Only 11 days after he beheaded his second wife (the flamboyant Anne Boleyn), King Henry VIII married a pale, fair-haired maiden called Jane Seymour. Who exactly was this girl, and what had made the king so besotted with her? To this day, historians don’t quite know what to make of her.
‘The Enigma’, they call her, but it is exactly within this opaqueness that I see Jane Seymour’s quiet strength. There are a few facts: Jane was born around 1509 in Wiltshire, the daughter of ‘a groom of the bedchamber’. She had been a court lady, serving both Catherine of Aragon and Anne Boleyn. Of her interests, her passion and talent for needlework jumps out; she even managed to turn King Henry into an enthusiastic embroiderer! When Jane became Queen in 1536, Henry gave her a magnificent gold cup designed by Hans Holbein. Engraved on its surface was her phoenix emblem –mysterious symbol of rebirth and transformation- and her chosen motto: ‘Bound to Obey and Serve’. But was she really as demure as her motto suggested? What exactly had been her role in Anne Boleyn’s downfall? Jane just smiled, and carried on. In 1537, a few days after she gave birth to the king’s long-awaited son, she died from childbed fever. ‘Here lies a Phoenix, by whose death, another Phoenix life gave breath,’ was inscribed on her tombstone. She had taken her secrets with her to the grave.
I AM A FEMINIST.
You know I’m a self-made woman who has made it my purpose to challenge women to dare. It’s an achievement I am immensely proud of, and for that reason, I am equally proud to label myself a feminist. But looking back more than a hundred years, I’m even prouder of the progress women have made together.
FEARLESS ﬂy GIRL
Niatia (pronounce: ‘naah-tee-yah), also known by her stage name Lil Mama (28), is a fearless rapper, singer, dancer and actress from Brooklyn, New York. Her breakout hit ‘Lip Gloss’ came out in 2007, and since then she has been a celebrity judge on America’s Best Dance Crew, played Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez in VH1’s CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, and was most recently the lead actress in a movie called ‘When love kills; The Falicia Blakely story’. But it hasn’t always been a smooth ride…
GUTS & GLORY
Meet Viktoriya Isakova (41), a stunningly beautiful Russian actress who is not afraid to get down and dirty for her brave performances. Her film credits include ‘Tochka’ (2006), a movie about human trafficking and prostitution and ‘Mirrors’ (2013), in which she plays the tragic Marina Tsvetaeva, one of the greatest Russian poets of the 20th century. I talked to the winner of many (international) awards about ageing, lingerie, and the need to always stay true to yourself.
Women’s Day 2019
Happy Women’s Day! I am extra excited about this edition, because wow, what a year it’s been for feminism! This is the year that we went global; that we showed up with our money, our bodies, our time and our voices to show the world: this is OUR time!