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Do It In Daisy With Thandi Maqubela

Our 'Do It In Daisy' series sees us spotlight creators we love to follow. Industry leaders who inspire us to push the boundaries, with a passion for what they do. Enter powerhouse, Thandi Maqubela.

London based legal director, content creator, mum and self-confessed bibliophile, we caught up with Thandi at her home in East London for a masterclass in everyday style and professional success.

Let’s start with an official intro... tell us and the Daisy audience who you are, what you do and how you got to where you are today?

My name is Thandi, I’m a South African and have been living in London for just over 10 years. I started my legal career in M&A; after a short secondment at Nestle in South Africa I decided to align my move to London with a shift into in-house where I lead an exceptional team of commercial and technology lawyers at an international professional services firm. I live in East London with my husband and son. I’m a self-confessed bibliophile, love running, travelling and have a worrying love of skin care – my passion knows no bounds.

Talk us through your jewellery look today?

I tend to go with the same pieces for my everyday look, key factors being that it should work for both the office and downtime. I’m a gold girl at heart, even though I know the silver trend is increasing, I guess I stick to what works for me. I love wearing a small stack of chunky chain bracelets, you can’t go wrong with hoops – no matter the size! In terms of rings, I like to keep it simple with my wedding band on the left and perhaps a stack or an interesting piece on my right hand. I don’t really wear my engagement ring anymore, I think I stopped when we had our son – nappies and all the other activities that required heightened degrees of dexterity probably influenced the decision!

“You can’t go wrong with hoops- no matter the size”

What does a typical day look like for you?

It seems trite to say this but honestly no two days are the same for me which is the beauty of working as an in-house legal director. I do, however, like to stick to a routine in terms of starting the day with hot water and movement before getting our son ready for the day. My husband is also into exercise so we’ll tag team the morning to allow the other time and space to get their fix in. In an ideal world I’d have an hour or so of free time in my diary to work through emails/escalations I’d received overnight but that’s definitely still a work in progress – I think I need a bit more discipline on that front, especially during busy times of the year! My day will consist of client negotiations, calls with teams in different jurisdictions, catch-ups with my team as well as with my senior stakeholders and various leadership meetings. I also lead a few internal cross-firm projects so that will invariably take some time out of the diary. Much as I’ve tried to kick the habit I’m still very much a ‘sad desk salad’ girl when it comes to having my lunch! I don’t like missing bath and bed time so I’ll try to avoid doing that – it’s really nice to spend time with my son during that time. Sometimes I’ll do a bit of work between this and dinner with my husband who is an excellent cook!

You’ve got 5 minutes to get ready for work, what are you wearing?

Assuming we’re talking winter? A dress layered over a roll-neck and my ever favourite burgundy boots. Jewellery as above and I’m good to go.

Three words to describe your style?

Classic with a twist (that’s four words so I’m cheating!)

“Being comfortable is key to me…confidence will naturally flow from that”

As a person with multiple full time jobs (Legal Director, Content Creator, Mother, Event Co-Founder, to name a few!) how does your style shape to fit each role?

This is a really well timed question as I’ve recently been thinking about my style and how I’d like it to evolve to meet me where I’m at in life. I think these different ‘hats’ are influencing where I’d like to land on this. A central point of being comfortable is key to me as my view is that confidence will naturally flow from that. My job requires me to move between meetings while working in the office, chair meetings and give presentations. I want to know that I look and feel good while doing these things and I also want to be able to move freely and not be pulling at my dress or thinking about how the tailoring sits on me. Equally, having a toddler requires a certain level of agility because they move so fast! I see the content creator side of things as a great creative adjunct I get to enjoy and be more playful with. All these different aspects of my life feed into each other and I would hope my style reflects that.

Tell us more about the Lawyers' Dining Club?

The Lawyers’ Dining Club was born from a conversation over wine with two other incredible female lawyers I’d met online and who are now good friends. We were lamenting the dire state of forced networking events in the legal industry – they were not fun and just not geared to how women like to interact. We’ve hosted three sell out dinners so far and the response we’ve received has been phenomenal – women have been able to make meaningful connections and talk about things outside of work, because we are more than our jobs. It’s been amazing to see and we’re really excited for what’s to come in 2024.

What would be your style advice for anyone entering a 9-5 office job in need of outfit inspiration?

First figure out what you like, what you feel comfortable and confident in and work from there. Don’t be afraid to explore and be playful with your looks and don’t shy away from being proud of how you present yourself in the workplace – it’s one of the many ways to have gravitas in a professional context.

What are your favourite pieces in your jewellery box at the moment?

 I’ve developed a penchant for black diamonds – I wear a pendant which has a black diamond surrounded by white diamonds everyday – this piece is a recognition of our son’s birth and there’s a black diamond band as part of my wedding band. I would also say the diamond earrings my husband gave to me as my ‘morning off the wedding day’ present. Interestingly, all the pieces were made by our jeweller in South Africa which is so special to me.

We talk about jewellery being our everyday armour, how does jewellery make you feel?

Jewellery is something that can really elevate an outfit, it adds a deeply personal touch to how you present and it can make you feel so incredibly special.

“Don’t be afraid to explore and be playful with your looks”

Who are your style icons, and how have they influenced you and the way you style your outfits?

Without a doubt Tracee Ellis Ross – when I grow up I want to be just like her! Solange Knowles, Anna Shaffer, Fisayo Longe , Lisa Aiken– my style may not necessarily resemble that of these incredible women but I just love how they fully embody what style means to them – it’s so incredibly enthralling!

Can you tell us about any exciting projects coming up?

I have a few work related projects coming up which are guaranteed to give me the stretch I’m always looking for. On the content creator side of things I have a couple of beauty and fashion campaigns coming up in the new year. And of course we have some exciting plans for the next few Lawyers Dining Club events. Always building!

Follow Thandi Maqubela - @thandimaq