I met Allyson back in 2010 while working at Urban Outffiters. She since then has travelled quite a lot. She is a free-spirit that has incredible drive and determination. I admire the way she speaks and listen to her truth. She is a super positive person, that is on the move and is now living from her passion, yoga. I approached her to participate in this series as we Quebecors tent to go in Mexico only for vacation and I was curious to learn more about her lifestyle. I hope her passion and honesty inspire you to always follow your heart and dreams. If you’re ever in Zihuatanejo, I suggest you stop buy her studio for a yoga session Ynergia !

YUL-ZIH

Name/ Allyson Germain
City of residence/ Zihuatanejo, Guerrero, Mexico
Astrological sign/ Gemini
I’m often perceived as \ people tell me I’m/ really smiling and friendly

What does a day in your life looks like?
Waking up a bit before sunrise to open my front door and watch the sun rise sitting on my rooftop, make coffee and meditate, write, talk with my doggy Tanny, check on my plants. Mornings are “me time”. Then, comes normal life, social media, emails, plan somewhat the day, errands, cook, see friends. At 4ish, I head to the studio to clean the space of practice and wait for the magic to happen, see who is going to show up to class 🙂 Sometimes this “me time” is shorter due to morning yoga classes I could be teaching or me wanting to jump in the waves to surf and connect with the power of the ocean.

Why did you choose Zihuatanejo, Guerrero and how long have you been living there for?
I came to visit for the 1st time this place 2 years ago for surfing. A friend suggested me Saladita, a nice quiet surf spot about 20-30 minutes drive from Zihuatanejo and an easy in and out access to the airport. Being in the retail world at the time, we all know we don’t get much vacation 😉 so I was always looking for easy access new surf spots to get away and disconnect from my everyday life. I was put in contact with the owners of LOOT and got to meet these lovely people, and waouw, oh so lovely they were. And when I realized I had to redirect my life, I automatically thought of them and they welcomed me with open arms. Zihuatanejo was once called Zihuatlán, which means the home of the goddess women. So it’s undeniable and evident that the feminine ancestral energy is really strong here and attracts strong powerful women.

Would you say there is a difference between people living on pacific rather then the atlantic side? If yes, how so?
Totally. Like everywhere, we also feel this in Canada. Guerrero is still a really alternative destination for Mexico, apart from Acapulco. And Mexico is generally known for it’s east coast, the calm blue ocean, diving, senotes, pyramids, and with all that comes a lot of tourism, and energy, and party scene, money trades in USD. The Pacific is still a bit more rough around the edges, raw, authentic, real, the power of the waves in the ocean brings in a totally different energy to the coast.

You have started your company, could you tell us a little bit more about it ?
I opened up a Yoga studio in Zihuatanejo, a space to make yoga accessible for the local people. A space to connect, regroup, exchange, discover, explore, a space to feel ourselves into time and space.The 1st 6 months I was living here, I lost touch of my personal yoga practice, it not being accessible in Zihuatanejo and the other places charging in USD was just too much for when you’re reality is in pesos. I realized the importance of yoga in my life when I went back to Vancouver last summer, and it just got so clear that that’s what I needed to do next. Yes I do have tourists come to do yoga, but I’m more working towards building a local community and going hand in hand with the flow of wellness that’s evolving here in Zihuatanejo.

How is dating different in Mexico?
There’s a lot of dancing, men are “hot” you know chilli and seafood are these foods… Men are really sexual. As a white women you can also be perceived a lot like some “fun times”. Until they realize you’re here to stay hahaha well that changes the dynamic. You be nice, you set your boundaries, because abundance is overflowing all over Mexico in all its aspects and forms.

Thoughts on food/eating habits
Food is a passion in Mexico. Every state has it’s food culture. Mexican food is all over the world. And Mexican mama and grandma’s food is like our mama and grandma’s food. Not always the healthiest choice for us but oh so Jummy!! Unfortunately, education towards food and it’s importance and what it does to your body is really low. A lot of processed food, a lot of packed food, a lot of Coca-Cola. But it’s slowly shifting. We have a vegan cooperative that’s doing amazing education by introducing vegan options of  Mexican dishes. Getting the local community to work with what they have, use all the abundance of coconuts around and it’s oil in cooking and foods, etc.

Did you feel it was hard to make new friends and integrate yourself and how different are human relationships? (what differences have you noticed)
I’ve never had issues with this anywhere 😉 And with my LOOT family I’ve been introduced to so many lovely people. LOOT is an incredible networking place. Most of all my strong relationships here in Mexico comes 1st from this place. People in general are really open to new people, to meet you, to get to know you. I have a friend that loves to meet new people. As if everytime he meets a new person, is as if he’s going to explore a new place, a new culture, and going travelling without leaving home.

What is ‘’home’’ for you, as your family is in Quebec, Canada?
Home is where the heart is. hahahahahaha super cliché. For real though, Quebec is a “physical” home in a sense that that’s where I was physically born and raised. Vancouver and Mexico are “nature” and “spiritual” homes as in everyday they make me connect more with the nature around me and deepen my spiritual self. They are all really precious for me and make me feel at home in different ways.

What are myths (violence, poverty or else)?
Guerrero and Michoacán its closest state up north are heavy in Narco traffic. You need to be aware of it and live with it. It happens everywhere around the world. To not live in fear, change your perspective on life, trust your instincts and give it love. That’s the only way.

Do you have access to a lot of cultural events if so what kind?
Zihuatanejo was back in the 1970 was a artist backpacking hub for artist to regroup and create. It is known for it’s Guitarfest every year. 2 worldwide guitar musician are from here called Rodrigo & Gabriela. We have access experience a Temazcal ceremony (Mexican sweat lodge and natural cleansing medicine) every Sunday. There’s fishermen events also as Zihuatanejo all started from being a small Fishermen village. There’s a lot of art exhibitions in the Museum of Archeology. There’s a lot of surf events from all the different waves we’ve got available around here. And much so much more, especially in High Season (during winter time) there’s just always something going on.

 

Suggestions of what to do, eat and stay when there
To do /

Temazcal ceremony
Sunset yoga at my studio Ynergia, where you start with the sun, practice through sunset and finish savasana in the night
Massage on Playa la Ropa for 10$
Boat or walk across to Playa Las Gatas and discover some totally different waters and sand from the rest of the bay
Do snorkelling ot diving with my friend Poto and explore the oceans around and if you’re in whale season (spring) you might see some close by and hear them singing underwater.
Roadtrip to Troncones and/or Saladita, feel the surf towns and wellness energy. Maybe even discover the secret natural Hot Springs 😉

To eat /

Carmelitas Cafe, best Mexican breakfast and lunch in town
LOOT, best coffee and general vibe for everything, chilling, dancing at night, eating and drinking jummy cocktails
Angustina, best place to discover mezcal
El Manglar, in la Ropa for the best beachfront Tiritas (traditional ceviche’ish from here) and guacamole and michelada
Eco-Tianguis Sanka, every Saturday at 9am there’s a local organic market with organic, vegan or raw food options, all homemade and also some arts and natural products

To stay /

Well that depends on your budget because there’s a lot of options.
Cheap deals: my home, El Rincon del Viajero a lovely hostel filled with permaculture and love, El Pirata in La Ropa for a more touristy vibe.
A bit more upscale: La Casa Mx owned by my LOOT family, Hotel Real de la Palma in Playa La Ropa owned by my friend’s family with a lovely quiet energy a bit away from the direct beachfront and super jummy food.

What is the question you wish people asked you and what is the answer?
What do you do everyday to serve your higher self? My higher self is my everyday guide, but sometimes it’s not always what happens. We just need to see these moments as learnings and part of the process of being human.

What tradition/ trait in people would you like to bring back with you in Canada?
Lightness of living, simplicity, enjoying life first and what it has to offer. Its beautiful people, its beautiful nature, take care of it, love it all. Undig your families traditions and rituals, come back and connect to it and step away at times from today’s technology.

all photos by Allyson Germain

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Here is the second part of Robyn’s travel adventures. I hope you enjoyed reading the first part. I never thought I’d one day would be curious about going to India, but her pictures and stories are making me wonder what it’s like to travel to that destination. Thank you again Robyn for your time. x

Thoughts on food/eating habits, a favorite of dish or ingredients that you’ve discovered or wish you could eat again
This has been the hardest question to answer as food is probably the best cultural experience that can be shared with friends. Asian food is extremely diverse and delicious. I could list off a million meals that I would love to eat again, but let’s just say I dream of chai and I miss eating kimchi with every meal.

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My favorite part about meals in South Korea was the communal aspect of eating out. Everything is shared. At some restaurants you are not able to order dinner if you are by yourself because the portions are just too large for one person. Food is usually served as one giant hot pot or plate in the center of the table and guests simply pick from the shared meal and multiple side dishes. Many of the dishes, such as BBQ, are cooked at the table on a burner. When pouring drinks you always pour for another person, or the whole table before you fill your own glass. I defiantly became better at sharing after living in Korea.

Sans titre

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I would like to know your thoughts or how more american traditions as Christmas happen in other countries that you have visited. What were the traditions or celebrations that you’ve experienced abroad that aren’t traditional in Canada?
I spent last Christmas in Seoul, South Korea. Christmas is not a very big holiday there, although it is becoming more popular commercially. For Koreans it is often treated as a time for couples to get together and buy gifts for one another.

The most interesting celebration that I have had the privilege of participating in was the Holi festival in India. Known for the throwing of the colors this holiday is traditionally the time to celebrate the coming of spring. I was in the holy city of Pushkar in the state of Rajastan during the festivities. There was a massive build up for the festival and nights before the throwing of the colors and there were different traditional dances taking place, music, tons of fireworks and bon fires in the middle of the streets.

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The morning of the festival once you stepped outside of your hotel you were immediately targeted by the locals and were coved in all kinds of colors, blue, yellow, pinks, red, green. It was a beautiful moment to see everyone surrounding you covered in a multicolored layer. It was as if all race, age, and identity disappeared, everyone became a large melting pot of purples and pinks.

I don’t mean to just paint this festival as a picturesque and charmingly traditional day, it was far from it. India ripped apart all of my expectations of what I thought things would be. In Pushkar the festival has evolved into a large party scene. There are massive speakers set up in the center of the city blaring phytrance and people cut loose. Indians know how to party. It was really fun for the most part, but as a female it can be intense to be in a crowd where it is fair game for men to touch you and put colors on your body. My sister and I were purple for a few days after, despite all of the coconut oil we put on ourselves.

What are your thoughts on travelling as a woman

  • Be smart.
  •  Do your research before going to the country you are traveling to. A simple thing, such as wearing appropriate clothing is a tremendously important idea to understand before leaving.
  • Know your limits and when to stand your ground.
  • Follow your gut instincts, if something or someone is making you uncomfortable then leave, or be confident enough to say no. “No thank you” became my favorite saying when traveling in India. Being extremely confident and knowing what you want out of situations helps, other people will be quick to pick up on your energy and strength.
  • Be patient and calm.
  • Be understanding of cultural differences. If you are a female coming from the west understand that women are not always seen as equal, but you have to pick your battles and know that getting upset, angry or yelling directly at someone about an uncomfortable issue is not always the right way to go about creating change. I often had to remind myself that “it’s not their fault”, it is a deep rooted issue and you have to be the bigger person. You have to be able to “brush off” certain discrepancies, take a breath and let go, otherwise it could ruin your experience.

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What would be the biggest misconception people have about the fact that you’re travelling over a long period of time?
That every place is beautiful and amazing. Instagram, facebook and every other social media device now has the ability to edit, edit , edit. When people share their experiences they often don’t talk about or show pictures of the less than ideal parts of a place, for example the crowds of people, the giant power lines in front of the view or the garbage at their feet. Those things are not necessarily terrible or great, it’s just what is there and makes the place what it is at the time you visit. Things are not always what they seem. I think the travel “ego” often overtakes the reality of other’s perception of their experience.

The idea of a travel lifestyle should not be put on a pedestal as the most interesting or glamorous way to live, nor should it be condemned as childish or a form of escapism. Different things work for different people. Right now this is working for me and I am driven and motivated to make it happen. At this time there are more opportunities for me abroad, so I will take them as they come.

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 What is the question you wish people asked you and what is the answer?
What item would you never travel without?

My journal. I am not a writer, but I am able to capture my experiences through drawing. My sister gave me the journal when I graduated and there is four years worth of memories in that book. That is the only object I would be absolutely devastated if I lost.

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15942791_10157952729555265_572933388_oI met Robyn, well once actually. She was in town for the summer, learning French and long story short I ended up spending an evening with her and some of her group. It was super fun. I have been following her journey through FB and when I thought of starting this new series, I though she might have some really interesting things to share and boy was I right. She has been travelling and livin’ the life. This is the first of her 2 parts portrait on her travels, her lifestyle and life elsewhere on this beautiful planet. Thank you Robyn for your generosity, honesty and kindness. I can’t wait to follow your next adventures!

YVR – The World

Name/ Robyn Griffiths
Home Base/ Kelowna, BC
Astrological sign/ On the Cusp between Aquarius and Capricorn
I’m often perceived as \ people tell me I’m/ Very determined
Job/ To be a good human on the planet by giving more than I take

Where did you travel in the past few years?
I got my first taste of travelling when I was 21. I travelled in SE Asia for 7 months with friends, a month with my sister and on my own. I went to Thailand, Loas, Cambodia, Vietnam, Indonesia, and Malaysia. After coming home from that trip I knew that I wanted more so I looked at my options and found a way to work and live abroad.

Teaching was the best option for me at the time and that is how I decided to live in South Korea. I ended up teaching children ages 4-10 in Seoul for 14 months. I loved that year. I worked extremely hard, but made sure to get the most out of my time there. I was able to do some travelling within the country, but mainly explored Seoul itself. It was extremely difficult sometimes, but looking back on it, the hard times are what made that year worthwhile. Due to the length of time that I was in South Korea I was able to build an amazing community of lifelong friends and form a better understanding of South Korean culture.

After my contract was over I made plans with my sister to travel to India and Sri Lanka. Our intention was to go to Australia and work within six months, but things change quickly while travelling and we ended up in Nepal, Myanmar and Thailand, travelling for a total of nine months.

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What are particular highlights or your travels?
This most recent trip was full of highlights for me. I took some courses and got involved in more share projects. I received my 200hr Kundilini yoga certification in Rishikesh, I went on a seven day trek in Nepal, I spent a month in Goa doing a work exchange at an organic cafe and eco stay, I participated in a silent meditation course. I tried surfing and an aryuvedic cleanse, ecstatic dance classes and worked on a mindful farm, I even rode a camel for four days in a desert. Honestly, the best part of the trip was the fact that I was able to share all of this time with my sister, whom I absolutely adore.

Overall I tried this trip to push myself in new ways, especially when things made me uncomfortable. There are a million more things that I wish I had done. I no longer want to go to places just to check them off some list and then claim I have been there. I think travelling slow is the best way to actually immerse yourself into a culture. “Travelling” has evolving into something more important. It is an exchange of ideas, I want to be able to give back just as much as I received from each place I have been.

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Were there any specific reasons as to why you choose those destinations?
I was always inspired by my mother. When she was younger she backpacked and drove a van though Europe and into Greece, turkey, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal. A few years later she traveled to other Asian countries such as South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand. I guess hearing her stories and seeing her photos sparked my interest. From then on those places have been in the back of my mind.

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What were the cultural differences that surprised you the most?
Public manners and acceptable mannerisms have been shockingly different from country to country. Some “socially acceptable” actions have made me shake my head in disbelief, laugh out loud and even reconsider my own personal conduct. Koreans are extremely respectful, especially towards their elders. It was so nice to see individuals consistently giving up their spot in line or seats on busses and trains for the older generations. In public spaces people are very orderly and quiet. My friends and I were once called out on a bus for speaking too loud. Saving face is of the upmost importance. Koreans tend to be very reserved with one another. When walking down the street very few people even make eye contact with me and I almost never experience someone stopping to say hello.

Going from South Korea to India felt like going to another planet. People talked loudly on busses, and often played music at deafening volumes on their phones on busses, trains, even hiking in the mountains. The idea of a line up did not exist. You had to be ready to throw some elbows, even towards elderly people to hold your spot. There is not much thought or education put towards how people dispose of garbage, so it is simply just thrown on the ground or out the window. On the other hand, Indians are extremely friendly and open. People were constantly making eye contact, smiling and waving. Individuals would always come up to my sister and I asking us questions and having conversations, sometimes much longer than expected or always comfortable.

These are just a few noticeable differences that contrast my own Canadian culture in a more extreme way. Going to another country and trying to really understand the culture can be a bit like swimming in the ocean. You are completely surrounded by the water and are caught up in the wave of it. It has a unique flow that works for the place. But you are a person and not the water, making some norms feel awkward and hard to sink into. This does not necessarily make certain customs wrong or even better than other places, it is just the natural current of the culture. Sink or swim.

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What do you feel travelling has taught you?
Well maybe not physics…but seriously, I have learned more about myself, others and the world than my four years at University. I keep traveling because it is a form of education for me. Time is the most valuable thing we have. How you spend your time and with whom you spend it with is extremely important. Life goes fast, so do things now.

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What is your next destination?
In February I am moving to Australia to live and work for a year.

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Photo credit @ Robyn Griffith

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I have met Steven where I use to work in Montreal. We have spend 4 years, 5 days a week together and boy did we have fun! Steven is full out, very funny, creative and endearing. I has taught me a lot (like walking in heels and many more) and inspired me quite a bit. I have a lot of admiration for him as to how he’s following his dreams and staying true to who he is.He is the Snapchat king fo sure. Favorite activity together : definitively singing. We owned karaoke night and sang for hours in our office. I miss his presence and am found of our memories together. Check out his work on his Facebook or Instagram !

Name/ Steven Cabeleira
City of residence/ Montreal
Astrological sign/ Taurus
I’m often perceived as \ people tell me I’m/ Steven wanted me to answer this question. I’d say true to himself
Job/ Makeup Artist

What is your dream job and what have you been doing career wise in the past few years?
My dream job is to work on movie sets and create different makeup looks inspired by the movie. Before being into makeup I was an accountant and I also danced.

What is the question you wish people asked you and what is the answer?
Why do I love makeup so much.

Some might think that makeup is superficial and that people shouldn’t hide their imperfections and shouldn’t be hiding behind cosmetics. I don’t.

I will say that: In my opinion makeup can be really useful. Yes if I have a pimple I will cover it up. Yes if I feel that my bags under my eyes are too deep I will cover them but why? Because I love to look flawless. I like to look in the mirror and be like YASSS my skin looks flawless. When I remove my makeup do I feel ugly?! No, because I love myself before anything. Makeup boosts self-confidence for some and I don’t think it’s a bad thing.

sans-titre

You have been in L.A for the past 6 months. Tell us what you were doing there and what did your day or week looked like?
For the past 6 months I was at Cinema’s Makeup School in Los Angeles where I learned about beauty, makeup, hair, airbrush, characters (scars, wounds, blood) and prosthetics application. I had school from Monday to Friday like a full time job. My day at school started by lectures from the teachers of what we were about to learn, then a demo of the makeup and in the afternoon pratice of that specific makeup. We had an exam at the end of each unit. Each day was something different so Ineeded to be really focused and to practice home so my technique was on fleek. It was a nice experience for me and it allowed me to gain so much confidence in my work.

Do you have any tips on makeup for us?
Always use a makeup primer or at least a moisturizer before any makeup application.

What is a personal objectives for you in the coming year?
I really want to work on movie sets and enter this world.

What would be a good reading suggestion?

If you like makeup and you want to know more about trends and history of makeup, there’s a good book called Classic Beauty: The History of Makeup by Gabriela Hernandez.

What are your favorite beauty products?
Fondations and eyeshadows: Makeup Forever
Lips: Mac or Anastasia Beverlyhills

Do you miss dancing?
I danced for a long time in my life but I think that life sometimes make you choose a different path. I still dance for fun with my friends but I wouldn’t go back to my dancing life like before because makeup takes a lot of my time now.

You come from a close knitted portuguese family : what do you cherish the most in your portuguese heritage?
Family Values : My family and I are so close and its important to always share our experiences and feelings between us. It is something I want to teach my kids too.

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Emilie 2

I met Émilie at work a few years ago and we hit it off immediately, at least on my part. She’s super funny, generous, beautiful and a great human being. She’s a big fan of Florence and the machine and Lady Gaga, and she has a kick-ass style just like both of those two women. This has been an extremely interesting portrait and I hope you will enjoy as much as I did. She answered all my questions with honesty and I thank her for that.

Name/ Émilie Lafleur
City of residence/ Québec
Astrological sign/ Aries
I’m often perceived as \ people tell me I’m/ I have “resting-bitch-face”, dead-pan, sarcastic, but the legend has it that I’m funny when you get to know me.
Job/ Barista, visual artist

What does a day in your life look like?
Usually I wake up way too late because I probably stayed up in front of my computer screen or at my drawing table until the wee hours. I forget to have breakfast, then I hop in the shower and straight off to work. If it is a normal day, chances are that I will be one or two minutes late and will be excused by making a good Gandalf joke like “A wizard is never late, nor is he early, he arrives precisely when he means to”. After about ten lattes, I get back home with my cat and I play video games or draw till death comes.

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PC Pascal Audet

What object you couldn’t live without?
Trick question because most of the objects I couldn’t live without come in pack, like my PS4. It is worthless without my TV and my drawing table is worthless without crayons, but I’d say all objects that allow me to express myself artistically.

What is the question you wish people asked you and what is the answer?
Question : Do you love me?
Answer : Yes

What is ‘’home’’ for you?
I’d really like to name a place or moment where I feel at home, that must feel great and reassuring, but I don’t see one. I think that the only moments where I feel at home is when I’m in my head, in my bubble. You know when you listen to a song that makes you feel nostalgic or when a smell brings back memories, that for me is ‘home’. I can go anywhere that I want to when I’m in my head. It’s rarely clean and tidy but it is the ‘place’ where I feel good.

What would be your dream job?
Concept Artist for Bioware which is the person that designs the characters, costumes and places in a video game. Just like in books or movies, the characters and places where they evolve are created by an artist and I dream of being that person.

People might not know but you are a very talented artist. Could you tell us more on your art (what it is called, where you learned it, for how long you have been doing this)?
First, thank you. I have always liked to draw, as far as I can remember. I completed a DEC in visual arts and media and after one year studying History in University (yes, you read correctly), I switched and majored in Visual Arts at Université Laval. I did some video, I painted and drew a LOT. Today, I do illustrations. I don’t feel like opening the debate on ‘’what is considered art’’ but unfortunately, I think there are still too many people that consider comic books and illustration as a job or a hobby rather than an artistic practice or a real form of art. For me, art is not a matter of talent, but rather of intentions and following that concept. I feel that I’m an artist. Drawing is one of the only activities where I never see time go by.

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Émilie’s illustrations

Do you have any tips for us on drawing?
Take the time to look. Look at what is surrounding you at all times. If I were to tell you the word ‘bear’, you’d know what it looks like. Now try drawing it in the most realistic way possible. It is almost impossible if you have never taken the time to truly look at it. People, more often than not, believe that they can’t draw, but I think it’s more a matter of them not knowing how to observe. A drawing done by someone without any experience can be as interesting as one done by a professional. The best examples are drawings done by kids. They draw at the best of their abilities and never think that they are not talented.

What is the personal objective for you in the coming year?
Spend time all by myself. Move. Rediscover what I like and not what I think I like. Nietzsche said that the two things that make the human suffer the most are the past and the future. One brings sorrow and regret, the other brings anxiety and gives the impression to be out of control. I’d like to learn to live in the present, throughout the next year.

As a female gamer, do you ever feel discrimination when you play or discuss this subject? Have you always played video games and what are your favorites?
Aahahah! Ironically, the most discriminating people towards women gamers are other women gamers. People in general are more surprised by a woman gamer then anything else, as if the fact that I wear mascara and that I’m at the 30th level in The Division made absolutely no sense. Video games are a passion of mine and have been since my NES (you know the first Nintendo, where you had to blow in the cartridge). You can find all different art forms in video games such as music, storylines, visual art etc.

Lots of people are mistaken by thinking that games are summed up by Super Mario and racing games but the industry has surpassed the movie industry in the USA. Did you know that? Online gaming is for a lot of people a type of social life and an occasion to create bonds and be social. I have found that I’ve learned English way faster through playing Zelda then in high school. Without being the most popular games, here are a few of my favorites : Mass Effect, Dragon Age, Zelda Ocarina of Time, Red Dead Redemption, The Division, Final Fantasy, Silent Hill, GTA and the list could go on and on.

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You have an amazing sense of style. Has fashion always been a passion of yours and how would you describe the perfect Emilie outfit?
Like drawing, fashion is a way to express ourselves. Forrest Gump was right when he said, “you can know a lot about someone by looking at his shoes”… I must admit though that I don’t over think or analyze when I put an outfit together. It comes to me rather naturally. I wear things that I find comfortable and cute and I really don’t care about it fitting. I often wear oversized shirts or Japanese animation t-shirts with long dresses. I shop in thrift stores and sales only. I find it totally delightful to give back life to a piece that looked like nothing in particular before. If I could have the swag of the Friends characters, I would definitely have put together my dream outfit.

Who or what influences you the most and has been your biggest inspiration and why?
Lady Gaga, Bob Dylan, Morrissey, my mom, my ex… Gilles Miller, David Gaider, Tori Amos… Daddy. Influences are tiny bits that we collect and they end up making who we are. If I had to sum up what influences me the most, I’d have to say music. I can’t live without music. I have what we call a life soundtrack, a song for each moment. I think we can also find inspiration in people that we hate or that make us come to the conclusion of what we want and don’t want in our lives. In this sense, my ex was also an artist and made me realize that I didn’t necessarily like things I thought I liked.

One band/ The Smiths
One book/ Moby Dick
One blog/ Look for la Fabrique Crépue xx

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Émilie’s take on Tarot

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 Sara-Maude 1

I met Sara-Maude because my dear hairdresser, (hey Emma) was leaving for a new adventure in Asia. She referred me to Sara-Maude and not only are they both equally talented, I also liked her immediately! She’s an excellent hairdresser, she’s the kind that listens to what you want and reproduces it. That is the best kind! She’s super funny, easy to talk to and so pretty. I love her sense of style. I don’t know her that much and I’m pretty sad that I won’t be able to get my haircut done by her anymore since I’ve moved, but I really hope that this portrait inspires you! She works at DRU in Montréal by the way if you want to take an appointment 🙂

Name/ Sara-Maude Martin Verret
City of residence/ Montreal
Astrological sign/ Aries
I’m often perceived as, people tell me I’m/ Sweet and meticulous
Job/ Hairdresser

What does a day in your life looks like?
I’m generally up by 8am. I get ready and walk my dog. I then hop on my bike, (9 months out of 12) and go the to salon. My work shift at 7:30PM at the latest and I then either go to yoga, have diner with my boyfriend or my friends, or in the winter take a bath and watch Netflix.

What is your dream job?
I really like what I’m doing right now. I get to talk with my clients and colleagues and make them their prettiest. If all of that could happen in a warmer environment, all year long, near an ocean that would be even better!

What object you couldn’t live without?
Definitively my ipod

Do you have any tips for us as a hairdresser?
Basic advice : Don’t overheat your hair with the hairdryer. That will allow you NOT to have static electricity. Also, always apply a product on your hair to protect them from the heat. That is the base.

Sara Maude 2

 

Favourite product?
Right now I’d say : DOO.OVER by Kevin Murphy. It is a spray that lightly fixes and gives volume. It is also a mix of dry shampoo. This product is ideal for fine hair.

A must?
Dry shampoo. This has literally change my life. Not only does it absorb the excess of sebum, it also gives volume and means you do not need to wash your hair everyday.

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Who or what influences you the most and has been your biggest inspiration and why?
My friends, my boyfriend, my family, my colleagues, all people close to me influence me a lot. Their opinion is really important to me. Professionally, I get inspiration from Instagram accounts all over the world.

What is the thing that people should get conscious of or read about?
I think that people should just be more interested in others. In general, I find that we have a tendency to judge people too quickly. Through my work, I get the opportunity to meet people from all sorts of backgrounds. When you take the time to get deeper in relationships and discussions, more often than not, you have great encounters!

What is one thing you would like to improve about you or get better at in life?
I’d say my English. I watch all my movies and TV series in English but when it comes to the time to have a conversation … ouch.

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What do you think is the biggest misconception people have about your job?
People think that we are always partying, that this job is super jet set and glamourous. They also have a misconception that we are always attending big events. I would love that very much but that is really not the case, at least not for me.

Being part of the beauty industry do you feel pressure as to always looking your best or always be stylish, wearing the latest trends ?
Not really. I like to put make up on, style my hair and dress well. I don’t feel like it s a chore for me.

One band in the past year/ A friend suggested Her’s EP. Since then, it is on repeat on my ipod. I also enjoy Aderson Paak, Alabama Shakes and Father John Misty.
One book/ I read recently ‘’Le Soleil des Scorta’’ by Laurent Gaudé. This story about an Italian family touched me a lot.
One piece of clothing/ Black jeans, my Blundstone boots and earings that my boyfriend gave to me 4 years ago.
One blog or youtube channel/ Oh harvest moon 😉

Sara 8

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PC mgodmer

I met Michaël 4 years ago in Montreal. We worked in the same office and got along pretty fast. I find him super funny and I admire his amibition and talent. He also has the best energy their is. Always willing and positive, his attitude is contagious and in a really good way! When I’m around him, I feel like I could start a billion projects. He has started his own design company and is working his butt off! You should definitively check out his work at : 45 Nord Atelier . He is a good example that young people can achieve great things!

Name/ Michael Godmer
City of residence/ Montreal
Astrological sign/ Cancer
I’m often perceived as \ people tell me I’m/ Unified, Ambitious, Workaholic, Intense, Manager to the core (as an example, I’ve been told that I’d be the kind of person to do an excel spread sheet for a pot luck) and Bi-Polar Economical
Job/ Interior Designer

What does a day in your life look like?
I try to have a steady routine in order to keep a cool head and have good energy throughout the day. I always start off my morning with a coffee at home and then sit at my kitchen counter to read my emails. I then take time to get ready and figure out my to-do list for the day. While driving to work, I return calls and try to figure out my priorities and emergencies. Once at work, I take care of those emergencies and coordinate with my team. By that time, it is often 2pm, I then take time to put my phone on vibrate and close my emails in order to focus 100% on projects, this way it allows me to be creative and have more focus on what I prefer, meaning design! Once back home, at the end of the day, I do a little training. It helps me relax and take my mind off work. I usually end my day at around 9pm and take time for myself. Having a business is being able to manage projcet, finances, a team, but it also starts by being able to manage my own personnal life. This takes a lot of discipline.

Was your age ever a challenge for you regarding your profession as to how people perceive or trust you?
Let me think…. GOSH YES! Having started my career at such a young age as 17 years old, I’ve had the opportunity to have important positions in different companies and fields. By betting on what I had to offer instead of using my age as an advantage, I was able to go a long way. Nowadays, when clients realize that I’m 25, I still get comments on how they can’t believe I’m so young . Some of them even go as far as to tell me that I could be their son! Part of me understands that reaction and on the other hand I still can’t believe that some adults think that all young people are couch potatoes and don’t have any willpower. Incredible!

What would you say contributes to your success in terms of your personality excluding your obvious talent?
One thing : knowing and identifying my goals. Follow those guidelines and look ahead. I’d like to add that I don’t believe in luck, like people will tell me ‘’wow, you are so lucky,’’ but I don’t think that is accurate. You have to always move forward and seize the opportunities as they present themselves in your life.

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45 Nord Atelier
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Michaël’s project

What object could you not live without\or that you love the most?
My phone. That is, I guess, a pretty common answer, but it connects me to work, home and it is also a great tool when travelling. It really allows me to be efficient in my work days. It also helps me to manage my stress better by having access to my work and projects even when not at the office. It helps to keep a healthy balance, meaning I can use it whenever needed and I can also turn it off when I need a moment to myself.

What is the question you wish people asked you and what is the answer?
Is it difficult to start your own business and how much do you earn? You must make a lot of money right?

To that I’d say, it looks pretty glamorous to have your own business, yeah sure. But even though I still have tons of fun working as a designer and an entrepreneur, I don’t know if I would have still launched my company, knowing how much hard work it is. Honestly, I probably would’ve done it anyways! It requires me to be rigourous, to have a lot of amibtion, but mostly to love what I do every single day. And just so you know, you don’t make that much money!

Do you have any tips on interior design for us (simple things that we can apply to our homes)?
Create a space that represents you and mostly that you can function in every day of the week. Magazines, Pinterest and Blogs are some sure sources of inspiration and good ideas, but they might not always apply to your lifestyle. I sincerely believe that if I can guide people with that train of thought, I’ll say, ‘mission accomplished’.

For example, at home I have a chair in the hallway. It is there not because I’ve seen it in Dwell, but it is place in that specific space because when I get home and my boyfriend is cooking, I can just immediately sit and chat with him about our day.

What is a personal objective for you in the coming year?
To find balance between work and personal time. I’d like for it to be 40% personnal and 60% work instead of 20%/80%!

Who or what influences you the most and has been your biggest inspiration and why?
As I mentioned, there is Emily Henderson, but also my mentor and friend Stéphanie. I’ve always been inspired by businesswomen. She studied interior design as well as project management and nowadays, she combines those two passions. She’s an artist manager and she also works on diverse design projects with me. The way she gathers people, creates teams and her management skills fascinate me. She has this way of explaining projects, defining her vision while staying rational and keeping clients’ dreams alive. Maintaining a human approach while managing teams and projects is for me the direction I want to go in.

What is the thing that people should get conscious of or read about?
Design wise- plants. I don’t mention it enough but plants are not only a nice part of pinterest boards or used to add a little extra touch to the ambiance, they also grow with the space and fill it with life. I feel it’s important for plants to inhabit the space and last, which emphasize that you are living, as time goes by, in a home and not only with nice decorations and in pretty settings.

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PC alexandre leclerc
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45 Nord Atelier’s project

Because I see you as a very paternal man, I have to ask you; would you like to have kids?
Hummm… That is something I think about a lot but I feel I’ll really think and reflect on the matter later in my thirties. My boyfriend and I feel that we are not ready for kids yet. Although being present for my nieces and nephews makes me learn a lot and makes me grow and I feel as though it’s an experience that everyone should live. Life goes by, work takes control of your routine. Kids have a way of bringing you back to the essential and I hope one day to have the strength and courage necessary to benefit from the amazing experience of parenthood.

Would you still like to sing or return to singing? Do you feel that as an interior designer, your creative side is fulfilled?
I’m lucky enough that my actual work allows me to be creative but it also consists of other tasks such as as management, follow ups, finances… Music represents more a personal moment for myself, for reflexion and relaxation. It allows me to fulfill my creativity and to lose myself in time and space.

One band in the past year/ Lo-fang
One book/ Modern originals Leslie Williamson
One piece of clothing/ My ‘Want’ wallet and my Naked and Famous black jeans

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PC Annie Pier Bureau
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PC mgodmer
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I can’t remember the first time I met Audrey, but it probably was at the record store where she use to work and it’s been what… maybe 8 years? Audrey has amazing qualities for starters; she’s driven, hard working, joyful, open-minded and never judgmental, which I find extremely liberating. She’s always up for adventures, has travelled quite a lot even by herself, like a real #grownwoman and she used to be my partner in crime because she’d always be down to go to random shows, travel and live different experiences.

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