“Prayer, hard work, and determination.” These three things are a must for those who want to achieve their dreams, shares Jenny, our latest OFW feature. For someone who grew up in the slums, working multiple jobs for minimal pay — and now the co-owner of a popular restaurant in the UAE — this strong, confident woman certainly knows what she is talking about!
Indeed, life has not been easy for Jenny, who hails from Mindoro province in the Philippines. Almost 20 years ago, she arrived in the UAE and began working in a restaurant, making 1,000 AED and working 11 hours per day. Later, she worked in sales, eventually becoming a business development officer, while also engaging in several side “hustles” to support her family.
Like many OFWs, Jenny has had her share of ups and downs — a failed relationship, business concerns, among other things. Through it all, however, her faith and determination has not wavered. After much heartbreak and loss, hope springs anew. Today, her business is thriving, and she is able to help not just her family, but her fellow kabayans, as well. Through this OFW interview, let’s get to know more about Jenny and her inspiring life story!
OFW Feature: Jenny, Co-Owner of Mukbang Shows Restaurant in UAE
Name: Jenny Segalowitz
Age: 41 years old
Current Profession: Co-Owner and General Operations Manager, Mukbang Shows Restaurant
Education: Undergrad in Education
Years in Dubai: 19 years
1. Tell us about yourself.
Hi! I am Jenny Segalowitz, 41 years old. I am a mother of three children. I am an undergrad in education. I’ve been here since 2003… that’s 19 years in the UAE. I come from Mindoro, Philippines, and literally lived in the slums with eight siblings. So life back then was hard, but I was determined to make it!
I am currently the Co-Owner and General Operations Manager of Mukbang Shows Restaurant. I currently handle the day-to-day operations and decide on a lot of things including the concept, the design, and the overall operations of the restaurant.
2. Why did you come to Dubai?
Back then, I was looking for a successful future, because I know that the UAE is a land of opportunity and good resources. I am a very hardworking person and ambitious, too!
3. What were your previous jobs?
In 2003, I started working in a restaurant, making 1,000 AED and working 11 hours per day. I also worked and became a Sales Representative, and eventually a Business Development Officer, and I used this experience to study the market.
Furthermore, I worked on the side and did other ventures like managing an apartment business, selling plants, wedding gowns, food, and other things. I also worked before in a salon, and as a House Cleaner, too. Anything I could sell or do to earn income, I would work so I could survive and not be a burden.
4. How do you find your current job? Are you happy/satisfied with it?
I lost my job during the pandemic, and I had to think of how to earn money because I have three kids. Before the pandemic, I met my second husband. He is an American and works as an IT Specialist. Together, we decided to build a restaurant… And we did not expect that the window of heaven will open for us through prayer, hard work, and determination.
5. Are you able to save in Dubai? Or do you have any investments you wish to share?
Personally, I set goals all the time, especially in terms of finances. For me, saving and investing is very important.
As I mentioned earlier, despite having a minimal salary during my first first years, I also had other “rackets” or side hustles, such as having a rice business and ready-to-wear (RTW) business in the Philippines. After two years, even with a minimal salary, I was able to invest in a property in the Philippines.
Furthermore, I made sure to save and learn the value of hard-earned money. This is because I don’t want to go back home to the Philippines and not be prepared.
6. Is it difficult to live in Dubai? What are your struggles?
Dubai is like my second home… It has diversity in all aspects. I learned to speak Arabic so it makes it easier to communicate. It’s also easy for me now because of my experiences.
Prior to meeting my current husband (an American), I survived an abusive relationship with my now ex-husband. When my ex-husband lost his job and went back to the Philippines, we lost communication. That was an answered prayer because I was able to pick myself up and look for jobs to earn an income, so I could support my three children.
Eventually, I was able to file for annulment and move on with a better perspective in life. I always remember to pray, hope, and work hard to achieve better jobs and opportunities. While we can never truly avoid problems in life, I can say that I’m in a much better place right now.
7. What do you like about Dubai?
I like that the UAE government is very supportive and caring… Here, everyone can feel safe and equal. They respect and help expats, especially our Filipino citizens.
8. What do you NOT Like about Dubai?
None at all… Dubai is an amazing place!
9. What are your plans for your career/family/future?
My husband and I want to build a sustainable business not only in Dubai, but the entire GCC, and to help more people back in the Philippines. We plan to expand our restaurant and have many projects in the works.
10. You have any tips for kabayans when working/finding work/living in Dubai?
Set goals in life to achieve your dream. Have faith, prayer and a relationship with the Lord. When I first set foot on an airplane to come to Dubai, I prayed to God for the wisdom and knowledge not to lose this opportunity. And here I am, now the Co-Owner of a restaurant in a rich country.
Follow “Mukbang Shows Restaurant” Online
Jenny’s business, Mukbang Shows Restaurant, currently has three branches in Abu Dhabi: Muroor branch, Elektra branch, and Sheikh Zayed Festival branch. Soon, they will also be opening a branch in Deira, Dubai.
With regards to their business, Jenny shares: “We love to make people happy in terms of food with our Mukbang Shows Restaurant. It offers unlimited Korean BBQ. Our Chef has more than 10 years of experience in Korean cuisine. We want out customers to feel that they are in Korea when they visit Mukbang. They can also blog while they are eating!”
To learn more about Mukbang Shows Restaurant, you can visit its official website and social media pages, as follows:
*Photos provided by Jenny Segalowitz
Are you an expat in Dubai? Do you want to be featured in the website? Send us an email telling us you want to be featured at admin@dubaiOFW.com and we will send you the set of questions! Let’s help other Pinoys who want to come to Dubai understand what life in the UAE is like through your story.