Meet Myrtille

AN INDEPENDENT PUBLICIST WHO THRIVES
OUTSIDE OF HER COMFORT ZONE

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THE TRANSITION FROM FRANCE TO NEW YORK CITY:

 © Benjamin Petit

© Benjamin Petit

"I would say it happened in two steps, a decade apart. In Spring 2001, I went to New York to visit one of my best friends who was studying there and I fell in love with the city. I decided to come back and spend the Summer in the city. I left NYC on September 8, 2001 and was really shocked, as everybody was by the attacks of 9/11. I came back the following Summer to find a traumatized, yet resilient city. I learnt that living in New York was exciting and scary, expensive and stressful, but also filled with magical moments and encounters.

I didn’t come back for 10 years until my boyfriend at the time got a job offer in NYC and we moved there in February 2011. I had warned him that moving to this city would probably not be easy for either of us, and indeed it wasn’t. I had to rebuild an entirely new professional network and be there for my boyfriend, whose job was incredibly stressful, and learn how to live with roommates as a couple…

I definitely got out of my comfort zone, without having a real plan, but just by following my guts. I never regretted this move! Today, I have a strong network of friends and collaborators. I love my job and this challenging life that I chose for myself, which keeps me excited every day!"   

"I GOT OUT OF my comfort zone without having a real plan AND just BY following my guts."

 © Josée Pedneault

© Josée Pedneault

ON LITERALLY LIVING OUTSIDE OF HER COMFORT ZONE:

"I still remember freaking out the day before leaving for New York in the Summer of 2001. My mom told me that this trip could only be a great adventure that I would learn a lot from and that worse comes to worse, I could always change my ticket and come back earlier. She was right as usual. I learnt efficiency and resiliency: two important qualities for my work and my life in the US 10 years later. In 2005, I studied in Grenoble, in Southeastern France, for 6 months, and it felt good to get out of my Parisian bubble. Parisians are often made fun of outside of the capital because we tend to take ourselves too seriously. Well I quickly got rid of that!

I also attempted to move to Montreal in 2007 in the dead of winter! I absolutely loved living in a different country, in a house where we would start a sentence in French and finish it in English. 

But I couldn’t find a job in my industry and after breaking my wrist on an icy sidewalk, I moved back to Paris where I was offered a position in a good PR agency, specializing in photography. I stayed in touch with some friends in Montreal, and was there a couple months ago to give a workshop about PR in Arts.

I’ve always been curious to live outside of my comfort zone, meet people from all countries and walks of life. It’s the best way to grow." 

ON SUFFERING FROM THE ‘IMPOSTOR SYNDROME’:

"As weird as it sounds for an independent publicist, I’m not very self-confident and it has been hard to hide it in order to become a successful entrepreneur in New York. After over a decade of working internationally with respected arts organizations and getting my clients coverage in the most prestigious newspapers and magazines, I still suffer sometimes from the ‘impostor syndrome’ that makes me feel vulnerable. It’s a feeling shared by many creatives I found out. It also drives people to give their best, so I guess it’s not entirely negative, but it’s certainly a constant battle." 

HER TOUGHEST FALL:

"I got hired and fired within a few weeks of my first job as a waitress in New York. I learned my lesson: being resilient is key in this country. You’re on your own, create your own opportunities, make your own path and be respectful to everyone you work with because who knows when you’ll meet them again." 

ON RISKY DECISIONS AND FOLLOWING her GUT FEELINGS:

"I have my own way of being brave. My boyfriend calls me an “equilibrist.” I walk on a thin rope, I keep my balance by never looking down, but staring at the horizon. I sometimes make decisions that sound risky, but I follow my guts. It hasn’t always been easy, but for sure, exciting and surprising!"

ON BEING DEFINED BY MONEY AND TITLES:

"I’m not a very good businesswoman. I don’t work for money and I’m not exactly rich, which sometimes makes me feel ashamed, like an unaccomplished 35 year-old woman. It’s infuriating to realize how engrained is this idea that people are defined by their job and the money they make. I’m trying to think differently, but it’s hard, especially in a competitive and expensive city like New York."

"it's infuriating to realize how engrained is this idea that people are defined by their job AND THE MONEY THEY MAKE."

 © Jonas Cuénin

© Jonas Cuénin

WHAT SHE WISHED SHE HAD LEARNED SOONER:

"I've learned recently that it's ok to put myself first sometimes, to make my life easier instead of everyone else’s. I’m still working on it!"

her daily ritual to keep herself sane:

"Each day starts with a coffee prepared with love by my Italian boyfriend. It helps me go through the news on the New York Times and Le Monde. Then, I’m ready to face the world and my day. Once a week, I volunteer in a women’s shelter, it helps me put things into perspective; I learn so much from these ladies. My therapist is also much needed, it’s one of the few me-times I allow myself to have. I often bike in Prospect Park at the end of the day with my boyfriend. It’s relaxing way to tell each other about our day. And before going to sleep I like to read a bit, I’m often reading a few books at a time, so I choose depending on my mood. And music, all the time, everywhere. I cannot live without it."   

WHAT SCARES HER THE MOST right now:

"The politics in the US, and specifically the healthcare system, the education… Having a family in this country is certainly a challenge, especially with European standards. But I should consider myself lucky. I’m a white woman, life is easier for me than for countless Americans."


Learn more about Myrtille

 

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