Sunday Edit: The look of love

So closely tied, entangled in each other until you break free, become yourself and find your own path. How do mother and daughter understand each other when childhood is over and you are no longer one, but two?

Rudolph Care speaks with gender sociologist and owner of Mangfold, Cecilie Nørgaard, and her daughter, Nova Nørgaard, a student at The School of Design in Copenhagen, about what they see when they look at each other.

To mark the launch of our Firming Eye Mask, we focus on the eyes. On what they see when we look at those we care about. On getting older – what it brings and how it changes us — and on the things we pass on to the next generation.

What do you admire most about each other?

Cecilie: "It's difficult to say as we are mother and daughter and perhaps not used to articulating such things.”

Nova: “I can start. There are many things I admire you for, but if I have to name just one thing, it is your work on equality. You are so dedicated to your work and to creating a better world – not just for yourself, but for everyone.”

(Cecilie is touched and clearly very happy)

Cecilie: "It’s difficult to look objectively at something you have had a hand in creating. I think everything about you is fantastic and unique. But what immediately comes to mind is that ever since you were little, you have had an unshakeable self-awareness. Your feelings and actions align. Not many people have that. You are self-confident, which means you always choose and do what feels right for you. The fact that you are so connected to yourself and can listen to your inner voice and act accordingly will have an impact on your entire life. Your choice of education and job, but also your love life.”

Cecilie, what do you wish you had known when you were Nova's age?

Cecilie: "The first thing that comes to mind, concerning the body and health, is something that we often talk about at home. Since my childhood, there has been such a cultural shift in the way girls and women relate to their bodies. I wish I hadn't succumbed to the narrowminded body ideals that were prevalent back then. Unfortunately, they have become deeply ingrained in me. My children have grown up hearing me talk badly about my body and Nova tells me off me when I do so. That’s something I’m naturally not very proud of. I wish there had been the conversation about norms and body ideals that there is today when I was young.”

Nova, in what ways do you think your life will be different from your mother's?

Nova: “So, you had children very early. If I were to live my life like you, I would have children soon. I don't want that. I have so many things I want to experience before I have kids."

Cecilie: "I also see a great deal of focus on the way we work today. My mother is from a generation where you had to work hard. If you didn't taste blood in your mouth, it wasn't a real job. I also see myself tinged with this mentality – even though I’m constantly rebelling against it. But you are adamant that you want to have a healthy working life."

Nova: "People work a lot in the design industry. I'm not interested in that. Two years ago, I had a serious concussion that I'm still recovering from. Among other things, this has meant that I neither can nor am allowed to work as much, so balance has become even more relevant to me.”

What do you see when you look at each other?

Cecilie: "As I said, I think it is difficult to look at your children objectively. I look at them with feelings and senses. But when I look at Nova, I see a very strong individual, a very strong-willed person who is also loving and intuitive. Smart, gentle – and a bit of a witch: she has what you would call a sixth sense and knows how to use her energy in a wise and appropriate way.”

Nova: "I see the world's best mother. A very empathetic person. A very active person who reacts to and attempts to amend injustices. You are also very self-aware and tell us —family or colleagues—what you think."

Has the way you see yourselves changed over the years?

Nova: “The way I see myself has changed a lot in the past two years. In the past, I identified as outgoing, busy and productive. All that has been challenged because I have been unwell. I have had to see myself in a different light and have been forced to identify less with my mood and more with my inner values.”

Cecilie: "It probably has. I think of myself as someone who is relatively consistent in personality, but the whole family has been challenged by Nova's accident. I have had to give more space to my vulnerability and accept that I neither can – nor need to – deal with everything alone. I think that over time I have learned to give more space to – and value more – the part of me that embraces femininity, softness, sensuality, introspection, vulnerability and care. It’s also a trend that I see in society today. Much to the delight of all genders, there has been a paradigm shift that allows more room for vulnerability and what you previously would have categorized as softer values.”

What do you think is beautiful about each other?

Cecilie: "Before I gave birth to Nova, I imagined her as a little dark-haired boy. You became the opposite and on the outside everything that I am not. Tall, fair and blue-eyed. I think everything about you is enormously beautiful. Also your eyes and your beautiful curls.”

Nova: “I just think you're very beautiful. Your body, your radiance. And I'm so happy with everything I inherited from you. Imagine if I had inherited dad’s body. I wouldn't have a bottom at all!”

(They both laugh)

Do you have a beauty tip?

Cecilie: "Only the simple: I always wash my face with cold water and apply cream morning and evening."

Nova: "And we bathe in the sea every day all year round. It’s good for both body and soul.”