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Cloudy,60°
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Hosting the high rollers
(Page 2 of 3)
Courtesy Christian Ekunwe
Christian Ekunwe has worked as a VIP host at the Palms Casino Resort in Las Vegas for two years, creating his own “brand” on the local club scene based on his disability, despite some club owners who saw him as a liability in the past.

Ekunwe soon started to hit the Vegas Strip and check out the club scene — which he said, is “like New York, but [with] better weather” — before deciding to find a way to do it professionally. He started by working independently as a nightclub host, bouncing around to several clubs, but had trouble landing a permanent job because most club managers wouldn’t hire him due to his disability. He said they would mostly “give me the run-around,” telling him he would be a liability or that they weren’t hiring.

Two years ago, Ekunwe finally found permanent work with the help of his brother, who at the time was a promotions manager for Wynn Las Vegas & Encore Resort. Josh asked his former boss, who was working at the Palms, to hire Christian to work at Moon, the hotel’s nightclub.

Ekunwe was recruited as a VIP host to arrange dinner reservations, schedule meetings and book hotels, nightclub outings, pool parties and show tickets for guests.
He explained that he navigates the loud, often crowded Moon in a custom-made wheelchair — which he described as a “rolling billboard,” equipped with LED lights, speakers, chrome rims, a Gucci print covering, a cup holder and a license plate on the back with his Instagram and Twitter handles, @yourboyonwheelz — so that guests can see him coming in the dark.

His killer wheels have been a conversation starter for some guests, including Dallas Cowboys defensive end Demarcus Ware and TV personality Robin Leach, known for his work on “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.” “That kind of recognition has been wonderful for me,” Ekunwe said. “I’ve taken this disadvantage and made it an advantage for me.”

He is currently in the process of developing a reality TV show, which he said would trace his life in Vegas as he builds a brand of being disabled and works with it to excel in business. He said he hopes his story will “inspire people to keep going,” whether they have a visible disability or not. Though he was recently promoted to senior VIP host at the Palms, Ekunwe said he intends to eventually pursue a career as an entrepreneur.

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