Ciao Italian Style Lovers, our #MYCLAHTTITUDE column continues, where I will interview people who represent and express our “Myclah Attitude” for me. What’s this? It is the natural predisposition to positive thinking, to concrete action, to the desire to do well to generate the beautiful and good.
Our today’s guest, Michaela K. Bellisario is an Italian-Dutch fashion journalist and author. Based in Milan she works for Io Donna the weekly women’s magazine of Corriere della Sera. With her we will discover how life can give us another chance if we really want it.
– Michaela, life begins now if just want to get out of your comfort zone. This is the message behind your latest book ‘Happy at 50’, a book co-written with Claudia Rabellino Becce. Is 50 a golden age?
It can be , if you want it to be. In particular if you have worked on yourself to get to this moment. 50 years old , then, can truly be a golden age. An age of wisdom and awareness. Where we know who we are and where we are going. Without getting lost in dark woods or in “sturm un drang” emotions typical of the thirties. We become the compass of ourselves. We hold the bar of our life in hand. And it is no small thing also because this age – and it must be said without shame – is also a time of strong changes: the fertile age ends, hormonal changes , our body changes , we enter menopause and a sort of invisibility threshold with grown-up children and a career under way. Paradoxically, in this new time of our life it is still the time for questions. Now I am here and so how do I want to live it?
– After 40 , life has reserved for you great pain but also the opportunity for rebirth. How helpful was it to share your suffering and knowing that you can be an example to many other women?
The pains are for strengthening and, unfortunately, they are part of life. The problem is that we are never prepared to face them when they come upon us. My daughter Carolina was born and then died twenty hours after birth. I had no more children.There is a before and an after in this tragedy. A Michaela who was and a Michaela who is now. I wrote a book – it’s called ‘Tell me about her’ – to make people aware of perinatal mourning. Unfortunately, little is said about it in the media, at the cinema, on TV. There is a strong taboo around death, even more enormous when it comes to children. It is not even mentioned in pre-birth courses or with friends. You just live. It happens to you and the shock is so great that you need to scream your pain. And that’s what happened to me. Many women have written to me: “Michaela you told my story”.
– With your works as an author and journalist and as an ambassador for Caractere you thoroughly investigate the female universe and important thematic features such as female empowerment and gender equality. What actual changes and progress do you see in society in relation to this?
It’s more progress than reverse, thankfully. The election of Kamala Harris as Vice President of the United States is a magnificent sign. However, at the same time, still prejudice resist. Recently, a Milanese university professor of the Statale ended up in the eye of the storm for having written a hateful post on his Facebook page about Kamala Harris emphasizing “that if you go to bed with the right men and with right friends you can also act as a shoulder to a man with dementia “. There is a long way to go. A satirical page of Wikipedia reported all the times in which a news item speaks of a woman without mentioning her name. With a man it would never happen. No newspaper would ever write: “A man at the helm of such a bank”. But yes, with Caractere and Claudia Rabellino Becce, with whom we wrote “Happy at 50”, we are happy to have given birth to a series of talks to strengthen female empowerment. We have interviewed exceptional women. Tough and happy women. Like the landscape architect Isadora De Pasquale who, during the lockdown, realized her idea of urban greenery: even a vase of flowers on the terrace is able to give new life to a person.
– You are one of the leading experts in history and current affairs of the English royal house and you also have a very popular podcast ‘God save the Queen – Royal news’. Tell us about your passion.
The passion started in the editorial office, at iO Donna, where I work. There was such a passionate editor-in-chief of Queen Elizabeth that she wanted me writing about it almost every day on the magazine’s website. In the end, I fell in love with it too. The British sovereign is a myth, a legend, she has broken every record in the world, and in this century. A legendary figure. Now I take care of a daily column, always on the web, dedicated to royal looks. It’s called the Royal Look of the Day. And it gives me satisfaction. It is a very popular page. A sign that the Kate Middletons, the Maxima of Holland and the Letizia of Spain can be considered as true influencers. The podcast is instead titled God Save the Queen, and takes up – as is well known – the British national anthem. It is conducted as a radio program together with a colleague from London, Emily Stefania Coscione. Every week we interview royal experts on the topic of the week. We left in full lockdown and reached 300,000 downloads. Our interview with Antonio Caprarica about Harry and Meghan Markle and Kate as a Queen was even picked up by the British tabloids.
– Italy is your country but you have Dutch origins on your mother’s side. Tell us if and how this affected your upbringing as a daughter and your mentality.
For years I have wondered why I was also half Dutch. I understood this when I met my husband Pete, whom I met in the Netherlands, in Rotterdam. It was a circle that somehow closed. I am proud of my dual origins because I feel that my family raised me with a dual mentality by offering me the best of both cultures. And, then, when it suits me I am “Italian” and vice versa “Dutch”. Certainly, when the Dutch premier Rutte wanted to deny aid to the Italians, I did not feel proud of the country. And, in fact, then, with my Dutch family members we had quite a heavy fight on the matter.
– You know that MYCLAH is a Fashion and Lifestyle portal. What is your relationship with fashion? What items can not miss from your wardrobe?
I have been involved in fashion for a long time until ten years ago. And, for the speed of fashion trends, it seems like a century ago. I was able to see Ferrè’s latest fashion show, Prince at Donatella Versace for an after show, Giorgio Armani’s outbursts at the end of the shows and his press conferences backstage where he was always voiceless. Now everything is changing, but it is an interesting way, always projected towards the future, perhaps among the few who pick up on the signs of costume. I love heels and jeans. Each combination follows these two elements.
– We leave you with a curiosity; what are your plans for the near future?
I just wrote a novel. The protagonist is a royal watcher in love with Queen Elizabeth and jealous of Meghan Markle…
My agent is selling it right now.