What is it that empowers you most?
I love challenges! What is even better is when you succeed against all odds.
And this feeling is what empowers me because throughout the journey I would have pushed my own limits and learned more things about my personality and what I’m capable of.
What is it that you love most about yourself?
My resilience: I underwent some tough situations in my life. What makes me proud of myself is my ability to bounce back and learn even if sometimes it does take time.
What makes you feel most beautiful?
Going for a run or doing yoga is the best effective way to boost my confidence when it’s low and make me feel beautiful. It’s not just the practice it’s also the philosophy behind sport in general: knowing your limits and working hard to push them, further and further.
Who is your biggest role model and why?
My mother. She was able to take on a lot of things in her life and has made a lot of sacrifices including her putting of her dreams so my siblings and I could have something to eat, clothes to wear and go to top-ranked Colleges.
You know when little girls say they want to look like her mom when they grow up? I’m still at this stage. Her strength and independence inspire me. She has never counted on anyone by herself for her success and will fight for her family no matter what.
Who are your favourite cultural heroines and why?
I have so many… I would say, Frida Kahlo. She’s the first female artist I learnt about. Besides her fabulous paintings, her unconventional beauty and her style who defies gender stereotypes are fascinating. And, she was fierce: despite her handicap, she never played the victim. Instead, she found a way to transcript her reality and women’s reality it into art.
If you could pick one fictional female character to be for a day who would it be and why?
I would be Mary Jane from “Being Mary Jane” because her life seems fabulous besides her love stories. Mary Jane is a journalist with a tumultuous love life and awkward family who count on her for basically everything. What I admire in her is she never gives up and is ready to fight to keep her position, to hold her family together and to always put her dignity above her feelings
What is your biggest life goal?
I’m actually working on my biggest life goal: helping poor children in the Central African Republic having same chances than others. It was actually a project I have been thinking about for years now. I feel like it’s now or never. We easily get caught on parallel projects that we forget what should be important. And for me, it’s making the world a better place for my children and next generation. My project is starting small and I hope it will gain exposure and contribute a lot more children in developing countries.
What is your biggest accomplishment?
In 2013 I decided to move to New York City. Alone. My first week was awful: my suitcases got lost, I was starting my new internship in a high-end fashion magazine and I could not get any assignment I was given. I wanted to cry and fly back to Paris. I didn’t. I stayed and fought. I got another internship after this one and a full-time job, both in the Luxury business. It was by far the biggest challenge of my life and my biggest accomplishment. Because I made it happen by myself.
What is your favourite quote?
“Even in a nonconventional life, you have to have your own road signs, but you may have to make them yourself. Otherwise, you’re treading water. If you choose to live alternatively, then you should embrace that and do the best you can rather than waste your time thinking about how much more comfortable the grass looks on the other side.”
This is quoted from an article from the blog “Slut Ever”. It has been approx. 2 years that I pinned this quote on my Mac’s board and usually read it when I start questioning myself.
If you could tell your 12-year-old self one thing what would it be?
I grew up in a rich neighbourhood. Where most of my classmates wore high-end brands and dreamt about having Paris Hilton’s closet, I was dreaming of becoming a CEO of top-ranked company or trader. Sometimes it would make me feel awkward. And during those time I would tell myself it’s ok not to blend in and to have bigger dreams than what society is wanting from you.
What does feminism mean to you?
I actually don’t like the term “woman” or “man” and consider myself as a human being.
For a long time, what I meant when I say I’m feminist is being able to do what “men” do without being labelled “bossy”, “slut” or “lesbian”. This way of thinking has made me into an independent and strong woman.
This is what feminism means to me: independence, to choose and control your own destiny and strength, to defend your life choices.
Désirée is a CEO and fashion blogger in Paris, France