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        KUDIBAL PORTRAITS

        Helle Thorning-Schmidt

        KUDIBAL PORTRAITS

        Helle Thorning-Schmidt

        We believe in the transformative power of shared wisdom and that women should uplift each other. Introducing KUDIBAL PORTRAITS, a series by founder Dea Kudibal, sharing inspiration from remarkable women we meet.

         

        In our first interview, marking International Women’s Day, we're honored to feature Helle Thorning-Schmidt, Denmark's first female prime minister and gender equality advocate. On a sunny day at our showroom, Helle shares insights on fashion, authenticity, and overcoming challenges faced by women today.

        Helle is wearing Kikkidea blouse in Rays and Dinessadea skirt in Classic Blue.

        What have you learned as Prime Minister? And can it be transferred to being a "modern" woman?

        I've learnt a lot from my political life. I often say that I was a better prime minister on my last day than the first. I led the Social Democrats for over 10 years, and during that time, I learned a lot about myself and leadership. The most important lesson is to keep learning and to remain curious.

         

        As prime minister, there were situations like suddenly meeting the American president, for example. I learnt to step out of my comfort zone. We must dare more that we believe possible. But you must know that, when you're on uncertain footing, things won’t necessarily go well. I've been rejected from jobs and made decisions which I would have done differently in retrospect. The world is tough enough on women who make mistakes. We don't need to contribute to it. What we need to figure out is how to learn from our mistakes. Be kind to yourself and learn from your failures.

        What challenges do you think women still face – and what can be done to overcome them?

        There is a gender power gap in our economies, political systems, and corporations. We need more women in boardrooms. It's not just about the bottom line; it's because decisions made in boardrooms impact many women. Boardrooms and other places with power should reflect society. Everyone with the influence to hire women in leadership positions should help. And we should stop considering it as a fight only of women. Men should also participate in the fight.

        Helle is wearing Zinsadea in Paisley Frog, Rihannadea in Paisley Frog, and Octaviadea in Edamame.

        Have you used fashion as a tool to express yourself during your career? Does fashion have power?

        Fashion certainly has a lot of power. I've always tried to be authentic, but at the same time, I was aware that I was in a male-dominated world. When I became the leader of the Social Democrats – I was in my 30’s, and a woman – which set me quite apart from my political colleagues. The easiest thing would have been to wear a black suit, like I see many women in the financial sector do. Well, I am a bit of a Barbie, and I wanted to stand by the part of myself that also enjoys colours and playful fashion. I believe that we become stronger by embracing our authentic self. We ground ourselves better by being true to ourselves.

        Have you ever regretted wearing a dress in the boardroom and thought, "Oh, I should have worn the black suit"?

        In the past I've been in situations where I thought, "Oh, this is a bit too short." Now it is rare that I am inappropriately dressed, I think. I make an effort because I believe you should dress for the occasion, respect the purpose, and the people who have invited you. But I do think we should be allowed to dress in what makes up feel good. This means that I often wear a nice, colourful outfit.

        Helle is wearing Olginadea dress in Tehuana Villea.

        Have you received any advice as a young person that you still remember and use?

        The advice I've received, and which has given me the most peace of mind, is that you should choose your battles. There are many things you can say "never mind" to. We must choose our battles if we want to have an impact on the things that really matter. And I also think it gives you a happier life. You get a happier life because you don't have to go around being annoyed about things all the time.

        What advice would you give to women and future leaders?

        Believe in yourself. Surround yourself with women who believe in you. Then it can't go completely wrong.

        I find that the strongest women are the ones who surround themselves with supportive women who choose collaboration over competition. We become stronger by helping and uplifting each other.

        Helle is wearing Kikkidea blouse in Rays, Grethadea jacket in Classic Blue, and Dinessadea skirt in Classic Blue.