The Second Group of Dynamic Dames
Before I head off to New York, Los Angeles and New Orleans for the holiday season, it’s an appropriate moment to honor another group of DYNAMIC DAMES (ladies) women here in France whom I admire for their brains, talents, gumption, resourcefulness, survival skills and as in last Wednesday’s Nouvellettre®, these are five American WOMEN who have either been enriched by or who have enriched our lives here in France. Over the years, I have come to know so many that there are many dozens to note, but today, we will reflect on just five. There is no particular order to those noted below, nor is this list to be considered my “top” picks, but these are women with whom I’ve had recent contact and who have truly touched me…as well as many others.
Here are another five dynamic ‘dames’ in Paris:
1. Californian MEREDITH MULLINS wears more hats than most in her Paris life. She is a photographer, author (In A Paris Moment), teacher, organizer (team member of the Paris Writers Workshop, director of the International Fine Art Photography Competition plus participation in several other organizations) and a mover-and-shaker ‘extraordinaire’ that goes about her business while focusing the limelight on everyone, but herself. In fact, I’m certain she will be very surprised so many of us had actually noticed.
Her latest endeavor, the International Fine Art Photography Competition, has a “clear mission to celebrate fine art photography and discover new talent.” While Meredith has plenty of her own talent to promote, it’s not about her own, but about all the others’ who are “looking for a path to have their work seen and appreciated by a wider audience.” Meredith arrived relatively quiet on the Paris Expat scene and is making more happen for more people than most. I am a huge admirer and we should all commend her.
2. I met Interior Architect MARTINE DI MATTEO in the early stages of the company when she was doing retail display for theme parks (such as Disneyland Paris) and studying interior design at the same time. Someone simply said, “You need to know each other” and so we met. That was the beginning of our ‘mutual admiration’ for one another. While Martine is not U.S. born, she is U.S. bred and carries with her both cultural sides to the point of both perfection and sometimes confusion.
Martine is responsible for the stunning decor in almost all the apartments we represent at Parler Paris and Parler Nice Apartments. She’s been featured in many European magazines for her special “shabby chic” style, but in my opinion, they don’t capture her interiors in the same way as if you were to experience them for yourself. Her talent lies in her innate ability to marry color, design, texture, composition and functionality in such a way that when stepping into one of her worlds, you immediately feel at home and comfortable, but you don’t overtly know why. It just feels good and looks great and you never want to leave!
Our own success has largely to do with Martine’s talents and in spite of the moments she and I tug on the war between function vs form, she prevails and in the end, we’re all the happier for her perseverance to show us all the better path.
3. Los Angeles poet, CECILIA WOLOCH, came to Paris in 1994 needing a place to stay, and scored a dinner “chez moi” (when I used to actually cook). I had never heard a poem read aloud in my life until hearing her in front of group of a handful of people in the back room of Tea and Tattered Pages, and that started a deep appreciation for both poetry and the poets themselves.
Cecilia is a talented poet (author of five collections of poems), perhaps an even more talented teacher (Associate Professor at the University of Southern California) and workshop leader of the highest degree. Together we launched the “Paris Poetry Workshop” in the early 2000s and the rest is history, now that she hosts a few a year in Paris, Italy, Istanbul and other points on the globe. Her newest project involves becoming the sleuth of a murder mystery of one of her relatives in a far-away land.
4. Six months ago, communications professional, actor, singer, teacher, MADELEINE BARCHEVSKA had a freak accident in her own apartment in Neuilly-sur-Seine rendering her helpless and in the hospital for several months. Her devoted friends created a round-robin method for ensuring that she be visited every day by at least one friend, that we’d all receive regular reports on her progress and that her overall well-being would be taken care of. I’ve never seen anything like it and don’t expect to ever see such a caring group ever again. That’s because Madeleine had touched the hearts of so many lives that they rallied to support and protect her.
We met about 15 years ago at the onset of her workshops, one titled “Behind the Mask,” an award-winning approach using a mask she had devised to teach “increased business effectiveness, confidence, clarity and impact.” Madeleine declared the mask to magnify perception and “put us in direct contact with the flow of our nervous system and our impulse to respond to life.”
While this language may seem awfully abstract to the pragmatist, it’s perhaps what she teaches best — abstract thought — but as an actor and singer and language professional, she also teaches all of those skills and talents. Today Madeleine is alive and in pain, but in good humor with real vision and high hopes. We should all be so inspiring and inspired.
5. JUDITH MERIANS came to Paris several years ago and offered up her knowledge on scriptwriting and Hollywood. First she and I launched a series of workshops (“The Screenplay Pitch that Really Sells!“)
that were successful and helped many up-and-coming screenwriters. Then she took her strong teaching talents and filled the seats at the American Library of Paris at “A Night at the Movies” — where she gave us a look at films we thought we knew well, but from a very different perspective, providing behind-the-scenes history, comparing the film with the original book or screenplay and really making it come alive for all of us.
Judith is a consultant, a teacher at UCLA and an entertainment attorney. Paris is her second home. Two years ago she and I traveled with a group of friends to Egypt where her Hollywood acting and negotiation skills served us well in a midnight dispute with hotel management trying to charge us for something we didn’t order. For anyone who has seen Judith ‘in action,’ then you know what a powerful impression she makes on everyone who has the pleasure of being her audience.
To the five of you and to all of you American WOMEN in Paris making a real difference in our lives, thank you for being here.
A la prochaine…
Editor, Parler Paris
P.S. Enjoy sunny Nice this holiday season and take advantage of this special offer: Book your stay beginning December 21st through January 1, 2013 and take 25% off! (Minimum of 6 nights.) And if you book your stay beginning January 2, 2013 ending by February 14th, take 10% off the already low low-season rate! (Minimum of 7 nights.) Enjoy the gorgeous CÃ´te d’Azur climate all year long! To book contact [email protected] or visit Parler Nice Apartments.
And to book a Paris apartment for a visit in the City of Light on your way to Nice, visit Parler Paris Apartments to view our full selection.