Debbie Millman has an ongoing project at PRINT titled “What Matters.” This is an effort to understand the interior life of artists, designers, and creative thinkers. This facet of the project is a request of each invited respondent to answer ten identical questions and submit a nonprofessional photograph.
Emma Eriksson is Head of Creative at Forsman & Bodenfors, based in Brooklyn, New York.
What is the thing you like doing most in the world?
I like to be in motion, both physically and mentally. It doesn’t have to be drastic — traveling or just walking, learning new things and seeing new people. Staying inside a whole day by myself makes me go nuts and I really thrive being around funny people. I also love making things around me beautiful. I’m a sucker for beauty, and finding it helps me feel good.
What is the first memory you have of being creative?
As a child, I set up shows on Saturday nights where I directed my younger siblings in various roles. I made the set design, the costumes, the choreography and was the show’s leading lady. My singing was horrible, and I feel sorry for my parents sitting through this. I remember them saying, at least you can’t blame her for not being creative and understanding that was a good thing.
What is your biggest regret?
Throughout my life, I have turned down some opportunities for the wrong reasons. I was too scared of what people might think of me or that I would fail. This fear was completely unnecessary since I now realize that people mostly worry about themselves and don’t even care. It’s a story I share with many, and I wish everyone to do whatever they want without worry. My upbringing in the north of Sweden informed that mindset of Jante, yes there’s even a word for it.
How have you gotten over heartbreak?
I’m incredibly proud, so I kept myself busier than ever and focused on new objects of desire. I also have some incredible women in my life who are excellent listeners.
What makes you cry?
I think about a song that translates to “Sometimes I cry just because time goes by” by Marit Bergman. I relate so much, getting older but feeling young inside, my children growing up, reminding me of myself and how friendship changes over time. I cry to music, movies, TV shows, books and protest marches. It makes me happier to cry, to let it all out.
How long does the pride and joy of accomplishing something last for you?
Not long at all. I instantly start thinking about the next thing and feel more joy when I make new plans. It’s easier for me to admit that I’m proud of others than myself, but I guess sometimes it’s the same, like if I’m proud of my team or my children, I’m also part of it in some way.
Do you believe in an afterlife, and if so, what does that look like to you?
I want to believe in an afterlife and decided it makes life more fun. I don’t have to know what it would be like — let it be a surprise.
What do you hate most about yourself?
I’m annoyingly horrible at being on time. Unfortunately, it has always been a struggle. I’m so immersed in the moment or my own head that I lose track of time, and then I’m late again. I’m genuinely sorry about this and hate that it’s so hard for me to change.
What do you love most about yourself?
That I don’t give up, I’m not a quitter. And that I somehow manage to get out of terrible messes and land on my feet.
What is your absolute favorite meal?
It’s such a treat to be fed by other people, so almost everything homemade is my favorite meal. My husband makes a lovely risotto with a lemon mackerel that I always look forward to. Nearly everything at Italian restaurants is also my favorite meal.