Having had the opportunity to spend some time with the winners myself, I had the chance to chat with Sabino, Jessica and Lillo about what it was like on the island, their dreams of opening up a bar and what that magical week in Thailand was like.
Q. Tell me a little bit about yourself. What do you do for a living?
Sabino: My name is Sabino. I'm 25 and I'm from Pavullo, a little city near of Modena. And I'm a train tester, I am the one who tests to make sure that all the trains function and are working.
Lillo: I was born in San Giuseppe Vesuviano, a little town near Naples. I grew up in a marvelous family, full of love and culture. I started my relationship with music when I was six years old. I started deejaying at 14 and worked at many clubs, and I was luckily very much appreciated. When it came to choosing University, after doing different courses in Naples, I decided to move to Milan, where I grew up working as a deejay. Today, at 32 years old, I am a music consultant, I really wasn't able to give up my passion, so I made my passion my job.
Jessica: I was born and raised in Milan from a very eccentric family. I've been very lucky growing up and by attending the American School of Milan, it gave me the opportunity to learn the English language more effectively. I always had a big passion for art, creativity and love for children and people. I enjoyed going to school and getting the chance to know and become friends with everyone! I started working at 15 years old. I wanted to be independent as soon as I could. After working as an assistant in a political bureau, I went to work in a restaurant. It was impressive how many people I met and still remember to this day. I also worked in fashion, photography and as well different companies in the strategy and merchandising realm, and then ended up teaching! Today, I am an English teacher. I still don't teach in schools but I have private classes with children aged between 3 and 20 years old. I love teaching and finding ways to inspire creativity within each child.
Q. Describe your dream.
Sabino: My dream is to open a beach bar. It was when I met a few guys at work that we started to talk about what our dream life was going to be after work, and that is when I realized that my dream life was in a relaxing beach bar, where people come for drinks, a beer and share their stories.
Jessica: We wish to open a beach bar because we firmly believe that the human being is not in the world to live in the city. Living at the seaside, a simple life, means doing what we love most, eating, talking to people, playing music and SHARING what we know with others.
Q. What was the Heineken Dream Island experience like? What did you feel when your dream was revealed to you?
Sabino: When I saw the bar, it was crazy! Who expected that? It was really far from my imagination. I didn't care about the fact that it was all messed up. I felt it was like my bar. Right away. The first thing that I saw was the sign that said “Sabbo’s Bar,” and that was my proudest moment.
My experience with Heineken was amazing, it was full of good moments that I have really enjoyed. It was like a dream that I will remember forever. This experience meant that you have to work hard for your dream, because when your dream comes true, you'll feel like you're in paradise.
Jessica: When we watch the video, we still get very emotional, people around us don't believe us when we tell them what happened to us. I guess it was one of the strongest experiences we lived together as a couple, so intense and magical. Pure happiness, and not only for the place (which was more than wonderful) but for everything, the human aspect especially, we shared this experience with surprisingly incredible people! We are so lucky!
Lillo: When the dream was revealed to us, we were both really excited and emotional, Jessica cried, and the reason why she did it was because she couldn't believe someone listened so carefully to all that she said in the interview. We were overwhelmed with laughter and tears and tons of emotions that just rushed everywhere. Jessica even hugged all the film crew! There was a lot of love and happiness, and seeing our dream revealed made us understand that there is no time, and that we are in some way kind of blessed, so it was a sign saying: DO IT!
Q. What was the most memorable part of the Heineken experience?
Sabino: The experience was relaxing, fun and emotional. It’s when you meet people that you don’t know and then after one week you feel so close, that’s really great. It’s moments like that which make the experience more memorable. The celebration at the end was one of the best parts. It was tiring, but it was also full of sensation and emotion. I was happy, I was tired and I felt lucky. I felt all emotions at one time.
The best part is when I figured out that I wasn’t dreaming. It was like pure happiness. Of course, now that I got a taste of my dream, I'm more conscious about what it will be like, and I like it.
Jessica: As it is seen in the video, the most memorable part was the one where our dream was revealed, it was all so natural, and not forced, we mean, it was studied so well we still can't believe someone did it for us.
Another memorable moment we miss more than the rest was our best Sunday group evening. We had a wonderful day snorkeling and then came back to the resort where we sat in front of the sea. The sun was setting behind the other little islands, the sand was under our feet, there was iced cold beer and Ricky [one of the other consumers] was playing his guitar-lele. It was really the most beautiful moment of our whole trip. It was like being with your family, such a common sense of happiness, joy and emotion, we don't know how to describe it. Some of us were singing, others dancing, others hugging, but we were all together, living the good feelings together. Wonderful.
Q: What did the experience of realizing your dream mean to you?
Jessica: It meant a lot to both of us, in the same way I guess, we've both struggled a lot during our young lives. For one reason or another, we knew one day that karma or whatever you want to call it, would come back and give us something beautiful, well it came back to us, asking nothing but to share our dream.
People struggle every day, but what we can say is that we are really all the same, and that kindness, love and good manners always pay back! Realizing this dream gave us the strength to stay strong and live in a city of sharks with a different mind and a more positive attitude.
Q: Did this experience inspire you to pursue your dream after you left the island?
Jessica: It sure did, that's why we went to Tenerife for spring break, we are looking for our perfect spot!
As if this dream vacation to Thailand wasn't already full of surprises and big reveals, the lovable Lillo made the experience for Jessica and himself even more magical by proposing to his beloved during a romantic dinner on the beach. Just like something straight out of a fairy tale, this proposal will surely be a story that Jessica and Lillo will be telling their friends and family for a long time to come.
Concluding to be a week full of emotions, beach celebrations and heartwarming experiences, #TheDreamIsland not only provided the winners with a chance to explore an exotic destination, but it also showed them that dreams really can come true, and if you continue to work for what you want, anything can happen.