[Hair and Makeup by Yuseff Smyth, clothing and accessories sponsored by Hillary Flowers, photography Chris String, courtesy of Pink Elephant] If you follow nightlife in NYC, you’ve probably heard the name Sally Shan, though you might be curious who she is exactly. Well, Sally is taking the nightlife scene by storm and has big plans for the future. Miss Shan loves throwing parties and strives to give her guests nightlife experiences that truly stand out. We recently sat down with her to learn about the woman behind the name, her rise in the nightlife industry, and the hot spots she'll be at this summer. We also got her insider take on the intriguing topic of "love in nightlife" (and whether such a thing actually exists.) Read our full interview with Sally Shan below...
How would you describe Sally Shan? I think of myself as more than someone who holds parties or promotes- I am creating a complete nightlife experience for people and I also embody the image of that nightlife to some extent.
What are your business goals and how do you work? I use facebook and personal touches such as texting or calling friends. On any given day I also have tons of people asking me to where to go so it happens naturally. I am also building a website, SallyShan.com, of course, (what else would it be called?) The website will enable me to interact with everyone on a even more personal level, as you will be able to see what I am up to. Otherwise, I have many goals and a lot in the works- it will all be a surprise.
Do you work on your own or with partners? On my own at the moment. A lot of people want to work with me because they like the image I have created and be associated with the "Sally Shan" reputation. I am very selective about who I team up with, as I am looking for people with great personalities, and excellent social skills, who are also business minded and reliable. Ideally they will bring a certain energy and all our crowds can mix and have a good time. I have very high standards for myself and my guests- I am a perfectionist and probably put in a little more work than most. Right now I am building a team who can meet these expectations.
What sorts of parties do you organize at the moment and what venues do you work with? I do many private events for celebrities and famous artists-when they are in town they come to my parties. I am working with several different places though primarily with the Pink Elephant.
What places do you enjoy spending time at (other than Pink Elephant of course)? I enjoy different lounges; in the summer the outdoor rooftops like Hudson Terrace, the Rivington, and the Gansevoort are great. Visiting new spots is always fun including new restaurants, and bars in addition to clubs.
What are the hottest Hamptons spots this summer? Lilypond was very packed on Memorial Day weekend- it was great. The Pink Elephant is definitely going to be a hot spot. Also there are a lot of house parties in the Hamptons, and I will probably be hosting private celebrity events over the course of the summer.
Is the nightlife industry your career? I know you also have a background in art and drama production. Do you do plan to keep doing both? I am juggling both still. The arts will always be a major part of my life. I work with a production company on many different theater projects. That said, given the buzz surrounding my work in nightlife and the demand for my involvement from many different people, nightlife is increasingly becoming full time. I am working around the clock!
You have received both positive and negative attention and said in the past that all press is good press. How long did it take you to develop a thick skin? I did not prep myself for that sort of attention in the beginning and when I first read the negative comments I literally shut down the computer. I am only human. In time, however, I developed more of a thick skin. People are going to have their opinions and hate on you for no reason, but as long as you are true to yourself and comfortable with yourself, as I am, you build yourself up not to be affected by the nasty comments. The people who are most important in my life know who I am and that the negative comments are not true.
How did you get involved in the nightlife business? It happened very naturally. I used to just throw parties for no reason on a regular basis. For example, I would have a craving for, say, Thai food and then invite all my friends out to a Thai dinner. I am a connector and my work now is an extension of that. I come from a family that is very involved in traditional business, as well as an art background, so viewing the nightlife industry as a business is still relatively new to me. That probably keeps me from being overly jaded.
Is your work still profitable in this economy? My work is not affected at all- if anything profits are being driven up by the climate. I think people now, more than ever, want the escape and the release of a night out.
All right. So now that we have a better understanding of Sally Shan, can you share your thoughts and insider observations on an always intriguing and entertaining topic: "Love in nightlife" ? OK- I will try. This will be fun.
How would you define "Love in the Nightlife or in the Club"? Well, I'm not sure if there is one definition. People definitely go out to clubs to socialize and connect with other many different types of people though, and they take their time to look good to do so. They have a certain mindset when they go out.
Do you think many people actually make real connections at clubs? Are they really looking for a relationship? It is different for everyone. People have different priorities and desires at a particular moment. My saying is that it is great to meet someone on a Saturday night, but Sunday brunch is when you get to know them. You can make the initial connection at the club, but of course love is something that needs to be developed- it takes time, nurturing, and maturing. A club is a place to meet people, hang out with friends, listen to good music, and have a great time. So there is definitely lust in club, but love takes place outside.
The stereotype is that it is difficult to date someone in the nightlife industry. How much truth do you think there is to this? I think that people in this industry meet a lot of different interesting and attractive people out on a regular basis, and whenever that comes into play, there are challenges. What I am looking for, however, is not someone caught up with the whole glitz and glamour of the scene, but someone who is real, and honest, with values similar to mine at the end of the day. Someone who cares about you as a person outside the club.
Do nightlife people often date other people in nightlife? Mixing business with pleasure? I couldn’t speak for everyone else, but I would not be surprised. It is a business of pleasure and temptation exists as everyone is putting their best foot forward- they are dressed well and in a dark club. But it all boils to the individuals and their chemistry at the end of the day. It is very important to get to know the person you are potentially seeking to find love with.
Are there certain type of girls and guys that you seek to bring out? There is a lot of diversity. The club scene might be viewed as very cliché, because by nature of the club culture you are drawing out a good looking crowd, who wants to have fun, is energetic and is dressed well.
So what do your friends expect to find at the clubs you invite them to generally? They are both looking to find love, and just to go out with friends and let loose. Sometimes the club provides an escape from heartbreaks, drama, and a chance to have fun with friends.
Do you think guys have a perception of "club girls" or girls of "club guys"? Should people be cautious at clubs? Well, I think the image is that people at a club are free spirited and dancing, enjoying the music. I try to stay in the dark and oblivious about what happens between closed doors. Regarding safety, its important to keep your wits about you. But all the venues I work with are very on point about safety.
Can clubs be romantic? They are seductive but not necessarily not romantic. Clubs provide a sexy environment where there is a sense of mystery and uncertainty.
What makes for the sexiest clubs and what are they at the moment? The sexiest clubs have the best looking crowds and the hottest scenes. My favorites would be Pink Elephant, Kiss n' Fly, Greenhouse, 1 Oak, Griffin, and The Gates at the moment. But there are so many places in New York to discover. Often it depends who you are going out with.
Ok, so what is a romantic date for you? Does it involve the club? For a date I enjoy simple things such as watching a sunset or going to a museum or a Broadway show. It is nice to relax outside my work environment once in a while. But I don't mind having both experiences. You could have a nice dinner and then still end the night at a club.
So does “Love in Nightlife” exist after all? I am optimistic about the possibility for “love in nightlife” and for finding a true relationship. Again, clubs help people connect, but love needs to grow outside- starting with Sunday brunch perhaps.