As a part of our Style/Squared contest on Pinterest, we're celebrating stylish moms this week on the Studio blog. First up is an interview with Chrisy Turlington Burns. Of course many of you know her as part of fashion's elite, but she's now using her celebrity to raise awareness for maternal health issues around the world through her charity Every Mother Counts.
On a rainy morning in New York last week Hatch Collection Designer Ariane Goldman and DwellStudio Founder Christiane Lemieux caught up with Christy over coffee at Starbucks. The three stylish moms had a great conversation about balancing motherhood, charity and personal style! Check it out...
Q: Give us the background story on what inspired you to start Every Mother Counts.
A: I experienced a complication after delivering my daughter eight years ago that I later learned could have been life threatening, especially if I had not been where I was when I delivered and perhaps even more important, in the hands of a qualified team that included a doula, nurses, midwife and ultimately an OB. This experience got me thinking about other women and the challenges that so many of them face that contribute to hundreds of thousands of preventable deaths around the world every year. I wanted to share what I learned and I thought that a documentary film would be the best way to connect women through the shared experience of childbirth. I started filming No Woman, No Cry in 2008 and premiered it in 2010 at the Tribeca Film Festival. The film tells the personal stories of pregnant women and their caregivers in four countries. Once I completed the documentary I decided to launch Every Mother Counts so that audiences could learn more about the challenges and solutions and get involved in a meaningful way.
Q: We in the US are lucky to indulge and celebrate Mother’s Day while the mothers that Every Mother Counts advocates for are concerned with basic health needs. Can you elaborate on how this plays into your work with your charity?
A: Mother’s Day is only really celebrated in a few countries and while most of us, in the west, mothers and children alike, participate in some way or another many of us do so without reflection or connection to mothers outside of our circles. We wanted to honor mothers around the world in a different way this year so with the help of a wonderful creative agency called CHI & Partners we came up with the idea of No Mothers Day. No Mothers Day is a powerful social issue campaign designed to raise awareness about the hundreds of thousands of girls and women around the world who die each year from complications related to pregnancy or childbirth.
Q: Your wonderful film, No Woman, No Cry, puts a spotlight on the quest to improve maternal health all over the world. Could you describe the experience of making the film—where did you travel? Any anecdotes?
A: I learned so much through the process of making No Woman, No Cry and continue to learn as I travel around the world with this film. What still moves me every time I view it is the sheer strength and grace that each of the women possessed in the most trying of circumstances. I could never work as hard or as selflessly as these women and countless others do every day. I have remained connected with almost everyone we filmed with and have returned to Tanzania, Bangladesh and Guatemala to share the finished product with them. There were of course other stories we filmed that did not make it into the final cut but I share those stories as well whenever I can.
Q: How has becoming a mother shaped your philosophy/approach to life?
A: Becoming a mother totally redirected my life. I knew that it would change me, and I welcomed that change but how it would was a complete surprise. I truly believe that the experience has empowered me and that the connection I have with every mother now is like a sisterhood.
Q: How do you remain authentic to yourself while juggling work, personal and family life?
A: The juggling is what allows me to do all that I want to do. I choose it and realizing that allows me to take responsibility for all that I attempt to do. When I take on too much, it’s up to me to make some sacrifices and I have learned with practice that letting go can be very liberating.
Q: What’s the most rewarding part of working on your charity?
A: Interacting with women around the world and working with others committed to empowering girls and women.
Q: Describe your everyday style?
A: After years of being around the fashion industry I am somewhat immune to it. My lifestyle sort of dictates what I wear. I am a practical person and don’t like to spend a lot of time on myself, but I do appreciate good design. I am a fan of the French designer Isabel Marant and feel that I can pretty much find all I need in her shops these days.
Q: What is your favorite part about your home?
A: Our home is very light and open. Even in the winter we get lots of daylight and that makes me happy. The kitchen is sort of central and even though I don’t cook as much as I’d like to say I do, the room is very inviting.
Q: What do you really want for Mother’s Day?
A: A day of rest and maybe a yoga class.
Q: Favorite family meal?
A: We are big on smoothies in our family. My son can consume almost any food if it tastes sweet so we throw veggies in with fruit. The kids also love to make the smoothies and have Eddie and I try their concoctions. They are getting better.
Q: Favorite Kids book? How about your kid’s favorite book?
Q: What have you learned from your kids?
A: They are my greatest teachers. I would say that their best daily lesson is patience, which they are testing in me every day in one way or another.