Filippa Lagerback – A blonde for bicycle
I wrote her an email. She replied in that nice way of hers; rare, polite but not over the top. Then we spoke on the phone: a conversation that lasted half an hour, where we talked about the countryside, children, fashion, work and future projects… in an informal but direct way. How women chat normally.
Filippa Lagerbäck is in real life, how you imagine her to be looking at her photos – a sense of femininity and beauty shines through and she approaches life with a smile. Filippa, Swedish by birth, Italian by adoption, ‘Tifernate’ by passion, mum, ex- model, TV personality, neo-writer and blogger, talks about the past, future and her love of the countryside which brought her to Umbria.
by Cristina Crisci
Your daughter Stella was born in Città di Castello and you have a house here where you spend your free time. What was it that attracted you to this area?
«The countryside, the sense of freedom that we breathe in when we are surrounded by nature and the warm welcome we received: for us, all of this is like going back to our origins. We like simple things, fresh bread for example, that we can never find in Milan… being able to go outside and pick fresh figs, opening the door and walking on the lawn. For this reason we appreciate the meaning of life. Whenever we are in the countryside we fill up on the view and the air».
You have published a book on sustainable travel, (‘Io pedalo e tu?’ published by Feltrinelli). Does Città di Castello seem like a bike friendly town?
«Here, everything seems right to me, there are a lot of people here that I know who get around by bike. Those of us who live in the countryside tend to walk and use the car to go shopping. It’s obvious that there aren’t many bike lanes, so things could probably be improved upon».
So, do you like Umbria in general?
«We love it! We often go on trips in the hope of discovering something new. We have visited Montone, Assisi, Spello, Corciano and recently a beautiful place called Scarzuola. You can breathe in good air and mystery everywhere: every time we come back we try to discover new places, perhaps ones less visited, and every time we do I’m always amazed how one region can offer such beauty. There are some unbelievable villages!»
How do you get on with your daughter?
«Stella has just turned 10 and we spend as much time together as possible. I must say that we are close; we are almost friends, but that’s not really the right word: I’m a parent, I therefore try to understand, listen and be there for her. We live in the country during the summer months, without a TV, (which doesn’t mean that we’re disconnected from the world), we read books, use the swimming pool and especially try to live outdoors».
When you left Sweden to become a model, you were still very young: what would you do if Stella were to ask to do the same thing?
«She must do what she wants but with the understanding that nothing in life is free. With every decision there is always hard work to be done. If she wanted to go down this career path I would support her decision, I would give her advice on making the most of her experiences, and to put commitment and passion into them. Nevertheless, I don’t think she is destined for the world of fashion…»
In Italy you became famous with the Peroni advert ‘Una bionda per la vita’. What are memories of your time as a model?
«That advert brought me a lot of luck! Thanks to my work as a model I had the chance to travel and discover the world from a young age, something an average, non-working 18 year old wouldn’t have been able to do. I went to different countries, I learnt foreign languages, but behind the scenes there’s always hard work to be done; there are many commitments and responsibilities so it’s important to keep your feet on the ground. At a certain point I got fed up with the lifestyle, I met Daniele and we settled in Milan».
Who were the most important people throughout your career?
«There wasn’t one person in particular, but there were many people who I bonded with in the various Milan agencies. This was when I didn’t have any experience and I didn’t know the language, they guided and helped me get about. In addition, I’ve always been able to count on my background, my family».
In your blog (www.planetfil.net) you deal with issues close to women as well as fashion. How have you gotten on with the internet and social networks?
«Oh, really well, I’m really well connected! I find it a really good way to meet people, without ‘filters’. However, with my daughter, who is getting interested in it, I’m trying to show her how to use it properly as there are dangers. More than anything I like the opportunity to be able to talk and to share with the people that are interested; the freedom to go onto a website and join in a conversation and interact. We’ve even organized a day where I’ve met up with people who visit my blog, and found that really nice friendships have been made, even getting in touch with each other outside of the blog».
«I’m still working in TV with Fazio in ‘Che tempo che fa’; furthermore I’m a ‘veteran’ for the Rai Due Fashion Week special. I’ve also been to Uganda with Onlus to help fight against blindness with cataract operations in poor countries. For us it’s a trivial operation, but for others it isn’t available and it sentences them to a life of blindness. I decided to go so I could understand the work being carried out by the volunteers and make as many people aware as possible. To find all of this out for myself has been a unique experience».
In the future: another book, more TV or another child?
«Us women are able to multi-task, so maybe all three, we’ll see… watch this space…»