FREEDOM LIES IN BEING BOLD
TESSY DE NASSAU
EP 002 / 28.10.2020
Mission Makers are joined this week by the former Princess of Luxembourg, UN Aids Ambassador and social entrepreneur, Tessy de Nassau. During the episode Tessy opens up about her childhood, her time in the military, and the many myths surrounding her life.
Say the words, Tessy de Nassau, and instantly you think of the one-time Princess of Luxembourg. Dig a little deeper though and what you discover is an accomplished individual who is grounded and relentlessly dedicated to her life’s mission of empowering, elevating and encouraging human rights for all, as well as raising her two young boys.
Incidentally it is on that topic where our conversation with Tessy begins. We are then regaled with tales from Tessy’s childhood, which as she points out was rather normal when compared to her later adult life. Following this, Tessy begins recalling some of her experiences from her time in the military where she spent five years serving the Luxembourg army with her twin brother. Aged 18, she was the only woman in her draft and unfortunately during these years, she became exposed to many harrowing encounters, including horrific sexual misconduct. It was her perseverance during this time that formed the foundation of her adult sense of duty and honor, becoming determined to fight for the rights of vulnerable women after what she saw in conflict zones. Tessy concludes by affirming that her priority as a mother is to teach her two sons, Gabriel and Noah, about the importance of being kind to others.
A humanitarian at heart, Tessy knows all too well what impact negative words and actions can have on an individual’s self-esteem. As we go on to learn throughout the episode, Tessy’s decision to join and divorce the House of Nassau exposed her to a previously unprecedented level of attention and scrutiny, something she still has to face to this day. It was one of the most painful things she has ever gone through; her body completely shut down and she was barely able to walk for months. This journey became even more heartbreaking by most of her friends whose true intentions were exposed when they chose to walk away from her at a time when she needed them the most. Tessy though seems to have come to terms with this and as she goes on to admit “at the end of the day people will have an opinion of you.” This liberating acceptance seems to permeate Tessy’s day to day thinking and she is now keen for others to better understand their own value and their own self, “you can't please everyone” she adds.
It is this clarity, integrity and drive that has formed the backbone for Tessy to transcend her freedom into light, and her projects and countless awards, including the Women of the Decade by the Women Economic Forum, are a true testimony to that. From her newly found sustainable fashion label, to her NGO Professors Without Borders and work in impact consultancy with Finding Butterflies Ltd, she has certainly inspired and empowered all those that are lucky enough to cross her path.
The full conversation can be found on the video below and on the Mission Makers podcast on Spotify and Apple.
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Lessons To Fuel Your Mission:
Stand firm in the face of criticism if it is not constructive
Freedom is a state of mind and it comes from being bold
Be mindful of shutting out as much white noise as you can
Comparing yourself to others is an act away from your authentic self