Egyptian-Italian-French model and philanthropist Elisa Sednaoui talks to us about balancing work and motherhood and why she started children’s educational programme Funtasia Education
How would you describe your personal style?
I like beautiful fabrics and quality pieces that will last a long time in my wardrobe. Minimal yet strong like this cardigan from Bouguessa. My style is versatile – you’ll see me in boyish casual looks like jeans and cashmere, but I also love feminine outfits that are long and bohemian too.
How do you balance work and motherhood, and what do you do for “me” time?
It’s a big challenge every day. First we need to know what really drives us, what motivates us, what makes us feel creative and what makes us feel ourselves. Once we have that awareness, we need to harness it. Because that is the example we will give to our children, by the type of people and professionals we are.
Next, we need to learn how to deal with the sense of guilt that comes with being a mother today. We are expected to work like we don’t have kids, and raise children like we don’t work. It’s good to ask for and accept help. I know now that in order to be a decent person, I need to schedule daily time for myself and only myself, and that exercise and “me” time are as vital as food and sleep.
Describe your perfect weekend, what does it involve?
Reading books on my sofa or outside in the sun, with no one asking me to do anything for them!Dreams aside, just having time with my children, taking the time to enjoy nature, going for a walk, going to the beach, hanging out with friends, eating delicious food. And when things open again, visits to museums!
Please tell us about the work you do with Funtasia, and how people can get involved?
Funtasia Enterprise is a USA Benefit Corporation, delivering both online and physical content and experiences designed for children, parents andeducators.These are hands-on learning programs and curriculums that work on emotional responsiveness, self- relationship and self-expression. They are intended to supplement a child’s traditional education. Through its Non-for-Profit arm, Funtasia continues to grant underserved communities around the world access to the Funtasia Educational Approach. We love receiving emails of people who want to get involved, lending their experience to develop some new programs or wanting to bring the Funtasia Educational Approach to new locations. Please visit Funtasia.org @funtasiaeducation
What encouraged you to start Funtasia? Was there a particular turning point or eureka! moment?
Firstly the need is personal. I need Funtasia for me and for my children. I need support as a parent in modelling and instilling life skills for my children so they can become the best version of themselves. I was bullied in school, felt rejected, was not seen or heard, and wasn’t encouraged to be who I really am, which caused years of insecurity, therapy and healing. If I had access to Funtasia Education when I was child, it would have made a fundamental difference to my life. Seeing the difference it’s making to the lives of 7000 people so far and knowing how much more we can offer is what drives me. When shooting a documentary in Egypt 8 years ago, the need to invest in a more progressive, qualitative, emphatic and systematic education came to me in a powerful moment. I could see the students thirst for learning, and equally the desire of tireless (often underpaid) teachers dedicated to educating the next generations, but without the appropriate tools.