The foundation of beauty

Passionate, joyful, determined. We are inspired by Anna De Geer, Secretary-General of the World Childhood Foundation.

One day Anna De Geer is crawling tunnels under the streets of St Petersburg. The next she is talking ideas in New York with Princess Madeleine of Sweden, the public face of the World Childhood Foundation. But one thing never changes.

‘I am passionate about human rights,’ De Geer says at the World Childhood Foundation office in Stockholm. ‘Including everyone’s right to a childhood.’

De Geer balances motherhood and a high-level, global job – and looks good while she’s at it. Her eyes are framed in lashings of black mascara and her skin is flawless with a hint of peach on high cheekbones. She is chic in a white shirt, elegant black jacket and dark jeans. Later, she is off to a football do with her teenage son. Going straight from work to a party is typical – all aspects of life are intertwined.

That sounds hard!
– Not at all. I love my work. Some say you should separate work and life, but why? Everything flows.

Her greatest joy is seeing the difference the foundation is making in the lives of children. As for beauty, it means many things to De Geer. ‘I enjoy looking at beautiful people and clothes, but also serious art. Beauty adds to life.’

Do you like feeling beautiful?
– Sure! But it’s “all in the eye of the beholder.” I think even people who say they don’t care about beauty still want to express their style.

She believes beauty is a feeling and how you feel is up to you. ‘For a pick-me-up, I wear beautiful undies. No one can see it, of course, but I know. It gives me secret confidence.’ De Geer’s high-octane life means her makeup bag has to hold everything she needs for a fabulous face in minutes.

How do you choose beauty products?
– I need products that work and can be used in lots of ways – mixed with water or Vaseline and used as eye shadow or lip colour, for example.

Your favourite face?
– Eyeliner and mascara, always. And I’ve started using a bit more eye shadow to de-emphasise the wrinkles, she laughs.

It’s good to know that even radiantly beautiful superwomen obsess just a tiny bit about their flaws. ‘It seems I always have dark circles, so I am meticulous about eye creams.’ Once the signs of fatigue are gone, it’s time to tame the tresses. ‘I have the world’s curliest hair. I’ve spent so much time and money over the years on smooth-this and anti-frizz-that. Finally a friend said, “Face it, Anna, you’ve curly hair – go with it” and she was right. So now I use shampoo for curly hair instead.’

Is it curlier now?
– Yes, but I love it. I was at the salon yesterday and it was straight for a while after, but it’s started to curl again. Curl power!
Words by: Photographs by: Pauline Suzor