THE RACE IS ON: Kate Middleton can run with the best of them, as she proved Sunday sprinting with Prince William and Harry at the London Marathon Community Track. But she appears to have a worthy competitor in Canada’s First Lady Sophie Grégoire Trudeau.
In her first cover interview with Fashion magazine, Grégoire Trudeau races through her many athletic pursuits from crosscountry skiing, snowshoeing and tennis to more adrenaline-rushing ones such as skydiving, ice climbing and underwater diving with her Prime Minister husband Justin Trudeau. While her interest in yoga and pranayama might be more expected of a mother of three, barefooting — as in waterskiing without skis — is more her speed. “You have to be at high speeds, and when you fall, it’s like falling on cement. It’s rough, but the sensation is amazing when you’re on your feet.” Grégoire Trudeau told editor in chief Noreen Flanagan.
Despite having a great connection with Michelle Obama and meeting Middleton last year, Grégoire Trudeau said she is drawn to anyone who wants to shape the world and is ready to listen. “Even if you look at the planet, and you think it’s easy to be distraught and depressed, common goodness — human goodness — is very much alive, and it needs to thrive even more amid the chaos. We’re being called to rise up and raise our level of consciousness and connect with other human beings,” she said in the interview.
Seeing the cover images on set and speaking of her love for her husband weren’t the only prompters for teariness, Grégoire Trudeau also welled up at the National Gallery of Canada, talking about how her mother’s love shaped her life. And she sees how her own children — Xavier, Ella-Grace and Hadrien — receive that kind of unconditional love. “Even when we have arguments — I mean, they drive me crazy sometimes; don’t get me wrong,” she told Flanagan.
Through her ambassadorship with Plan Canada’s “Because I Am a Girl” initiative, Grégoire Trudeau often shares a message of self-empowerment. “They feel the fakeness — from fake nails to fake hair to fake breasts,” she says. “We tell girls to be themselves, but then they have role models — sometimes too many role models — in popular culture who incarnate that kind of disconnectedness from oneself. We are taught to self-hate; we are taught to doubt. Our culture doesn’t help us recognize ourselves as amazing beings without changing ourselves.”
Choosing all Canadian designers for the shoot, the 41-year-old wore a strapless Lucian Matis jumpsuit. The March issue is due out in Canada Monday and for the first time at select Barnes & Nobles stores in the U.S. Feb. 28.
Grégoire Trudeau also spoke candidly about her battle with bulimia in her late teens and into her 20s, and her views about feminism. She boils down feminism to knowing the facts and wanting to do something about it. But she was less definitive about Fashion’s “State of the Sisterhood” survey in which 71 percent of more than 1,100 respondents said feminism is more relevant now than it was before Donald Trump was elected the U.S. president. Diplomatically avoiding comment, she said she has been “feeling a sense of urgency for 30 years and that progress — at least in Canada — is being made.”
The real takeaway from the interview was one that never made it to the printed page. Discussing what makes them feel grateful, Flanagan mentioned that she teaches conversational English to a group of Syrian women on Wednesday nights. The conversation sailed on to other subjects but before leaving Grégoire Trudeau told Flanagan she had to write a letter to her class. Tearing a piece of paper from the notebook of an assistant from the Prime Minister’s office, she wrote, “To Shakira and all the courageous women from Syria, Welcome to your loving home; Canada. I walk with you on this path, With gratitude always, Sophie xx…”
Like her husband, who is reportedly expected to discuss the success of Canada’s refugee policy when he meets with President Trump in Washington, D.C., Monday, Grégoire Trudeau has been vocal about Canada welcoming refugees.