Sara Larson is a Brooklyn-based writer and Fashion Publicist. She is the director of global public relations and communications at Galvan and mother of two, Ihlen and Royal. She also does work with Hunting Season and Batsheva and is skincare and red-lipstick obsessed. She and her family spent the summer in Minnesota, where her interior designer husband Gunnar Larson’s family is based. Sara has written extensively for Coveteur and Glamour about mental health, loss, motherhood, and pregnancy—like all of us at Evereden, she is passionate about driving conversations that can be hard to talk about or misunderstood.
Prior to her role at Galvan, she was the director of public relations at Monse. She is a master at crisis management, time management, and project management—a talent she extends to her parenting, too. We spoke to her from the prairies of Minnesota about breaking into the fashion industry, managing the upcoming school year in the age of COVID-19, and what a “gentle Cesarean” entails.
You’ve written and spoken beautifully—and heartbreakingly—about losing your aunt, mother and father-in-law, postpartum anxiety in the age of COVID-19, and giving birth in Glamour and Coveteur. There is so much you’ve been honest and open about, that it’s hard to know where to start in our conversation.
Thank you. I really appreciate all of that. It’s cathartic for me to write. It feels like self care.
This is a question that parents, especially in the age of social media deal with: How do you know when you’re ready to share something personal?
Sometimes, the process of healing happens when you put pen to paper. I don’t think you’re ever really ready - you take a leap and hope that somewhere along the line, your words will resonate with someone and help them. That’s why I share. I’m just one person in this huge world, and it’s humbling when someone resonates with my story. For example, I had a myomectomy [the surgical removal of fibroids], and I really felt like my body was damaged after that, like I couldn’t have another baby, even though my uterus was healthy.
And then, a friend told me she had the same experience—and I had no idea, even though I had known her for three years! I think when you experience so much loss, you’re in the realm of shock. But when you feel grounded again, you can share your story. You just have to be open and surrender to other people’s opinions. You’re releasing your story to the wild—like physically opening your hands and releasing it!
Tell us about the two different experiences you had giving birth to your daughter, Ihlen, and your son, Royal.
Ihlen just turned seven, and that was super easy. We got pregnant with her here in the prairie, where we are right now. But with Royal—which is what I wrote about for the Coveteur—I found out that my father-in-law was sick at the same time as my mom. It was a ping-pong game; I was being torn back and forth. And I was obsessed with getting pregnant again, maybe because I wanted to control something.
Maybe I just wanted to show my father-in-law and mom that there is another grandchild along the way, so they would have the will to live. When they died, I just poured myself into my work as an escape. At the same time, I was trying so hard to get pregnant. I ended up taking Clomid, but my doctor didn’t prepare for the ways it affects you because it’s a hormone. So, I switched doctors and I ended up getting pregnant with my son about one month later. On a flight from Los Angeles to New York, I was seven-to-eight weeks pregnant, and I was bleeding. I’ve spotted before—but this was really blood. I thought I was losing him.
But I got a grip. I had blood, but I wasn’t in pain. The next day, I had a sonogram and everything was fine. You know, I had Ihlen at 31. I was 37 when I was pregnant with Royal. My body was different, and that’s okay. That’s normal, I know that now.
However, when I was pregnant with Ihlen, I had this mass growing in my stomach—super rapidly. So, when I was pregnant with Royal, I had no choice but to get a Cesarean. And I was spiraling, because I wanted to have a vaginal birth. My friend, Rebecca Minkoff, is a baby whisperer, and she told me I could have a “gentle C-section.” I had never considered this before. It was still a birth story, it just had a different narrative, but I was the one who could share the way I wanted to.
As you explained in Coveteur, a “gentle C-section” allows for a moment of bonding. Can you tell us about this moment?
Yes, so when he came out, they put him on me—while they were sewing me up—and it just felt like euphoria. It was so quick. And my husband was there the whole time, holding my hand, whispering into my ear. I could not have done it without hearing his voice through the entire birth. It was an incredible time of togetherness.
With your mother and Gunnar’s father gone, how are you keeping the grandparents’ memory alive with your children?
Here in Minnesota, Gunnar’s dad is so present. We have a book for Ihlen—images of her and Grandpa. And we’re actually finishing a house here. Ihlen didn’t spend as much time with my mom, but we’re burying my mom here in Minnesota, and I think that will help. It’s important to find these moments.
The kids are loving it here. They get to fish off the dock and their cousins are down the street. It’s a really special time.
Now that we’re in fall, what has been your plan of action for child care and schooling?
We’re going to school two-to-three times a week, and then we’re remote for the rest of the days. I’m still waiting on the plan. I’ve been brainstorming other things to do. Ihlen usually goes to the International Ballet Institute, so she might do virtual dance once or twice a week. And then we have a friend who is a really good skateboarder. So we were like, what about longboarding lessons? Ihlen has been wanting to learn how to skateboard and take piano – so we are exploring virtual music lessons. In terms of a nanny, we really lucked out! We met a friend of a friend before Covid started. She worked with us in June when we were in New York, and she’s incredible. She’s helped us get on track. Childcare is an expense, but I think it’s worth it because it adds quality to family time. It makes you a better person for your spouse and kids.
Speaking of time, you work full-time as Director of Global Public Relations & Communications at Galvan —which is a stereotypically glamorous and fast-paced New York career. Especially with the pandemic, how do you find any semblance of balance?
At the very beginning of March, I was in London for Galvan, and I felt like I was on top of the world—with my family and my career. And when I got back, everything changed. For the first 12 weeks, no one knew what to do. I switched gears to crisis management. You want to make sure your messaging is coming out right. How are you standing in camaraderie with other brands and people? You get thrown into the fire, and you figure it out.
Your PR career and experience, in general, seem like great preparation for thinking on the spot. How do you perform self-care?
Self-care looks different for everyone. But I think if you keep the ritual of washing your face with a soap that you really enjoy, and moisturizing afterwards, that feels so good. I feel amazing when I take 10 minutes to shower. I love having my hair done. I love fresh lipstick. I was in New York last week, and I did all of that, and it felt great. I’ve been putting looks together in the prairie and doing stories here because the backdrop is so beautiful. When you work with the press, you also always want to look put together. There’s that added expectation or desire to be your best in every way.
But with the pandemic, I think it’s a time to pay attention to what’s going on inside. Yes, all of these things make you feel good—but what work are you doing on the inside to carry you to the next chapter?
What are your favorite Evereden products for self-care?
When I first got the products, I thought the packaging was so beautiful and elevated. I love that they’re organic and good for you. At home, we use the Baby Shampoo and Body Wash as bubbles. I love how versatile it is. We use the lotion, too. I use the Multi-Purpose Healing Balm on myself—I just got a tattoo, and it’s great for that! It’s great for everything. I carry it with me everywhere because it’s a healing salve.
What’s your parenting approach? How do you and your husband work as a team?
We definitely tag team. If one of us is losing it, we ask the other one to step in and take care. We try to have family conversations with our daughter, who is old enough to understand. We love to keep it open because I did not grow up that way. My husband grew up with a hippie vibe, and I've learned so much from him. Gunnar and I met in a communications class—we’re communicators. And we want that to be the same for our children.
Love that you brought your communications experience into motherhood. Has the pandemic brought to light anything about your parenting?
I love to work. And I know that my strength is not being a full-time mother and I'm okay with that. I've surrendered to that, but I've also embraced it during this time.
That’s a wonderful thing to admit to yourself, and it can only improve your relationship with your family. Tell us about how you got here in your career.
I've lived in New York for over 10 years, and I started out making very little money. My first fashion internship was with Rachel Antonoff—and I was 27 by then, working unpaid. I checked people in for a presentation. And then, I asked a PR person for her card. She didn’t have one, but she invited me to a party three weeks later on the Lower East Side. I went, and it was a Gossip Girl party. I didn’t get a job from that party, but I did meet some of my best friends there.
My biggest advice is to always show up, because you never know who you’re going to meet. You might meet Anna Wintour or you might meet Courtney Cox—you never know who’s invited, so put yourself out there. The party led me to apply for what became my first job in fashion, just three months later we moved to NYC! Also, have grace for yourself. Love yourself. Say affirmations to yourself. Find people to fill the void of those who have left you.
Thank you for sharing this advice! How can we show up—without being in-person—these days?
Reach out and put yourself out there. From an internship perspective, people are still looking for interns in fashion. I’ve been lucky to have had a lot of good mentors. Christene Barberich from Refinery29 and Eva Chen from Instagram, and Stephanie Mark from Coveteur. Anna-Christin Haas, our Design Director at GALVAN and Laura Kim of MONSE/ODLR. I am really fortunate. But with that comes the work of showing up and putting yourself out there, even when you feel uncomfortable or silly.
Do you still feel uncomfortable or silly at times?
What is your Eden?
We went to Australia this past October and being on the Northern Beaches with my family is the closest thing to Eden for me. I lived in Australia in my 20s and being able to experience that part of the world with my kids was an incredible piece of heaven.