• jewellery Ole Lynggaard

    caftan dress Sidenkompaniet

    stockings Swedish Stockings

    shoes Anny Nord

    photography Peter Gehrke

    fashion Jahwanna Berglund

    Fragments: An Interview with Alicia Agneson

    Written by Natalia Muntean by Filippa Finn

    People keep saying I was brave, but I think I was just precocious,” says Alicia Agneson. Her story is one of determination and courage. Growing up on a farm in Eskilstuna, Agneson was always passionate about the stage - and as a child, she remembers seeing her dance teachers more than her parents at one point. They were the ones who inspired her to seek a more international career. At just fifteen years old, she moved to London to pursue her acting dreams and chase after bigger stages. It was not an easy path for her, but she never gave up. Her breakthrough role came several years later when she played Freydis, a queen in the hit TV show Vikings. Since then, she has starred in various TV and film projects, such as Little Kingdom, Clark, and The Courier, venturing into different genres and subjects.

    Beyond her acting career, Agneson is deeply committed to making a difference. She actively works with Hope for Justice, an organisation that fights human trafficking and assists victims of modern slavery. She also wears another hat as Breitling's Scandinavian Ambassador, bringing her passion for storytelling and dedication to the brand. Whether on screen or off, Agneson continues to inspire.

    I believe that I always keep something from all the characters I play, locked away somewhere,” she reflects on the characters she has portrayed and the projects she has been involved in. While her recent focus has been more on acting in front of the camera, Agneson thinks that she will go back to her first love - the stage. As she playfully says, “they’ll have to drag me off it!”

    Natalia Muntean: What inspired you to pursue a career in the entertainment industry?
    Alicia Agneson: I think it wasn't that much of a choice. I was just drawn towards that like there was nothing else. And I started doing ballet when I was three, and then I think my parents kind of tried to stop me from going into it so much. By the age of nine, I was probably taking as many dance, singing and stage lessons as I could. Then I started doing musical theatre, moved to London, got into TV and film and onwards.

    NM: You moved to London when you were 15. How do you think this experience changed your path?
    AA: At that point, I'd done a lot of shows already across Sweden, so I was already working, which was probably quite unusual for a lot of people my age. I think I would be in a completely different place if I wouldn't have done that. In this industry, it's very much learning by doing, at least that’s how I developed. And it can take a while, you have to work. So for me, it's the greatest gift I've ever been given, first of all, to get the allowance to move away so young, and start working so early. But there were, of course, challenges. I think, in my head, I was very driven and I didn't understand that I was that young. Moving to London was a big change for me, as I had to adjust to a different way of life. My parents drove me all the way to London, and I'll never forget taking the tube to Piccadilly Circus, coming up and seeing the lights, the West End and Shaftesbury Avenue. I remember standing there and feeling more than ever that I was in the right place!

    NM: Was there a specific moment when you realised “Oh, I want to be an actress?”
    AA: I always wanted to be in musical theatre, I had always loved it and that is what I worked towards. When I came to London, I got the opportunity to perform in a show called Cinderella where I played the lead role. I became very close to a fellow cast member who suggested that I should try my hand at TV and film. I thought it sounded like fun and decided to give it a go. I started doing more TV and film work, including commercials, with my agent at the time. However, I quickly realised that acting on the screen was very different from what I was used to. It was a more introverted style of acting, with a greater focus on emotions and drama. I found this fascinating and decided to pursue TV and film further. When I approached my musical theatre agent about my interest in TV and film, they said I had no experience or education in that area and they could not help me. It wasn’t that long ago, but back then we used to post our CVs, so I sent letters to every agent in London and one out of a hundred, probably, picked me up. I was still very young at that point, probably 18 when he started sending me to castings. After a couple of months, I signed Vikings.

    NM: What was it like being part of such a popular show?
    AA: We had an amazing time on the set of Vikings. It was an incredible journey for me, as I started with a very small role and had no prior experience in TV and film. I wasn't supposed to come back, but the writer felt that I had amazing chemistry with my screen partner and wanted to bring me back as a queen. It was a surprise, but I was excited to learn and grow. On my first day on set, I had to learn basic industry terms by doing. It was a challenging but fun experience from the first day until the last. I was very shocked when they called me and told me that they wanted to make me queen. I think many people often overlook the fact that I was still very young at the time, even if I had been working incredibly hard for many years in London, trying to get that one chance. I remember calling my father because Vikings was a show we loved watching together back then, and it felt surreal to tell him.

    NM: Do you prepare differently for when you’re on stage and when you’re in front of the camera because you mentioned the difference in acting?
    AA: Massively! Doing stage, first of all, you and your ensemble will do lots of rehearsals together. Usually, you would do rehearsals for months, up to six months. And on stage, you act throughout what you're doing, what you're saying, what you're singing, your dance moves. In comparison, acting in front of the camera is completely different. And often in the productions that I've been in, I don't meet my co-stars until the day I'm on set and that can be impactful, as you act differently in regards to who you act with. So it's a whole different process, especially doing the character work. In the recent Netflix series I was part of, Clark, I portrayed a woman who's still alive. So obviously, this required me to learn the appropriate accent, movement, and behaviour of people from that era. It's a whole different mindset. So that's sort of just me being isolated for weeks somewhere, preparing for the role. I always feel a responsibility towards the characters I portray, whether they are real or not. It's important to me to do justice to their story and struggles by portraying them in the most realistic way possible.

    NM: How do you choose the characters you're going to portray?
    AA: I wouldn't say that I have a definite preference when it comes to acting roles. It usually depends on my current mindset. I work very closely with my agent who helps me select interesting roles to audition for. I used to play a lot of queens and princesses, but now I'm exploring more complex and darker characters. It's really fun to play characters that are completely different from what you're used to. I'm starting my next feature film in just two months, which is a romantic comedy - a genre that I have never worked in before. That's the exciting part of my job - getting to explore new characters and genres.

    NM: Is there something that you learnt about yourself with each role?
    AA: For sure! I believe that subconsciously, you tend to pick up things about yourself, even if you try not to. You may make comparisons or memories may pop up or situations that you've been in before, and that's how you learn things about yourself that you didn't remember or didn't know. So I think with each character, you always learn something about yourself and keep something from all the characters you play, locked away somewhere. For instance, in Vikings, I had many scenes where I was pregnant and lost my child. I had to scream and cry to get over the loss, and that stayed with me for a while. I think your brain is aware that what you're doing is not real, but you are pushing your body to extreme emotional boundaries. I believe every project I've been a part of has had an impact on me. Different characters in different projects have also challenged me to find different aspects of myself.

    NM: How do you prepare for such intense scenes? And then how do you unwind and separate yourself?
    AA: I like to prepare myself by researching and learning about the historical context of the character I'm playing. For instance, if I were playing a woman from the Viking era, I would try to find out what it was like for a woman to give birth during that time. Did she have any support? Would she be at home, or would she be out and about up until the due date? This helps me get into character and understand the challenges my character might have faced. One of the most emotionally challenging roles I have played was in a feature film called Little Kingdom. I portrayed a woman who lived during the Second World War and lost many children due to stillbirth. It was tough emotionally, but I spoke to many elderly women, including my grandmother, to learn about what it was like to give birth during that period. It was devastating to hear their stories about the lack of medication and support during childbirth. However, this research helped me build my character, and I was able to bring her to life on the screen. During the filming of Little Kingdom, I cried nonstop for three months. It was emotionally draining, and it took me a long time to come out of that headspace. But I felt grateful to be a part of telling these untold stories of women and bringing these characters to life. It was a humbling experience, and it gave me a greater appreciation for the challenges that women faced during that period.

    NM: Sounds like a privilege and a responsibility to bring those stories onto the screen! Do you have any tricks that help you snap out of character and become Alicia again?
    AA: When I step into my dressing room, I take off my character’s clothes and do a little ritual. I hang her clothes and take off my wig and my makeup, so I have a completely clean slate. Then I put on my clothes, rings and other things that make me me. I try not to overthink and bring it home with me. But that’s easier said than done.

    NM: Was there any moment in your career up until now when you felt you made it?
    AA: I would say it was when I was part of the cast of Vikings, which was a really big show. I remember feeling like things had changed when someone recognised me on the street and said, “Oh my God, you're Alicia Agneson!” It was a new experience for me to have fans, extras, and crew wanting to take pictures with me on set. Another big change was when I started travelling abroad and being recognised in a different country. It was surreal to realise that people from a completely different part of the world knew who I was. This all happened quite early on in my career, so it was a big deal for me. It’s a strange experience, but also really cool.

    NM: What do you do when you’re not acting?
    AA: I've always been a farm girl at heart, and I quite enjoy being on my own with my family on my farm. That's where I'm happy and where I thrive. I try to be at the farm as much as possible. I love building, driving my tractor, planting and growing herbs and carrots. I love farming. So I try to do that as much as possible because I need the contrast between farm life and London.

    NM: But if you weren't an actress what what do you think you would have become?
    AA: I would be digging bones somewhere out in the desert and doing archaeology. I love history, treasures, and adventures, I love nature in general. And I like being alone. So I think I would be out there somewhere with a little brush, finding old birds and bones.

    NM: What advice would you give to younger people trying to make a career in this area?
    AA: I think first of all, I don't have a plan B. Once you have a plan B you've accepted that plan A won't work. And in this industry, you have to love it, you have to want to put in the work! You have to be mentally strong to handle the rejections. There are very few jobs in the world where you can face thousands of rejections, a normal thing in our industry, and still believe that you are meant for it. Loving it and wanting to work for it makes it all or nothing!

    NM: Looking ahead, what do you hope for yourself? The actress and Alicia, the person?
    AA: Acting-wise, I'm looking forward to a challenge, there's so much this year that I'm so excited to explore. Something to really sink my teeth into. And for myself… I'm very happy. I'm just very content right now, and I hope that I'll be able to stay that way for a little while.

    dress Zamina Scillasdotter

    caftan dress Sidenkompaniet

    jewellery Ole Lynggaard

    dress Michael Kors

    body worn underneath Understatement

    jewellery Hermès

    total look Loewe

    dress Sofia Ericson

    heels Cristian Louboutin

    necklace Rare Jewelry - Nymans Ur

    watch Breitling Chronomat Victoria Beckham

    total look Loewe

    dress Zamina Scillasdotter

    jewellery LWL jewelry

    belt Hermès

    dress Max Mara

    necklace & earrings VANBRUUN

    bracelet Tiffany & CO

    watch Breitling

    dress Zamina Scillasdotter

    jewellery LWL jewelry

    cape Zamina Scillasdotter

    shirt & shoes Christian Dior

    skirt Ahlvar Gallery

    jewellery LWL jewelry

    photography Peter Gehrke / LUNDLUND

    fashion Jahwanna Berglund

    makeup Jessica De La Torre

    hair Martin Sundqvist

    photography assistants Malva Hellman & Mattias Sätterström

    special thanks to Gray Studios, Thomas Hägg PR & Millesgården

  • jacket Stand Studio

    earrings WOS

    total look Louis Vuitton

    All That We Perceive

    photography by Robin Berglund by Filippa Finn
    total look Chanel

    total look Gestuz

    boots Acne Studios AW23

    headpiece Hanna Rubin

    skirt & shoes Stand Studio

    stockings Calzedonia

    total look Tiger of Sweden
    total look Hermès
    total look Celine
    total look Mark Kenly Domino Tan

    dress Stockholm Surfboard Club

    stockings Swedish Stockings

    boots Sania D'Mina

    headpiece Hanna Rubin

    total look Stine Goya

    photography Robin Berglund
    fashion Ulrika Lindqvist
    makeup Kristina Kullenberg / LUNDLUND
    hair Tony Lundström / MIKAs Looks
    Set design Hanna Rubin
    model Paulina B / MIKAs
    art director Adam Kaiser

    layout & art director assistant Freya Kempeneers
    fashion assistants Idde Beskow & Lovisa Zettergren
    hair assistant Francisca Saavedra Von Dessauer

  • photography Sandra Myhrberg

    “It’s Our Time to Be Nurtured”: How Mia Bonhomme Is Creating a Haven for Black Women in Stockholm

    Written by Rosel Jackson Stern by Emelie Bodén

    In 2020, Mia Bonhomme took a chance. She rented a yoga studio in Stockholm at the height of the pandemic and 12 Black women, who didn’t know each other, showed up. As they dropped in, each person was greeted with the bright smiles and warm familiarity of seeing a long-lost cousin. “Oh, do y’all know each other?” Mia asked one of the participants. “No, we don’t, we’re just happy to see each other” they replied. This is when Mia knew she had stumbled upon something special. “All I wanted was for a Black girl to walk into a room and five other Black girls to say: ‘Hey!’ It’s something we do without thinking back home”, she explains, “I didn’t know how much it fed my soul until it stopped happening to me.”

    This sense of connection, of kindred spirits, of community, is inherent to Mia’s origins in Mobile, Alabama. She grew up in all Black communities and the gifts therein. “It’s the feeling of being seen and immediately identified. There is safety in that” she reflects in a dingy but delicious sushi restaurant in Stockholm. Having moved here in 2018, Mia struggled to feel like she belonged in a culture so far from where she came from. “In the States, when you see another Black person, you always give them the nod,” Mia explains, “You throw positive energy their way.”

    Upon arriving in Sweden, she quickly realised she was a far cry from her home town. “People would always tell me that Black people [in Sweden] don’t really get together like that” Mia explains when recounting her experience. When she would walk down the street, see a fellow Black girl with cute braids and let her know, the person would always look at her in confusion. Repeatedly losing this sense of connection with other Black women in a new country confused her. “It makes you feel like you don’t know how to operate in the culture you’re in”, she reflects. Despite meeting a community of mostly expat American Black women, Mia felt lonely. Sweden’s been ranked one of the worst places on the planet for making new friends by InterNations.  We’re one of the world’s most individualistic countries, according to the global research project the World Values Survey (WVS) and over half of all households consist of a single person, according to Eurostat. On top of that, these stats don’t reflect the impact of systemic racism in workplaces, dating scenes and public spaces. Sweden can be a lonely place.

    Where many of us would conform and make do, Mia went against the grain. “There’s no way Black people don’t kiki here. I refuse to believe it” she states, eyes twinkling. And she’s right. Afroswedes have been living full and rich lives in Sweden since at least the 70s, organised politically and socially through initiatives like Afrosvenskarnas Riksförbund and Black Coffee and made their mark in arts and culture. As an immigrant, it can be difficult to find these spaces and traditions. When I ask her where this tenacity comes from, she giggles with a sense of mischief. “I will ask the same question five times in different ways to get the answer that I want. I’ve been like that my whole life.” When speaking to Afroswedes around her, Mia started to understand that the will to connect was there. It just needed an outlet. 

    The yoga class she set up in 2020 was a huge success. It became the first Altar Space event, the start of a separatist collective for Black women in Stockholm. It’s a chance for the community to get together for wellness events like yoga, reiki and book clubs. “It’s not just a network,” Mia explains, “There needs to be more — someone tasked with making sure we meet up, hug on each other, read together and yell on each other's kids. That’s a job.” Altar Space could just be a group chat but Mia has built a tangible way for Black women to show up for each other.

    I’ve felt this personally, from Mia and the wider Altar Space community. During my first art show, I was so nervous to put myself out there. I had mentioned it at one of the Altar Space events and Mia jumped into action. She sent out emails to all the Altar Space members and low and behold, my show was filled with beautiful and loving people cheering me on. “We are going to pull up,” Mia states as I recount how special that memory is to me. She shows me a photo from the show, now on the Altar Space official website. I scream in joy, much to the dismay of the white couple also sitting in the restaurant.

    The urgency of this work is not lost on Mia. When I ask about the labour of love I and many of my peers have enjoyed, she says: “It is 100% rooted in Blackness, in Black women and femmes and my life experience. I’ve always needed a Black feminine nurturer.” A study from 2014 that Afroswedes are the minority most likely to be subject to racially motivated physical violence in public places. As of 2022, anti-black hate crimes are the second most common type to occur. Anecdotally, workplace discrimination and burnout are not uncommon experiences in our community. “A lot of us grow up without safety”, Mia reflects.

    In light of this bleak reality, separatist spaces like Altar Space are needed more than ever.  “It’s our time to be nurtured,” Mia says. This community isn’t simply about staying in touch but playing an active role in each other's lives. For Mia, community is about building an ecosystem with all the reciprocity that life needs to sustain itself. This means encouraging growth beyond each event. “I can bring us together for an after-work every quarter”, she points out, “but are you following up? Are you meeting up? Are you checking on each other's kids?” Altar Space centralises the mechanics of care, of checking up on our peers in an intimate and meaningful way. Being in a community is not an easy task, especially in Sweden. Loneliness coupled with an individualistic and anti-black culture makes community building an intentional practice.

    While rewarding, this work comes at a price that Mia is keenly aware of. There is joy in providing people with a much-needed community space. Equally, the stress of managing people's expectations, setting up logistics and finances takes its toll. “Making sure is exhausting,” she admits, “A lot of the time I’m exhausted but fueled by people's gratitude and connection.”
    Separatist spaces are not free. Activities cost money, especially when it’s a space for only Black women. “If we’re gonna kiki, we need to pay for that”, Mia laughs. A child of COVID-19, Altar Space was born out of a need to feel connected. “When it comes to asking for anything back, I haven’t been able to figure out a model for that that doesn’t leave me with guilt. That is a personal problem of mine,” she says.

    A woman of persistence, Mia is learning how to nurture herself as well as her community. “I do have a very toxic trait where I only give and I become depleted very easily,” she reflects. It was important for Mia that she was able to pay for any help she received and she set very clear boundaries with her now assistant Zoe Bergvall. She is taking care of herself in real ways by quitting an unfulfilling job, investing in therapy and setting aside time for herself.  “I wanna figure out what a me era looks like,” she says. This feels like a significant shift because love and being loved is how we stay sane.

    As we leave the restaurant, it’s clear that Mia knows how to love in extraordinary ways. It shows up in her insistence that she pay for my meal, the advice she gives me about an important business meeting and the warmth with which she hugs me goodbye. For me, she continues a the legacy of love of Black women in my life have blessed me with. It’s a deep, considerate and fortifying love. It’s a love that shows up, that puts you on and puts you back together when life breaks you apart. It’s a lineage of love that’s set the pace for how I want to contribute to this world.

    photography Sandra Myhrberg

    makeup Emelie Olsson

    toner Lumene

    moisturiser Mili cosmetics mugwort face cream

    primer All I Am

    skintint Glossier, Ami Cole

    concealer Mili Cosmetics

    shading Madara skin equal

    blush Glossier cloud paint

    highlight Anastasia Beverly Hills stick highlighter

    brows Mili Cosmetics 3 way brow

    mascara Isadora

    lips Dries van noten