Welcome to another edition of Cabin Crew Profiles, today we sit down with Rhiannon Corbertt, with around 20,000 followers on her @rhiannon__corbett Instagram page, she leads a balanced and holistic lifestyle and shares her wisdom with her followers. A strong advocate for positive energy, self awareness and mental health Rhiannon's journey has taken her from England to Japan, finally arriving in Dubai at the end of 2012. Rhiannon met us at The Sum of Us Cafe in World Trade Centre, Dubai to tell us everything.
Elite Cabin Crew: Hi Rhiannon, thank you for meeting with us today, it’s great to finally meet you.
Rhiannon Corbett: It's great to meet you too, thank you for having me.
ECC: We are told that you have just finished the process of moving apartments, how has that been for you?
RC: You know what, it has been great and extremely exciting but as you can imagine, it has been challenging trying to balance the move with my flight schedule and other commitments. However, I am happy that everything went well and I love decorating my new home.
ECC: We are happy it went well, whilst we are on the subject of moving, how did you make it to Dubai?
RC: I was briefly based in The UAE when I was a child and I moved back to the UK in time to finish my secondary school education. I was then fortunate enough to be given a full scholarship at The Hammond School in Chester, a leading Performance Arts school specialising in Classical Ballet and Musical Theatre. In my final year, I suffered a lower back injury so furthering my education and skills in the performing arts world I went to Newcastle to do a top up degree. After that I performed professionally as a performer in Tokyo, Japan and in when I was around 26 years old I decided I wanted a change due to many reasons and applying to become a flight attendant just naturally happened. I always thought it would be a good move for me and the airline I just happened to apply for was in Dubai and I got the job.
ECC: After your injury was this the end of your dance journey?
RC: Not at all, I applied to go to Newcastle College to finish top up my Diploma and turn it into a degree under Leeds University. I also started realising how dance was more than just performing. To finish my studies off I wrote a dissertation on Community Dance Therapy. It illustrates how dance can be used as an aid in raising low self-esteem as well as improving communication skills, self-expression and resolving negative peer relationships amongst other things. It was a very satisfying and fulfilling thing to do. And today I still believe Dance and Movement is a strong physical and emotional therapy. I love dancing and I love music.
ECC: So how did you end up in Japan?
RC: I grew up being a big Disney fan and was always aware of their performance roles worldwide, they hold yearly auditions for the park entertainments every year and I decided I would go for one of the roles. The audition process is quite intense and consists of individuals being selected through a round system., I managed to get through all of the rounds and was offered a job at Tokyo Disney Resort in Japan. I originally thought that I would have gone to Paris Disney as it is closer to the UK but the first and only Disney audition I ever attended was for Tokyo Disney and I was successful in being offered a performing role there. Of course, I jumped at the opportunity to move to Japan, discover a new country and learn about a different culture whistle being able to perform at the best Disney Park in the world. I was extremely lucky as I did multiple contracts with them and lived in Japan a lot from 2008-mid 2012.
ECC: How did you find the audition process?
Looking back I actually found it quite similar to the Flight Attendant Interview apart from the fact I was dancing and acting in my Disney Audition. You go through rounds and people get removed after each round. You could say it is very cutthroat but actually, experiences like this help build a thick skin. Definitely, the experience helped me land my role in aviation years later. I treated my Flight Attendant interview very much like an audition which helped with my mindset and helped me create a role within myself to be successful on the day.
ECC: What do you enjoy the most about being a Flight Attendant?
RC: There are a lot of things that I enjoy within the role of being a Flight Attendant. I must say that I definitely enjoy the environment created by both passengers and colleagues on board. There are not many jobs where you get to have prolonged interactions with both guests onboard and colleagues, whether you're taking part in GalleyFM (conversations in the galley) or having a conversation with a passenger. You get to meet people from diverse backgrounds and have conversations that you would not be able to take part in otherwise. I really enjoy these interactions and love the energy that they bring.
ECC: What has your role taught you about yourself and is there anything you find challenging?
RC: I definitely had to develop the ability to not take things personally, there are often times when you get presented with a person that has negative energy, it could be an aggrieved passenger or a fellow colleague who is not having the best day and if you're not careful, this mood can be projected on to you. I quickly realised that this negative energy most often has nothing to do with me and that people are often fighting a problem internally themselves. You never know the full story and the best solution is trying to dissolve that negative energy instead of increasing it for that person. More often than not, you can often play your part in making the individual feel better by talking to them, offering a cuppa and just offering to assist in whichever way you can.
The shift work and unsociable hours can also take some adjusting to but if Doctors and Nurses can do it, why can't we? It is just about learning how to balance your needs and learning how to listen to your body and rest when you need it.
ECC: It sounds like you are quite a reflective person, is this something that helps you professionally?
RC: I would say so, the more you know yourself and how you react to situations, the more it allows you to put yourself in the shoes of others and how they may perceive you and your actions.
ECC: You are a big believer in holistic living, how do you balance that with the lifestyle of a flight attendant?
RC: I believe that your mindset is so important when it comes to finding a balance, particularly with demanding roles, at the end of the day there are many stressful jobs out there. Nurses, doctors, office workers and shift workers can all suffer from stress so it is not something that is exclusive to Flight Attendants. Any job which requires you to deal with a large number of individuals can be emotionally demanding physically and mentally. It is important to be self-aware and to find hobbies and activities which compliment your lifestyle away from the workplace.
ECC: The lockdown was a challenging time for all around the world, particularly in aviation. How did you cope with being grounded?
RC: It was initially challenging but I decided to use the time wisely given to me as an opportunity to do things I previously had no time for. For example, I took an intensive online 200 hour Yoga Teaching Training course. It was a very fulfilling experience and something that would not have happened if I hadn't been forced to take the additional time off and with so much happening with the pandemic it truly kept me grounded and focused on my ownself self growth.
ECC: Where are your favourite destinations to travel to?
RC: I must say I do not really have one in particular; I love being able to go back home to the UK to see family, Los Angeles because my best friend lives there and many of my old Disney colleagues are in LA. I also love going back to Japan, it’s a place that will always resonate with me. To be honest, I like to go to places where I either know people or where I can experience new and exciting things. We are lucky to be able to travel to so many places so it seems unfair to just pick one. I have made so many happy and fond memories literally all around the world, I am incredibly grateful.
ECC: Do you have any advice for those who want to become a Flight Attendants?
RC: If you love and generally care about hospitality it could be a role for you. But my biggest advice would be is to ask yourself, does this job suit me and how does this job work for me. Ask yourself the tough questions like can I do shift work, can I live away from family and friends and work over the holidays. How good am I working under pressure, feeling fatigued, keeping up my own positive energy? Ask yourself, how the job would suit your own lifestyle. For example, I have family and friends all over the world and this job suits me in the fact that I can try and do flights to see them as often as I can. It is not always possible but I can try, instead of waiting until the Summer and take one vacation a year and see just one of my friends in a certain part of the world. I would rather have a 24-hour layover and see my family or friend as often as I can instead of waiting months and seeing them only for a week once a year. But it is personal and my reasons are very different to others. At the end of the day, we are all different and we all have different needs but it is a question I feel people need to ask themselves before applying. Take away the glamour of hotel stays, seeing the world and social media and trust me ask yourself the tough questions. The travel is great, we stay in amazing places and we gain incredible experiences but truly ask the tough questions. Being a Flight Attendant is a great opportunity and can be a fantastic career but as I learnt just like the entertainment industry the glamour is all external, and that’s the honest truth. You make it as glamorous as you want. I love this job but I create what it is for me and I do that by asking myself often how does this job/company work for me.
ECC: How does that translate into your role of being a flight attendant today now that you have the job?
RC: I still ask myself even today, how does this job/company work for me. My mentality is very different to others and how I see it is that I do not work for the company that I work for. Yes I get a salary, I have responsibilities that I have agreed to for taking on the role but trust me I use the company to my full advantage in growing as an individual, growing my career, having different experiences and really creating the life that I want to lead. I like the company I work for, but I am not attached to it and that is why I take all of the opportunities that I can with them to grow myself. I am always professional but I see it more as a cocreation instead of me working for them. The day it stops working for me I will leave and I will be happy for all the experience I gain.
ECC: Do you plan on leaving soon?
RC: Not yet. I am growing so much and I am very excited for the future.
We would like to thank Rhiannon for taking the time to talk to us, a true example of how a positive mindset can help all of us in our everyday lives. She was able to take a career in Performance Arts and transfer her skills into the world of aviation. Her story goes to show that many skills are transferable, more importantly it goes to show how mental health and a positive attitude can take you to great places. Don't forget to follow Rhiannon on her instagram.