You do what?!

Unusual and inspiring things people do to earn a living

By Chandrea Serebro

Hat designer

Deep down, we all seek to add a bit of glamour and some added appeal to our look. Keeping updated and in vogue is a necessary, but enjoyable evil, and, very often, all of this can be done with a bit of a tweak here and an accessory there. But, says bespoke hat designer Pam Goldberg, quoting Vogue Magazine, “Nothing in nature or art is so magically transforming as a hat.” Donning an exclusive couture hat can take your look to another level, and with bespoke millinery paying homage to a bygone era when hats were the ultimate symbol of power, prestige, and respect, it is still possible to do this. These milliners are artists, interpreting fashion trends and translating them into elaborate headgear suitable for any occasion, outfit, or mood.

Pam’s brand of design is about flawless attention to detail using a range of diverse fabrics, accessories, and trims, all of which, says Pam, “represent the epitome of millinery and the ultimate show of individuality”. After being told she would be hired as a teacher only in extreme desperation, Pam took her cue from Oprah Winfrey and went on to organise women’s talks. Pam’s first speaker was a flamboyant stalwart on woman’s issues. Pam had bought six hats from a hat factory especially for the talk, and after the talk she took orders and sold them “seventeen times over”. Now, 20 years down the line, Pam works together with clients and their needs, using her expert eye to factor in their tastes and their requirements, which she finds “both a challenge and an inspiration”.

Pam starts by looking at a garment and colour scheme, and, thereafter, the perfect colour is selected for the hat shape and style the client chooses, fabrics are chosen (sinomaye, felt, hessian, satinette, straw, etc.), and a choice of trimming from the finest selection such as  feathers, flowers, or something quite avante garde is discussed. Each hat is individually measured to suit the customer’s head size, ensuring ultimate comfort. “Creating a look for an individual’s taste by working together and finally receiving what she requested is an exhilarating achievement and gives us both a sense of a happy accomplishment – there is no end to what can be achieved in creating a dream statement headpiece.”

Inspired by the Royal Family, who dictate the hat fashion, Pam strives to stay ahead of the trends, delivering on time, and marketing herself in new ways, so that satisfied customers will wear her hats with pride and turn heads when they pass.

Find Pam at or

Film and TV Producer

As an Executive Producer and founder of The Star Film Company, who specialise in high-end production of television and cinema commercials, Adam Thal found the perfect expression for his passion for telling stories and making movies: in film production. This was a love he had harboured since he dabbled in his youth for the King David School Production Team, Glance; an experience which “sealed the deal” for him and took him on what would become the journey of a lifetime, often around the world shooting in locations such as Cairo, London, Moscow, Accra, Nairobi, Hollywood, and lots more. “The best part of my job is where each production takes me and what we learn from each project and seeing each project come to life on television. The premier of every commercial we make is always special, knowing that we created audio/visual magic from a script on a piece of paper.”

And, when his kids shout, “Dad, your ad is on TV!” Adam finds the ultimate fulfilment, knowing their support (along with his wife’s) after “crazy hours” (up to 20-hour days when shooting) and far off locations is what makes him tick. “They know that running a business in general is extremely stressful, but running a business full of creatives is a handful, and sometimes like being a father to a whole other family.” Adam, in his own right and as founder of The Star Film Company, is already a big player in the South African industry and is now looking at ways “to take our brand global and establish ties with international production companies to become an international player”. “We are in the process of prepping for our first full-length feature film. My business partner, Tristan Holmes, wrote the script and we plan to start shooting later this year.”

Now, Adam finds “more and more young Jewish kids joining me in the production world”, making his vocation a little bit less unusual than it was when he sat behind the scenes at King David editing Glance. But, he says, this goes to show that the business side of film-making is becoming “more attractive” to fellow dreamers, who, like Adam, aspire to follow in the footsteps of Adam’s “biggest icon in the industry”, Gary Barber, Johannesburg born-and-bred, ex-King Davidian, and now CEO of MGM Studios in Hollywood. “When I was in high school, I said I wanted to be a successful film-maker and I feel I’ve hit that goal. Twenty years from now, I would love to have a little gold man named Oscar under my belt for one of my films and have The Star Film Company on the global production stage.”  No, he says, it’s not the “regular CA or Law route that most people go down”, but, “I believe that if you have a passion for something and are dedicated to making your dreams come true, then anything is achievable. Nothing is more rewarding than turning your passion into a business”.

FIFA Tournament Medical Officer: 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia

When you were sitting glued to the telly watching the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018 games in all their glory, it’s not likely that you took your eyes off Ronaldo or Messi to consider what it took to get everything to run smoothly at the stadium. Or, that this job falls precisely in the more-than capable hands of our very own Professor Efraim Kramer, Tournament Medical Officer for the FIFA World Cup Russia 2018, a job that is at the same time every man’s dream and every mother-in-law’s greatest achievement.

But, ensuring the highest standard of medical services, including first aid and emergency support to participating teams, the FIFA delegation, guests, and spectators during the competitions is no small task. It includes looking after 11 cities, 12 stadiums, 64 matches and 2,7 million people, including the world’s best and highest paid soccer players who are icons in the world today. It includes overseeing the airports and hotels in the stadium vicinity, the base camp for the athletes, the hospitals in and around the city, and ensuring they are equipped to international standards, and making sure that each venue is prepared and well-trained to handle an emergency of any kind – be it an injured player, a medical emergency involving the spectators, or coping with a mass emergency situation. Prof. Kramer is also in charge of doping control for the players. “It is a fantastic privilege to be able to do this job, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I truly love doing – it must be the best job in the world. But it is an incredible responsibility to bear, looking after millions of people.”

It needs someone who will be able to think on his feet, make quick decisions, stay calm, and be able to stand his ground even if he is being jostled by famous and powerful people. “A patient is a patient, and you can’t worry about titles or social status when you are in charge of the well-being of so many people.” It is a job that Prof. Kramer has spent much of his life preparing for, as Head of the Emergency Department at the Thelle Mogoerane Regional Hospital, ex-Head of the Division of Emergency Medicine at the University of the Witwatersrand, Extraordinary Professor at Section Sports Medicine, University of Pretoria, ex-Medical Director of Rescue South Africa, Disaster Response Team, and part of the FIFA medical emergency services in the FIFA World Cup South Africa 2010, and Brazil 2014. He has profound experience in emergency medicine and has been part of medical teams sent as disaster relief to tsunamis, earthquakes, and hurricanes, as well as facilitating the emergency medicine procedures at many mass gatherings like the Comrades Marathon, the 94.7 Cycle Challenge, and more. Mass gatherings are generally home to a larger number of incidents than average, and if effective procedures are in place the impact can be lessened. “And while I’m doing all this, I’m also having the time of my life.”

Flying Emergency Care Practitioner

“It’s 06h30 and a truck has rolled on the N3 highway, the driver is entrapped, and the Paramedics on scene need backup. A baby in a rural area is born with a breathing problem and needs transport to a neonatal ICU in Gauteng. A builder has been struck by lightning and needs urgent stabilisation and care. These are a few recent flights I’ve been on.” Matt O’Reilly’s job as an Emergency Care Practitioner takes him the length and breadth of the country to treat critically ill and injured patients, both on-scene and in the back of a helicopter en-route to hospital. The helicopter and crew function as a flying ICU, able to rapidly respond to and quickly transport critically ill patients. Matt responds to situations ranging from neonates, trauma, drowning, medical emergencies, and inter-hospital transfers, to flying to see patients from rural areas where there is limited or no access to advanced medical care.

“We are often called by paramedics on an emergency scene when both rapid transport and increased expertise are needed in order to ensure the best outcome for the patient.” It is a job with long hours and incredible pressure that takes a strong constitution, dedication, commitment, and a love of all things extreme, with the adrenaline rushing through you as you fly cross-country saving lives. “I have always had a passion for emergency medicine and aviation. There is nothing more exhilarating than getting into a helicopter, surrounded by life-saving equipment, knowing that you are en-route to a situation in which you have limited information and that you are the final port of call for help. This, combined with being in a helicopter, flying at 240kms per hour over beautiful scenery, provides an unreal mix of adrenalin and beauty.”

And you only get eight minutes in which to do it, explains Matt. Operating costs and the dangers associated with keeping the blades turning while in an uncontrolled area gives Matt eight minutes to assess whether they need to do a ‘hot load’ of a patient; to fully assess the patient and do any rapid interventions that are needed before they are once again airborne. “This creates an environment of extreme efficiency, but also incredible pressure.” It is this “adrenaline rush” of flying and working under extreme pressure with a team of experienced practitioners and pilots “who all function seamlessly to ensure the best outcome for the patient” that keeps Matt on his toes, and the fact that as a religious Jew, he can still be true to himself at the same time. “My tefillin aren’t kept in a velvet box, they are stored in a waterproof, bomb proof, crush proof case so that they can come with me into any environment.” As father to a two-year-old son who thinks “that his dad has the coolest job in the world”, something with which I’m sure both two-year-olds and most adults will agree, the only “cooler” job Matt can conceive is being able to do it as a fully qualified doctor. A dream that he hopes will come true when he graduates next year from Wits Medical School, an expertise which he will use to grow the field of emergency medicine “and hopefully still get the same kick out of flying that I do now”.

Professional Boxing trainer

Nothing gets the adrenaline going quite like being in the corner of a boxing ring while the best in the world box it out for the championship. Or the “knot in your stomach” you get in the dressing room before being called for the ring walk before the fight. “It’s an unbelievable feeling,” says Colin Nathan, Professional Boxing Trainer and owner of Hot Box Gym. Colin got his first pair of boxing gloves when he was just three years old. He remembers nagging his late father, Stan, who was a cut-man, to take him to the boxing gym and he finally relented when Colin was seven. “That was 33 years ago. And I haven’t looked back.”

Now, arguably the country’s top trainer, Colin can say honestly that the only way he got to where he is was by “keeping my head down and going all out”. By hard work and determination, as well as being lucky to get a few breaks along the way, he absorbed the knowledge and inspiration from mentors as he went along, which helped paved the way for his success. Colin loves the technicalities of the job as much as the glory that a win gives. “I love preparing technically and tactically for the fights – watching and reviewing our opponent’s fights, finding out his habits stylistically and working on strategy around that, and working the mitts with my fighters around the punches or combinations that I feel will be effective around our strategy going into the fight.”

But, above all, Colin’s driving force is success, and the will to make it happen while remaining true to himself. “Success isn’t always measured in monetary terms. When I started out, all I chased was my fighters’ wins. And to this day, I work to win, and to get the best out of my fighters.” But, now, experience and achievement of this success has caused him to be humbled by the sport. Being able to do what he loves is a privilege, and Colin’s biggest inspiration comes from “the human spirit and life”, and to leaving a legacy for his three kids that they can be proud of. Until then, Colin still feels like he has much to offer the sport; “Producing more world champions and giving young fighters the opportunity to reach and achieve their goals, and making history (recently, for the first time in 68 years that South Africa has produced a Linear World Champion, Colin’s fighter Hekkie Budler won the undisputed Junior Flyweight Championship of the World in Tokyo, Japan in one of the biggest upsets in South African Boxing history.)” Because no matter how far he has come, Colin still feels that he is “not off the starting blocks”, and has so much more to learn and experience in boxing. But, he knows he is in it for the long haul – even if it means brokering deals and managing fighters when he can no longer handle the beatings, he knows that boxing and winning is his life’s work, his “ultimate high”.


When Rachael Glass tells people that she is a doula, they say ‘Oh, a jeweller!’ Then she explains that doula is Greek and means “to serve”, a woman supporting another woman who is in labour. They have often not heard of one, but wistfully mention they wish that they had had one when they were giving birth. A doula is a professionally-trained woman who prepares, empowers, and supports her client and partner, physically, practically, and emotionally through pregnancy, labour, birth, feeding, and beyond. Her nurturing ensures that a pregnant woman come through the other side of a truly awesome and life-changing event feeling positive, well-supported, in-control, and emotionally strong

As a birth and postnatal doula, antenatal educator, and fertility coach, Rachael’s passion for supporting women and couples on their parenthood journeys shows. Blessed as a mother of seven, including twins, Rachael knows from her personal journey how the experience “impacts on a new mum as a woman”, and that a woman will always remember “the way she was made to feel and the way she was spoken to” when having her baby. “Unfortunately, nowadays, birth is surrounded by so much fear and negativity and people tell me so often that they lack positivity, confidence, and excitement, and are filled with terrifying dread. This is what I want to change.”

Trained to support at every type of birth, including c-sections, Rachael believes it’s paramount to support each woman’s personal decisions and choices, and her solid UK qualifications and experience, mentoring, and Doula UK recognition ensures “that I am always on the right path as a non-judgmental and growth-oriented doula”. A doula is “not the usual 9 to 5 job”, being on call 24 hours a day, and thanks to a “supportive husband and family”, Rachael doesn’t give 100% to her moms, “but more like 200%”. “This is a calling; during Shabbat lunch, or the middle of the night when everyone is asleep, a quick coffee and off I go, doula bag and birthing ball ready. I am inspired by the strength inherent in women, by the way their bodies conceive, carry, birth, and continue to nourish their babies. My plan is to be able to continue doing what I am doing , empowering and instilling confidence in women and couples, and preparing emotionally strong parents who, in turn, go on to nurture empowered children.”

Find Rachael at or

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