A very special woman
Rebecca Retz Svejborg-Laudrup
Words by Trine Weber Carlsen
Photography by Frederik Vohnsen
2. December 2022
It's an early December morning and we are on the ferry from Aarhus to Sjællands Odde on our way to Copenhagen. Despite the ferry's less than inspiring environment, I have a tiny tingly feeling of a Christmas spirit mixed with being excited to meet Rebecca Retz Svejborg-Laudrup. I'm probably also a bit starstruck because Rebecca has agreed to let us interview her for our Seamless Journal and take pictures of her.
It always feels overwhelming to meet other people in their own homes. Their safe place. Where they can be themselves, and that is precisely why we are also very respectful in our meeting with Rebecca.
Rebecca is mother of Ellen, married to Frederik, PR & SoMe Manager at CIFF and CIFF Kids, Influencer and last but not least daughter of Siw and Michael Laudrup (iconic Danish football player). And she is herself. Everything is beautiful where Rebecca lives with her family. The street is beautiful, the building next door, the front door of the property, the elevator, the staircase, the apartment and Rebecca herself, but above all there is a good and relaxed atmosphere.
We spoke to Rebecca about coming from a famous family and finding her own place. About values and about passing them on. About work and family, fashion and self-indulgence. About becoming someone's mother and sharing vulnerabilities with strangers on social media.
You can read it all here, and remember that regardless of our different backgrounds, we are ALL human beings with feelings, and no one has the right to talk down to anyone or neglect the feelings of others. There are people behind it.
Merry Christmas, lots of love, care and good energy.
"I haven't had the best relationship with my body, but I've also come to a point where I have to learn to love it more. If not for me, then for the sake of my daughter"
Seamless Basic: Did your pregnancy change your view on yourself – both mentally and physically?
Rebecca: "Yes, a lot. I haven't had the best relationship with my body, and sometimes I still have a hard time coming to terms with it. But I've also come to a point where I have to learn to love it more. If not for me, then for the sake of my daughter. She deserves to be happy and content with herself, and who is a better role model than your own mom? So it's a process.
I also feel that I've become much more aware of the way I spend my time and what I want to spend it on. After a tough pregnancy, a hard birth and 15 months on maternity leave with Covid-19 lockdowns, I've found that I can handle most things and that I deserve to spend my time on and with people, things and activities that give me good energy."
"I love being a mother, but it's not my entire identity. I still need to create my own life"
Seamless Basic: Has becoming a mother changed your priorities and values?
Rebecca: "Yes and no. I knew very well what I wanted to be like as a mother, but obviously you can't always know if you will actually be like that. However, I think I've surprised a lot of people in my circle because I actually became the kind of mother, I said I would be.
I love being a mom, but it's not my entire identity. I still need to create my own life where I can also work, go out with my friends and go on dates with my husband.
Having said that, Ellen has quite naturally become my first priority in terms of wanting to be with her. I therefore work part-time so that I can make memories with her, but it is just as much for my own sake because I think she is brilliant to be with.
As regards my values, I think they have only been strengthened by having a child. We have bought a summer house, so we have both the city and nature, which is something that I have always dreamed of. There is plenty of culture and opportunities, but also nature and tranquility."
"We really should cheer each other on a little more and maybe recognize that everyone does it differently. We must high-five the women who take maternity leave and those who share it with their partner - because both things can be hard"
Seamless Basic: When I became a mother I remember thinking that it was a huge change (positive as well as negative). How was it for you and do you think that we - women - have such high expectations to giving birth and to life as a mother, that sometimes they become difficult for us to live up to, so we end up feeling inadequate?
Rebecca: "I think both the outside world and ourselves have too many expectations to "the perfect mother". I think we judge the role of motherhood far too quickly, and I'm certainly no saint here, but we really should cheer a little more on each other and maybe recognize that everyone does it differently. We need to start seeing all kinds of births as births - whether you've given birth via c-section or vaginally, we've all given birth. We need to stop judging mothers, who breastfeed their children for longer than a year and mothers who feed from a bottle. We must cheer on women who want to pursue careers and women who want to be stay-at-home moms. We must high-five the women who take maternity leave and those , who share it with their partner - because both things can be hard.
We need to listen more ... especially to those who do it differently. Some choose to home care, others prefer the nursery as soon as it is available, and that's okay. We shouldn't actually have to defend our choices, because we made them for a reason.
For my part, becoming someone's mother has been the wildest journey. Wauw, it can be so hard at times, but I also think it's the most life-affirming thing to experience. I'm learning all the time, and I'll probably continue to do so for the rest of my life."
Seamless Basic: What does self-care mean to you?
Rebecca: "Oh, self-care is many different things. It could be getting a facial, but it could also be going out for dinner with my girlfriends, going for a long walk with music in my ears, eating a big and delicious breakfast with my family on Sunday mornings, or doing something cultural like going to a museum or the theater. Everyone thinks I'm mainly an extrovert, but my introvert self needs to recharge and I really appreciate alone-time. I love to pamper myself and am actually quite good at it. It can be big or small things.
For me, self-care is about taking care of myself, because I know that I will be a better wife, mother, daughter, friend and colleague. It requires work, but it is important that you stop and notice yourself, and I practice that a lot."
"My parents were very insisting that my brothers and I understood that we were no better than everyone else just because we grew up with a different lifestyle, but at the same time they encouraged us to acknowledge our successes"
Seamless Basic: Which core values did you carry with you from your parents and your own upbringing, and which values would you like to pass on to your daughter?
Rebecca: "Respect everyone - and be nice. That will get you the farthest.
I have met people who changed their behavior after they found out my last name. It shouldn't be like that. My parents made sure that my brothers and I understood that we were no better than anyone else only because we grew up with a different lifestyle, but at the same time we were encouraged to acknowledge our successes.
I grew up with two huge role models, and I want Ellen to feel the same way. That she understands that she has to respect and be nice to people, but at the same time she also has to speak up and stand by her own decisions... maybe the decision won't always be the right one, but it's better to do something and make mistakes rather than doing nothing."
"I'm not trying to hide who my family is, but I needed to take a completely different path for others not to compare me with them"
Seamless basic: How has your journey been in terms of creating your own identity compared to what your family is known for?
Rebecca: "It's been a long one. I'm not trying to hide who my family is, but I needed to take a completely different path for others not to compare me with them. I had several identity crises as a teenager, especially when I dropped out of university in Paris and found out that I wanted to be in the fashion industry. It's like the world of football, everyone wants to join, but the jobs are limited - and if you get the chance, you'll find out , that it's not as glamorous as you thought. Maybe I was lucky to have seen the flip side of the coin when growing up, because it doesn't scare me off so easily. I've been very lucky with my family, because they are a huge support and understand my choices in life."
Seamless Basic: I have noticed that your followers are very interactive with you. What do you think it does for them to have such personal access to your real life?
Rebecca: "Social media is a strange figure. In many ways it helps to give us a form of community, dialogue and the feeling of 'being seen', and at the same time it is also the place where the tone can be really harsh without consequences. Fortunately, I mainly experience the first, maybe because I also share the vulnerable and personal things at times, but at the same time I remind my followers that these are snapshots of my life. They feel they know me and they do in many ways, but I'm still trying to find a balance. I want to share because I get so much in return, but I also have a limit. However, I am filled with gratitude for my followers. They are committed and are super understanding, loving and welcoming. I hope it's because I try to give the same back. I mustn't take that for granted."
"Of course, it hurts when you share your vulnerability and then a stranger tells you that you're a spoiled brat. But then again, I grew up with people having opinions about me all my life. That's just how it is"
Seamless Basic: You often share personal things from your life. Do you sometimes regret this when you receive negative and irrational comments?
Rebecca: "I have very few regrets, because everything is carefully thought through. I think about what I share, and it's always based on how I am. I don't share things that might create a bad atmosphere. Not because I don't want to start the dialogue, but because I don't feel the need to start a discussions with strangers. We can't always agree on everything, and that's okay, but people have to talk nicely. On the other hand, I want to talk about vulnerable topics that I experience as a mother, my birth experience, juggling everyday life and work, feeling pressure (as a woman, especially), etc. There will always be some negative comments, but I really feel that I can handle most things and I reply very soberly.
Again, I have a limit when people start talking about the way my daughter looks, her clothes, eating habits, etc. Then I respond by saying "stop". We talk so much about young peoples well-being, the culture of perfection and girls' self-esteem. It rings so hollow when I get messages from mature women who think that my 2-year-old daughter should get a haircut because it would "look nicer"."
Seamless basic: What do you do if you get mean comments?
Rebecca: "I think about it for a while, talk to my husband, and then I move on. Sometimes I also share it on SoMe if it is very bad. Of course, it hurts when you share your vulnerability and then a stranger tells you that you're a spoiled brat. But then again, I grew up with people having opinions about me all my life. That's just how it is. I've never neglected that I have a privileged life. I am in no way a victim nor do I want anyone to feel sorry for me. I just wish we were better at complimenting each other's differences - because isn't that what we want our children to be?"
"I've stopped following trends just because it's a trend. I'm more into long-lasting classic items which aren't out of fashion next season"
Seamless basic: Based on the many different clothing brands that you meet through work, which values and philosophies are important when it comes to your personal wardrobe?
Rebecca: "That is lasts and looks good on me. I've stopped following trends just because it's a trend. I'm more into long-lasting classic items which aren't out of fashion next season. And then I just love to support good Danish brands. I think that we have some fantastic brands in our small country that really know how to dress all kinds of women. I find that very inspiring."
Seamless Basic: What gives you the feeling of luxury in your everyday wardrobe?
Rebecca: "Good quality gives me a feeling of luxury - it has to be exclusive, soft and well-crafted. I love cashmere and wool (as long as it doesn't itch) because it can also last for many years. And then I actually just want that my clothes can be used for everything - business and pleasure - that I can style it differently to make it fit any occasion."
"I learned from my dad that it's good to have dreams, but they shouldn't be too far into the future, because things can change very quickly"
Seamless Basic: What is your biggest dream for the future?
Rebecca: "I learned from my dad that it's good to have dreams, but they shouldn't be too far into the future, because things can change very quickly. That's why I mainly have goals and realistic dreams in relation to where I am in life. I have small dreams like creating traditions and new memories with my family in our summer house, I dream of growth in my work, and then there is that future dream (shhh, don't tell my dad, because it's probably a couple of years or five away) about creating something myself. It's probably more like a side project, but I'd like to do some crafts and to be even more creative. I haven't quite figured out the details yet, but I will."