Dannia Hakki is a DC-based PR guru and co-owner of the entertainment, hospitality, design and fashion PR agency Moki Media. I first met lobbyist and hospitality entrepreneur, Vinoda Basnayake, in 2009. I had just moved back to my hometown of Washington, D.C. after cutting my teeth in NYC at a high profile boutique lifestyle PR agency. I had some great experience as a publicist in NYC, but at just 25 years old, I had just taken an entrepreneurial leap to start my own PR agency, MoKi Media. DC was a new market for me, and I needed clients. I remember walking into Vinoda’s downtown rooftop lounge, Eden, and feeling like I was back in NYC. I had experience with nightlife accounts. I knew what to do, and how to do it. I needed to meet the owner of this place and introduce myself. The connection was instant. He went to Gonzaga High School. I went to Georgetown Day School & The Field School. He went to Georgetown. I went to George Washington University. He was a political lobbyist by day – with a JD/MBA from Wharton Business School – and nightlife entrepreneur by night. I was definitely going to be his publicist.
A few Fridays ago, I decided to have a low-key evening and see a movie. It had been ages since I’d seen a movie on a Friday night, but I didn’t realize just how many ages it had been until I got there. I bought my ticket for the R-rated flick and proceeded to walk toward the nacho stand (and whatever else they might sell there) when I overheard something dismaying. The cashier at the ticket booth asked someone for their ID to see the same movie that I was seeing. He didn’t ask me for my ID! Do I not look like I am still in high school? I was just in high school. But then I looked around and noticed that the joint was lousy with teenagers. Through the dense fog of Abercrombie and Fitch cologne I reached clarity. I had not just been in High School. And don’t get me wrong, that is A-OK with me. I don’t miss being that scrawny kid with the gap-toothed smile. But it did get me thinking. Where do I fall in what I like to think of as a spectrum of maturity; and more importantly, how does that affect my nightlife?