A General or a Gypsy.
by: Alev Gefen
photography: Inna Race
Interview with Sherry Kumar, Eurocircle, Philadelphia.
It is a party: Faces mingle in the crowd; stylish dresses and suits flash in many shades of glamour; excited chatter echoes throughout the room. Glasses clinking.
Laughter. It is a party, where you probably will spot Sherry Kumar. She is known to be on the scene for the latest, hottest happenings for travel and the arts.
She is the face, the mind, and the bubbly personality behind EuroCircle: This gathering is perfect for everyone from Europe or of European descent to converge, connect, and feel at home, all the while getting lost in themes and flavors from around the continent.
We at Private Paparazzi Productions caught up with Sherry, and she let us in on the juicy scoop of where and how her adventures took off.
Private Paparazzi Productions: Tell us a bit about yourself and your journey.
Sherry Kumar, Eurocircle.com: In my past life, I was either a general or a gypsy. I’m not sure which. I was born to lead and give orders, but I love to live out of my suitcase, and am happiest on the road. I have the genes of Alexander the Great, and the personality of Attila the Hun, both of which make me a charming Eurocircle host.PPP: How long have you been a lover of travel and the arts?
Sherry: I grew up on the road, packed in my parents’ suitcase. My dad was in international trade, which means he circled the globe every two weeks for 40 years. They say I made 9 trips around the world before my 10th birthday. I guess that travel has been in my blood from the start. As for art, I remember seeing my first nude painting at the Belgrade Museum of Contemporary Art when I was 6, and was the only one in my class who would defend it. The other kids were giggling about the naked body parts, but I thought they were all uncultured. To this day I love art, and I judge people’s character by what they have on their walls.PPP: How did you get started with EuroCircle?
Sherry: I remember being dragged to my first Eurocircle party in New York in 2000, kicking and screaming. I didn’t like parties, didn’t like to socialize, and was very much a wallflower. In the first fifteen minutes, I met so many cool Europeans and internationals, that I felt like I belonged there. Last year I had to pass on a job offer because I couldn’t afford to leave EC. I can safely say now, that I am married to Eurocircle. I will be throwing parties when I’m old and toothless, and they’ll have to drag me off the dance floor with my walker.PPP: Where do you find inspiration for all the unique events and parties that you host at EuroCircle?
Sherry: It used to be a challenge to keep coming up with new ideas, but then I realized that so many Eurocircle members are talented artists, small business owners, and unique personalities, that now I plan events around them.PPP: What are some of your favorite EuroCircle themes, so far, and why?
Sherry: I like to promote the members, push them into the spotlight, and see what happens. My favorite event was our Mad Hatter Party, when we barged into the lobby of the Ritz Carlton, wearing Milica in the Hat Millinery flamboyant fascinators and hats. I’m pretty sure that at one point they tried to kick us out, but with all the media, and hotel guests joining the festivities, they wouldn’t dare.PPP: What are some of the best and the goofiest things ever to happen at EuroCircle?
Sherry: In 2011, I launched Eurocircle’s travel program, and shortly after, we toured Turkey. At some point, we ended up in the city of Bursa, in the country’s oldest hamam, built in 1389. I thought it would be fun to take the group for an authentic Turkish bath. Coming from the Balkans, I am familiar with most of the treatments, so I warned the travelers NOT to buy the full service package. But the bath was so cheap, that most travelers could not resist but pay for everything. Fifteen minutes later, we found ourselves sitting buck naked in a pool of scorching mineral water, being scrubbed thoroughly by two merciless Turkish women. Let’s just say, they cleaned everything! The parts of my body I never thought could be cleaned, got the royal treatment, in front of all my travelers. Needless to say, the subsequent group dinner was a bit uncomfortable. We just ate in silence, red faced, afraid to make eye contact. We agreed that night, what happens in Bursa, stays in Bursa, and never to talk about it again.PPP: EuroCircle hosts interesting excursions abroad every year. What has been your favorite destination, so far, and why?
Sherry: Last year, we toured Cambodia and Vietnam. Cambodia was heart melting. The people were so welcoming and warm, the temples were stunning and we had a great time. I was a bit skeptical about Vietnam, and didn’t expect to like it as much as I did. Coming from Eastern Europe, I was uncomfortable with its Communist atmosphere, which hit a nerve for all the Russian travelers as well. But then we journeyed to Halong Bay, which was absolute nirvana. We boarded a private boat, and were greeted by our own staff of chef, fishing guide, masseuse, and tai-chi master. We paddled off in three rafts that night in an attempt to catch our own dinner. We floated around some of the 2000 deserted islets, with vodka in each raft, then watched the sun set over this little piece of paradise. That scene left us speechless.PPP: Where to, next?
Sherry: This November 1st, sixteen Eurocircle members from all around the world, will land at New Delhi airport. Some of them will meet us for the first time, and are a bit nervous about the journey ahead. But, by morning we will all be friends, we will board our own bus, and start touring the Golden Triangle. I have to admit, I am a bit nervous to take the group to India, because there is no country on earth quite like it. For the uninitiated, India will tear you apart emotionally, then build you back up, and give you the most heart warming experience. It really is a schizophrenic culture, with huge contrasts between rich and poor, and a drastically different view on life than we have. I hope people can see the beauty in all its chaos.