9 months of an inflated belly, hours of excruciating labour pain and a lifetime of love and patience, we don’t need an excuse to show our appreciation to our mothers, albeit it’s always nice to shower your mum extra love and attention on Mother’s Day. For this special day, we’ve interviewed one of our favourite mother and daughter duos — Elisa Harca and Elizabeth Adair. Speaking from Hong Kong and the UK respectively, the duo opens up about their relationship from the very beginning.
Tell us about a bit about yourselves!
Elizabeth: I was born in a small mining village in Scotland. My mother died when I was 9 years old. I moved to London when I was 21. I worked in many different jobs, from being a barmaid to being a transcriber for the BBC. My most favourite job was as the PA to the head of finance of John Lewis (who is now a very good family friend). When I retired, a few years ago, I didn’t want to stay at home knitting, so I signed up to some extra agencies and have been in a number of TV shows and movies such as Paddington Bear, St Maud, Judy, Casualty, Fleabag, Night at the Palladium, I was even Barbara Windsor’s double in her East Enders finale.
Elisa: I was born in Bishop’s Stortford (Hertfordshire) and moved to London when I was 18 months old (after my parents got divorced). I am very much a city/country girl. I was fortunate to have the best of both worlds – Horse Riding in the countryside and going to the Theatre and Garage raves on the London side . This is why I love HK so much, as has city and country vibes at all times.
I run a Chinese digital marketing agency called Red Ant – we work with desirable brands such as Charlotte Tilbury, LUSH, Lane Crawford, Birkenstock, Giuseppe Zanotti etc. I have lived in HK for almost 7 years – PR soon woooo hoo!
Elizabeth, how old were you when you had Elisa and how did you feel when she was born?
I was 34 years old and it was the first time I knew what love was. Elisa was born in a ward where she was the only girl, and was only 5 1/2 pounds among the 10lb boys, so she was a bit spoiled by the nurses by the time I brought her home. She didn’t like to be out of my arms and she was not a “sleeper”. I had to drive her round in the car to get her to sleep. Needless to say, she woke up when I got home.
Elisa, what was your very first memory of your mum and how did you percieve her style?
There are a few; playing conkers with her in Clissold Park, creating a night time rituals to help me sleep e.g. tapping on my bedroom wall to say a little riddle something along the lines of ‘goodnight, sleep tight, don’t let the bed bugs bite’ and parties in the garden – I was one of those annoying kids who was always allowed to stay up and dance with the adults and torment them with my theatre shows…..which I ended up charging for (embarrassing!).
My mum has always been very fashionable and adventurous with her hairstyles. She’s had a pixie cut, a red perm, jet black Elizabeth Taylor updo and now a blond bob. She’s had so many looks over the years, she evolves with the times and never does what’s expected – she likes to be “cool”. She defo doesn’t do “age-appropriate” she does “life vibe appropriate” and I love this, as do all my friends.
Elisa, how were you growing up? Did you have a rebellious moment?
I have always gotten along with my mum, as I always felt loved and respected. However, I was a bit cheeky and always up for an ‘adventure’. I loved My Little Pony and wanted to get a My Little Pony bag from Toys r Us. So, at age 7, I took myself and my friend Louis (who was only 5) off on the bus to Wood Green shopping mall, without telling anyone, to get it. We didn’t get very far as the police intercepted us, as Louis’s mum realised we were not in the living room. I was known as the naughty child, and Louis as the good one. Low and behold, I never got that bag.
Elizabeth, was as there a time you were worried about Elisa in her teen’s or as an adult?
Elisa was pretty easy as a teenager – she ran away when she was 13 years old to her friend’s house, I think that was for about half an hour and then she came home. She seemed to become an adult when she went to University at 18 years old. I was worried when she went to New York, straight after University to work at the History Chanel – one month before 9/11.
How are you both alike?
Elizabeth: I think Elisa has my work ethic, love of animals, travel and fashion, but she is ambitious and tenacious while I am not.
Elisa: We both have a sense of joie de vivre – we like to explore and have a sense of wanderlust. We love to go off the beaten path and we always love to stumble on a great vintage find whilst on holiday somewhere. However, my mum is defo easier going than I am and always goes with her motto that “life is about fun”. I can be a bit intense as I am always trying to do more, be better….but of course with a touch of fun.
Tell us about your relationship now?
Elizabeth: Although we live in different continents, I don’t think we could be closer and I am very happy that we see each other so often (obviously not at the moment) and we always have lots of fun.
Elisa: Being an only child (on my mum’s side – I have a brother and sister on my dad’s side) – means that we have a very small family unit. My mum has always shown so much enthusiasm for my adventures, from my move to NYC when I was 21 to my move to Hong Kong. She likes to get involved and encourages all that I do, actually, she would be pretty offended if she didn’t get invited. She knows many of my friends very well (they even hang out with her when I am not around), and we’ve had a number of parties where she’s the last one of the dance floor. We’ve had so many great moments a lot that involves travel e.g. going to Mongolia horse riding and camping about 5 years ago and getting stranded for 2 days in a storm, to horse riding in the Wadi Rum as well as canyoning to a tour of Italy, and meeting some fabulous boutique owners.
So, this lock-down with no travel in sight is meaning we are having to make new moments e.g. watching The National Theatre on Livestream….not quite the same, but hopefully it’s temporary. Until the next time we meet, we have to put up with facetime getting our dogs Russ and Jetski to have a chat with one another.
Elisa, how do you perceive you mum now that you are an adult?
I think she’s an excellent human. She’s had to face a lot of challenges from her childhood e.g. her mother dying when she was 9, living in a poor mining village etc. Her resilience is impressive and she never dwells, she always looks forwards to the new, the wow, the fun. She’s always authentic to who she is and doesn’t worry about what other people think, always marching to the beat of her own drum and always coming up with something new/interesting to do. She doesn’t rest on her laurels. She doesn’t do boring! She’s also fiercely independent and always on the pulse with what’s going on.
Elizabeth, what are you most proud of?
Everything Elisa has achieved, personally and in the workplace.
All photo credits: Daniel Murray Studio