This week, Prav and Payan welcome rising social starlet Rhona Eskander to the show. Rhona talks about her mission to make dentistry accessible to all. 


Rhona discusses the pros and cons of Instagram and her relationships with some of the net’s biggest influencers. She also educates Prav on Nevada’s Burning Man Festival and talks about her experiences providing vital dental care for refugees.




“I believe that we’re all human beings and if we can’t treat each other as humans, then you’re not going to get anywhere and you have to be brave enough to break those boundaries. Which is what I have been doing.” – Dr Rhona Eskander

In This Episode


01.06 – Formative years

10.34 – Making dentistry accessible

16.02 – Empowering women & social media

27.23 – Confidence & feelgood factor

32.32 – Treating influencers

39.52 – Pärla

46.03 – The Chelsea look & the Chelsae practice

52.13 – Low moments & lessons

01.00.14 – Burning Man

01.04.38 – Working with refugees

01.10.04 – On legacy

About Rhona Eskander

Rhona graduated from Leeds University and went on to complete vocational training in Kent where she won Best Case Presentation award for her complex restorative case. She has completed extensive postgraduate training including MJDF examinations and a year-long course in aesthetic dentistry with Dr Christopher Orr.


Platinum Invisalign dentist Rhona is prolific on social media and a high-profile face on the Instagram platform. She recently co-founded the Pärla ethical and environmentally-friendly toothpaste tablet brand.  

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Well, do you know what? I’m going to tell Payman. What conversation would we have about five years ago when I called you up?

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah. To remind everyone, you tell them.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. So I called Payman up and I saw… He doesn’t remember. I saw Payman, I saw-

Dr Prav Solanki: That was brilliant.

Intro Voice: This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one-on-one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts; Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

Dr Prav Solanki: Rhona, it’s a pleasure to have you here. Welcome to the Dental Leaders Podcast. I’m sure we’ve got tonnes of stuff to talk about from social media to mental health, to haters, to all sorts of stuff that’s been going on. What I want to get out from today, truly is for people out there to understand who the real Rhona Eskander is, the real person behind the social media, the real person, and just bring out-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: She’s a really nice person, just saying.

Dr Prav Solanki: So Rhona, tell us about your backstory, how you grew up, your childhood, your parents, upbringing, siblings, all that sort of stuff. Give us a run down of your childhood-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Okay. Well do you know what’s so funny? Because I love talking about this only because people have these massive preconceptions of how I’m a little princess that was given everything on a plate and I just love to prove them wrong. That’s kind of my favourite thing. But I pretty much… My dad came to the UK at 21. 10 pounds in his pocket and just a suitcase. Worked a Spaghetti House to put himself through medical school. So you had that very kind of typical immigrant ethical background where he was a massive graft and hard worker.

Dr Prav Solanki: Came from where Rhona?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Egypt, typical Egyptian. He is, “Rhona, you have to be a doctor, a dentist, an engineer.” That kind of typical Middle Eastern dad. He brought me in my sister up with very strong kind of work values. So education was always at the forefront of our upbringing. My mom’s Lebanese and-

Dr Payman Langr…: Did they meet in London?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: No, they actually met in Saudi and my mum is six foot two and my dad’s five foot 10 so it’s quite funny.

Dr Payman Langr…: Good on him.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, good on him. He saw her actually in the hospital in Saudi and was like, “Wow, that woman, like don’t care if she’s married, single, straight, gay. She’s going to be my wife.”

Dr Payman Langr…: As a patient?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: No, no. I mean, she was just walking through a hospital. Basically he saw her and he basically said to his friends… Organised a dinner party. They sat next to each other. Six months later they were engaged. Six months later they were married and they’ve been together for 35 years and they’re still really in love, which is pretty great. But anyways, when we grew up in the UK it was actually a bit of a struggle because when my dad was in Saudi and me and my sister were born and we moved back to the UK when I was five and he actually found it really difficult to be in the NHS.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: It was a time where there was a lot of racism, a lot of struggle. We didn’t have much money growing up at all actually. I remember my dad rationing in Asda to buy apples and so forth. My mum was so desperate to get us into private school because she believed that she wanted us to have the best education. So she started working in retail and she actually had a degree in nutrition, but at the time, back then, no one was into the whole healthy eating thing. It just wasn’t something that was in Vogue. So when she was working in retail, as you know, the wages aren’t great, but every single penny went to education. I ended up getting a scholarship to my secondary school, but I wasn’t the smartest kid alive. Oh actually it was for drama. Surprise, surprise. Acting was always my thing when I was a kid.

Dr Payman Langr…: What was the name of the school?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Queens college. Do you know it?

Dr Payman Langr…: No.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, actually a lot of celebrities, well now strong women I’d like to say went to that school. So did you guys know Jameela Jamil?

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: She was in my school-

Dr Payman Langr…: Was it formative, you think, that school, for you?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: What do you mean?

Dr Payman Langr…: Well, you’re saying celebrities send their kids there because-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: No they weren’t. The thing it was art and drama base, which is what the scholarship was for, was kind of for drama. It was never kind of science or mathematically inclined. But again, my dad was like, “Find a real job. You act in your spare time.” But I think really it’s a school that nourished young females to be really strong and empowered. So Jameela was at my school and we all know the kind of women that she represents me industry. Sarah Jossel as well, who is beauty editor of The Sunday Times and is always in on ITV This Morning. She’s the main person as well as like very prominent figure in the kind of beauty industry. We also have another huge influencer, Lily Pebbles. So very strong females came out of that school, that did lots of different things with their lives, which I found really interesting.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Because I think it was a school that allowed you to be very free and allowed you to kind of develop a very strong character. We didn’t even have a uniform, things like that that allowed you to develop your character. But I had to work really hard. I was never good at science. I was never good at maths, but I knew I wanted to be a dentist from the age of 11 because-

Dr Payman Langr…: How did that start?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: My aunt was a dentist in America and I went and did work experience for her and I just loved the way it was all set up, I loved the way-

Dr Payman Langr…: Your mom’s sister or your dad’s?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: No, my dad’s sister. I just loved the way it sets up. I was like, “Do you know what? I really want to do this.” My dad obviously tried to get me into gynaecology. We cover all parts of the body in the fam. But I thought, I actually just didn’t really like the… I didn’t like medicine. I didn’t like the hospital environment. I found people only come to you when they’re sick. Whereas in dentistry I just saw this relationship of seeing someone every six months, which I just loved that.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: At school I just worked really hard. I was that person that had to revise five to six months before an exam. You know how some people can do it like a week before, I was never one of those people. I always had to kind of graft hard to get good grades and I barely got into dental school. When I applied I had interviews. But I mean, it was probably my fault because I’d rock up to these interviews with this massive hair, big earrings. Do you know what I mean? They probably thought I was like more of a fashion person.

Dr Payman Langr…: Don’t worry. We just had Andrew Dogwood. He said he struggled to get into dental school.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Really? Yeah. But I think the thing is, is that it depends really on how you-

Dr Payman Langr…: Which school did you go to, in the end?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I went to Leeds and yeah, I mean it was great. It was fun. But I was a very insecure, un-confident person when I went to Leeds.

Dr Payman Langr…: How did it feel for you arriving in Leeds from London. Because when they arrived in Cardiff from London, I felt a bit a duck out of water. It was-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Oh my God.

Dr Payman Langr…: Did you have the same feeling?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I mean, it was hilarious because I obviously went to the most public school halls in Leeds. It was like literally getting into Harry Potter and everyone there was these quintessentially British people. There I rock up as you said, Middle Eastern walk straight, Habibi vibe with my Aga Boots, Ralph Lauren back in the day.

Dr Payman Langr…: Stood out.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, literally. There were people that like, “Oh my God, you’re so foreign.” I was like, “Okay, hilarious.” I had a really great time and I just think I was very unsure of who I was. It was an amazing experience. I’m very sociable, so I love getting on with people. But I didn’t really know what I liked. I wasn’t confident enough to do things out of the norm, et cetera. Dental school for me wasn’t great at all in terms of, I was always friends with the people that did English, journalism, history, art, all of that. Dentists-

Dr Payman Langr…: Then they all left off the three years, suddenly you were left with no one, yeah.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Exactly. I just kept going young for the young ones. I was like, prey on them. I was literally like 21 hanging out with 18 year olds.

Dr Prav Solanki: Freshers week again.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Exactly. I did freshers week agan and again and again. But the thing is the dentists for me, they didn’t really like me if I’m completely honest with you. As you said, they found it a bit weird. They were like, “Oh, you’re so posh. You are made in Chelsea.” I was like, “Okay.” I found it really daunting because I just felt like they didn’t like me. I never got involved in all the kind of Dent Soc, Med Soc things. But to be perfectly honest with you, for me it was one of the best things because my network was so much wider as you guys know, and so much more vast. The connections that I developed went beyond dentistry and that really helped me on my career later on.

Dr Prav Solanki: Did you miss London when you came to Leeds? So I went in the opposite direction. I was from Manchester to Oxford. I was dating someone in London and I spent a lot of time in London and it was… I only-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yes, the accent.

Dr Prav Solanki: Comes and goes.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Prav Solanki: I only realised that I’ve missed Manchester, probably about eight and nine years later.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Prav Solanki: I once went back home and I’d done sort of nine, 10 years. I went back home, stayed with my brother one day and I thought, “This is home. I’m staying.” I left all my stuff in the house we were renting my stereo, everything. Never picked it up and just stayed in Manchester.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Once a northerner always a northerner.

Dr Prav Solanki: Always. Yeah. Did you miss London in the same way?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Do you know what? I think because I had already set my mind to the fact that I didn’t want to be in London for university, I wanted a different experience. I didn’t want the student life in London. I wanted to be somewhere completely different. Bristol was my first choice and I was devastated when they rejected me because I had an interview there and I had all these dreams and ambitions, when you really imagine yourself-

Dr Payman Langr…: It’s a lovely city. Bristol.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. Then I was in Leeds, which has… My friend from San Andrews came to visit me in leads and she was like, “Oh, are you having riots on the streets?” I was like, “No, we just coexist with rubbish. I’m really sorry about that.” Literally. This was an all kind of student road area. But I think that I didn’t necessarily miss London, but I knew that I wanted to be back down South after university. It was kind of like, “This is my years in university.” I only visited leads thereafter a few months ago when the university invited me back to do a talk.

Dr Payman Langr…: So your network, how much of it comes from your friends at school? How much of it comes from your friends at uni? How much of it comes from the work you do now? To network. Because, you know a lot of people.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: You keep sending me videos of people I know-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Who was the recent one?

Dr Payman Langr…: Camra. My friend Camra. You know a lot of people. Right? Is that an active process or is it just that you’re just super sociable or whatever? How does it come?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I think one of the strengths that I have, I mean I’ve always been very open about the fact that I’m an okay clinical dentist, but I’m extremely ethical and I think my power to connect with people is something that’s strong because wherever I go, it doesn’t matter. I love to get to know people and really understand who and what they’re about. I think it’s just been growing slowly. It’s not been particularly active, but I actually thrive off other people’s energy. When I make them feel good or we have a conversation, a connection is built and I don’t like to separate that. I think in dental school we’re really taught we have to be so professional and sometimes professionality equals a bit of coldness. And that’s why people feel that we’re like-

Dr Payman Langr…: The first time we met at Rahul’s course, how long were you out of college, then?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Oh gosh.

Dr Payman Langr…: I would agree, few years ago.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. So I graduated in 2010, it was about 2013, ’14. That was when-

Dr Payman Langr…: Two, three, four years out of college.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: And the first thing you said to me was, “I want to do something different in dentistry. I want to make it more accessible to the public.” I didn’t really get it to you, to tell you the truth. I heard you, what you said. Yeah. I didn’t get it. I didn’t get what you-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I can’t believe you remember that.

Dr Payman Langr…: I didn’t get what you meant by it. But now I look at your output, right? I get it now. Yeah.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: But that feeling of trying to make it more accessible to everyone. I guess, that’s what you’re saying now.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Exactly.

Dr Payman Langr…: Clinical people are a bit cold and scientific and you want to translate that into-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, I think as well, the thing is that I just have this fierce ambition to do something different. The way that my mind works is so much more on a kind of emotional level, like you said. People always think I’m crazy because what I said to you then is exactly what I’m manifesting right now. I saw social media as a platform to reach as many people as possible on an emotional level. That’s exactly what I’ve done because people now see dentistry has been quite glamorous. They want to take selfies with you. I get invited to events, you know what I mean? I get invited to influencer dinners, because they now see you as somebody that they can talk to and hang out with. Again, that’s something that maybe at dental schools they won’t promote. But

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I believe that we’re all human beings and if we can’t treat each other as humans, then you’re not going to get anywhere and you have to be brave enough to break those boundaries. Which is what I have been doing. Even I said to my Invisalign rep, when I had only been doing Invisalign for about six to 12 months, I said to my territory manager, I said, “Oh, I remember looking at poster.” Do you remember that poster of the Invisalign girl? The one with the Blondie hair holding the aligner?

Dr Payman Langr…: Holding the aligner, yeah.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. Exactly.

Dr Payman Langr…: It was such a bad post.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. I used to look at the poster and I said to him, I said, “Do you the dentist should be the face of the product? Do you know that?” Then he thought I was mad. Then last year he reminded me as well, when we were at the dentistry show, when I’m on that big campaign, all those videos of me-

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah. I saw this giant screen and cologne at IDS.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: It’s quite haunting. But anyways, he said to me, he said, “Look, that’s the face of you and these are posters.” He said, “Do you remember when you said to me, four years ago when I didn’t know what you were talking about and I thought you were mad?” I was like, “That’s it. Just this obsessive thinking and that whole thing.”

Dr Payman Langr…: Do you remember Instagram and the first time you used it? I mean, I look at your content, right? And it’s very authentic and authenticity really does work.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah. That’s a lovely thing.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Thanks.

Dr Payman Langr…: But you can’t have grown your influence in the way that you have without studying it. So have you done that? Studied the platform and the algorithm?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: No, do you know what? I’ll tell you what it is, is that when Instagram was quite new but still very established, I again had friends in the arts and who were creative. Like I said to you about my friend Nina Parker, who’s a very successful chef, she was one of the originals on Instagram. I have a friend that’s a very famous magician. They were using the platform to grow. I said, “Why don’t dentists do that?” I said, “Why?” Then in my mind I thought… The thing is that I always try to learn from people that I admire and I thought, “You know what, this is a platform that can be used to grow.” Again, people thought I was mad. My practise manager was like, “Okay, you can crack on. I’m not sure what you’re on about, but go ahead and do this.”

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I just started. You play around with content and you see things like I don’t obsessively try to look at the algorithm. Sometimes I get 200 likes on a photo and sometimes I get 2000 and I think, “Okay, clearly that hasn’t worked.” But I try not to worry about it too much because social media is toxic in its own way and you really can’t obsess over the things that you post and stuff because it becomes an addictive validation as well, which is really difficult balance. And to be honest, haven’t really worked out.

Dr Payman Langr…: I noticed you’ve just started TikTok as well.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. It’s not great, my TikTok yet, growing it.

Dr Payman Langr…: TikTok’s difficult, isn’t it?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: But one thing I quite admire about the way you’ve done Instagram is you’ve brought Anna Middleton along with you and now I noticed you’re also-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: London OT but it’s like Charlie’s Angels when you come into Chelsea Dental.

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah. That’s quite a nice thing. It’s empowering women in dentistry. Should we get onto that?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Okay, go for it.

Dr Payman Langr…: What do you feel about this wave? Why is it that now there’s so many women’s groups?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Okay. So the really interesting thing is that people see me as a strong female figure, which I’m so grateful for. But as a result, they want me to be at the forefront of a lot of speaking events that are just inclusive to women. I have actually made a decision in the last year not to accept any of those invitations. Not because I’m not here to support other women. It’s because I think that this is basically a trend and people don’t understand what it means. I think that women should have a voice. I think that women should be empowered, but I don’t actually think separating men from women on any platforms is the way forward because I think it’s all about diversity, inclusivity, and not about separation.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Now, my chief business partners are male. I work with males all the time. I get on with them. I have never felt intimidated or disempowered by men. So actually I don’t think that this whole wave, which kind of tries to display men as being the enemy and suppressing women is something that I relate to. I think it’s all about integration, to be honest.

Dr Payman Langr…: Do you think it’s harder to be a woman than a man?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. So sure.

Dr Payman Langr…: Really?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, for sure.

Dr Payman Langr…: I mean, if that’s true, then there’s nothing wrong with empowering. You know what I mean?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah But I think-

Dr Payman Langr…: Why is it harder to be a woman than a man?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I mean, for me personally, somebody that’s built their profile and career and has lots of dreams and aspirations that I want to fulfil, I’m also very much aware of the biological clock, for example.

Dr Payman Langr…: Okay. I get that.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: So it’s the whole family thing.

Dr Payman Langr…: Of course, having a kid and all that. But outside of that, I mean you haven’t got a kid yet. Have you?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: No. Okay. My father keeps reminding me.

Dr Payman Langr…: So, in your journey from zero to now you think it’s harder to be a woman than a man?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, for sure. I mean-

Dr Payman Langr…: Why?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I think that there has been elements of… In my industry, which I’m not going to go into in detail, there have been elements of also like I sometimes certain men have wanted to help and then it turns out they actually wanted to try and get physical and then you go, “No, no. This is a purely business thing.” I’ve experienced some of that and then they lose interest in trying to help you. So I think there’s definitely a little bit of that Harvey Weinstein culture that still goes on in every industry. But having said that, I think that if you assert yourself in a certain way, you can get the respect from both sexes, to be perfectly honest with you. The reason why I say that is because I did assert myself and behaved in a certain way that gained respect.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I think women for some reason, don’t feel like they have a voice. They don’t have the confidence to speak out. It’s not the men are saying, “You can’t speak out.” It’s because they just don’t maybe that ego like men do. I think that’s a problem with women. Trust me, more women have said negative things about me online, behind my back and so forth than men. I think that says a lot because I think that’s insecurities-

Dr Payman Langr…: Is that right?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: That’s insecurities projected. Does that make sense?

Dr Prav Solanki: If you were born a bloke, would you be more successful?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: If I was born a bloke, would I be more successful? No. I’d have no idea how to answer that question, but I definitely think that I would nail being a bloke.

Dr Payman Langr…: It’s a strange question, really. Isn’t it? It’s a strange question.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: No, I understand what he’s saying.

Dr Prav Solanki: It relates to your question about-

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah, no, I mean, it’s a strange one to answer, but-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, but I mean-

Dr Payman Langr…: Tell me about these terrible things that these women have done to you. Are we talking trolling?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, I think that… So for example, I’ll hear from some of my peers that certain female dentists for example, that have never met me will say things about my persona or about my clinical work. I find it very strange because I’ve never even met them. Sometimes on Instagram I have had to deal with comments of trolling. But to be perfectly honest, there have been male trolls as well. As we know, there’s forums that I think it’s just awful. The group still on Facebook that allow dentists to publicly within the space of the forum shame of a dentist and troll them. And you know what? To be honest though, Payman, some of my male friends who are dentists also suffer from anxiety about these groups talking about them, screenshotting things about them, mocking them. This happens for males and females.

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: But I think that it’s just outrageous that we allow it. We’re allowing it. I mean, with what’s happened with Caroline Flack recently, can’t people understand that the power of words can have on you? It’s so real that people say you have to develop a tough skin and just get on with it. Because if you put yourself in the public eye, you’re just going to expose yourself. But I’m like, I don’t want to live in a box. Do you know what I mean? This security thing, but I don’t think that gives people the rights to think that I’m invincible or any of my friends are invincible. Does that make sense?

Dr Payman Langr…: To you, does it hurt, then? Is that what you’re saying?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: 100%.

Dr Prav Solanki: What’s your deepest, darkest moment in social media? Whether it’s a comment that someone’s made or content that someone’s published or a screenshot that you’ve seen where you’ve just, “Holy crap.” Heart sunk.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: And sleepless nights.

Dr Prav Solanki: It sent you into a spiral of depression or sleepless nights or whatever that may be.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: So, when I was on ITV… I got asked to be on ITV and then the second time that I was on that, I posted about it and someone with zero followers, zero posts. This is the interesting thing, right? Because, these trolls sometimes it’s obviously a made up-

Dr Payman Langr…: Hiding behind, yeah.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. They’re hiding behind a mask, they didn’t even have the guts to tell you to your face. Have basically trolled me, had attacked the way that I speak, my accent and the way that I looked, totally made digs at my eyebrows and I was like, “They are my signature, thanks very much. Lebanese all over.” But attacked the way that I looked. I just deleted it obviously and tried to ignore. A few weeks ago I had a dental student, female dental student that tried to attack one of my photos about being in the Telegraph and I ended up having to disable the comments on the photo because all these other students were jumping on the bandwagon and I just don’t have time to deal with that, when I’m dealing with patients on a busy day.

Dr Prav Solanki: Imagine that happens first thing in the morning or last thing at night.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Awful.

Dr Prav Solanki: You come into work the next day, you’ve got a day full of patients. How does that affect your day in your interaction?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: You can’t focus. You just really can’t focus. Going back to the whole Caroline Flack thing, because I think it’s just such a prominent thing that’s happening and I think it shows the way we have to change like behaviour. A lot of my patients were very good friends with Caroline and had come in and they had confirmed to me that she really, really suffered with the things that were being said about her constantly. Again, I just don’t know why people feel that they have the right to really attack people on a personal level.

Dr Payman Langr…: With famous people, definitely. Do you remember there was a picture of, what’s her name? Posh Spice.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: She’s gone to America to have her teeth done. Even dentists jumping in, making… Somehow you feel like you have licence with famous people. It’s a weird thing.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: It’s a weird thing, isn’t it?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: No, I mean 100%. I think on that note as well, is that the influencer world has also sort of affected me. I have some influences that are extremely loyal and we formed a very strong bond on the treatments that we’ve done. The influences now, because I was one of the original dentists treating influencers, remember? Now everyone’s doing it. But I was one of the only ones if the only one and now everyone’s doing it. They’ll jump from person-to-person. Right? And now dentists, I find gloat when an influencer changes dentists because amongst the dentists, “I wonder why she changed dentists. Obviously dentist X did a crap job or didn’t fulfil their needs.”

Dr Prav Solanki: You alluded to earlier when you gave a little intro, “I’m an okay clinical dentist.” You weren’t blowing smoke about yourself. You weren’t saying, “I’m the best clinical dentist.” Talk to me about why patients come to you and what it is that you do.

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah. I mean, I noticed one of your stories a couple of days ago and it was someone famous I guess. She said, I went on Twitter and asked who’s a good dentist and it just all stormed in as Rhona.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, that really shocked me actually. Because I had no idea who she was initially and then everyone was like, “She’s a really big deal. She’s one of the most… Lots of dentists messaging like, “Oh my God, you’re treating this person, that’s amazing. I’ve been following her for ages.”

Dr Prav Solanki: But what is it about the way you make people feel?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I think it’s just that, it’s about the way that I make people feel. Now, I think that I never realised about the interaction, but I always think it’s such a cliche saying, treat your patients as you would your friends and family. I always have that in mind. I actually am really excited to treat a case of a patient who is going to come to me. She had messaged me saying that she had gone through a massive surgical process and that she wanted to talk to me about the feminization of her teeth.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I thought, “Well what does that mean?” I looked further and I realised that she’s transgender and when I responded back to her, her immediate response was, “Oh my gosh, you’re the nicest person. Your energy is so warm.” Because, I’m very much about all inclusivity. Again, Payman, if you ask me now like you did a few years ago, what’s my vision? Is to show the world that you can be anyone, you deserve to have good teeth. Now people now are like, “Oh yeah, I want to treat an influencer. I want to facial a famous person.” Show everyone. I’m like, “Do you know what? I want to take a step from that because I want to show that no matter who you are, what you look like, where you’re from, male, female, transgender.”-

Dr Prav Solanki: Access to it.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: You have access and you deserve a smile. That’s kind of my next vision, for the public. So stay tuned for how I’m to be doing that. But I think that that feeling, as you said, of making them feel comfortable. I’m very good at gauging body language. I’m very good at gauging fears. I’m very good at gauging how people feel from the moment they walk into that room. My job is to make them feel comfortable and I think that I’m personable and that I really care about everything they’re going through. I think that’s why that word of mouth has spread because what dentists don’t realise is clinical dentistry is so important, but patients don’t really know what’s going on in their mouth. Of course, they want a nice result, but at the end of the day, if you make them feel good in that chair and really show all your passion-

Dr Payman Langr…: But spell it out, how do you make people feel good?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: How do you make people feel good? I think the way that I make people feel good is by reassuring them, being honest with them. So, for example, if a procedure’s uncomfortable, like I’ll say, “listen, the anaesthetic might hurt, it’s going to be a bit of discomfort.” Just like, “Sit tight.” I never sort of sugar coat anything, but I say, “You know what, it’s all going to be worth it.” Or if I’m putting on the rubber dam, I’m like, “This is going to be really uncomfortable for a few minutes. But once it’s on you can do your thing.” I think that also it’s checking up on them because people say like when you are on social media, you need to separate and log off. But the problem is I don’t really log off. So if they’ve had a big procedure in the day, I’ll message them going, “How was that? You feeling okay?” And they feel that way.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: There was one particular influencer I treated and he kept asking me questions, about how his teeth are going to look. I sensed that because he’s always making videos, he’s anxious. He was being so polite but is read between the lines. I said to him, “Listen, I feel that you’re really worried about what they’re going to look like. If you don’t like them, we’re not going to fit them. Don’t worry about it.” That’s all he needed and they totally chilled. So I try to give that reassurance whereas I feel now and I-

Dr Payman Langr…: It’s almost EQ, isn’t it?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: If you have stronger EQ.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, exactly. I think that, that’s the really important thing and I think that-

Dr Payman Langr…: Do you have that stress? I mean, Dipesh tells me all the time, he stresses around, what if a patient he treats season other dentist and the dentist sees the work? He has this perfection paralysis. That’s mainly his thing. If another dentist sees the work, it has to be spotless beautiful five years down the line, because he’s treated-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: It’s his work, yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: He treated, it’s his work. As your profile goes up, that stress must go up as well.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Oh, 100%. But the thing is that-

Dr Payman Langr…: I guess it makes you better.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: No. You know what, it does make you better and I think you’ve hit the nail on the head because I’m pretty sure I’ve had average to poor work that’s probably been seen by another dentist.

Dr Payman Langr…: We all do.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I think that you learn, for example, probably about once, two years ago, I was placing way too many composite veneers because I was pressured by patients and I know that they’ve probably needed to be upgraded or changed to porcelain. But I’m really embarrassed to be honest. I’m like, “Oh my God, another dentist has seen that and I know that now bonding, composite bonding doesn’t look that great.” Do you know what I mean? Yes, it may look great in the hands of Dipesh or Monic. Do you know what I mean? Five years down the line. But it’s very rare. Also even Monic, he did my composite bonding, my composite veneers.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: He even said to me, “These look amazing because your diet is point. You don’t drink. You know what I mean? You don’t do this, you don’t do that.” So he was even quite surprised at how good they look. So we know that there’s all these external factors. But I have to say Payman, I am at the mercy of judgement all the time. I think my biggest problem is that I still care what people think. I think, probably you suffer that.

Dr Payman Langr…: We do, really do. I mean, I’m sure you do, but when you look at this thing you do, when you’re talking to the phone on a bus-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, I know .

Dr Payman Langr…: I can’t. He talks-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Am I allowed to say that?

Dr Payman Langr…: Prav talks into a phone in his car. I can’t talk into a phone, on a bus in front of other people.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I mean, so many people text me going, “You take the bus. I thought you were an Uber Luxe girl.”

Dr Payman Langr…: You don’t care what anyone thinks really. Right? You don’t care what the people around you on the bus think.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: No.

Dr Payman Langr…: You don’t care that much. It’s like, it’s a real balance between-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Oh, I think-

Dr Payman Langr…: Tell me when did you become like that? Were you always like that? Did you talk to the phone on a bus?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Hello. Didn’t we just say I was amazing at drama.

Dr Payman Langr…: Oh yeah.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: So the thing is that like for example, public speaking, being on stage, being in public has never scared me. I don’t have… That’s never… You know how you said for example, Dipesh is that he’s probably born with a bar in his hand, I was just born speaking on stages. I’ve never had that fear of being dramatic or being really animated. The interesting thing is because obviously a lot of journalists come to see me. When they write pieces about me, I really laugh. Like the recent one about in the Telegraph was like, “Dr. Rhona, she’s not your typical dentist. She comes into the waiting room, calling all her patients honeys, beautifuls, darlings.” I was like, “God, she pick up on that?” But people, I’m very animated and that’s something that I found is very easy, but I still care what other dentists think.

Dr Payman Langr…: Of course.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I think that’s the problem. I think I have the validation from patients. I have the validation from celebrities, I have the validation from people, my friends, et cetera. But dentist, I still feel don’t admire the work that I’m doing and I think that I’ve always found that really hard. But as you said, I’ve used that as a tool to get better and I don’t know if you’ve noticed Payman, but in the last year I do think my clinical dentistry has got better. I have upped the game and sometimes some clinical dentists that I admire have actually DMd me being like, “This is a great case.”

Dr Payman Langr…: It’s a constant case of improvement. Isn’t it?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: I mean, you’re pretty early on in your career but you’re going to be improving for the next 25 years as well, is one of those things.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Prav Solanki: Talk to me about influencers. There’s a lot of people out there who are dentists who won’t know what an influencer is or at least what’s involved in treating them as in discounting treatment, free treatment? Are they demanding? The difference between a influencer and a real celebrity and you treat both? Right.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Prav Solanki: I know your business partner, Adarsh has mentioned to me that he knows some people in high places in terms of from a celebrity perspective that everyday names that all of us would know. Just tell us what it’s like to treat those people and what’s involved.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: So the thing is as well, whether you’re an influencer or not, I love treating all kinds of people, but the one influencer that really changed my world. I didn’t really know who an influencer was. A couple of years ago I got a DM from two, one’s called Beauty and the Blog and the other one’s called Melissa Wardrobe. They messaged going like, “I really like your work. It’s not fake. Can I come see? Do you do collaborations?” I was like, “Who are you and what is the collaboration?” I was like, “I have no idea what these terms are.” I was like, “Hey, I don’t do anything for free, but I guess you can come in for consultation and we can just chat about what you had in mind.” Now, Melissa came in before Michelle and Melissa documented this journey showing the eye tarot scanner and the whole experience, and honest to God, it was two years ago, I still see four patients a week from her, four patients a week.

Dr Prav Solanki: Still now?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Still now. And she only had about 80,000 followers, which isn’t big as you know in the influence world. But it opens up the door to an entirely new market. It was all Afro-Caribbeans okay. Because, they really trust her. That’s the key thing. Because later on I discovered I had influencers with 13,000,000 followers and I got about five patients overall from them. But Melissa, it’s because her audience trust her. She’s funny and she’s authentic. She actually put her teeth experience on her highlights. It was really funny because I also work part time in Westminster and we have a lot of politicians, a lot of politicians you guys would know. You know what they’re like, conservative party, labour party, whatever. They’d be sitting in the waiting room. They’d been going to this Westminster practise for ages.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: So you go in there and you’d see like a really famous politician next to an influencer with a huge wig lashes up here, nails here, on her phone, right next to this really established influencer. Then I realised the power of influence as you said, I was like, “Gosh, this has brought in so many business.” That’s when business for me boomed on a way that I’d never imagined. So then Michelle came in after that and Michelle had a similar effect, but also they were just people that were just signing up for treatment plans. Again, it was mainly millennial patients and z generation. So it’s different. It’s different from the kinds of old school patients. I found that treating influences was great in the beginning. Now I think it has zero to no effect on my business if I’m honest with you because I’ve established that reputation.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: So if another influence that comes to me, it’s really a big deal. So I’ve actually now changed the rules. I was treating most for a discounted fee, very few completely free, if only probably a handful. Now I’ve gone back to just reduced fee for kind of good video content and so forth. Because to be honest, I feel like every dentist is doing it now. As Payman said, it’s just lost its authenticity to me. So it was just like, “So what?”

Dr Prav Solanki: What’s your yardstick for measuring whether you should give an influencer discounted, free, 50%, 30% just from some kind of-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I mean, when Mel B came to me from the Spice Girls, I was not going to charge her. I was like, “Let’s begin on this.” I think that I basically just have a look at their profile, try to gauge what their following is and so forth. With Melissa, she’s going to upgrade a few things in her smile a couple of years on and I just think that because of the power of what she’s done so far, I know that it’s a vetted case, but I think-

Dr Payman Langr…: I think what you said before is really important, right? That the depth of the influence rather than the breadth of the influence.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: Isn’t it?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: You’ve got, I don’t know, how many? 50,000 followers on Instagram, but that’s a number.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: Firstly that can be bought and all that. But the depth, if you’ve got… This is what I was saying about the authentic content.I’ve seen you go on Instagram and say, “I’m ill and I have to take some time off.” And all this sort of-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: For me, that deep connection to 3000 people is much more important than a shallow connection to 50,000. And so that’s what she has.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. I think again, that’s really interesting because a lot of my following was built through influencers talking about me, but that doesn’t necessarily ensure good engagement, for example. So, as I said to you, some of my posts would have had so many likes and then really reduced. When people look at it, they’re like, “That doesn’t make sense, because the following board.” Or whatever. But the problem was that when I had someone to come in that had 12,000,000 followers, I may have gained 3000 followers from that person. But it doesn’t necessarily mean engagement. Do you understand? It just means followers.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: But the thing is that I always believe in honesty and vulnerability and I think that as dentists there’s this massive bravado thing that comes along where we can’t show how we’re really feeling and there’s this, we can’t be human. I just feel like there’s so… Let’s just start talking about it because I think the younger generation are going to suffer more than us. It has been proven already that social media is linked to anxiety, to depression and now it’s also linked to suicide. If we don’t start being more honest about the way that we’re feeling, it could be catastrophic. You’re looking at these reality TV programmes like Love Island where four people have now killed themselves.

Dr Payman Langr…: Four people?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. Because remember there was that Mike Guy, then there was that Sophie girl, then her boyfriend killed himself as well. Then there was Caroline Flack. That’s four people. It’s like we need to start taking note that people become so elevated, they enjoy that status of elevation and validation to only be torn back down again or to have enjoy people revelling in the fact that they’ve done something bad or they can’t sustain that level of success and they become depressed. I think that’s the same for dentistry because denfluencing, seeing as you know, Dental Hope called it is the thing now, isn’t it? People want to become denfluencers. Young people are messaging me on Instagram saying to me, “How do you become an Instagram dentist?” I’m like, “Is this even a thing now?” Because, that’s what people want to be.

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah. And there’s always been a KOL, but the KOLs used to be older, established people who’ve done real things with their careers and now it’s people who have influence. Right?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: But the interesting thing is as dentists, we want to follow other dentists. It’s one of those things.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I mean, another is-

Dr Payman Langr…: I wish I realised that earlier and Enlighten’s progression in the first eight years, enlightened, I wasn’t onto that fact.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. But I think the thing is, Payman. I have to disagree with you there because I think the thing that makes me different from other dentists is that I’ve always thought beyond dentistry.

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah. Sure.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Even with the movement of Pärla, the thing that makes it different is that the traction that I’ve gained is from non-dentists, right? This is from people in the PR media world. They’re like, “Whoa, this is it.” If it was just focused on dentists, I’m sorry, like there is a world outside of dentistry and there are people beyond dentists and this is a thing that you’ve got to realise, you have been promoting and doing bonding for how many years? But it didn’t become a buzzword until it became in the media through influencers and through celebrities. Do you understand what I’m saying?

Dr Payman Langr…: Of course.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: But it’s been in the industry for years, we know that.

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah. When did you first think of Pärla? Was it you who thought of it or with Simon or Adarsh.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I think the thing is with Paula, it was a really lovely thing of great minds come together because so many people come to us saying, “Promote our products, promote our products.” Simon turned to me one day and he was like, “Rhona, why don’t we just come up with our own product?” I have to admit to you, I was so scared. I was like, “I’m not good enough. What is this is? This is out of my comfort zone? How do you even start? I can’t do this. I’m just not good enough for this.”

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Simon was great because he really encouraged me. Again, Simon as someone that’s perhaps misjudged in the industry because people think he’s invincible because he literally looks like a perfect human being. I mean, he is literally, he looks better than me, 99% of time. But the point is that Simon is one of the most emotional, authentic people that I know.

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah. He’s much softer than he looks.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: He’s so soft and do you know what? He is one of the men that have elevated me in so many ways and who I feel safe with. He is such a dedicated husband, an incredible father and as a friend, he makes me feel really safe in any male dominated events or anything like that. I’m really lucky that I’ve got to know him because I was perhaps a bit intimidated by him and people also feel again that he’s an invincible person and he’s really not. Because he said he’s actually a big softy, when you get to know him.

Dr Payman Langr…: We had him on here and he was telling us the anxiety he feels.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, exactly. And I speak to Simon about that. When Simon came to me and encouraged me to do this product with him, I’d actually spoken to Ads and Ads had been approached by other prominent people in the industry about doing products and Simon and Ads already knew each other. So I was like, “Listen, why didn’t the three of us have dinner?” There was actually someone fourth involved that didn’t want to be involved in it, in the end, which is fine. But when the three of us came together, we realised that we have three completely different skillsets that compliment each other.

Dr Prav Solanki: Tell us about the product. What is the product?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: So Pärla with an umlaut on the a, because that’s the important part.

Dr Payman Langr…: Does that change the pronunciation?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: No, it’s actually a Swedish word and it means pearl. So we thought it linked to pearly white teeth, pearl of the ocean. For me, basically we knew that the plastic crisis was something that was getting worse and worse. And I think in the dental industry, it’s awful. I mean, I’ve even been having conversations with Invisalign being like, “You guys need to start recycling your plastic. Look how many Invisalign trays there are, being thrown away, every week, every day.” But then I decided to like research the toothpaste industry and I just feel like toothpaste is something that’s always going to be in plastic. So even if it is recyclable, you still have to cut the tube up and wash it up and people are lazy.

Dr Payman Langr…: There are metal tubes.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, but the things that… Some of the brands that are out there, they don’t have the fluoride in them. The recycability.

Dr Payman Langr…: Metal tubes.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: What for-

Dr Payman Langr…: The toothpaste.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: The toothpaste.

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. Well, I mean, again, it’s just the recyclability isn’t as easy as one thinks and we-

Dr Prav Solanki: Plastic cups.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, exactly. Plastic cups. Microplastics. Exactly. So don’t give me that. Have you seen the little tackles, choking?

Dr Prav Solanki: I have.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Okay. I’m not even going to.

Dr Payman Langr…: Listen though, I’m a bit bitter about Pärla, I’m not bitter. San is bitter.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Is he?

Dr Payman Langr…: Sanj wanted to do it about three years ago-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Well, you didn’t get on it, babes.

Dr Payman Langr…: You know why I didn’t get on it?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Why?

Dr Payman Langr…: Because I was looking at it from a business perspective and what I had noticed when we went looking for the product, whether there’s loads of manufacturing, there’s loads of manufacturers of the product. It’s from the business perspective. I didn’t see in that barriers to entry for boutique Pärla-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, it’s been hard though Payman, but the thing is… Okay but that’s the whole thing. You know what? They said that’s an interesting point you raised because right now at the moment, me, Simon and Ads are not in a position we’re going to die. If a product doesn’t work, we have the mindset that we want this to work, we want to change the habit of a lifetime, we said this. But the fact is what you just said, it is starting in a way to make people think differently and to be part of a movement where you’re getting people to be like, “Hang on a second, I can do something different.” I mean, for God’s sakes, how many years ago doctors smoking in a room or smoking in front of pregnant people. It’s getting people to think differently. For me to be part of something like that, is way more important.

Dr Payman Langr…: I mean, the advice I can give you on it is what you’re basically saying, don’t build a product, build a brand and-

Dr Prav Solanki: Build the message.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. But that’s exactly what I’ve been doing.

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah, I get that. You’ve been doing that well, for sure. Because you do you, I mean you have to sell hundreds of thousands of tubes of toothpaste to make money. It’s one of those difficult-

Dr Prav Solanki: Selling tubes, man-

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Tablets babes, tablets. Popa Pärla.

Dr Payman Langr…: How much is it? How much is a pot?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Prav knows the answer to this.

Dr Prav Solanki: 6.95, 6.95 for a pop. Or you could subscribe four months supply for 20 pounds.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Exactly. Why didn’t you know that?

Dr Payman Langr…: No, I don’t know how much you’re charging for it.

Dr Prav Solanki: That’s what she’s charging.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. That’s what we’re charging. Okay. Should we move on from the tablets?

Dr Payman Langr…: No, it’s the best of thing to get something off the ground. It’s like having a-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. I mean, as I said to you, the thing is that the blood, graft, sweat and tears behind closed doors is unbelievable. The response from patients has been great, especially the beauty industry. People are really into it. A lot of my media clients, PR clients, they just love the innovation and the idea because they are looking for something different and that’s what I love.

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah. The thing I said is actually rubbish in the end. Yeah. Because listen, how many different brands of clothes are there and that there’s no barrier to entry to making this top. Yeah, but I’m buying the Ralph Lauren version of it, because I’m sold on that. You know what I mean?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, we all align ourselves with the brand and I think that… I mean, have you seen the Chelsea look?

Dr Payman Langr…: I have. I like that. That I do like.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: That I do like.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: So it’s really interesting because people actually call me up. Yes, it is trademarked now, FYI. People actually call up now and they go, “Oh, I want the Chelsea look. Could you make sure I’m not booked in to discuss the Hollywood look.”

Dr Payman Langr…: I like that.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: And so it is an interesting thing because it’s a brand that you’re aligning yourself with. I realise that my style of dentistry was aligned with a tribe and I want to remove it away from the Dr. Rhona tribe because I know that I will have my own practise and I want the brand to build around that and not just around me.

Dr Prav Solanki: Let’s talk about Rhona, the 32 year old business woman.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I like that. Forbes 40 under 40, do you think we can make that happen guys? Pärla Pärla.

Dr Prav Solanki: Just talk to… Obviously Pärla comes along and all of a sudden you’re a business woman, right? You own a business, you own a brand, you’re developing it, marketing, which you’re excellent at. Then also you’re looking at going into practise ownership as well and all the challenges that come with that. Just talk to me about what’s spinning around in your head and-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Well, do you know what? I’m going to tell Payman, what conversation did we have about five years ago when I called you up?

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah. Remind everyone, you tell them.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, so I called Payman up and I saw… He doesn’t remember. I saw Payman-

Dr Prav Solanki: That was brilliant.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I saw Payman as a mentor because I met him on Rahul’s course a few years ago and I used to call him up for advice. One of the massive things that I love to do is that I like to ask people that I see as being successful what they do. That is something that I have been doing obsessively since I was about 16 years old. So, even things like Tony Robbins like listening to those cheesy talks, if you want to call them, those motivational, I don’t focus on negativity and failure. Started watching Miguel Stanley from really early on who now is someone that can proudly call my friend, Christian Coachman and when I saw Payman, I was obsessed with Enlighten, I couldn’t believe the vision he had. Honestly. I mean it, I was like… The branding, how do you do something like that?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I just thought, you know what, I’m going to call Payman for advice. At the time I was working in a practise in High Street, Kensington. Again, I was working in a really normal NHS practise in Kent. I CV-dropped everywhere in London. No one wants to give me a job. I was in part of BACD. My clinical skills weren’t so exceptional that someone in the private sector was going to give me a job. But I CV-dropped everywhere. High Street, Kensington gave me a job because they found my CV. My boss at the time was trying to sell Chelsea because the High Street Kensington practise was thriving. Then he said to me, I said, “Let me come and work at Chelsea.”

Dr Rhona Eskand…: He thought, “Okay, but it’s not busy. You’re going to have to build up your list.” I call Payman, Payman goes, “You lost your mind. I mean, if you want to learn how to build a business, then you could, but why are you going to build up a business that’s not already yours? You could think about just buying a practise and doing it yourself. I think I was too scared at times to have the financial commitment of practise on my own. Now Chelsea is a thriving, fully booked practise that has grown. We have hygienists, therapists, specialists, et cetera.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I’m so happy that me and my practise manager, Josh had made that happen together. So I really feel proud of that journey that I’ve been through. I can’t believe the PAC practise is where it is, but I recognise that there is need for improvement. But what I would say is don’t obsess on the things that you don’t have, try to make the best of what you’ve already got. That really is the key to success and happiness in every part of your life. If I was obsessive, really worried about the fact that I wasn’t in someone else’s thriving practise already, but tried to make the best out of my situation, that’s how I got to where I was.

Dr Prav Solanki: So, have you build that practise?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, well I built the name and I’m pretty much the busiest dentist there and stay tuned for the next step of Chelsea Dental Clinic and the Chelsea look. But it’s definitely my baby and I just want to keep it growing and I definitely have so much vision for the future.

Dr Payman Langr…: You want to share some of that with us?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Well, I am going to be buying the practise, which is now taking off. Yeah. So practise owner, I have a vision for it becoming a digital practise. So I’m actually going on the DSD course. I have been invited as Christian’s guest in Miami and in Rio and I want to go and I want to have to give patients the experience. Right? Because we talked about experiences with patients and that’s the thing. I want them to come in and feel that from the moment they walked through the door, given an iPad or being shown something completely different but also with a twist of Soho house. So think of like Apple stormy Soho house. My sister is a set designer. She is unbelievable and I’m not just saying that because she’s my sister, she designed the Windows for her mez. She’s done Mr. Porter, the VNA. Think of something very kind of abstract and arty. I basically want her to help me redesign the practise.

Dr Prav Solanki: Wow.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: For anyone out there that wants a collaboration on the contracting, I’m open.

Dr Payman Langr…: Do you feel like you’ve raised the price of the practise and now you’re paying that price. Is that something that’s happened?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: You know what? I think my boss has been fair to be honest with you because-

Dr Payman Langr…: He is a good guy-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, he is a good guy and he’s recognised that I have brought up the practise and actually for what it is valued at now, he has not charged me that price because he knows that he could. Of course, he knows that I am… People would want to buy the practise with me in it. But I think it has been fair and to be honest credit should be given where it’s deserved and he’s a hard working man and he’s going to-

Dr Payman Langr…: Give him a shout out, girl.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Joseph Omidvaran, you are a great man.

Dr Payman Langr…: Lovely guy.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, he is lovely.

Dr Payman Langr…: Yeah.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: We do a lot of Enlighten, don’t we Pay?

Dr Payman Langr…: You do.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. And so it’s been great and I’m really excited for that next step to be honest.

Dr Prav Solanki: What have been the challenges in going through the whole acquisition process in terms of funding and just getting everything, your house in order and challenges of what’s next? Any low moments?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. So do you know what? It’s been hard? I fear I actually fear for things in my personal life only on the level. Because I’m like, “I can’t imagine not working because I’ve so much to fund for myself.” Again, lots of people assume that, “Oh Rhona got bought a flat. Rhona’s daddy’s little girl.” I’m like, “Listen, my dad said to me, he’ll put me through education and nothing more.” So, I had to pay off my student loan. I bought my own flat-

Dr Payman Langr…: Even if your dad had bought a flat for you, you don’t have to apologise for that.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Totally. You know what? You guys are absolutely right, but I think the thing is people have made these massive-

Dr Payman Langr…: People make assumptions about you.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I’ve taken a lot of financial responsibility and you are right, I sometimes get anxiety because also Pärla is a huge responsibility as well. But at the end of the day I’m a little bit of a risk taker and sometimes I believe, you know what? You’ve just got to go in with blind faith a little bit sometimes and believe that your passion and drive will get you to where you’re going to be. That’s what happened with Chelsea. When I called you, I had no idea, I didn’t really have a plan. I had marketing ideas, but the passion, the love and the driver is what got me triumph-

Dr Payman Langr…: I’ve got a good buddy. His dad bought him a £12,000,000 house. He’s achieved a lot more than I have after his dad bought him that £12,000,000-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Totally.

Dr Payman Langr…: It’s neither here nor there, yeah.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: No, totally. I think I can-

Dr Payman Langr…: But I get where you’re coming from.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I do think in British society as well, we get really obsessed with people coming from nothing and building themselves up, but I feel like if you’re born into money, if you’re born with that luxury, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have the right to be successful.

Dr Payman Langr…: No, it’s really hard. It’s really hard because you have to prove yourself.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Exactly.

Dr Payman Langr…: No one thinks you did any of that.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Exactly.

Dr Payman Langr…: This guy, I’m thinking one of my best friends from school, he is an amazing business man, one of the best I know.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, exactly.

Dr Payman Langr…: Is he going to worry about someone saying-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: No, exactly. But this is what I’m saying, don’t judge people on their circumstances. That’s exactly what I’m trying to say, judge people on how they do, how they treat people and what they’ve achieved. That’s it.

Dr Payman Langr…: What was your lowest moment, professionally?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I had a patient that sued me and it was a very unfair case. It didn’t go anywhere, obviously. I mean, indemnity, pay them off as they do.

Dr Payman Langr…: What happened?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: She basically was dissatisfied with an orthodontic result and that was pretty much it. She was obviously a lot better than when she started, but she still felt the need to complain. I thought I had a good relationship with her, but she just still was satisfied and it was a really low moment in my career. I lost a lot of sleepless nights over it, but I-

Dr Payman Langr…: Did you offer to give all the money back?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I just let my indemnity had dealt with it and they dealt with it really, really well. They recognised how massive-

Dr Payman Langr…: How nice to hear.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: They dealt with it really well to be honest, because they actually recognised how bad it was for my mental health. I lost sleepless nights. I started having thoughts in the middle of the night being like, “Maybe I’ll get a job at Google, maybe Google will employ me. That’d be quite cool.” Because I literally thought I was going to have to quit my job.

Dr Payman Langr…: Really?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: It is scary.

Dr Payman Langr…: Did you take it personally?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Oh, so personally. The horrible thing was that when I sent the case to my mentors to even kind of orthodontic colleagues and stuff like that, they were like, “This is a great case to be honest. But I think that you’ve just got to learn from it and you’ve got to…”-

Dr Payman Langr…: What did you learn from it?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Definitely, that pushed me to do my orthodontic diploma, which was life changing. So because I knew I was doing so much ortho, I wanted to know I was doing things properly. Getting an orthodontic therapist to help me with my load. Does that make sense? And recognising that notes have to be really pristine. So all those things that I’ve been doing and also developing a little bit of a sixth sense to patients that might be difficult, dysmorphic. Do you know what I mean? That kind of stuff. I know both of you can probably relate to, we’ve had those moments of being really in debt to patients and being so stressed about it and you almost do as you say, want to go be like, “Have all your money back.” You know what I mean? Just please… Because you do use and patients in cosmetic dentistry can get obsessive over what they look like.

Dr Payman Langr…: I noticed patients, when I was a “cosmetic dentist” I remember having patients who’d be happy on the way out, super happy, go home and the family member says something and one of my mentors Id Strength, I’ll put it out there, told me, “Look, sometimes you love people for their weaknesses, not their strengths.” At the time I was young and stupid. It didn’t compute to it. Why would you love someone for their weakness? But now I get it. He was saying, “Look, if someone’s mum’s got gaps, diastemas everywhere, they’ve fallen in love with their mum because of that weakness. If you put that right, suddenly, it’s not their mum anymore.”

Dr Rhona Eskand…: But again it’s-

Dr Payman Langr…: Doing a lot cosmetics, you must come across quite a lot of this-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah. The whole concept of the Chelsea look again I suppose relates to emotional dentistry because people wanted to keep her quirks. I have a colleague who is probably one of the best clinicians I’ve ever worked with. Unbelievable hands, happily would give her my mouth to work on in every aspect. He is amazing at root canal veneers, you name it, he is fantastic. But the thing is that sometimes when patients come in, because we collaborate on a few cases together, whether he’s doing some of the work. He’ll be like, “Yeah, you should close your gap.” The patient’s like, “No, but I want to keep my gap. Can’t I have the veneers but keep my cup.” And he’s like, “No, no. But why would you want to keep a gap?” I’m like kicking him and I’m like-

Dr Payman Langr…: It’s that EQ piece, isn’t it?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: But I said to him, an influencer I’m treating this afternoon basically again with him, I said to him, “We could do a little bit of gum contouring to make the laterals the same.” He goes, “No, but I like my uneven gums. I want this two to be shorter. He wanted the veneers to be like his own teeth basically. And you know what, some dentists again, “Oh, you didn’t fix the gum margin or you left the canine to pointy.” But I’m like, “This is bespoke to the patient and they love coming to me because I listen to them.” They don’t go, “Oh no, in cosmetic dentistry, we want everything to be perfect.” I’m like, “Okay, great. You love your gap? We’ll keep the gap. Okay, you love your uneven naturals, we can keep it.”

Dr Payman Langr…: Speaking up on the signals, Prav talks about. He sits in at dentist’s-

Dr Prav Solanki: All sorts of-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: And the number of dentists who don’t pick up on signals.

Dr Prav Solanki: They miss it. So someone comes in and talks about their teeth. In reality, they’re scared.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, exactly.

Dr Prav Solanki: They’re nervous, they’re anxious.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I say that to them. I say to them, “You’ve had really bad experiences, haven’t you?” I’ll say it to them.

Dr Payman Langr…: He’s saying there are a number who don’t pick it up.

Dr Prav Solanki: Don’t pick it up.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, but this is what I’m saying to you. I’ll say it and then the patient immediately when they recognise that you’ve said that to them, they go, “Yeah, I’ve had bad experiences.” Do you know what I mean? Because, they don’t… Lots of them won’t admit it. They won’t tell you that. Some of them. That’s the whole thing, I think, that’s kind of got me to where I am. It’s just having that, as you said, emotional awareness and understanding what patients are going through.

Dr Prav Solanki: Who’s this super duper dentist?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, he’s amazing. His name is Christian Pentato, I don’t know if you’ve seen him on my Instagram.

Dr Prav Solanki: No.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: He is one of the most gifted clinicians. He does a lot of my crown lengthening cases beforehand. Obsessive detail. I’ve never met anyone like it and honestly have a look. Have a look at his work. Yeah. Honestly, he’s wonderful. He’s Spanish. So he’s Spanish-qualified but obsessive detail. It’s so funny because we learn off of each other because he has made me more particular about the work that I’m doing. He comes and shadows me to do the emotional side. He even recognises things like saying to patients, tapping in my shoulder during treatment going, “Are you okay there?” Things like that. So he started developing things like that. So we learned from each other. I think that’s the best way to be, stop hating and start learning. We’ve all got something to give.

Dr Prav Solanki: Rhona outside of dentistry and business. That was all about her.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Outside dentistry and business. Okay. So outside of dentistry, I love to party, but I am a sober partier, so I’m a teetotal. People find that really weird because they’re like, “You went to Burning Man and you didn’t drink?

Dr Payman Langr…: Only crack up.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: No, shut up, you. You know what, I love music. So for me again, what did I say to you at the beginning of this? Energy. So if people are having a good time around me, I thrive off it. Do you see what I mean? I thrive off energy. So I love-

Dr Payman Langr…: Walk us through Burning Man, quickly. Go on.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Okay.

Dr Payman Langr…: Because it’s one of those things I’ve always wanted-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Oh, Pay. Can we do the next Enlighten-

Dr Payman Langr…: Party.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Exactly-

Dr Payman Langr…: George, our sales manager. She’s been twice in a row and it does-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: Tell us.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: It’s absolutely incredible. I absolutely loved it because for me, I was going through a really tough year, emotionally. I’m somebody that puts a lot of pressure on myself because I hadn’t achieved the things that I wanted to achieve at the age of 31 and I’d gone through pretty bad year of breakup and that sort of thing. So I decided to just travel and every opportunity I got I was just travelling, travelling, travelling, and then-

Dr Payman Langr…: Running away somehow.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, people say running away, but in a way-

Dr Payman Langr…: I’m not judging.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, no, but I mean, run, run fast. In a way, I just wanted to kind of spend a little bit of time alone and I think I find it hard to spend time alone while I was surrounded by people, if that makes sense. So anyways, about Burning Man. I’d initially booked with a friend who we turn out not to be friends but Burning Man. So by the time I got to burning man, I had stayed in a camp that was recommended by someone and it was really scary. I had to take the Burner Express from Reno Airport. No. So I flew to Seattle then to Reno, then from Reno Airport, took the Burner Express for six hours into Burning Man. No phone, no money-

Dr Prav Solanki: The bicycle.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Had to basically learn how to ride a bike again. They say that you never forget. You definitely do. Basically when I got there, it was unbelievable because when you take money and phones away from people it’s a completely different-

Dr Payman Langr…: Changes the game.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, changes the game and I loved it. I actually had anxiety turning my phone back on because I was completely cut off from normality in the real world. And the self reliance thing that people talk about is so cliche. What I found a bit annoying is the people got very emotional. We’re like, “This is the most life changing thing.” I’m like, “Listen, I work at refugee camps. That is something to get emotional about. This is a lot of privileged people in a desert. Do you know what I mean? Having a great time.” Some are not, some are not. And I totally respect what you’re doing out there. But for me it was more of a personal thing. Things like you said, riding around on your own. Again if you’re cycling and you need water because you run out of water, you’ve got to talk to people to get water on your stop off points and you have to form a connection. Because now we’re just so used to the, “I’ll order an Uber, I’ll order Deliveroo.” We’ve created a world that there’s isolation whereas that you can’t do that.

Dr Prav Solanki: I don’t know, what is Burning Man.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Hilarious.

Dr Payman Langr…: You don’t know?

Dr Prav Solanki: No.

Dr Payman Langr…: Oh dear.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Burning man basically is a festival in the Nevada desert and it was made many, many years ago. Started out very small. They have incredible music there but they also have workshops there. So TED talks, yoga-

Dr Payman Langr…: Art.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Art, unbelievable art. Yeah. It’s unbelievable. One day I was cycling my own and then I met this guy that had been to Burning Man 10 years in a row and he decided to show me through all this artwork. I ended up in the deepest dark, the stack depths of the plier as they call it. Then I got hungry. Then there was a naked man cycling and he was like, “Do you guys want some ice cream?” I was like, “I’m lactose intolerant and I’m really hungry.”

Dr Payman Langr…: You’re not allowed to buy anything.

Dr Prav Solanki: You’re not?

Dr Payman Langr…: There’s no money. Money is not allowed.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: But he turned around to me, wait for it. Then he goes, “Don’t worry, we’ve got some vegan ice cream here.” I’m like, “Early in the 21st century, this naked man giving me vegan ice cream.” So basically the thing is… The funniest thing was in my camp there were six dentists.

Dr Payman Langr…: No way.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: So there I was, showering with Jose Navarro, do you know him?

Dr Payman Langr…: No way.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: No way.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: And his wife Carmen and it was like, “Hi guys.” That was the first time I met them, at Burning Man. So it was funny because they were quite a few dentists there.

Dr Payman Langr…: Tell us about the refugee work.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: The refugee work basically is something that’s very close to my heart and I know Pay you relate to me being of Middle Eastern heritage. I sometimes feel that I’m clouded in the world that I live in. I’ve become extremely critical of everything that I do, the way that I look, my dentistry, what I’ve achieved, what I’m wearing, everything now, I put so much pressure on. And sometimes my best friend Bianca was a psychologist and she said to me, “You’ve got to take yourself out of your situation sometimes and realise how lucky you are.” I thought, “You know what, she’s right.” Then I watched a documentary called The Human Flow, which I really recommend by Ai Weiwei.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: It’s really the most beautiful documentary that I’ve ever seen. He goes round all the refugee camps all over the world and he basically focused on Lesvos, in Greece and showed the destruction and the horrible, horrible environment that people are living in. I basically didn’t really understand much about refugees. I didn’t understand because right, it becomes a statistic on the news, just background noise and you’re like, “Whatever.” Obviously being of a certain heritage, I was like, “I want to connect with people and I want to help and I want to give my skill that’s beyond making people look good.”

Dr Rhona Eskand…: So I contacted Health-Point Foundation, I went out there with Dr. Khali who is amazing. You guys should definitely have Ron. She has the biggest personality ever. She is so funny. She introduced TPs to me cleaning my eyebrows, life-changing. Basically Khali and I went out there and when you go there and you meet these people and you realise that they are normal people like you and I that have been forced into situations. Some of them are lawyers and doctors and things like that and they have their lives ripped away from them, their families bombed in front of them.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Then you were like, “This is unbelievable.” Khali was trying to understand from one of the refugees, she was speaking to him in Kurdish and she was like, “Tell me which tooth hurts.” He was pointing at one tooth. She was pointing at another and she goes, “Show me in the mirror.” She showed him the mirror, he stared at it for three minutes and she was like, “Are you okay?” He said, “I haven’t seen my reflection for eight months.” He hadn’t even looked in a mirror. Does that make sense? Because, he can’t face what he sees.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: You hear stories like that or you meet a little girl that doesn’t know her whole family is gone. To be able to provide a little bit of pain relief, I’ve never had tooth ache, thankfully. But if you’re somebody that’s ever suffered from wisdom tooth pain or-

Dr Payman Langr…: It’s the worst.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: It’s the worst. People say it’s the worst.

Dr Prav Solanki: I’ve had tooth ache.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: But imagine being in those sordid conditions and then for you to just give them anaesthetic and relieve them. It’s so easy, isn’t it? I think that it really brings you back down to earth and it makes you realise. And at times in that refugee camp, I felt happier than I am here. Because, the volunteers that you connect with-

Dr Payman Langr…: The stories, I found the stories… You’ve got Lebanese heritage, obviously.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, of course.

Dr Payman Langr…: I go to Lebanon a lot because of my wife and the country’s population doubled with refugees.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Payman Langr…: The stories, as you said, father’s a doctor, the mother’s a lawyer, the kid is illiterate at 14 because they’ve been bombed out of their lives-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: So depressing.

Dr Payman Langr…: It’s so many terrible-

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Oh my God. And the children were just beautiful.

Dr Payman Langr…: How long at a time, did you go there?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I went for a week and then basically I threw a big charity event which raised-

Dr Payman Langr…: I remember, yeah.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I invited Juliard he didn’t come. We raised a lot of money and the money that we raised allowed them to build another chair and build basically another surgery. But from that they made me an ambassador of the charity, because they wanted me to help spread awareness. Then I went back again with Dr. Nima, Dr. Ansar.

Dr Payman Langr…: Did you have a lot of dentists contacting you saying, “I want to do a bit of charity.”

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah, I think so. But a lot of… Not enough to be honest. I’d love that to be spread more because it’s-

Dr Payman Langr…: That’s the message. I think a lot of people would give a week.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: 100% but a lot of people are actually afraid because they feel like they’re going into almost a war zone type thing. They’re like, “I have a family and I can’t put my kids at risk.” I totally understand that. But Greece is a very safe place and actually when you go there, you’re going into the Greek town in the evenings and you’re not staying in the camp. You’re literally going in doing your work and going home. But I’d definitely love more awareness on that. I really think that for anybody that suffers even, with this whole world that we’re living in now, they can go out there and they feel that they can really do something that’s going to make a difference, that they should definitely do that.

Dr Prav Solanki: One last question and we spoke about earlier, so you mentioned biological clock, you spoke about breakup very, very quickly. Single? With someone? Just relationship summary.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Are people are inquiring because I get this asked a lot, it’s hilarious. I’ve actually got a partner, he does not own social media so people get very shocked about that. But it compliments me very well. He is really great, supports everything that I do. Totally non-involved in the industry. I was one for really… I love a narcissist and I realised that I really kind of was attracted to alpha males, but actually I found more and more that didn’t work for me because being an alpha female that necessarily wasn’t great and some guys didn’t like the whole alpha female thing at all. So yeah. So he’s completely unrelated. But yeah, we’ve been together for about a year.

Dr Prav Solanki: Dentist? Non-dentist?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Non-dentist.

Dr Prav Solanki: Non-dentist.

Dr Payman Langr…: What about the deathbed question?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Deathbed?

Dr Payman Langr…: Too young?

Dr Prav Solanki: Too young, man.

Dr Payman Langr…: What do you want your legacy to be?

Dr Rhona Eskand…: I really don’t even know how to answer that. Such a question.

Dr Payman Langr…: Too young.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Yeah.

Dr Prav Solanki: Still a baby, man.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: But for now, as I said to you, it’s just knowing that I’ve made a difference to the way that people think. I think that goes beyond dentistry, which is why I’m so passionate about Pärla Because if I could be known for somebody that changed a habit that was hazardous to the environment, that’s really good for me, which I think is fair enough. Right?

Dr Payman Langr…: Been absolutely lovely, having you.

Dr Prav Solanki: It’s been a pleasure. Thank you.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Thank you.

Dr Payman Langr…: Thank you so much.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Thanks guys.

Dr Prav Solanki: Thank you.

Dr Rhona Eskand…: Bye.

Outro Voice: This is Dental Leaders, the podcast where you get to go one-on-one with emerging leaders in dentistry. Your hosts, Payman Langroudi and Prav Solanki.

Dr Prav Solanki: Thanks for listening, guys. Hope you enjoyed today’s episode. Make sure you tune in for future episodes. Hit subscribe in iTunes or Google Play or whatever platform it is. We really, really appreciate it if you would-

Dr Payman Langr…: Give us a six star rating.

Dr Prav Solanki: Six star rating. That’s what I always leave my Uber driver.

Dr Payman Langr…: Thanks a lot guys.

Dr Prav Solanki: Bye.

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