Photo credit: Nicole Laxton

Photo credit: Nicole Laxton

A MAKER PODCAST exclusive interview with South African model, actress, lawyer, writer, activist and speaker, Thando Hopa

"Enoughness is feeling like everything you have within you is enough to navigate the world... it's sufficient."

Down The Rabbit Hole

After spending five minutes in the presence of certain individuals, you want to be a better person and do more with your life. Thando Hopa is one such person. 

Elegant, articulate and generous of spirit, Thando is a woman on a mission. She is a lawyer currently on sabbatical after four years as a prosecutor specializing in sexual abuse cases in her native South Africa.

To learn more about this phenomenal woman, I encourage you to read her story in the South African edition of Marie Claire magazine. 

In addition to being a lawyer, Thando is also an activist who shatters conceptions of beauty and image diversity.

Photo credit: Nick Boulton

Photo credit: Nick Boulton

Thando uses her voice to speak for those who cannot speak for themselves. 

As a fashion model, Thando sealed her image as a role model when she became the cover girl for Marie Claire South Africa’s August 2017 Power Issue. 

Ever the quiet revolutionary, Thando also recently had the honor of being the first black South African ever to feature in the celebrated Pirelli calendar.

As if this were not already enough, the 2018 edition of the Pirelli calendar was styled by British Vogue editor-in-chief, Edward Enninful and shot by photographer Tim Walker.

Photo credit: Tim Walker

Photo credit: Tim Walker

The calendar presents a new twist on the English classic, “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” (more commonly referred to as, “Alice in Wonderland”), the 1865 novel by English author Charles Lutwidge Dodgson written under his pen name, Lewis Carroll. 

The Pirelli iteration of “Alice in Wonderland” features a star studded, all-black cast including, Naomi Campbell, Adwoa Aboah, Lupita Nyong’o, RuPaul, Sean ‘P Diddy’ Combs and Whoopi Goldberg, amongst all others.

Thando Hopa as the Princess of Hearts (a role Walker created specifically for her) and Whoopi Goldberg as the Duchess. Photo credit: Tim Walker

Thando Hopa as the Princess of Hearts (a role Walker created specifically for her) and Whoopi Goldberg as the Duchess. Photo credit: Tim Walker

Thando also had the privilege of writing a powerful essay for the Pirelli calendar (see link below) and she closes the essay with this quote which could have been written about her: 

“From the moment I fell down that rabbit hole I’ve been told where I must go and who I must be. I’ve been shrunk, stretched, scratched, and stuffed into a teapot. I’ve been accused of being Alice and of not being Alice but this is my dream. I'll decide where it goes from here.” 

- Lewis Caroll, "Alice in Wonderland"

The time has come,’ the Walrus said,
To talk of many things:
Of shoes — and ships — and sealing-wax —
Of cabbages — and kings —
And why the sea is boiling hot —
And whether pigs have wings.
— Lewis Carroll, “Through the Looking Glass” (the sequel to “Alice in Wonderland”)

In this episode of the MAKER PODCAST, we speak of many things with Thando such as, contextual intelligence, being housed in the body of a woman, the fullness of childhood, intersectionality and the unifying properties of stories. 

Thando Hopa is a beautiful soul…inside and out and we invite you to share part of her journey here on the podcast. 

To learn more about Thando, click here: 

MAKER would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Melinda Shaw of Shaw Media, South Africa for making this interview possible.