnectedness, and rise together to meet the challenges of our times. While we’re living in dire times, we get to decide what the future looks like. A children’s book may seem like such small a thing for such big problems facing our world. But the story of us may be the greatest gift we can give to ourselves, to our loved ones, and to the world. Our stories all hold wisdom, and what we do with them can make all the difference. TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 71


Our contract writers and illustrators have been carefully selected and vetted to make sure that they can do our clients’ stories justice. They understand that while they are creating a perfectly factual account of clients’ stories based on the raw information provided, stories must be written and illustrated in such a way that the resulting book would be adequate for reading to a young child as a bedtime story. That’s not always an easy thing to do, so I’m very proud of the collection of contractors we’ve assembled with the necessary skills to do this well. In addition, we do all the layout work and deal with the printer, so clients literally need only to convey their stories to us in their words, and the rest is up to us. That’s important for two reasons. Writing and illustration work aside, book layout work is a technical skill that most people simply don’t have. If you were to write and illustrate a book and then go out and find someone to do layout and design work, you could be looking at spending almost as much as we charge for everything. And when it comes to printing, most printers who do small runs require a minimum of 25 books. We’ve done our research to find the best and most reasonably priced printing solution for very low print runs, because we understand that most clients only want a few books, which will become family heirlooms. Additionally, StoryTime Me is flexible in a way that many companies are not. Many companies offer a set number of products or services, and that’s it. We’re happy to work with clients to offer the customized services they need, not just our pre-packaged services. If someone wants, say, 100 books to distribute to wedding or funeral attendees, we will work with our print partners to get him/her the best possible pricing. We’re here to facilitate personal storytelling, and we’re ready 72 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

MANY COMPANIES OFFER A SET NUMBER OF “PRODUCTS OR SERVICES, AND THAT’S IT. WE’RE HAPPY TO WORK WITH CLIENTS TO OFFER THE CUSTOMIZED SERVICES THEY NEED, NOT JUST OUR PRE-PACKAGED SERVICES.

Self-publishing has become a way for unknown writers to get published and reach audiences. How does StoryTime Me take the idea of self-publishing and expand on it? When most people think of self-publishing, they may think of taking something they’ve written and putting it into printed book format. The problem with that is that not everyone has the talents and skills needed to do justice to the story they’re trying to tell, and others simply don’t have the time or inclination to sit down and write, much less illustrate or figure out how to lay out a book. StoryTime Me is a start-to-finish solution.

to flex as needed to do that. Finally, because at the heart of StoryTimeMe’s mission is to create a kinder world, we look for all sorts of ways to give back. For instance, we are happy to work with fundraisers, schools, and nonprofit organizations by gifting a percentage of profits from StoryTime Me orders made as part of an organized fundraiser to a school or designated charity. We can even provide promotional materials to make their fundraiser a success, and print organizational logos and awareness ribbons on books upon request. What’s more, we offer the opportunity for any client to give to the charity of his or her choice when making a purchase. By simply writing in the charity of their choice in the special instructions section of the checkout page, we will automatically donate five percent of the sale price to their chosen charity. Will any of the storybooks created by your company be published on a large scale for people to purchase through Amazon or other booksellers? We like to keep our eyes open for particularly neat stories. We feel that some stories have a whole lot to teach a whole lot of people, and we want to make these stories widely available, via our website and Amazon. The form that clients receive prior to the production of their book asking them to sign verifying that they’ve reviewed the galley — the unpublished but finalized version of your book — contains a section asking whether they are willing to grant StoryTime Me permission to sell their books online. Most books will not end up available for public purchase, but we like to ask up front, even though StoryTime Me owns the copyright, because we recognize that clients’ stories are uniquely and preciously theirs. If we do decide to sell a book publicly, the client upon whose story the book is based will receive a 15 percent cut from any profits we make. In the publishing world, authors typically receive a 15 percent royalty on the sale of books they write themselves. So, why is StoryTime Me willing to offer clients whose life stories we turn into books a similar cut when we’re doing all the work? If we’re choosing a story for public sale, we believe there is

something remarkable about it, and about what it can contribute to the world, and we want to reward the client for a life well lived. Clients whose books we choose to make available for wider distribution may also choose to have their 15 percent cut go to a charity of their choice. Some clients may know up front that they want their book to receive an ISBN and be made available for purchase through Amazon. Those individuals would need to let us know up front, as the pricing would change a bit, based on the fact that we’re paying for an ISBN and to set up a book for wide distribution without having a sense of whether the story has wide appeal, but we’re happy to oblige. This may be a good option for individuals who want to use their stories to do good. For example, someone with an inspiring story related to autism might see publishing a book that can be purchased by the general public as a great way to raise awareness and funds for a nonprofit that helps individuals on the spectrum by donating all or part of their royalties. The company only just launched in 2018, and it is a brave move to go into publishing with the world turning to eBooks more and more. Do you believe there is a place for physical books or will more of the reading we do go digital in the next 10 years? For sure, it’s a risk to go into publishing with the world increasingly turning to digital content, but it’s one worth taking. I do believe there is a place for physical books, particularly when it comes to children’s books. There is something about sitting at the edge of a child’s bed, reading a story and leafing through book pages together that is simply not replaceable by technology. Personally, some of my fondest early memories were of being read to at bedtime, or sitting in a library, book in hand, learning to read in English. When you combine the fact that for a lot of people, the act of holding a physical book and turning pages to read holds positive memories, with the fact that more than a book, the stories we create become family heirlooms, no, I don’t


see the increasing move towards eBooks as a threat to the ability of StoryTime Me to succeed. Plus, one of the services we offer clients is their books as electronic flipbooks. As StoryTime Me grows, I’m sure we’ll also expand into offering those books chosen for wider distribution as eBooks as well. Cynthia, you have worked for over 20 years in content development, journalism, and information design. In that time period, how has the content writing and content development industry changed? In the 20 years in this journalism, publishing, content development, and design, the one thing that has remained constant is change. I became a journalist as newsrooms everywhere had begun to shrink. Internet access was becoming ubiquitous, and newspapers were trying to figure out how to erect pay walls effectively as advertising revenue and subscribership shrunk. I grew up, professionally, under a constant threat of layoff, like most journalists from my generation. I left for the publishing world thinking that might provide more stability, but the same fate that first befell newspapers struck traditional publishers too, just a bit later. They’re surviving, but the threat of layoffs are a constant, and increasingly smaller organizations must maintain their print operations while expanding into new publishing models, with fewer and fewer people. The good thing about that, of course, is that you really learn to do a whole lot. From writing and editing to designing covers and laying out books to working with authors, editors, designers, and printers to get a book published, I’ve really done it all. And if I hadn’t had those kinds of experiences, I wouldn’t now be in the position to provide A to Z publishing services for StoryTimeMe’s clients, so I’m truly grateful for how my professional journey has unfolded. It seems that with the rise of blogs and different content creating websites, everyone believes they can create great material that people want to read. What is the difference between a content development professional, and others who sell their content through third-party websites, but have never worked for an actual marketing or copywriting company? Effective writing doesn’t happen by accident. It requires a combination of talent, skill, and expertise, and not just in writing, but also in human behavior. A content development professional understands

what writing “voice” is needed to achieve a specific goal, what information should be presented in what order, and how it should be presented. I’ve worked with people with doctorate degrees and legal degrees who have valuable information to share and clearly have a good grasp of the language — because you don’t get that far in school without knowing how to communicate in writing — but who still need help creating good content. A lot of what I’ve done in the past is work with experts in a variety of fields to take their raw content and make it into something that’s not just easily digestible, but also engaging. It’s not just about editing and rewriting, but often about getting into people’s heads and pulling out the information they want to convey but don’t know how to express, and even information they don’t know they want to convey, but is essential for understanding the rest of their message. In a way, that’s what we do at StoryTime Me, except that instead of technical, academic, or legal knowledge, we’re helping people tell their personal stories and extract the meaning from those stories. Cynthia, what is a day in your life like? Hectic! I currently juggle StoryTime Me with other work through CG Communication & Design. Right now, I’m in the middle of a big technical editing contract for a municipal agency, editing and laying out a novel, a couple of small website design jobs, and of course, growing StoryTime Me. My hope is that one day not too far into the future, I can focus solely on StoryTime Me, because I feel that this is the kind of work I was placed on this planet to do. For now, I literally work nonstop. But that’s OK, because I know I’m growing something truly worthwhile. What makes you smile? Animals, trees, and nature in general. I’m told I’m a bit of a hippie. What scares you? I’m trying very hard to learn to live without fear, because fear keeps us from taking risks and leaping into the unknown, even when only good things are waiting for us. But to be honest, the fear of failure can be hard to shake. I’ve always managed to come out on top professionally, so this fear of failure is simply my brain running through possible negative future outcomes without any past basis of failure. So, I do a lot of meditating, which helps, and I try to be fully present in the now. I also wear three bracelets I made, each with a message that I feel keeps my life on the right track. They state: Be kind; Be brave; and Be free. I look at that second one a lot as a self-reminder.

What is your secret talent? I don’t know that I have a secret talent. I try to use all of my talents as much as I can, so none is really a secret. Which historical figure do you most admire? This is difficult to answer, because too many people have done quite admirable work, but also because too many everyday people go unrecognized who do hard, admirable work every day, whether that’s saving animals or advocating for civil rights or saving human lives. Naming one historical figure seems a bit like piling dirt on the already unrecognized achievements of all those individuals. Cynthia, do you have any hobbies or interests? Of course! Not that I have much time lately for my hobby and interests, but when I’m not working, I’m busy rescuing animals, spending time in nature, or planning my next music festival trip. What are you never without? My laptop, because I don’t like to fall behind on my work, and Carmex, because I seem to be allergic to every other lip balm. I’m working on allowing myself to disconnect from technology though, because balance is important. Can you share two of your favorite quotes with us? “Leap and the net will appear.” — John Burroughs “The secret of life, though, is to fall seven times and get up eight times.” — Paulo Coelho What inspires you? My animals, who inspire and teach me; friends who make me feel far wealthier than I am; and the helpers of the world — people who make it their lives’ work to fight the societal ills most might prefer to look away from, and help those who are less fortunate than themselves. If you had the power to change just one thing in the world what would it be? Apathy. Imagine what the world could look like if everyone was more empathetic to others who seem to be unlike them. It’s my hope for StoryTime Me that it becomes a powerful vehicle for fostering understanding, compassion, and kindness. To create your own StoryTime Me book or to find out more about Cynthia Gomez, please visit www.StoryTimeMe.com. TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 73


Castle in Noetzie Beach, Knysna, Eden, South Africa 6,000,000 USD

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ituated in its own manicured private garden which provides direct access to secluded Noetzie Beach, the Main Castle has every conceivable comfort for discerning guests including a heated rim flow pool, a thatched gazebo perched on the rocks, huge terraces with panoramic views of the beach and ocean, and a fully equipped gymnasium. The magnificent private residence provides the ultimate luxury with 2 living rooms with wood-burning fireplaces, a 10 seater dining room and 3 spacious suites with sumptuous bathrooms and magnificent views of the Noetzie Beach and Indian Ocean. There are king-size beds, walk-in wardrobes, individual climate control, flats screen TV, DVD player and Wi-Fi Internet connectivity. Bathrooms have walk-in wardrobes, heated marble floors and towel rails, double vanities, separate WCs, free-standing baths and showers.

All suites lead out through double doors onto private terraces with comfortable seating and loungers to soak up the sun and the views. 74 TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE

Honeymoon Castle Adjacent to the Main Castle, the Honeymoon Castle is arguably the most romantic suite in the world. Totally secluded and private, it is decorated as a luxury beach apartment in shades of cream and blue with quirky accessories that give it a nautical flavour.

Downstairs Open plan living area comprises a dining room, fully equipped kitchen, lounge with wood-burning fireplace and adjoining bathroom. The living area opens onto a wide, sunny terrace shaded with a rustic reed canopy and furnished with tables, chairs and loungers alongside a cosy heated plunge pool.


Upstairs Spacious bedroom with wood burning fireplace, and comfortable sitting area with a daybed and armchairs looks through 2 sets of double windows onto Noetzie Beach with its rugged headlands and restless ocean. A huge bathroom with heated marble floors, double shower room, free standing bath, dual vanities, walk-in wardrobe and separate WC complete the luxury. Cliff Castle The quaint Cliff Castle, set against the cliff face above the Main Castle, has panoramic views of the beach and ocean. It offers spacious accommodation and absolute privacy for a couple, with a luxury bedroom en-suite, adjoining open-plan living area that includes a kitchenette and comfortable seating area. Double doors open onto a balcony which maximises the views and is great for whale or dolphin spotting. A spacious bathroom with heated marble floors, dual vanities, walk-in wardrobe and separate WC complete the luxury. The quaint Cliff Castle, set against the cliff face above the Main Castle, has panoramic views of the beach and ocean. It offers spacious accommodation and absolute privacy for a couple, with a luxury bedroom en-suite, adjoining open-plan living area that includes a kitchenette and comfortable seating area. Double doors open onto a balcony which maximises the views and is great for whale or dolphin spotting! A spacious bathroom with heated marble floors, dual vanities, walk-in wardrobe and separate toilet complete the luxury. This superb private Castle provides every possible luxury for its guests and an executive butler is on hand to ensure that every need is anticipated. The owner and guests of the Castle have access to all the exceptional activities and amenities of the award-winning Resort & Spa. On request a luxury chauffeured vehicle will transfer guests to the hotel where it is possible to enjoy further pampering in the Spa & Gym, dine in style at Zachary’s restaurant, shop for souvenirs at the Private Collection boutique, or sip on something exotic at Noah’s Champagne & Cocktail Lounge. Pezula is conveniently situated on the outskirts of central Knysna, a bustling lagoon-side community, twice voted South

Africa’s favourite holiday town. In 2015, TripAdvisor Travelers Choice Awards named Knysna as South Africa’s no.2 destination. Its great scenic beauty and temperate climate are complemented by modern amenities and conveniences, including excellent healthcare facilities, many fine restaurants, coffee shops and bars, art galleries and museums. Knysna is a paradise for nature lovers and those who like the outdoors. The lagoon offers numerous

water sports including sailing, canoeing, fishing and skiing. The surrounding indigenous forests have marked trails for hiking and mountain biking. Various adventure sports on offer include quad biking, absailing, kite surfing, ballooning and paragliding. Featherbed on the Western Head is a privately owned nature reserve and a South African Heritage site. The hotel provide regular excursions across the lagoon to the reserve. Knysna is famous for its oyster industry and many restaurants and bars offer the delicacy on their menus. Knysna Elephant Park, Monkeyland and Birds of Eden are popular animal sanctuaries which provide visitors with the opportunity to get close to Africa’s wildlife. http://www.prestigeproperty.co.uk TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 75


Southern Dream.

Voula, Athens Area 4,000,000 USD

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outhern Dream is a two storey masterpiece, a temple to sophisticated, neoclassical design, unlike any other home you will find in the surrounding area. Conveniently located in the heart of Voula, it is a short walk from the main shopping district. Southern Dream is also 5km away from the extraordinary Lake Vouliagmeni -in the heart of the Athenian Riviera- which is included in Greece’s national NATURA 2000 network and as a Site of Outstanding Natural Beauty by the Ministry of Culture. This inspiring residence of 863 sq.m. is the perfect home base for exploring the beauties of the Southern suburbs.

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The swimming pool with river flow swimming system is the perfect place to cool off during the day. To the right of the pool is a comfortable shady spot to enjoy a cool cocktail or a massage. Here, you will also find a large marble table that sets the tone for some fabulous alfresco dining. Make the most of the extensive outdoor area surrounding the house and enjoy the privacy that the mature tropical plants and


Large windows and balconies allow air and light to circulate freely the inside of Southern Dream. There are two living areas featuring sumptuous sofas, a formal dining area with retro-inspired seating and a sleek kitchen with state-of-art appliances.

THE SWIMMING “POOL WITH RIVER FLOW SWIMMING SYSTEM IS THE PERFECT PLACE TO COOL OFF DURING THE DAY.

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trees offer on all four sides of the property. The traditional and contemporary flair blend expertly in the interiors of this corner detached house.

An elevator whisks you between floors and makes it easier to explore this six bedroom property. The master bedroom suite breathes opulence with two separate walk-in closets and double bathroom. The property features five more bedrooms with independent bathrooms. Take in the views of this charming area from the comfort of your private balcony and discover the laid-back vibes of the southern suburbs. https://sothebysrealty.gr TOTALPRESTIGE MAGAZINE 77


Totalprestige may 2018  

Totalprestige may 2018

Totalprestige may 2018  

Totalprestige may 2018

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