Our Q&A with Nkosiyati Khumalo;
What is your profession?
Once just an eager intern, I now have the immense pleasure of being the Editor-in-Chief of GQ South Africa.
What was your dream job when you were growing up?
I probably had about eight different dream jobs. I wanted to do everything; I seriously considered careers in commercial real estate, television, theatre, automotive marketing, seismology (I spent two years obsessed with earthquakes), and music.
When it came time to decide what I wanted to pursue as a career path, I had to look at what qualities I most enjoyed, and it always came back to interacting with people and sharing their stories. Combine that with the fact that I was raised in a media-savvy household – we always watched the news together; I used to read everything from HG Wells to Sweet Valley High; I loved writing – and my path to media was almost inevitable.
I consider what I do now to be my dream job, for the wonderful opportunity it gives me, at the age of 31, to do what I love and explore so many of my different interests daily; to have the chance to work with and learn directly from the very best in the industry globally; to inspire and support future editors and writers; and to push myself to greater heights.
What does a typical day in your working life look like?
Overall, my working life is about 3% what you see on Instagram – meeting global superstars, travelling around the world, unforgettable experiences, and encountering all things luxury – and 117% quite ordinary: hectic pressure and deadlines, lots of problem solving, intense meetings, jotting down ideas at 3am, etc. My day can take me anywhere. Relationship-building forms a large part of what I do, which takes me to various events ‘after hours’. It’s stressful but it’s so rewarding to be able to lead the cultural conversation, even in our small way.
What’s one of your most inspiring experiences in your career to date?
I’m always inspired by the people I get to meet and interview, and creating not just another magazine or online feature or event, but using those platforms to create moments – ones wherein we champion great storytelling and those in which we celebrate exceptional people.
But it’s been particularly inspiring to work with professional icons from the media world, including my felllow editors Pnina Fenster (Glamour) and Liz Morris (Condé Nast House & Garden). I’ve also met and interacted with some of my personal heroes in global media, and it’s great to see firsthand that our playing fields aren’t so very different. Their advice is invaluable – and they are all huge fans and supporters of South African creativity.
What is your favourite leisure activity?
I love music and I’ve been singing for most of my life. It’s something I’ve been able to do semi-professionally with some truly talented local and international artists and composers. I also find it a great form of expression; I often say that people haven’t met me properly until they’ve heard me sing. Lately I’ve also been exploring parts of the Western Cape I’ve never visited before – so much beauty right on our doorsteps.
How do you feel about appearing on the Societi Bistro menu and the dish in particular?
With my schedule, finding ways to feel balanced isn’t easy, so being able to call a gem like Societi Bistro a ‘second home’ is a treat. This dish would be favourite even if I weren’t its namesake; I fell in love with prawn at age 9, and I live on chilli and garlic at home. Huge thanks to Peter and the rest of the Societi Bistro team!