Sylvia Habben’s sparkling personality echoes the bright colors she offers to Members and guests at The Spa. She is a skilled manicurist, meticulous in every step of the process. Sylvia says, “When I came to this country from Kenya 13 years ago, I worked at Cheeca Lodge using the experience I gained at the Nairobi Beauty Therapy School back home. I like the careful artistic work. It makes me happy to see customers leave satisfied and smiling.” Sylvia’s quiet approach to work leaves plenty of room for her flashes of spirit, easy conversation and smiles.
Her talents are not limited to the Salon. Sylvia is a belly dancer who has offered lessons through the Fitness Center and private sessions for wedding parties here on The Reef. She is delighted when students move from embarrassed giggles to learning how to shimmy and dance to Egyptian music, Hip Hop and Motown. She says, “I studied the mechanics and history of belly dancing, and love to share what I learned with others. Belly dancing is an art form. When you learn to move one body part and keep every other part still, then you’re ready to put on a shimmering scarf with jiggling coins and begin dancing. Women can express themselves by using the power of their bodies.” Sylvia says that the basics can be taught in a 30-minute introductory class. She is planning to take Samba lessons and is eager to offer classes in dance, also.
Sylvia is an artist, specializing in African-themed clothing, jewelry and handbags. She remembers modeling in Kenya and not having money for fancy gowns. She cut up old curtains and, with a sewing machine, created her own gown. Her ingenuity worked! She has won several awards from the Art League for her creative pieces and has some of her work on sale there. Sylvia also displays her work through her website and social media. She says, “I’m always working on something. I’ve turned my dining room into ‘Sylvia’s Zone’ and when I’m in that space, I love the excitement of creating.”
She enjoys being busy and says that Ocean Reef has helped her to become the best version of herself. She feels that her colleagues at work are like a family. Her own daughter, 21, works at Reef Treats and a son, 13, goes to school in Kendall. Sylvia’s large extended family is in Africa. Her father was a village chief and her mother was his third and youngest wife so visits are joyful reunions with many relatives.
Sylvia has been working at The Spa for eight years. Stop in and say hello.