Let’s begin by talking about your career in journalism: you have not chosen an easy field to write about like Mafia involvement or even about the life of a cam girl. What aspects of these perhaps more dramatic stories appeal to you?
I have always loved two aspects of journalism: on one hand, it gave me the opportunity to fight a lot of injustices. Sometime our investigations have actually changed things – for example when we had an entire community moved from public housing built with asbestos in Milan. No matter the fact that a number of young people had already fallen ill with cancer, those families hadn’t been relocated for years, until we brought public attention to that matter. On the other hand, it allowed me to explore worlds I would never have been in contact with otherwise. That was the case of my years spent investigating the mafia, especially the leading role of women within the organization. I did a documentary on them and I am currently co-producing a tvseries about mafia women for Amazon Prime - the filming just started a couple of weeks ago.
Storytelling is obviously close to your heart …
Storytelling is at the heart of what I do, weather it happens through writing or filming. I started shifting careers when I moved to Monaco because to be a good reporter you have to be in constant touch with your sources, which was no longer feasible. Therefore, I started a production company called Astrea Films to focus on more long-term projects, and I already have a couple of very exciting ones in development.
You also have a deep friendship with fashion brands such as Dior or Giambattista Valli or Buccellati - by what criteria do you choose who you wear and who you might even be a testimonial for?
I appreciate the beauty that comes from talent, craftsmanship, and skills taught generation after generation, as is the case of the Buccellati creations that I have loved since I was a little girl. My collaborations could only come from a very genuine and mutual appreciation.
It is certainly not easy with public opinions and expectations - is this something that still affects you today?
Not really, to be honest. I very much value the opinion of people that I deeply respect and that are close to me, but I don’t pay anymore much attention to the rest. I think that as you grow up and define better your identity, it gets much easier to face criticism.
Especially if you do something you care about. How do you manage the balancing act between tradition and modernity in this respect? As my mother-in-law once beautifully said, traditions are the transmission of fire, not the worshiping of ashes. I like this concept very much, and I think that you can enjoy the cultural and historical implications of traditions without staying stuck in the past.
As stylish as the pictures may look - your reality is different?
Oh yes! I spend quite a lot of time in the countryside - especially during lockdown my husband and I have to take care of our animals around the clock. We have goats, cows, horses and sheep and I’m dressed accordingly.
How can you reconcile all your obligations as a mother, journalist, author and your social commitment?
I felt a little bit guilty when I properly got back to work but I see that our kids are happy and loving school. Also, my husband is a very present father, which helps a lot.
Could you give us an insight into your everyday life - what does a classic day, if there is one, usually looks like?
There is a lot of writing and researching, a lot of activities with the kids and many zoom meetings.
Especially your charitable commitment with the Croix Rouge is remarkable - which topics are currently particularly close to your heart?
My main thought now is the health crisis we all, as a global community, are facing. However, as much as a lot of people say we are all on the same boat, that’s really not the case. We are in the same storm, but the impact of this pandemic on struggling communities has been much more devastating. I’m very grateful to the Croix Rouge because it allowed me to help out, at least a little, and therefore to feel less powerless. Also, along the way, I got to meet so many wonderful and self less people. Some of them have night jobs and volunteer during the day – I was very inspired by their behavior.
Making the world a better place and highlighting grievances has been your mission since your early days as a journalist - has your approach here changed again since the birth of your two sons?
It has. I was seven months pregnant with Stefano when I finished filming a documentary about children employed by the clans as little soldiers, north of Naples. I felt really wrong about doing it, for the first time in my life. I was surrounded by drug addicts and mafia affiliates, and my heart broke thinking that my child could have been born there. Normally, these thoughts would push me to bring awareness to the issue, but somehow the urge of protecting my son from all of that was stronger than any other drive. That’s also partly why I am now focusing more on production and, definitely, less on the mafia.
Children are a very good keyword - at the beginning of the year you wrote the children’s book “Capitán Papaia and Greta – The little warrior who wanted to cross the Ocean”. It deals with your husband’s journey with environmental activist Greta Thunberg, with whom he crossed the Atlantic on a sailing ship to take part in the UN climate summit... Surely this provides plenty of material for stories?
I initially wrote “Capitan Papaia” to explain to my kids where their father had gone, because he had never left for so long before (nor after!). I asked my friend Maddalena Gerli to make drawings to help them understand and she did so beautifully. I decided to publish it when our kids started asking questions about the environment, and paying more attention to it. For example, if they see plastics on the ground they immediately pick them up. I thought it can’t hurt to introduce young children to topics such as the protection of our planet, and all of my revenues go to the Fondation prince Albert II to save the monk seals from extinction.
Children’s books in particular are otherwise often trivialised - how do you introduce such young people to this very serious subject?
I think that telling children of any age inspiring stories through epic adventures might have a very good impact on their future behavior - bringing awareness, after all, is and always will be beneficial to all of us.
Often the youngest members of our society are not listened to enough - what can we learn from children?
The best part to me is that children think completely outside the box. My son a while back saw the grass growing in a field and told me: “Mami, the field was cold and he got a grass-blanket”. They are a constant reminder that there are infinite points of view, and also that we should try harder – to be better, to make things better – because, ultimately, we do it for them.
Photos: Olga Jakovleva
Interview & publisher: Svitlana Lavrynovych
Production & publisher: Daria Romanenko
Concept & Styling: Anna Tet
Location: Hôtel de Paris Monte-Carlo
Retouch: Viktoria Rogovenko
Make-up: Fabienne Albin
Hair: Franck Doat