We talk to Barbara about the importance of sorority when you live abroad, and the unique struggles of living sustainably when you're set in your boomer ways!

"What am I most passionate about? It has to be fragrance. I mean, I even married a perfumer. How much more passionate can you get?

"I grew up in Australia, but I always wanted to work abroad. I lived in Germany, and then I moved to France, where I've lived since. It's like I have three homelands, which can feel strange. If I say one place is home, I feel like I'm being unfaithful to the others. Am I bicultural? Well, I'm still an Aussie, for sure. But I've lived away for so long. Of course, my Australian friends would say I'm totally French, because I eat smelly cheese!

"Living abroad, the idea of sorority is super-important to me and my wellbeing. When I first moved away I missed the women in my life terribly. It's much easier now though, with social media. Just a 'like' on a post can remind you of your connection, even if you're worlds apart."

What is true craftsmanship?

Oh, goodness – it's the essence of La Perla! I'd describe it as having the opportunity to make masterpieces – from Ada Masotti's lingerie to La Perla Beauty's fragrances. It runs through everything we do. Right down to the packaging, even.

Why do you love working for La Perla Beauty?

It's the job to end all jobs! Well, not literally, but you know what I mean – it's like the culmination of all my experience in the luxury industry. I've spent so long learning about what people love about fragrance, what bugs them... all that insight is at my fingertips now. I feel I can put it to use.

Is developing responsible, luxurious products challenging?

Perhaps a decade ago it would have been extremely difficult, but technology has really advanced. There are still challenges though, and we have had to innovate. It can be difficult to find people in the realm of sustainability who are as detail-orientated as we are.

What role does sustainability play in your life?

Look, I'm a boomer. It's a little more difficult for us! Having said that, I've been aware of sustainability since I lived in Germany in the '80s. They were recycling before most other countries, so I've been doing that for years. Perhaps I don't do enough... but I do really try. Maybe I could ride a bike? Not sure I'm brave enough to do that in Paris, though...

Describe the way you work in three words.

Reflective, creative, positive. And optimistic. Oh, that's four...

So how do you stay positive?

People always ask that, and I never know what to say! It's just... me? Unless I'm facing a massive challenge, I'm never really trying. Growing up in Australia there was sunshine. Maybe it's that. I'll always remember once, at the boulangerie here in Paris, a lady described me as "the woman who is always smiling, and friendly with everybody". I was like... that's just normal for Australians!

Any fitness tips?

Get a personal trainer. I've joined so many gyms and fitness clubs over the years. If you're like me, you end up not going, and pouring money down the drain. A personal trainer seems expensive, but it's cost-effective!

If you didn't have this career, what would you be doing?

Acting or dancing. When I was young I loved expressing myself through performance. I like to think my expressive, creative side comes out in our products.

What can't you resist?

Chocolate. If there's chocolate in the house, I'm going to eat the chocolate.

You can invite a historical figure to dinner. Who would it be?

Marie Curie. Obviously, everything she achieved was amazing. But also, when I was a little girl, she was one of the few female heroes we learned about. Oh, and she was also naturalized French. Now, I could understand her! The French, anyway. Not so much the scientific stuff she'd be telling me...