Q&A with Yanique Francis

Jamaica born, ex - New Yorker, now Parisian - beautiful and stylish food journalist and a wedding planner about Paris, New York and diversity of her daily life.

Yanique moved to Paris 10 years ago, she is a food journalist, writes for her project Myparisianlife.com, a wedding planner and last but no least - a mom of a 9 years old boy - Pier. A "Swiss army knife" how she called herself and its 100% true.

What was the hardest thing for you when you moved from NY to Paris
Obviously it was the language I did not speak. It was really difficult to communicate in a new space not knowing it. I became fluent only after 1.5 years, mostly because I wanted to feel independent in a different situations and simply to understand what is happening.

What was the reason you moved here? 
I got married and my husband was French.

Aha, so it was a very cliche reason to move! 
Yes, if it was not for love I probably would never had a thought of moving anywhere from NY, I was quite happy with my life there.
Did you feel like Carrie Bradshaw in Paris when you just get here?
I think you always will have the feeling of loneliness in Paris. When you are coming from a place where connections are more superficial - you have this feeling where relation with yourself shifts. The relationship that you have with other people gets a new form, a richer form that takes a way longer way to connect. 

What were you doing in NY? 

I was working in a magazine and busy in advertising and sales department. Also I think no one in NY has really one only job, that is the beauty of the city. Because everybody is kind of hustling and doing many creative projects. As for me - I was freelancing, writing articles for travel magazines. I was also making jewelry and selling it on the flea markets just for fun, because it was also a great way to meet people in NY. Creative ones come out to Williamsburg on the weekends to shop around, so that was cool. 

The world known image about being Parisian, the Parisian way of living, art de vivre and all this staff attracts lots of people, but when you actually moving to live here its completely different story. Did this affect you somehow? 
The good thing about my perception of Paris is that I've never had a strong vision of it. I never had the idea of how romantic the city is. The biggest thought about Paris I had was - that it is just a fashionable city. Arriving into the city, I realized that not everybody is into being sophisticated. Don't get me wrong, Parisians are fashionable, they are stylish, but only in certain districts. In NY everybody has a style, you don't have to be Hermes type of fashion to stand out. That I have not seen in Paris. I love that people here really appreciate craftsmanship, not in a overconsumption which is amazing, but I felt like the really trendy fashion scene was in NY. 

Parisians also have their very own style.
I always appreciated different styles. I got a first view of what is like to be in a fashion industry. I've done fashion week in NY and in Paris. There is not much difference because you see all the same people. But regular people in Paris - are about trying to stay classic and timeless. NY is such a fast city, its not so much into being timeless, its about being fresh and funky. I love both cities for that.

You do not look like a Parisian at all.
I try to stay individual in choices that I make, which is good and bad at the same time, because the price of individuality is - you being stubborn and sometimes being left behind. But you also can be an innovator in your own way, so for me, my own style is a mix-match of all the places that I used to live in. On top of everything else I was raised in Jamaica and I was very lucky to have mom who is super stylish. She is the most beautiful and elegant woman I've ever seen and to this day she will use any opportunity to get dressed, put the jewelry, put the head up and just go. Having this as a base, then living in the States and now living in France - is where my style comes from.
How you came up with MyParisianlife? 
Well, before that I had a fashion blog called Toocutemagazine. It was more about "Living champagne life on a beer budget". I realized that there were a lot of women who were like me, that wanted a certain type of style but just could not afford it. So the focus of the blog was finding beautiful things with a reasonable price. 
First, I started Myparisianlife because I love to share. In any opportunity I try to share with people. And I just got bored of fashion and people, I was very frustrated with the industry, the whole superficiality of it and just felt I need to step out of it and stop doing anything related to fashion. I felt I can do something more than this. Something more important. I did not wanted to be known just for the way I look or the way I dress. 
My goal today is to be known as a food expert. I do know a lot about restaurants and chefs, hotels, what is the best thing to do in this or that neighborhood. 

Myparisianlife is a city guide, were you thinking about the print version? 
For sure, I don't have time enough just yet, but winter is coming and the wedding season is over, so my book is on the way. 

Ok, there are also weddings you organize, how do you actually handle everything? 
Sometimes I ask myself the same question (laughs). I'm very energetic person, that helps. I'm very optimistic, that helps. Also I'm a single mom, its very motivating. Because at the end of the day - who will take care of my son and myself if not me? So it is an internal motivation. 

It has been discussed a lot lately about abuse in the industry, racism. You are black woman running business in a foreign for you country. Do you feel that people react on you differently?
I think being a black women who has lived in so many different cultures and countries I can seriously compare north and south. 

In the US I did experience racism and I still experience it here sometimes, but its different degrees and ways and at some point you really choose your battles. How much of it you are willing to take. We don't have a lot of images of a woman who look like us in certain industries or positions. Or if we do - they are seeing as sex symbols or providing one type of service. 

Once I was organizing a VIP event and friend of mine, she was celebrating the fact that I'm not french, black, woman and running my own company and that was not that much giving to me but I managed it. 
There are a lot of micro aggression when it comes to racism, sexism or even shadism. When you are not black enough to represent a black woman. It only recent became that you can see different shades or diversities especially when it comes to the beauty products. 

Also empathy is so important today. I think you don't have to experience something yourself to realize the problem. I was sitting at the cafe yesterday and overheard how woman was blaming other women being abused, because apparently its actually their own fault. This is such a lack of empathy. 

There is so much against me, but at the end of the day ideas becoming reality and I believe that my purpose in this world is actually to share and to connect. I seriously think that I have a big heart.

Favourite places in Paris
Matamata coffee 
58 Rue d'Argout, 75002 Paris
Museum de Carnavalet
16 Rue des Francs Bourgeois, 75003 Paris

Museum d'Orsay
1 Rue de la Légion d'Honneur, 75007 Paris

104 Rue d'Aubervilliers, 75019 Paris

La Shangri-La hotel
10 Avenue d'Iéna, 75116 Paris

Favourite TV shows? 
Narcos (Netflix), Golden Girls and 227, its a black sitcom. 
Can you describe yourself in 3 words or objects? 
Stylish, creative, businesswoman