How to feel alive? Every year, try to visit a new place.

How to feel alive? Every year, try to visit a new place.

 

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This year, I made myself the promise to visit a new country, to educate myself and face the fear that some people try to put on me by telling stories from their bad experiences. Now when I fear something, I try to find a way to just do it and deal with the consequences. The opportunity came to cover the Fashion Week in Niamey, Niger and I was really excited!

The African Union also had a summit with all the head of States and I was invited to attend the gala dinner and the seminars.

The Visa

The visa process was quite easy in term of what needed to be done. It was all online. The only issue I had was at the airport. I didn’t receive my invitation letter on time, so it took some a while for them to check through all the emails and let me through.

The Flight

I was flying with Royal Air Maroc and the flight was good. I was lucky that none of my luggages were lost but many other people on the same flights did not get their luggages for days. When travelling, I must say that I always try to keep to a minimum number of luggage.

The Hotel

We were supposed to stay in a nice hotel but due to the Summit and the lack of available rooms, we simply had the worst time I could ever imagine. From one day to another, we didn’t know where we would sleep as everywhere was fully booked. Even hotels that had cockroaches as big as a mouse running like they rule the world. This definitely made the trip very difficult but the people were so lovely that I would like another opportunity to visit the country and be able to stay at the Radisson or Noom hotel.

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This trip experience taught me the importance of going with the flow. It is true to say that not everything always go as planned but there is always a reason for everything.

The African continent has so many beautiful undiscovered places. I hope to visit many more.

The culture in images…

What my first Afro Punk event was like.

What my first Afro Punk event was like.

Saturday 13th of June, I had the pleasure of attending the festival Afro Punk at La Seine Musicale, in Paris for the first time. Headlining the concert was Solange Knowles and Janelle Monae.

I must say that it was surreal to see so much creativity in one place. It was like being on a movie set where new characters coming out of nowhere every 2 seconds. It was amazing.

I made an effort to add some African touch to my outfit as I really didn’t know what to expect there. I was definitely NOT overdressed and felt like I could have been a little bit more extra. It was impressive to be in the middle of so much art.

They had massive flags which I obviously used  to take a picture 🙂 . It was not easy with the wind but we managed to take something nice.

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Here are a few pictures I took at the event. It would be great to hear your comments if you experienced this event in Paris or elsewhere. There is another festival in the desert that I was looking into but I am not sure I will be handle to handle all the nakedness that google search has showed me.. ( ah aha ah)

 

 

 

GOLD CHOKER, Tribal jewellery from NACHO JEWELS , a label from Argentina.

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My friend came from Brazzaville, Congo to display and sell her clothing line, LIPUTA SWAGGA. If you have a minute, please have a look at her amazing work!

 

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Reasons why Rome was my worst getaway trip so far.

Reasons why Rome was my worst getaway trip so far.

I went to Rome for the first time over 10 years ago. It was an unplanned trip and I didn’t visit much of the city so I was really excited to return in May 2019 and do the photoshoot with footballer Steven Nzonzi for the cover of my magazine.

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A friend and I booked an Air B and B in Vatican City as we wanted to be able to do some sightseeing too. Big mistake. Although the apartment was lovely and close to a supermarket and a few other places, I had the worst weekend in an European capital of my entire life!

I love Italy, and I visited many places before for longer periods, Milan, Naples, Salerno, Capri, Grosseto, Florence, etc… but never I have felt the racism like that weekend in Rome. Of course, I am black and I get noticed but come on!!!!!! In 2019, can we just try to respect one another and get on with our lives?

Any coloured person I heard speak about Rome this year, had the same experience so I thought I would just write about it.

TAXIS

We had to take a UBER everywhere because Rome is actually quite big and beautiful. So much history to discover and the fantastic fresh food. But how does anyone explain a 10 minutes ride with UBER costing 60 Euros????!!!! Clearly, the Italians in Rome are like the French in Paris, rude without a cause. My best friend is Italian so I cannot find the words to say how much that weekend traumatised me.

The “regular” taxis all tried to rip us off as we didn’t speak the language so we thought at least with the rating system of UBER, things will be a bit better. The drivers were certainly nice but those prices completely outrageous. I guess, they have a reason to do this so “regular” taxis don’t get out of job. Hopefully in time, it will get better.

FOOD

The food in Italy is always tasty. But the service is another story. In London, customer service is key and maybe we are spoilt with that, same for America. But Italy has a long way to go in treating people equally with the same respect!

HOTELS

I won’t name them here but they were SO rude that we chose to rent a flat instead. NO COMMENT.

OVERALL 

We really tried to have a good time and Steven and his family made sure we felt at home.  The Vatican was simply splendid and I really wish we had more time to look at everything.

 

FONTANA DI TREVI and other places we saw…

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STEVEN AND HIS SISTER KAREN NZONZI

 

I did an impromptu shoot with my gorgeous red dress with my best carefree spirit in the middle of people staring at me like I was not part of the furniture. FUN TIMES!

 

We also had the honour the be invited by Steven to assist to his game, with his team AS Roma. Good thing, they won! And we got to see Ronaldo and Blaise Matuidi too!!

 

I hope you enjoyed the few photos. If you had a different experience in Rome and want to argue or add to mine, please feel free to share below or via email. I am working on adding content to our YOUtube Channel, ESIMBI Magazine and I can’ wait to share that later on.

 

 

If we don’t tell our story who will ?

If we don’t tell our story who will ?

Early 2017, I was still thinking about my trip in Congo which happened in October 2016. With a few volunteers, we organised a talk for over 600 students and a workshop for 250 kids, in the form of a drawing competition for www.esimbi.org . It was truly the most amazing experience of my life.

For the first time, I really felt the pressure of weighting every word because I understood the impact they could have on these young people’s lives. Kinshasa taught us lessons we didn’t expect. They say if you want to be a millionaire, spend time with millionaires. Your entourage will determine who you will become. Jay Shetty once said that we live in the perception that others have of ourselves. We can’t be what we have never seen. So how to bring those exceptional role models to these young people in a country that is in constant trouble? So one day, they can inspire to great things and believe that they can be who they want.

We certainly always seek the results but do we want to go through the process of what it takes to have that lifestyle. A life long commitment to being better than what surrounds us. It is hard. It is hard especially when you live in such conditions like these children in Congo. Everything is a luxury to them, a pen, a piece of paper, water.

The idea of the magazine came from all this thinking. I wanted to do something more. I wanted to give them something that they didn’t have and could keep. The fear kicked in about 5 minutes after thinking about making this magazine happen. What would the content be? Who would design it? What title could fit my thoughts? and so on…

It started to feel too complicated already. But a voice was telling me to just do it. It was necessary, not for me but for them. They needed to see people who came from similar backgrounds going places. They needed to look up to them and be inspired.

So I jumped in. I chose to call it ESIMBI ( meaning “it works” in Lingala ) like my social initiative. I then ask a work colleague who was good with graphic design to help me with a logo. My colleague and I started to do research about Congo, the history, the forest, the artists, the charities, etc…. and what we found was amazing. Tons of content.

www.esimbimagazine.com

 

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My biggest fear was not to find things to talk about. No content to captivate whoever would read this free magazine that was supposed to be a one off. We simply wanted to give the final product to the schools and libraries. But our audience was larger than that. In fact, it was global. So the project ended up catering a niche of people hungry for knowledge. They want education over entertaining, so our goal became bigger.

I am thankful to every one who helped us on this journey. Especially the ones who told me not to do it because it would ruin my fashion career. This project helped me grow into a better version of myself without even knowing it and I simply hope that this magazine will keep going strong. The african community has a narrative to rewrite and we want to contribute to that immensely.

Impression

 

Impression

 

11 advice to consider before you kiss 2018 Goodbye?

11 advice to consider before you kiss 2018 Goodbye?

The general mood at the end of 2018 was quite funny to me…

People all seem to struggle with the same things, bad relationships, whom to cut lose or keep in 2019, society’s opinion, finances, drama, anxiety, doubts and fear. We probably would all relate on a quote saying ” May your social media life be as good as your real one for this coming year. ”

For the first time, someone really close to me tried to commit suicide and this simply affected me in ways I didn’t comprehend. But it also showed me how miserable I was feeling by forcing myself to do things that no longer made me happy. It is hard to be honest with ourselves more than it ever was. Hard to keep the noise out with all the social media frenzy. We kinda all are living the painful life of celebrities, trying to keep up with apparences. We are buying into fake friends and fake lives even if we dont realise it straight away, unless you live in the village I grew up in :), they really don’t care about none of these and I almost envy them sometimes…

KEEP IT SIMPLE, KEEP IT REAL

 

What is the truth? Is social media bad for our health and mental wellness, or is it actually helping us to cope by dreaming and portraying the life we really want?

Tricky isn’t? Unless you believe in the “Fake it until you make it” motto of course.

This year has been challenging for me and all I wanted was to find my peace. I make to do list all year long, so new year resolutions are nothing special.

Here are the things I would like to work on to achieve that:

1/  Give up overthinking, procrastinating and holding grudges ( yeah… )

2/  Don’t raise your voice, improve your arguments

3/  Quit holding on to the past or even pleasing everyone 

4/  Do what works for you at your own pace

5/  Don’t be afraid to fail, fall or love again. This is the only way to learn more and do better

6/  Focus on progress not speed

7/  Keep your private life private

8/  Spend time with your family 

9/  Do what you are passionate about as much as possible

10/  Unfollow anything that doesn’t go with your vision

11/  Travel, Travel, Travel. The world is such a beautiful place and there is no excuse to not explore it nowadays.

All these because six months of hardcore focus and alignement can put you 5 years ahead in life. Don’t underestimate the power of consistency and desire. In life, we only regret the chances we didn’t take. That’s the truest  cliché you will read today.

 

FAMILY SELFIES ON MY BDAY

FAMILY PORTRAIT

 

 

What not to miss on your next trip to Kinshasa!

What not to miss on your next trip to Kinshasa!

My holiday in the Democratic Republic of Congo this year was a full on trip. I had such a tight schedule for 2 weeks but for the first time, I also had help from a friend.

As you may have seen on my previous posts about the waterfalls in Zongo and the national park of N’Sele, I really lived my free time as a tourist and it was beyond my expectations. I just wanted to do a separate post about my travel diary and the places I went to in the capital, Kinshasa. A little city guide for you if I may 🙂

Restaurant Chez Pierra

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The Artisan’s market: Art

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Hotel: Fleuve Congo

 

 

 

Family visit: Private properties

 

 

Celebrity meeting: Footballers Emmanuel Eboue and Marcel Tisserand

 

 

Tv interview for KIN 24

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Gala night to honour African footballers

organised by Singer Mohombi

 

 

Street Style

 

 

 

 

Restaurant River

 

What should you do with a day to spend in Sharm El Sheikh?

What should you do with a day to spend in Sharm El Sheikh?

A day in Egypt…..

My first time staying in Egypt more than a few hours has finally arrived. I landed at 2am on Monday 10th December and the airport was deserted. Fabulous. 🙂 No queue for the passport check, no queue for nothing.

My car was booked and waiting for me outside. A lovely man had my name on a board to take me where I stayed, the Cleopatra luxury resort and it was so beautiful!!!! Much better than the google pictures I saw when trying to do my research. The hotel was only 15 minutes away so a very easy ride.

So a picture is sometime better than a thousand words so here’s my travel diary.

Cleopatra Luxury Hotel

The sea and the God

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Cleopatra Luxury resort in Sharm El Sheikh is a beach front resort located in the Sinai peninsula in the amazing Nabq Bay. The bay is on a promontory overlooking the straits of Tiran at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba.

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Poolside

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The beach

 

South Sinai desert

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