A Day In The Life Of: Countess Cath Alexandrine Danneskiold-Samsøe

With a noble title along with an impressive coat of arms that stem from the descendants of the Danish King, Christian V, Cath Alexandrine Danneskiold-Samsøe is known throughout Denmark for her love of art, luxury and fearlessness in being herself. From art gallery owner to Editor of a magazine, she can also be found opening Copenhagen Fashion Week as a model. We speak to the imitable woman behind the job titles and discover how she stays positive…

 

TELL US ABOUT YOURSELF IN APPROXIMATELY THREE SENTENCES…

I have recently moved to London, which I love.  I feel like a passionate citizen of the world, especially here. I am a deep thinker with a broad range of interests, which are mirrored in my diverse work experience: Art Curator and Art Adviser, Editor-in-Chief of the magazine Beredskab, Branding expert, and Designer. I am also an Ambassador for two humanitarian organizations: The Red Cross and The Civil Protection League which I proudly support as a volunteer, because to me, it gives life a deeper meaning.

WHAT TIME DOES YOUR ALARM GO OFF, AND WHAT’S THE FIRST THING YOU DO WHEN YOU WAKE UP?

It all depends on my schedule. Being disciplined, I can adapt to any time-schedule; however, I must admit I am not an early lark, I am an owl-woman, enjoying late nights… so espresso coffee is the very first thing on my mind when I wake up!

 

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR WORKING WARDROBE? WHAT ARE YOUR FASHION STAPLES – THE PIECES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL LIKE YOU CAN ACHIEVE ANYTHING?

My dressing depends both on the situation and my mood. However, I always respect a dress code to fit into different professional environments, social occasions, or when the host dictates attire. I like both discrete elegance, eccentric edge, and being playful, and all this is a part of my personality. My diverse work and having friends ranging from 20-90 years old, gives me the opportunity of variation, all from classic-trendy to casual, which I find refreshing. I love good quality, and I enjoy being chic, also when I am at home alone. Some people find it slightly eccentric, but I am not doing it to stand out from the crowd. It is just very much me. I dress for myself and not to impress anyone else. When it comes to fashion and the hottest trends – to me everything which is ‘hot today’ gets ‘cold tomorrow,’ and looks more like a boring cliché of ‘yesterday’… I will never become a fashion victim. Wearing a complete designer look is not for me. Some people say I have a timeless style, which is the best compliment I have ever received. I guess because I am true to myself, my taste remains the same, but since my curious, and playful mind keeps moving fast ahead, that is the reason, I guess, why people associate me with the fashion-arena.

 

WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE FOR YOU?

I am very introvert in the morning. Morning is a time when I need solitude and space to manage the transition from the world of my dreams to the rational world. But I admit I pray for my dreams and reality to become one… I spend my mornings at my window with the most amazing view over the green fields of Petersham, Richmond Park, and the Thames. Here I start my day enjoying a series of espressos while peacefully paying gratitude to the world and the powers stronger than us human beings. After 4 espressos, I am energized, ready to embrace my tasks of the day and meet the world with an open mind as a constructive and structured executor and much more. My creative capacity is best from 11 am and on. I always write my to-do-lists in the evening, before going to bed. I usually end my day very late at night, reading books for approx 2 hours, to detach from the day, myself, me and I… These are my framed routines that I am addicted to because they secure me a precious mental-space where I can recharge.

HOW DID YOU GET TO WHERE YOU ARE TODAY IN YOUR CAREER?

 I guess one of the answers to any success is that working hard towards our goals, brings us more luck. I am a critical thinker and perfectionist, but I am also humble and very good at observing and listening. Being open-minded has always helped me to understand other people’s opinions. I find inspiration in the diversity we are surrounded by. To me, it is like an endless parade of stimulating new possibilities, ideas, and the right answers.  At work, I am constructive and ready to give all that it takes to deliver what I have committed to. I am the best version of myself when trust is given to me, which I humbly appreciate, by delivering much more in return. It is the most significant privilege for me, and I think a real win-win, when I am leading projects to success and making all parties happy during the process.

WHICH ACHIEVEMENT ARE YOU MOST PROUD OF?

When I was given carte blanche to create the content for the Danish magazine Beredskab (a quarterly magazine by an organization under the Danish Ministry of Defence), both as Editor-in-Chief, Creative Director and Publisher. Besides creating content for the magazine and designing it, I am most proud of writing keynote interviews with the country’s political leaders, including the prime minister, various other ministers, as well as leading scientists on terror, cybercrime, climate change, and bringing debates on future security trends… and doing it all from my chair at home. While the public opinion gladly relates me to the world of art, fashion and the luxury industry, I am proud to also add more meaningful value to society by creating awareness on the national and international risks such a fire and rescue, pandemics, cybercrime, terror, natural catastrophes, chemical weapons, etc.   I am also proud of my various design projects. Among others, I was the Interior Designer for the 5-star hotel: Kokkedal Castle in Denmark. It turned out to be a big success… just another contradiction someone would say…

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST WORK CHALLENGE TO DATE?

Envy… I have met much jealousy in professional situations where energy had to be spent, wrongly, on watching ones back and on defending oneself, instead of focusing on the project.  I have always tried to ignore it, but I must admit it can be disturbing. Entering the art scene, back in 2004 in “designer-shoes” has also been challenging for me, only because I didn’t match the prototype of an academic at that time… However, by being true to my values and focusing on my competences, and my life-long love for art, I have ended up curating a few major museum exhibitions at Vejle Art Museum, which has been followed by many.

IF YOU WEREN’T IN YOUR CURRENT PROFESSION, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING?

I have both strong visual intuition and an intellectual sense, which I would love to express even more in my professional life. I would be a cultural curator, working within the world of art and design. Through my curatorial projects I would love to invite a broad audience, kids included, to interactive experiences, analyzing our purpose in life, questioning our behaviors, and bring direct and honest conclusions. I would love to be an inspiration to bridge our traditions/heritage with innovation. We all should understand that we must act like architects of our shared future, by both adapting to the digital rules dictated by the IT-Accelerators, and by carefully carrying with us, the best of what we have ever created throughout our time as human beings.

 

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO WOMEN LOOKING TO GET INTO YOUR INDUSTRY?

You should always bring integrity in all you do. You should believe in yourself, but be critical, humble and genuine. When you find your call, pamper it, educate it and work hard for it. We must remember that nothing comes from nothing, we should never take good luck for granted. Working hard brings us better luck. Learn to be a good team-player, and never let your ego into teamwork. You can be a ‘first-mover’ but I believe that in a team, you can be the ‘first prover’; Good team-players have better options to reach their goals, and we should target results rather than personal gain. But of course… negotiate your value, express openly your right to secure that both interests are intact.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE INSPIRATIONAL QUOTE?

I have three favorites:

“Life is like a boomerang, whatever you throw out there, it will always return to you.”

“Fashions fade, style is eternal.”

“Without elegance of the heart, there is no elegance.”

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