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Cabin Crew Profiles: Kelsey Johnson a.k.a @lipstickandluggage

Welcome to one of the most exciting Cabin Crew Profiles we have done, today we bring you our conversation with Kelsey Johnson, a now former Cabin Crew employee for Emirates. We sat down back in July in the height of what was the redundancy season worldwide, thousands of people in aviation went through similar ordeals but Kelsey's story is an inspiring one, showing us what you can achieve with will power and determination. We hope you enjoy the conversation as much as we did!



ECC: Hi Kelsey! Thank you for joining us today. How are you doing today? Kelsey: Hi! I’m doing well thanks, it’s good to be here.

ECC: We have so many questions for you Kelsey, so let’s start at the very beginning. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Kelsey: Sure, so I am Canadian, born in London, Ontario (not London UK). I studied Political Science and Health studies at McMaster University and graduated in 2014, I was a very active student and got involved in activities within the University’s student body. I am very interested in social issues and was a Student Representative for several student bodies in my university. Upon finishing my studies I managed to land a role as an Assistant Program Officer for the Canadian Food Inspection Agency.


ECC: That must have been quite interesting, university must have kept you busy?


Kelsey: I really enjoyed my time at McMaster , it made me realise that I enjoyed working around policy and government legislation, which may sound strange to some but it can really be fascinating, especially if you are passionate about what is involved!

ECC: So you didn’t stay at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency for long then……

Kelsey: It was a great opportunity but I quickly realised that I would enjoy working in Public Relations more, for either a Big Corporate or for the government itself in the future. In fact, after 4 months in Ottawa I moved to Toronto to complete a Post Graduate Degree in Public Relations. I also managed to land a role as a Brand Activation Manager. It was my job to analyse the success of marketing campaigns as well as to design and deliver brand messages and to see how we could increase a brand’s interactions with its clients.


ECC: It sounds like you were doing quite well in your chosen field, how did you get involved in aviation then?

Kelsey: My grandad was in the Royal Canadian Air Force during the Second World War, his plane was shot down in a mission in Germany and became a Prisoner of War for a period of time, he was a man of character with strength, determination and dedication. I wanted to be just like him and it led me to join the Air Cadets when I was 12 years old. I really enjoyed the camaraderie and made good friends, shout out to Squadron 862! I have to say though that even though I enjoyed my time there, the military wasn’t for me.

ECC: It sounds like you always enjoyed aviation but never explored the possibility of working in the sector.



Kelsey: Exactly, I had moved to Toronto and I was living a good life but part of me always felt like I was missing out on things, I had never travelled much and therefore hadn’t seen much of the world. I always had that curiosity, so whilst in Toronto I applied to fly for Emirates. I failed my first attempt and dug into my post grad studies, but I promised myself that if another opportunity came along, I would take it. And that’s exactly what happened!

ECC: Did you know much about Dubai and the UAE before you came over?


Kelsey: I didn’t know too much about Dubai, the UAE and the region. Landing in Dubai was great and surprising in many ways, I lived in Al Nahda when I first arrived, to those who do not know, it is a neighbourhood in the outskirts of Dubai, it isn’t as central as you imagine yourself to be located when you first arrived. Being in the desert was a big change from living in downtown Toronto. But I acclimatised quickly and grew to love it.

ECC: Is that the reason you launched @lipstickandluggage?


Kelsey: I wanted to carry on working within PR and I was lucky enough to join the Emirates Business Promotions Team. Me launching @lipstickandluggage was a good way of me using the skillset I had acquired. I had the idea of promoting the job and the life we lead. I ended up doing this successfully, however, I also realised that I wanted to focus on life within aviation, not just the glamorous side you always see.


ECC: You have amassed quite a following, have you ever felt pressure in your role and if so, how did you deal with it?

I guess when you have an online audience you assume there is a degree of pressure as you are aware that you are being watched at all times and you need to be have a certain way, a way that represents the image that you have to portray. I make sure that whatever I share is always true to myself, my message and what I stand for. I will never do or post anything that I don’t personally believe in.


ECC: You announced your resignation from Emirates on a well curated Instagram video, can you take us behind the scenes regarding your last month in Emirates and your transition to life after aviation?


Kelsey: I initially spent the majority of the time processing the formalities involved in moving away from Dubai. Following that I spent a lot of time saying my “see you laters” to my loved ones, I don’t see this as my end in Dubai, just the end of this chapter. I waited a while to announce that I had been made redundant and this is where the video comes in. It was my way of saying bye to the city that made me as a person, the job that allowed me to discover the world and meet the people that I hold close to my heart. Commercially it allowed me to explore new opportunities with new partners, I got to do a collab with @samchui and in a funny way it has given me the opportunity to follow one of my dreams, to participate in the Miss Universe Canada pageant.


ECC: What do you hope to achieve by participating in the pageant?


I want to inspire others, I believe that we can all achieve whatever we want with the right support and role models, my life has had many ups and downs and I believe that these things have made me who I am and I am very thankful for my experiences. I want everyone to know that no matter how hard things get, you can get back up and do better. We all have the potential to be great as long as we believe in ourselves!

ECC: Back to Emirates, what one bit of advice would you give to someone that wants to move to Dubai?

Kelsey: I would tell everyone to be themselves, you will be learning a lot about yourself and about other cultures around you. I would also advice people to keep an open mind. There will be so many people trying to influence you and to shape you to be who they want you to be.

ECC: We wish you luck in this next phase of your life Kelsey, thank you very much for taking the time to speak to us


Kelsey: Thank you guys!


An inspiring story in all accounts, aviation has the power to unite us in so many ways and no two stories are the same. Some of us start in aviation to take a break from our everyday lives and others see it as their calling. No matter how you see yourself and your journey, know that we are all in this together during these tough times for aviation. Kelsey is a great example of what can be achieved with the right mindset, she has grasped the opportunity she was given with both hands and has done remarkably well with it.


If you wish to follow Kelsey on her journey, don't forget to subscribe to her Instagram, her website has more information on her and is updated frequently. For more information regarding the Miss Universe Canada pageant, follow this link.


Do you want to join us in the skies? Being prepared for the role is now more important that it has ever been, with several decades of experience within our team, we are well equipped with the knowledge you need to maximise your chances of getting hired. Check out Kelsey's testimonial as well as those from our satisfied clients. Whether you are a first time joiner or simply want to polish your skills or join the world of private aviation, check out our services page here to see how our bespoke products can help you on your journey to become the best flight attendant you can be. Follow us on Instagram and Facebook to keep up to date with information on our workshops, blogs and our online community. We hope to hear from you soon, until then be safe and we look forward to you joining us in the skies! #cabincrewlife #cabincrewlifestyle #cabincrewgirls #cabincrewguys #flightattendants #aviation #strongertogether #elitecabincrew #ekcabincrew#ekcrew #lipstickandluggage

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