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Carla Bruni Has Been A Model, Singer, Songwriter, And First Lady Of France- And Now, She's An Entrepreneur Too "To me, it's a whole new situation because creative work is very different from commerce, even though creativity is everywhere- in journalism, in sports, in organizations…"

By Aalia Mehreen Ahmed Edited by Aby Sam Thomas

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

You're reading Entrepreneur Middle East, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.

Carla Bruni

This article is from a special edition of Entrepreneur Middle East created for the 2024 edition of the Women's Empowerment (WE) Convention, staged by the WE Council. Check out the full publication here.

Whenever Carla Bruni gets mentioned, there is often a formidable list of achievements that follows her name. Indeed, Bruni has had a lucrative career as a model, and, then, as a singer-songwriter that started with her 2003 debut album, Quelqu'un m'a dit, which famously saw over two million copies sold all around the world. Amidst all of this, Bruni also served as the First Lady of France between 2008 and 2012, and in 2020, Bruni ventured into the realm of entrepreneurship too, through her co-ownership of the Château d'Estoublon, an 18th century castle housing a vineyard, located in the South of France. "I've started to learn commerce now," Bruni tells me. "To me, it's a whole new situation because creative work is very different from commerce, even though creativity is everywhere- in journalism, in sports, in organizations… So, creativity is something that we all have inside, and that we all can use."

As I spoke to Bruni on the sidelines of the 2024 Women Empowerment (WE) Convention, an initiative of the WE Council that took place in Dubai in April, it became clear that the ambience of the event -which had the likes of Dubai Police Airwing's H.H. Sheikha Mozah bint Marwan Al Maktoum, tennis champion Maria Sharapova, and actor Meryem Uzerli as speakers, and over 2,000 people as attendees- was a great example of what gets her creatively stimulated. "What drives my creativity is just observing people around me, the world, and getting an emotion from that," Bruni explains. "That's what gives me the most creativity. Being here now with you, talking, exchanging. I like that. I like to imagine what one's life is like- how do you live? What are your dreams? So, actually, I get creativity from connecting with other people."

Carla Bruni during a session at the WE Convention 2024. Source: WE Convention/WE Council

But creativity -whether it is within entrepreneurship, or any other facet of business- can sometimes feel curbed if one is close to burning out, especially if one's work-life balance is in disarray. And according to Bruni, achieving stability between one's professional and personal life is much more difficult for women. "Women have to do it all, and so, we're in a much more fragile position than men, you know?" she says. "Men have their place in society; we have to get our place in society. Men can work and have a family, we have to take care of the family and work. So, first of all, it gives me a very strong sense of admiration for all women. You know, there are a lot of women who are working hard [in their professions], but also have a family, and have to take care of the house, because they have no help. So, yeah, the position of a woman is difficult, no matter how lucky we are- it's always more difficult than being a man. The modern woman has a lot to do, and it is a lot on her shoulders."

Related: Big Goals, Bold Choices: Sara Al Madani, Serial Entrepreneur, Public Speaker, And Reality TV Star

Here, Bruni adds that when it comes to attaining the ideal work-life balance, "women do it properly; we are wise!" There is, however, one piece of advice that Bruni imparts for female professionals with much ado- and it is to do with not holding on to the idea of success. "I would say success is a rare situation- 90% of the situations in life are failures, but that's good," she says. "Because you don't learn anything from success; you learn a lot from failure. So, I would say, life, sometimes, offers us a little success, and that's enough. Longevity doesn't mean anything; success is an exception. The most common thing is failure, not success, for every human being. Even the one who looks like they're 'up there,' they're failing… So, I believe that success is very rare and very pleasant, but it doesn't teach us anything. You know what teaches us? It is when we fall, and we stand up again. That's the good thing of life. So, it hurts, it's painful, it's hard- we would rather have success and an easy life, but there's no such thing as an easy life."

But all of this isn't to say that one mustn't covet success, of course. In fact, Bruni herself says she is keen to see more female entrepreneurs create successful business endeavors. "Success in entrepreneurship is very important for women- because they have to be strong in this society," she says. "This society has been made by men, so when women entrepreneurs work hard, and make their business, and make their mark in this world, I have deep and great admiration for them." And Bruni, of course, would hope that such success would translate into her own entrepreneurial journey. But that isn't all there is to her goals for the future. "The next step for me would be to just keep what I have- that would be such a wonderful thing," Bruni says. "You know we have five children and three grandchildren- if they're healthy and happy, my life is heaven."

Carla Bruni at the WE Convention 2024 which was held in Dubai from May 20-21, 2024 at the Atlantis Royal. Source: WE Convention/WE Council

Insider Insights: Carla Bruni shares her notes for career-oriented women

Never let anyone choose for you "Keep control of your lives. This comes through the work and the place we make for ourselves in society. No family life, no matter how happy it may be, can give us the strength that our work, our fulfillment provides."

Do not let calculation dictate your choices "Let your instinct take over, it is the best guide. Instinctively choose what suits you, and it will bring you fulfillment."

Do not neglect the importance of friendship and love "No career can be fulfilled without the foundation of tenderness. We are not obligated to choose between our work and love. Find a partner who respects you and respects your ambition. Find friends who accompany you. Life is fundamentally made of love; love is the foundation on which one can build their success."

Related: Big Goals, Bold Choices: Mila Smart Semeshkina, Founder, Women's Empowerment Council And WE Convention

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed

Features Editor, Entrepreneur Middle East

Aalia Mehreen Ahmed is the Features Editor at Entrepreneur Middle East.

She is an MBA (Finance) graduate with past experience in the corporate sector, and was also co-founder of CyberSWIFTT- an anti-cyberbullying campaign that ran from 2017-2018 as part of the e7: Daughters of the Emirates program.

Ahmed is particularly keen on writing stories involving people-centric leadership, female-owned startups, and entrepreneurs who've beaten significant odds to realize their goals.

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