Moving cities for love

Nicole Smith crosses the Digital Bridge to get Face-to-Face with Mr Right

HoneyKome account director Nicole Smith, for 13 years a Capetonian, is transferring to HoneyKome in Joburg, and all because of a guy she met in the Republic of Extra Cold, in mid-summer. Said guy, Warren, is the owner and CD of an agency that specialises in events.

“Well I grew up in Rustenburg, matriculating at St Mary’s DSG. Then I studied at UCT and after that, I did a post grad diploma at Red and Yellow.”

Tell us about some of your jobs in AdLand?
“I’ve worked at JWT in Cape Town, with an exciting client – Smirnoff – a wild ride, but with a strong team, so I have fond memories! I later joined Ogilvy Cape Town, where I worked on Castle Lite, with a great client that wanted to take risks and pushed us. And now I’m Account Director at HoneyKome.”

What attracted you to the smaller, independent HoneyKome after working at larger, globally-aligned agencies?
“I liked the idea of working at a more nimble, flexible agency where I’d be able to touch different parts of the business and be involved in every step. It makes the workflow more holistic. I also liked the idea of getting more involved in digital aspects of the advertising world, and HoneyKome has a strong digital focus.”

And now you’re moving to Johannesburg the City of Gold?
“Some of our clients are in Johannesburg, so I’ve been travelling up quite a bit. This move will help to further forge relationships. Outside of work, I like that there is no wind in summer – you can confidently wear a skirt! I’ve enjoyed the healthy work-life balance in the Cape and I’ll miss having easy access to nature, with wine farm Saturdays, the beach on Sundays, and prom walks after work.”

“Having said that, I really love that Joburg is a truer reflection of South African culture, being far more mixed in terms of race than Cape Town and with an edgy buzz that makes me feel I’m part of the big and beautiful African continent.”

Getting back to Warren, how did you meet, and how did the relationship get going?
“We met during my time at Ogilvy, at a Castle Lite event called The Republic of Extra Cold, in Plett back in 2015. He followed me around the event trying to grab my attention. What a creep, I thought! I blocked him at every turn. We shared a client and regularly bumped into each other at meetings or events. He would declare his love for me every time. After 18 months, I eventually said yes to a date and he flew to Cape Town that weekend, in June 2017. The rest is history.”

How did you manage to keep the flame alive long distance?
“If it hadn’t been for our ability to link up online and via mobile phones, I don’t think we would have been able to get to know each other as well as we did across the miles. In our case (and in many similar situations be it families, lovers or friends), the digital bridge enabled us to “meet up”, chat and share so much – it’s a game changer for long distance love in today’s world.”

Have you had enough of this long-distance thing?
“I’ve always been curious about the Joburg AdLland space, so when things started getting serious with Warren, I said yes to moving. And thanks to HoneyKome’s flexibility, it’s possible. I don’t have a lot of friends there, but Joburg is apparently a friendly place and I’m also a super social person so it should be easy finding a new social circle.”

Is Joburg it for you two?
“Eventually, once his agency is up and running smoothly for a couple of years we may move again. We’ve spoken about New York – it’s a dream for both of us. I also love Asia, so somewhere like Hong Kong is alluring.”

Thoughts on long-distance relationships?
“If you’re in it for the right reason and there is an end in sight (as in one of you will move) then I’d say go for it! Nothing ventured, nothing gained.”

Some relationships have one commuting partner who is only home on weekends, while the other is home-based with the family most of the time. Do you think this is a viable option in the long term, or just for a few years?
“My parents did something similar for 14 years. It was a huge sacrifice on both their parts. If it is absolutely necessary, from a financial point of view, I would consider it, but if there was no financial gain I would say it’s not an option at all.”

Our more mobile world allows us ease of movement and the flexibility to cohabit in more than one city. But in-the-flesh relationships and connections with friends and partners are still important. As Nicole and Warren discovered, our minds may be digitally wired and technology helps us to bridge the physical divide when we are apart. But there’s just no denying that the heart remains analogue, and face-to-face is still where it’s at. Good Luck, intrepid love birds! Joburg is lucky to have you.