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Art & Culture / The AnOther Proust Questionnaire

Natalie Massenet

Using his modern interpretation of the original Proust Questionnaire, Jefferson Hack uncovers the true mindsets of his peers

Natalie Massenet
Natalie Massenet

To kick off a special collaboration between Net-a-Porter and anothermag.com for the next weeks, the website's founder and executive chairman and newly elected Chairman of the British Fashion Council Natalie Massenet answers Jefferson Hack's personalised version of the Proust Questionnaire...

To kick off a special collaboration between Net-a-Porter and anothermag.com taking place over the next weeks, the website's founder and executive chairman and newly elected Chairman of the British Fashion Council Natalie Massenet answers Jefferson Hack's personalised version of the Proust Questionnaire.

Natalie Massenet founded her online fashion empire Net-a-Porter in 2000 after her role as a fashion editor at various publications, including Women's Wear Daily and Tatler, led her to the conclusion that women were in desperate need of a well-curated shopping experience, bringing them easy web access to the season's most desirable new pieces. Thereafter the style visionary steered the business from strength to strength, her immaculate taste and ceaseless passion the driving force behind the site's multiplying anuual turnovers. Eventually selling The Net-a-Porter Group in 2010 – although remaining the busnisess's executive chairman – Massenet then set about developing the brother version of the site, Mr Porter and discount designer store, THE OUTNET.

What are you thinking of right now? 
These questions.

What makes you laugh?
Erik, Tracy T, Kate, Anne Marie, Paul, Tracy L, Michael, Bella, Ava – without fail. But the funniest is Michael.

What makes you cry?
I cry often, not a big wailing cry, but lots of tears. I cry at anything remotely touching – smile at me warmly and I’m off…television also does it, everything from X-Factor to cereal commercials. I cry when I am tired. I also cry when I laugh. 

What do you consider to be the greatest invention?
Waterproof mascara.

Do you have a mentor or inspirational figure that has guided or influenced you?
Anna Wintour has guided me. Audrey Hepburn has influenced me.

Where do you feel most at home?
At home.

Where are you right now?
London.

What is your proudest achievement in work?
I love that I love my job, and from what I’m told, that others who I work with do too. 

What is your proudest achievement in life?
My relationship with my daughters.

What do you most dislike about contemporary culture?
I love contemporary culture. Even the stuff I don’t like. 

What do you most like about the age we live in?
The magic inter-connectivity we are experiencing through the mind-blowing expansion of the web. 

At what points do life and work intersect?
Shameless plug but accurate: when I shop on Net-a-porter.com, ha ha.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given?
“This too shall change.”

What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken?
I am lucky that everyday my risk gets bigger because I have more and more to lose.

Recommend a book or poem that has changed your perspective on life?
Creative Visualisation by Shakti Gawain.

What is your earliest childhood memory?
Running, a white room, dining room table, laughing, my mom looking beautiful and tall – also in white, Madrid. 

What’s the most important relationship in your life?
With my kids. But every relationship is important.

What’s the most romantic action you’ve taken?
Letting myself truly fall in love.

What’s the most spiritual action you’ve taken?
Letting myself truly fall in love.

If you could wish for one change in the world what would it be?
For people to treat each other as they wish to be treated. That would do it!

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