Today’s Modern Swans are distinguished beyond the attractive and affluent class—the special few who once were part of American writer Truman Capote’s handpicked circle of moneyed and well-mannered doyennes— that once captivated the 1950s New York scene. Modern Swans are more than that. They are the youthful ladies who tout successful careers with the bearing and behavior of the cultured rich. They are the beautiful women of influence and achievement who know the difference between what is stylish and what is merely expensive. They are the ardently productive wives who pursue personal achievement or career success and redefine the term “trophy wife,” ultimately becoming the reason for the rise of today’s new breed, the power couple. They are the smart and privileged mothers who may delegate some domestic work— but never childcare—even amid demanding day jobs, and who, like their ’50s counterparts, deal with society’s high standards of female beauty.
They are the ardently productive wives who pursue personal achievement or career success and redefine the term 'trophy wife,' ultimately becoming the reason for the rise of today’s new breed, the power couple.
The efforts of modern moms do not go unrewarded. As if to unburden them from the usual guilt associated with spending hours at work instead of at home, the Harvard Business School published a study last year conducted among 50,000 adults across 24 countries, which revealed that daughters of working mothers have better careers and are more likely to hold supervisory jobs and earn more than daughters of stay-at-home mothers. The sons, on the other hand, were found to grow up becoming more well-rounded men more likely to spend extra time caring for the family and doing household chores. “Whether moms or dads stay at home or are employed part-time or full-time, children benefit from exposure to role models offering a wide set of alternatives for leading rich and rewarding lives,” says the study’s lead author, Harvard Business School professor Kathleen McGinn, in its published report.
They are representative of perhaps everything that has taken generations of women to accomplish, only putting more emphasis on the idea that careers and passions need not end where motherhood or marriage begins.
Modern Swans in some ways are like many mothers we meet every day. They are representative of perhaps everything that has taken generations of women to accomplish, only putting more emphasis on the idea that careers and passions need not end where motherhood or marriage begins. And the key, apart from the progress in society that has helped shape this status quo, has always been about striking that ideal balance of roles—that of a nurturing mother, a loving wife, and a career woman. They are not and will never be perfect, but for the most part, they are women who are able to manage their roles well enough in order to truly have it all.
Young, free, always invited, obsessively followed, and frequently photographed, as defined by Town&Country, the Modern Swans are worthy not just of our attention, but also of our admiration. Here, we sit down with four of them—Mikaela Martinez, Bianca Elizalde, Stephanie Crespi, and Amanda Jacob—whose lives and pursuits truly define what it is to be a woman of today.
MIKAELA LAGDAMEO MARTINEZ
“When I got married and had kids, I was already an entrepreneur. I had a clothing line and a modeling agency, and I was very active in the modeling industry. So I had always managed my own time while being a hands-on mom. I moved on to having a magazine of my own and a food business. When my youngest started school, I decided to try the corporate world, and that was my first nine-to-five job! I was scared, of course, and wasn’t sure if I’d last because I had always been used to flexibility. But it actually worked out and I was there for four years till I moved to Stores Specialists Inc. Life has really become more fulfilling for myself and for my family. It also gives me a good balance of everything—at home, at work, and my social life."
STEPHANIE ZUBIRI CRESPI
“I’m one of those people who love having a full plate— the busier I am, the more productive I am. Currently my days are filled with taping for Modern Living TV and writing articles for Philippine Star. I’m also managing the travel lifestyle website, the Gypsetters, with Vicki Abary, and am working on material for stephaniezubiri.com. On top of that I manage a full household and make spending time with my husband and kids my number one priority. I don’t worry about every tiny detail or go crazy about all these developmental stages or goals that the mommy press is so focused on. Our children not the center of the family but an equal unit. I will not, however, compromise on being his primary caregiver. We have a nanny but we didn’t get one specifically for him. I want him to see her as extended family and not a replacement for us. I also won’t compromise time with my husband Jonathan. In the end we have to cultivate our relationship as husband and wife because we start together and end together. This is really important to us.”
AMANDA GRIFFIN JACOB
“My three kids keep me incredibly busy. I’m a hands-on, full-time mom since we live in Singapore. That’s why I enjoy my blogging, the Glam-O-Mamas website, and my Manila Bulletin column. I’m able to tailor my work schedule to fit my family needs. Time management challenges me. I always knew that I would be a working mom because I find fulfillment in my work. I never really had a strategic plan. All I knew was that I would eventually return to work. I knew that for me to be my happiest self, work would have to be part of my life’s equation. I enjoy getting creative with my passion projects and seeing them to fruition. I love new challenges and diversifying. Being a working mom helps me stay connected to who I was prior to having my children and that provides me with a well-rounded life experience which in turn makes me happy and a better mother.”
BIANCA ARANETA ELIZALDE
“I always knew exactly the kind of a mother I was going to be— an attached parent and full-time mom, and I knew that I would need to make sacrifices in my life in order to realize it. I put my work and career aside for a few years as I took my first steps into motherhood. I was able to dedicate myself to this role because I knew it was not going to be this way forever. Today, I am busy raising a young family and have my hands full running two branches of The Wholesome Table, an organic restaurant I conceptualized and founded with my husband. My work schedule pretty much revolves around my kids’ schedules. Having a rule of no work during weekends is the best way for me to balance my time with my family. Balance has been my motivation. Having time for myself to continue to grow as an individual has always been very important to me. I don’t think I would be as good a mother as I am if I didn’t have the opportunity to work on myself as a person at the same time. My children inspire me to take care of myself, to be a better person inside and out. Their presence in my life has redefined what’s important to me. They make me want to be someone they can look up to— someone who is both a very ‘present’ mother to them, but who also pursues her passions and goes after her dreams."