Industry Insiders: Rachel Uchitel, VIP Diva
Rachel Uchitel has run the velvet ropes from Las Vegas to the Hamptons. Uchitel’s come a long way — she lost her fiancée in the World Trade Center attacks on 9/11, found love again, then moved on once more. After conquering so many obstacles and returning east to manage VIP action at some of the most successful clubs in New York, she has no plans to slow down.
Occupations: “I’m obsessed with work ethic and can get anything done. I’m aware of what I am good at and what I am not, and I surround myself with people to help get the job done flawlessly. Having once worked in live TV, I’m intuitive about reading people’s wants and needs, and I take customer service to a whole new level. It can be difficult being a successful woman in this industry because being assertive is often misinterpreted as being a complete bitch. I take people’s opinion of me personally, and that can be rough.”
Case History: “After college, I worked in TV and film, which included five years as a television producer at Bloomberg News. In a random career move and a life-changing experience, I found myself living in Las Vegas to launch Tao nightclub and restaurant, which quickly became the number-one grossing venue in the world. Two years later, I was back in New York to oversee VIP operations for all of their companies and venues, such as Stanton Social, Marquee, Tao Bistro, and Dune.”
Current Biz: “I’m currently director of VIP operations for Pink Elephant in Southampton. I spend my weekends at the beach with the two loves of my life — Ozzy Osbourne and Rudy Giuliani — my affenpinscher and brussels griffin. I’m back in the city during the week. In the Hamptons, I’m obsessed with Nello, Lily Pond (where the cutest guy in New York works, who I am crushing on), and of course Pink Elephant. I own a Turnberry apartment in Vegas. I love going there for long weekends when it’s not too hot out. I love Saint-Tropez and spend a few weeks there every year. The Four Seasons in Thailand (Chiang Mai) is my favorite place in the world.”
Known Associates: “Although I’ve been romantically linked to a famous baseball player, a Broadway star, a musician, and various film and television actors, I will never kiss and tell! Some of the simplest things in life make me happy, and I want to end up with someone who truly loves and respects me for who I am. I have amazing friends and acquaintances that have been so generous to me, both personally and professionally, and they’re part of who and where I am at this stage in my life. I’m lucky to get paid to just be who I am, and am so grateful to be surrounded by the people I know and love that I have met through work. Projections: “My grandparents owned and operated El Morocco supperclub in the 1960s; famous people from President John F. Kennedy to Cary Grant frequented the place on a regular basis. I’ve held on to my family’s memorabilia, and my dream is to re-create, own, and operate a modern-day El Morocco. Where am I a year from now? Standing over design renderings of my new club with a fabulous investor, still yet to be found.”
Photos: Ann Lawlor
Prime Movers interviews A-listers from the business and leisure realm of nightlife, restaurants, hotels, and more.