Joy Phala.
Joy Phala.
Image: Supplied

Essential beauty potions? I’m a Clarins girl through and through. As a plant person, I’m attracted to its plant-based philosophy in skincare. My skincare routine starts with Clarins’ gentle foaming cleanser, followed by its new Plant Gold Nutri-revitalising oil-emulsion. I finish off with the Clarins UV Plus Day Screen SPF 50.

Building everyone should visit before they die? The Guggenheim Museum Bilbao in Spain. There’s no one who represents movement in architectural design the way architect Frank Gehry does, and this is perfectly represented in the undulating metal that forms the exterior of this structure.

Coffee or tea? Tea — Laager rooibos tea to be specific. It was my grandmother’s tea of choice growing up and she would often make it for me. Fruit- or herbal-infused rooibos or light tea for moments when I’m relaxing and just want to hear myself think. Coffee only when I’m on deadline and I need a legal drug to stay awake.

Ultimate plant? Tillandsia xerographica. It has a distinctive aesthetic with unusual silver foliage that spirals around the plant, resulting in a perfect spherical shape. They are a stunning decorative element in the home and require minimum upkeep. I also love that they are rebels — not following the conventional way plants grow. They live entirely without soil, depending on nutrients in the air.

Dream purchase? A home designed by Mphethi Morojele. His work is probably one of the closest definitions of authentic South African architecture in our post-apartheid era. Most South African homes are designed with a Eurocentric aesthetic; an element of African architecture is missing in the South African residential-architecture space.

Tillandsia xerographica.
Tillandsia xerographica.
Image: Supplied

Reading right now? Ilse Crawford’s A Frame for Life. I’m enjoying her human-centric perspective on design and how space contributes to our quality of life.

Listening to? Then Again: The Anthology by David Sanborn, Thandi Ntuli’s The Offering, and Judith Sephuma’s A Legacy: Live in Concert. Ok, I love jazz.

Artist you’ve got your eye on? Zana “Ndebele Superhero” Masombuka. I love how she uses the vibrancy and symbolism of Ndebele cultural wear and art to both narrate age-old African wisdom and also create dialogue on present-day challenges. It is also quite moving the way Azael Langa uses smoke and fumage in his artwork. He makes one witness the inner soul and spirit of his subject on canvas.

'Time' by Zana Masombuka.
'Time' by Zana Masombuka.
Image: Supplied

Best way to spend a Sunday morning? In bed with my children, who make me read every single one of their story books because they only get to read two each on a week night.

Book, album, and luxury item you’d take to a desert island? Toni Morrison’s Beloved, Kenny G’s At Last… The Duets Album, and my orthopaedic pillow.

Series you’re bingeing? Friends. Twenty-six years later and the comedy is still good.

Your favourite room in the house? The bedroom, for sure. Nothing like a soft bed, dreamy sheets, and a comfy blanket after a hard day of building gardens.

Fashion icon? My mom. She doesn’t follow trends; she has an eye for classic pieces.

Are you a collector of anything? Air plants. They are my weakness!

What makes you happiest? The two little boys I call my children and the big boy I call my husband. My life would not make sense without them in it.

When travel resumes as normal, to where are you immediately booking a ticket? Kenya. Watamu, for its crystal-blue and white sand beaches; the stone ruins of the medieval Swahili town Gedi; and, for the flora lover in me, Arabuko Sokoke National Park, which is also home to a variety of wildlife.

Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.
Image: 123RF / Carlos Dominique

Next must-have item? Director dining chairs from Weylandts. My husband used to dabble in film production and he is totally in love with their version of the classic director’s chair.

What inspires you? Nature. It is always improving, always keeping things on the upside. Where forests have burned, they will soon return with the slightest amount of rain. It is relentless; a complete die-hard.

 From the October issue of Wanted 2020.

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