I just go with the flow, my main goal is to enjoy, not overthink, and be kind to the people I meet. I am quite laid back just trying to make the days count.
I am spontaneous, I do not like to plan ahead. I have this idea that comes from my childhood that my days are counted, we all know we won't get out of this alive, but I had too much time wasted, so if I can, I do what I feel like doing at once like there is no tomorrow. I am a YOLO woman and I don't like wasting time overthinking. I have always listened to my soul and body so tend to have a good balanced relationship with myself; one that teaches you that maturity, is all about being kind to yourself and loving. I am not a fan of sticking to one thing because I think that it reduces my choices. I like to experiment and I do not like routines so I tend to try as much as I can. Some might say that I am a dilettante, maybe, but for as long as I do something I do it well.
I have always had "an easy body" I was born tall, toned and curvy and had 2 babies but pregnancies didn't damage my body, I just lost a couple of breast sizes. I must say I mourned my boobs for years until I realised that when they were voluptuous I was self-conscious. I finally got used to the new version of them and in a way my boobs are now more in harmony with the rest of my body. Anyway, I am telling you all this because with age, I had to adapt to better lifestyle choices just to go with the flow of nature and even if there are ways today to go against nature, I decided during this boobs drama that I wouldn't. Menopause is knocking at my door and I am trying to delay opening this door as best I can but naturally and peacefully, so far it is working.
I was born in France, and if there is one thing that I will always praise the French for, it is their food. I love French food, even if I do not like cheese and do not like wine. I can hear you from here saying that is not being French then! Well, I am quite happy that cheese and wine are not part of my daily diet or I will be at least 10 times bigger because I compensate widely with French patisserie and anything sweet and you cannot have it all. I cannot resist French patisserie and my sister Angela is a baker @angieandthecakes so I used to always volunteer to taste. Fortunately for me, she doesn't live next door anymore, she lives in Spain, otherwise it would be a catastrophe and each visit is always a great way to catch up eating her awesome cakes and on top of this she is an amazing cook, period!
You add to this my African origin, West Africa, Benin, and you get me when I say that I love food. I can cook nice meals from both cultures and I tend to sometimes just experiment and mix. I have always had a great appetite but I have this habit that comes from my childhood of having only one main and nothing else, sometimes we just could not afford it. So, it is no starter and no dessert especially since I have been living in the UK, sorry but I do not like English desserts, they are way too sweet and anything with orange or mint flavours puts me off.
Cooking for me, making the best meal possible is to give love. I remember my childhood and I can see my dad cooking for us, he is a great cook and for me those moments were the best and rarest as my parents didn't stay together. I learnt to cook very early as my mum was alone bringing us up and we all had a role to play and mine was the cook. I hated to have to do it, it had nothing to do with pleasure at that time and cooking for 7 when you don't have a lot of money can be tricky. I have to say that now I am able to cook a good meal from scratch with few elements so it was not all for nothing. Later in my life I started enjoying it again and I now like to cook, fresh products and hear and see my girls enjoy it.
I, of course love to go out for a meal with my friends, there is nothing better than a good meal shared with a group of friends. I tend to stick to French food or spicy food, I love Indian and Jamaican food in London. In Paris, now that I do not live there anymore, I tend to catch up with what I cannot find in London. Even if a place like https://www.brasseriezedel.com/ or https://www.gazettebrasserie.co.uk/ in London usually makes me forget that I no longer live in Paris; they're just both awesome if you want tasty good quality French food.
When you like to eat, you have to find the balance to stay healthy so I stay active. I come from a family of sporty kids, because there was a lot of us, my mum made sure that we were active and tiring ourselves but outside. We were all enrolled into athletics, all very promising but I simply hated the idea of the training. I do not mind a good race but I hate jogging and training meant a lot of running around. I am more inclined to practise team sports and I did a lot as a kid. When I got to my thirties and had the kids I just made sure to stay active so I would pick a different sport each September to make sure I stick to it. I tried everything, usually doing it with my twin sisters, all kind of street dance classes, I have no sense of coordination so always had a good laugh. I did boxing, aqua gym, bootcamp, you name it, of course I tried to go to the gym but just ended up wasting money. Now, my sister Prudence is a PT @prudycoach , so I train with her once to twice a week and I have my exercise bike in my room, I have 2, 30 to 45 minutes' bike trainings per week. I put my headphones on and just cycle like a mad woman, the first 10 minutes are always hard but once I am in, I keep going and sweat happily. I found this very relaxing and it helps me keep my stress level low and I am guaranteed of a good night sleep. I don't have lots to do to keep fit and toned but now that I am 48 I am fighting cellulite and do not want to turn into jelly so that keeps me focused. Keeping active is not only to shape my body, it is the best way I found to let it all out. The music and the physical challenge is like a drug, sometimes I want to give up and sit down with sweets but then I remember how well I feel after a session. During lockdown, the sessions with my sister were a life saver, I was really looking forward to them. I started to have weekly long walks as well with one of my best friends, I have always enjoyed walking. I made sure to stay active and it really motivates me to stick to it in the future.
I have two things in my life that I have always had and cannot do without, music and books. Unfortunately I cannot play an instrument, I am not a singer, I do not write songs, I cannot create music. I am just a huge fan and I listen to all kind of music from morning till dawn, I cannot function without music. I cannot even imagine how some people do not like music. Music has always been with me and was a life saver in my darkest moments. I know that whatever happens during my day, music will soothe me whenever I need it and cheer me up, motivate me. It is my good drug. I wish I had gone to more gigs when I was younger but I used to suffer from severe agoraphobia so not really going well with big crowds of excited dancing people. I still managed to go and see some of my favourites groups like Arrested Developments in 1993, I still have my ticket, Paris, La Cigale, it was awesome, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrested_Development_(group) and the one and only Beyoncé in London to please my niece Ella, it was her birthday present, and a couple of other artists in France. It is something that I plan on doing more when it is possible again as it is one of my regrets and now that I can stand in a crowd without freaking out, it is definitely on my to do list.
Here is a short list of my favourite songs knowing that I have an ever growing playlist of thousands of songs:
Je suis venue te dire que je m'en vais - Serge Gainsbourg
Pimpers Paradise - Bob Marley
Sometimes it snows in April - Prince
Naima - Angelique Kidjo
Baby can I hold You - Tracy Chapman
I can't make you love me - George Michael
Quelque chose de Tennessee - Johnny Hallyday
Viens - Phil Control
200 Zoblazo - Meiway
Alaoui - Orchestre national de barbes
Listen and let me know what you think.
When I was a kid, we were very poor, so we did not have a lot of toys and we often spent the day playing outside, I remember the lamest parks ever and the old abandoned train station, much better. I have 2 brothers and 4 sisters so it was easier for my mother to keep us outside. TV was not an option as entertainment, so we were often invited to read and not in an invitational tone, we would spend afternoons in the city library. We would complain and try to get as much TV time as possible but my mum was tough and it was not a negotiation. So books became a part of my entertainment world and I have lived the best adventures ever with books. On top of the classics that you have to read for school, I was always a keen reader, classics, science fictions, thrillers, romantic, erotic later in life, horror, I love books. When I was around 10, 11, I started to write stories to keep my little sisters busy, they loved it and I still have them. I would write my heart out in my school planners when I was bored, that helped me a lot going through childhood as I wasn't able to express my feelings. During lockdown I spent a lot of money on books and plants, a new passion. I have a relationship with books and I wish I could remember them all. I read a book only once, I know that my sisters who are also book fans can reread numerously, I cannot. I dive in the story and if I am gripped I just don't stop; and when I finish a book I am always a little bit sad. I have had adventures with books that were so good that it put me off books for a couple of months, missing the book I have just finished to the point that it is too painful to start another one by fear of not feeling anything. I know weirdo right, but that's what books do to me.
Here is a short list of my favourite books, I would love to hear your view if you have read some of them:
Le Jaguar - Loup Durand
Voyage au centre de la Terre - Jules Verne
L'alchimiste - Paulo Coehlo
The black dagger brotherhood series - J.R. Ward
Le parfum - Patrick Suskind
The Millennium series - Stieg Larsson
Insomnia - Stephen King
The Scarpetta Series - Patricia Cornwell
Les Hauts de Hurlevent - Emily Brontē
Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
Now, let's talk about travels, another thing that I like to do a lot even if I am on a budget and I don't like flying. I am working on my flight fright as I need to be able to travel for work and to visit my family. For me the best way to travel are trains, I just enjoy looking at the scenery while still being on Earth. I actually hope that I will have the opportunity of travelling more and modelling at the same time. So far, I travelled a little for work, an easy Paris to London but that for me is nothing special as I do it all the time to visit my family and friends. Lately, in October 2020 I travelled to Rome, Italy, to go to a casting for a very well known brand, I won't give the brand's name as it finally did not materialise in a job but I was happy to be there. I just had the week-end to enjoy Rome and I saw a little bit of it so I put it on my list of cities to visit. I have just come back from Barcelona, and that was a blessing as I was able to see my sisters. The job itself was amazing, the team was really nice, I cannot wait to see the commercial and show you. That is another part of modelling that I want to enjoy, travel, discover other countries while working, what else can I ask for.
Hola from Barcelona May 2021: role CEO for a commercial
I have travelled a fair bit in my life for pleasure, not extensively like a jet setter but I was lucky enough to visit amazing places, my favourites being Japan, Mauritius, Benin, that I discovered very late in my life but was an eye opener. Portugal where I have been several times and where I want to buy a little place so I can live between London and I do not know where yet in Portugal. I have been to Lisbon and stayed in this very nice http://www.rawculturebairroalto.com/en, Ponte Lima and Madeira https://www.hotelthevine.com/ so far and I want to explore more before making a decision and I cannot do so without visiting Porto first. I love Portugal for the weather, the people that I find nice and welcoming, I don't get the side angry menacing looks in Portugal that I too often get in other Europeans cities. As a black woman I feel completely safe there. The food is amazing and I just love the colours and light that we unfortunately do not have in London. It is my European dream city. I had the chance to meet these guys, Pauline and Aurelien that gave us a great tour https://www.monchauffeurlisbonne.com/ and told us about nice restaurants to go to. We actually stayed in touch and I have worked with them on a corporate event and had the chance to visit this beautiful boutique hotel https://www.santiagodealfama.com/ and meet the really nice owners. It is on my list for my next stay in Lisbon.
I went to Greece as well and I also really enjoyed it, I will go again as there are so many islands that I can explore. I was in Kos https://www.diamondboutiquehotel.gr/ and Rhodes and I highly recommend it. We stayed in a very nice boutique hotel in Rhodes in the old city centre that I recommend 100%, Irene and her husband https://oldtownsenses.gr/ the owners were so nice to us, they made our stay wonderful and it is perfectly located. We visited a lot and had beach days here https://www.facebook.com/kalamibeachbar/ nice beach, music, and food. What I like when I travel are boutique hotels, I am not really keen on big hotels. I love the cleanliness and luxury of a boutique hotel without being too much and some are very reasonable in their prices and I am the queen of bargains anyway. I usually travel alone, or with my 3 daughters (one I did not make but still) or my twin sisters.
I will, now that I am doing this blog, have the good habit of keeping tab of where I have been so I can share it with you. I always prefer a direct recommendation as my biggest fear is to get somewhere and realise I do not like it at all. Please share your travels and recommendations as I hope to do more when we are able to.
When you enter the modelling world, you will certainly encounter the terms "lifestyle photography" it is simply modelling as Mr and Mrs normal people doing everyday activities with endless possibilities and opportunities for work. See how cool lifestyle is, just go all in naturally and it works. This one reminds me of being on holidays.