On Tuesday 3rd May, the Calne Girls' Association (CGA) were very pleased to welcome former Calne Girl Kristina Hulsebus Blahnik* (1992) to give a talk in school, attended and enjoyed by over 60 girls. 

Kristina Blahnik, CEO of Manola Blahnik, the internationally acclaimed and spectacular shoe designer, gave a hugely entertaining and insightful talk. She shared experiences of her time at St Mary’s Calne, then as an undergraduate at Cambridge, a post graduate at the Architectural Association and then as a leading business woman.

Kristina touched on many areas of her work from the early days as a newly-qualified architect and interior designer, to taking time out of work to refocus on what she truly wanted to do and finally to joining her family business and growing this international brand. Kristina showed wonderful photos from her childhood, images and drawings of beautiful shoes and concluded with her mantra and recommendation for life: DANCE like there is nobody’s watching, LOVE like you've never been hurt, SING like nobody’s listening, LIVE like it’s heaven on earth.

*London-based Kristina was born in 1974 in Cologne, Germany, to a half-Spanish, half-Czech mother and a German father. She moved to the UK in 1980 with her mother, Evangelina Blahnik, who became the Managing Director of her brother Manolo Blahnik’s growing shoe business.

Kristina was educated in London and then at Calne between 1986 and 1992, where she decided to become an architect. She completed her undergraduate studies in architecture at Cambridge University in 1995, whilst still finding time to not only row for her College’s 1st VIII but also be awarded a Half Blue for representing Cambridge in ice hockey.

In 1999 she completed her diploma in architecture at the Architectural Association, London, and became a registered architect in 2006. She joined Manolo Blahnik in 2009 and worked in both professions until 2011. In 2013, she was appointed Joint Managing Director/CEO.