British-born Samantha Burke is the On Trade and Trade Marketing Manager at Wray & Nephew UK. At 30-something, she knows exactly what she wants out of life. We catch up with her for cocktails at The Laughing Gravy in Southwark, London.
What are you drinking?
Appleton Rum Daiquiri (in the UK, they are not frozen).
What kind of day are you having?
Not too bad, thanks.
Socialite or homebody?
Homebody, but everyone would call me a socialite, because I am the one they call for somewhere hip to go.
Flats or stilettos?
Stilettos. I'd wear heels in a field if I could.
Jeans or LBD?
I'm a sexy 'skinny' jeans girl.
In one sentence, how would you describe yourself?
Outgoing, ambitious, loyal and patient.
How often do you go out?
A couple times a week with work, and then I like to catch up with girlfriends a few times a week.
Do you have an exercise regime?
I go twice a week to the gym at lunchtime, if I am at the office. I also do British Military Fitness, which is like boot camp, run by ex-soldiers in Hampstead Heath. They are all over the country and it is massively popular.
How would you describe your style and where do you shop?
High street mixed with designer. Zara is my go-to store, with a bit of Mango and Top Shop. But I also need my Marc Jacobs handbag and Fendi shoes. I live in Islington, where I also shop at boutiques for one-offs.
Which celebrity would you most like to dine with?
Someone like Sir Alan Sugar from the English Apprentice — he is an East End geezer, and brilliant.
Where would you take your favourite celebrity to in London?
Lunch at Spuntino, a really casual diner in Soho. Then a couple of drinks at La Bodega Negra in Soho, and Callooh Callay in Shoreditch. We'd end up at my favourite place Nightjar, an underground bar in Old Street.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received?
Treat others how you want to be treated.
What is your proudest achievement to date?
Juggling work with my psychology degree. I've just completed my third year.
Who or what inspires you?
My mum always told me that the world was big and I could do whatever I wanted, no matter what colour I was, or where I was from. At 22 years old, I was the only black woman in the brand business in Essex. In the interview the guy warned me of this, but I figured if someone was going to have issues with me being a woman and being black, then it was their issues and not mine.
Who does your hair in London?
I have a hairdresser who has set up at her home in Highgate.
Who does your nails?
I do. I am very precious about my nails. I don't want anyone else touching them!
What is your must-have accessory?
My Chanel clutch is my guilty pleasure. I can wear it with everything.
What has been the most important thing you have learned in your life's journey?
Always be respectful of people you are working with and come across. Respect is earned. I don't expect my teams at Wray & Nephew to respect me just because I am their manager. It doesn't work that way.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Being head of a company or working for myself.
Useful Info for Olympics:
The Laughing Gravy — three minutes' walk from Southwark Tube Station, which is on the Jubilee Line that leads to the Olympic Stadium — is a perfect place to meet friends for lunch or coffee before heading to the stadium. Otherwise, stop off there on your way back for a late dinner and cocktails.
Laughing Gravy, 154 Blackfriar's Road. Open Monday-Friday 11:00 am until late, Saturday 5:30 pm until late; Sunday 12 noon - 6:00pm.