BeautyView: Sabrina F. B. Hougaard, Director Spa Operations, Serena Spa & Managing Director, Serena Vocational Training Institute

I met Sabrina at a Global Spa Summit a couple of years ago. I immediately felt a bond with her, I was fascinated by her aura and energy, so calm, so at peace, so very zen. I thought – how does she do it and can she teach me her secrets?! We only see each other once or twice a year maximum, either at Global Spa Summit, or at the International Spa Association Conference – at both, if I am lucky. I loved her answers to my questions below, and indeed did learn a few of her secrets… my favorite of course being that she sometimes enjoys a glass of champagne in the middle of the day. Maybe we will share one at ISPA later this fall…

AP: What city were you born in? SFBH: I was born In Udupi, a village about 50 km north of where I live now. Although a village then, it is home to a famous Lord Krishna temple and  is a famous pilgrimage destination.

AP: What city to do you live in? SFBH: I live in Mangalore, a typical south-Indian coastal city, about 350 km straight west of the more famous Bangalore (IT city). Mangalore has grown very fast over the past decade and is famous for fishing, education and some of the best hospitals in India. With about a million people, the city still maintains its village feel.

AP: What is your middle name? SFBH: Flora, Named after my paternal Grandma.

AP: What is your astrological sign? SFBH: I am a cusp of Leo and Virgo. What can one called this?

AP: What is your favorite thing about the beauty industry? SFBH: I find this industry a great gateway to connect to many people – not just for the beauty elements, but for what lies beyond. It is very true that beauty is not only skin-deep and most of the reasons for lack of beauty is interconnected with body, mind and soul. When reaching a balance, beauty comes naturally and although our industry focus is on the top layer of beauty, there are many things happening to explore how the underlying factors can be changed in a positive way.

AP: What is your most prized possession? SFBH: Jesper (my husband) and I have been gifted as Indian epic The Ramayana etched on plam leaves.

AP: What is something about you most people don’t know? SFBH: Most people do not know that I do not own a TV or microwave, and that I never eat precooked food. When I entertain all the food is cooked at home and Indian masala are hand ground by me on stone.

AP: Do you wear a watch? If yes, what model? SFBH: I very seldom wear a watch.

AP: Diamonds or pearls? SFBH: I prefer diamonds, especially antique uncut diamonds set in traditional Indian jewelry.

AP: If you could have dinner with the person of your choice, who would it be? SFBH: My parents and my husband.

AP: What is your secret to work/life balance? SFBH: The blessings of my parents, the support from my husband and boss (same guy!), the encouragement of my colleagues and the appreciation of my friends. On the practical side, we never discuss work at home unless unavoidable and we very rarely go to work on Sundays. Both Jesper and I keep alternative interests so we don’t always spend time working, but put our brains to use in other fields. Also, the joy of being with my nephews  and friends.

AP: What are your three top tips for travel? SFBH: 1. Travel light. 2. Eat local food wherever you go. 3. Try not to always stay in 5-star hotels of international chains.

AP: What is your favorite book? SFBH: Loving living and Learning by Leo F  Buscalgia.

AP: What is your cocktail of choice? SFBH: At sun down, it can be a Whiskey Sour, in the middle of the day, when it is so hot, a Gin and Tonic. And I do I love champagne anytime of the day.

AP: What is your #1 beauty secret? SFBH: I am sure I am not authorized to answer this question! All I use is green gram powder and coffee. I did once enjoy one of your Alchimie face creams! And a  massage from my  Prince Perfect.

AP: What fragrance do you wear? SFBH: A variety, I like the note to complement my energy of the day.

AP: Botox or not? SFBH: Not. Actually, surely never, I like to age gracefully. Signs of age are  very comforting to those who stand before you.

AP: Hair color: natural or not? SFBH: Forever natural. My salt and pepper has taken me a long way…

AP: 3 songs on your ipod right now. SFBH: Difficult question, I am a  romantic  and need my music to play  a happy note. I must admit a song which constantly offers courage is, “Let it be.”

AP: Quote to live by. SFBH: “God helps those who help themselves.”

AP: Who is your mentor? SFBH: Clement D’souza and MM Alex.

AP: Words of advice for young women starting their careers today. SFBH: You must do that which you like, find your strength and work on that. When you strengthen your strength you have nullified your weakness.