29. Januar 2020

Josefin Freij, founding member of HER Copenhagen

We came across Josefin in a German magazine, which presented her Summer House in Tisvilde, Denmark, where we ultimately wanted to move in and spend – at least – the holidays. Doing our research homework on this inspiring and creative mind, we found out she was also a pr expert and founding member of the Copenhagen branch of the global women empowerment network HER – and thus a perfect personality to be featured in the “White Cube Art Project”. We took a chance and asked her to become part of it, and luckily, we ended up spending one wonderful summer morning on Copenhagen’s Den Roede Plads with her, laughing and talking and connecting.

How does it feel to be here in this cube?

Knowing the project, it is quite empowering. I feel like it is really a privilege to be here and to be able to inspire other women. That is what I love to do. I think it is important that we all remember to inspire each other.

Can you tell us about your current projects with HER Copenhagen?

We have focused a lot on mental health and having a healthy work-life-balance in the last events, as well as how to use your individual strengths to achieve that balance. Great themes for anyone, at all stages in life. The goal is to balance work life and link it with soft values that many of us oppress in our work persona. However, soft values can be great tools and an advantage in many situations. The message we want to bring across is that we should not cut values out that are extremely natural. Use it as your strength!

How did you become the founder of HER Copenhagen?

The team in Stockholm actually contacted me. They had heard of me through one of their leaders. Although I really did not have time for a side project, Aleksandra, the co-founder of HER Global Network, totally had me swept of my feet after our first call. The HER concept was just me, their goals and dreams were exactly what I wanted to communicate, so I just had to do it. Aleks told me they had stalked me a bit, and felt I was a good fit, but after our talk, she also felt like it had to be me. I was deeply honored and I said yes on the spot! It was a girl-crush on a professional and emotional level. Aleks and her partner and co-founder Sofia are two of the most inspiring women I have met in my life – how can one not want to work with them? However, I really had to think hard if I wanted to take on another responsibility.

What made you decide to do it?

I felt like the time was right. I had talked about these values and mindset when communicating for such a long time, that when I learned about their movement it just immediately felt right. Copenhagen needed a female movement and network just like this, with all the amazing and strong women we have here! I have met so many inspiring and kick-ass ladies along my way, but they could all benefit from sharing and learning from each other. Which is a big part of what HER is all about. All that strength, love and knowledge, to bring that into a joint movement.

What are your rough edges? What challenges you?

I am extremely bad at saying no. I had to learn that “no” is a loving word. I normally take on too many things. Therefore, to me saying “no” is actually just being able to give quality to the things that I actually engage in.

You are very much into positive mind setting, into yoga, meditation. How did you first start out? Have you always been that positive?

Yes, I think it is my mum who shines through me. I have always been very headstrong and active, a bit hyper and wanting to do everything – classic time optimist. My mum on the contrary is very calm and collected and extremely loving and positively set. I always thought that we were very different, growing up I always thought I was like my dad. He was the crazy
one, he was fun, the life of the party, and everyone was laughing at his jokes. I was like that growing up, too. A little rollercoaster.
However, I realized that a lot of me, like the femininity in me, and basic positive mind comes definitely from my mum. I realized that the mindset is something you choose. A positive mindset keeps a healthy mind. She gave me all of these great values that I’ve been able to use throughout my adulthood – and especially in work. Being at a place in your career where you might influence other people, you need to be mindful of how you act. Set a positive tone, set an example. We often still have calls where we just chat for days about these things, my mom and I.

You have many tattoos. I would be afraid of a tattoo, because it is like a footprint, forever. What is the meaning of your tattoos?

The funny thing about my tattoos is that they do not mean anything. They are just art, very random. I totally understand why you would be afraid, and I think most people have good reasons for their tattoos. However, I think that having too high of an expectation of what something means to you can easily be disappointed. For me tattoos are beautiful because I just love art, especially this kind of old school art.

How did you decide for the tattoos?

I said to my tattooist “I want a pin-up, but I want a pin-up that’s strong and cool”, and he just started doing something and said “this is how it looks” and I’m like “she needs to have a bigger butt and needs to have bigger boobs because it’s me”, so he enhanced her body a little bit so she was a little bit fuller, and on we went. I leave it up to the artist a little bit.

Therefore, you do not take yourself too serious.

Yes, definitely.

What makes you angry?

People not accepting other people. Especially today on Den Roede Plads in Copenhagen, which is all about a multicultural society with acceptance for one another… There needs to be room for us all. Create acceptance and respect – not fear and hate.

What do you love?

Music! I really do love music. I even went to music school when I was a kid and played the bass and sang. All kinds of music make me happy. I love jazz and blues, but I also love a good hip-hop song. When we go out or have a party at home and I hear something from the 90’s, I am like “yes! That’s my jam!”

What makes you laugh?

Apart from SNL (Saturday Night Live) – my friends. They know my humor exactly. I love joking around and I do not take life too serious.

Is there something funny about you that you would share with us?

One of my absolute dreams since I was a little girl has always been to be an actress on SNL, which is silly because what Swedish girl based in Copenhagen could ever do that…?

What does our #cometogethernow mean to you?

There is gay pride week in Copenhagen now, an event that still is much needed in our society. I want to go down there with my husband and my little daughter later, to show our love and support for all our LGBTQ+ friends. It is fruitful to come together in all spectra, which is how we connect and often how we grow.

What is your passion?

There are two things that are important to me; when I am all by myself, it is yoga, because that is like my thing, but to the outside world, it is probably people and connection. People are interesting. There are two things that are really important to me; when I am all by myself it is yoga, because that’s like my thing… but to the outside world it is probably communication and people and positivity and inspiring other people.

Are you living your dream job?

Right now I am. When it is not my dream job anymore I will switch.

How did your life change being a mother?

I’m better at saying no, I’m better at grounding myself, because I can be a bit of a dreamer, and I’m a lot better at deciding what I want. I do not compromise and think to much what other people want from me, rather than what I want to do and what my daughter feels like doing. Just taking on the day with less on my checklist. Not planning everything can be beautiful, too. I am a planner, but you know, sometimes it can be quite nice to just go with the flow. I do not push it, I let it flow, I feel it, and truly realize it. I think that my daughter definitely has taught me that.