Unlike the blog of many french women out there, I am going to touch upon a very sensitive subject but one I feel compelled to address: that of self-acceptance. I am a 5’2 French/American woman of North African descent. I grew up in Paris, France a country that worships skinny white women and at a time where women like me weren’t included in this narrative. As someone who is neither tall or white, finding a place in a society that worships a certain type of women made me feel undesirable and unattractive. It also led me to develop unhealthy body issues and feeling embarrassed of my ethnicity. Seriously, I faced countless microaggressions and internalized this to the point of becoming severely obsessed with becoming skinny to gain acceptance.

It took a lot of work, self-introspection and positive affirmations to realize that I have been socially conditioned to hate myself. Thankfully over the years, I have come to accept my thickalicious brown body in all of its glory.  It’s been somewhat of a bumpy road to self-acceptance especially here in Los Angeles where beauty standards are extremely high. In this sense, Living in Los Angeles is no more different than Paris, however, unlike France, women in the US are paving the way and smashing old European beauty standards by featuring women of all sizes, celebrating different body types and being more inclusive in contrast to French women who are culturally conditioned to follow European Standards of Beauty.  

Does this mean that I am advocating for unhealthy eating habits? Of course not!  I believe that being healthy is truly important, but also believe that self-acceptance is just as important.  It is also important for me to offer a different POV at a time when women are running under the scalpel to fulfill someone’s else fantasy and meet some impossible beauty standards! This is the kind of toxic archaic patriarchal bullshit that we must collectively take a stand against, this means RESIST this nonsense! I am tired, exhausted of having to defend myself against the derisory gaze of a society that does not have my best interest at heart. Self-acceptance and self-care are critical acts of self-love and to quote one of my most cherish feminist sheheroin, the greatest Audrey Lorde ” Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.”

The following photography shots were taken by my good friend, super talented photographer Pedro Oros, a Compton-based artist with the goal of showcasing a different type of French woman: one who is comfortable in her skin and unapologetic about her thickness and her brown body.

xx, Kenza

 

 

 

Photography credit: Pedro Oros

Artistic Direction: Kenza Johnson

Living in Los Angeles carries many perks! Ah, life under the sun; I can’t really complain…except that when things get too crazy,  I find myself wanting to escape the daily LA grind, especially during the busy holiday season. I spent several hours today scouring the internet to find a glimpse of the promise land… and I think I might have stumbled upon heaven on earth. Actually strike that! I found heaven in this super rad two-story stone residence.

Built in 1850, this beautifully-preserved home has managed to retain all of its historical charms with its exposed bricks, minimalist aesthetic, and neutral colors. Everything in this gorgeous home is in perfect harmony with its surroundings. Although I love colors (nothing like a nice splash of color on a blank canvas), I appreciate the serene neutral palette of this charming residence surrounded by volcanic formations and a breathtaking view of the Aegean sea. Talking about a nice getaway! I’m seriously smitten with how whimsical that place is!

xx, Kenza

Source: Melanopetra

Nestled in Charming 11 arrondissement, this comfy Parisian pied-à-Terre blends allure and Parisian warmth.  Sabina Socol the beautiful owner of this architectural gem is indeed a lucky girl, but setting luck aside, Sabina is a well-known and hard-working fashion influencer who runs two blogs (Who What Wear and Into the Gloss)! She epitomizes French elegance and has managed to showcase her sartorial aesthetics by creating a super comfortable and functional apartment which combines Parisian, Danish and Boho vibes in a way that is both utilitarian and beautiful.  From a soft pink Berber rug, that contrasts against a mustard yellow velvet divan, everything in this apartment is highly addictive.  I’m obsessed with the cacophony of colors and textures found throughout those walls.  Speaking of walls, did you notice her palette choice? The sage green in the living room adds another layer of dimension from more traditional pied-à-terre where white walls tend to be de rigueur. But, hey! Rules are meant to be broken and in this case, the mismatch of colors break away the monotony and rigor found within the confines of more traditional Parisian homes. Oh, petit clien d’oeil, notice the light bulb hanging from the ceiling in that living room?  Again, it’s another unexpected way of breaking away from conventional norms where an imposing lustre (chandelier) would normally be expected. However, despite the eclectic use of colors, this pied-à-Terre remains uncompromisingly Parisian and captures the essence of French conviviality.
xx, Kenza

 

 

Photography credits: Constance Gennari via the social light family website.

 

Happy Friday/Joyeux Vendredi ma petite famille! It’s been a week or so since my last post. I have been battling a little cold, but this didn’t keep me away from turning to the web to find some much-needed swoon-worthy digital comfort to get me over the hump, like this beautiful crazy cat lady portrait from Santiago De Chile-based artist Holly Jolley.  Her work is infused with feel-good inspiration and captures women in various settings. I am also obsessed with her IG page and have become a loyal follower.

All that pink got me lusting for more rose inspiration! there is no doubt left in my mind that Pink is a mood-booster par-excellence. I have always been skeptical of gender-based theme colors. I love earthy tone colors, blacks, and greys, but pink is definitely growing on me.  First, let’s dispell one outdated conception once and for all: Pink is longer a cliche color reserved for girls or ballet dancers. It exudes charm and sophistication. If you’re not convinced, check out this whimsical Maison rose in the Montmartre area of Paris. How about a nice dose of pink in a city of light notoriously known for its grisaille? By the way, this lush green foliage gives this house such post-card appeal! Also, Notice the old cobblestones and old street lantern? I’m just overwhelmed by this dream-inducing photo. I wish I could click my heels and wink my eyes and wake-up in this surreal world, preferably wearing this Oversized felted bouclé and eco shearling coat, round glasses, and elegant tassel bag. Ah, la vie en rose. Speaking of la vie, I am in love with Clare V, vivre sa vie tee. Clare V is a Los Angeles-based fashion brand founded by a French expat who created a brand with the goal to make stylish utilitarian apparels that meet the demands of modern women. I’m super excited to see this fashion revival undertaking in Los Angeles, and to know that a fellow french woman is behind this brand, is cherry on the icing!

If you’re like me coming out of a nasty cold and have lost your glow, I guarantee you will fall in love with this blush from Tarte Cosmetic. I love, love, love this blush! It is organic, great for sensitive skin and is made out of Amazonian clay. The real kicker is that it promises to last 12 hours. I can attest to the validity of that claim. First this post is not sponsored by Tarte, second, I have tried it, and third, I am now a supporter of this brand because it truly delivers on its promise to last 12 hours. I not only got that “royal flush,” but managed to get tons of compliments from co-workers about ma bonne mine (healthy glow). Now that I feel so much better, who is headed to Paris with me?
xx, Kenza

 

crazy cat lady

 

electrodomesticos

mujeres

 

 

 

 

Photography credits:

  1. Holly Jolley
  2. Miu Miu
  3. Pinterest
  4. Need Supply 
  5. Bergdorf Goodman
  6. Anthropology 
  7. Tarte Cosmetics

I have been beyond obsessed with olive green lately. There is something so soothing about it. It is such a warm yet neutral color! I know that pink is dominating the deco sphere right now. However, neutral tones like olive green also deserve a loud round of applause for their unobtrusive warmth like those beautiful earthy linens.

 

 

Or how about this oh so chic piper petite velvet sofa?

 

Those looking for something more opulent will fall in love with this merveilleux Pied-à-Terre.  This couch not only exudes French sophistication but contrasts nicely with the pink elements found throughout this stunning room.

 

 

Green has never been as dreamy as this Morrocan Bathroom: simply stunning! Forget heading to the Hammam, this bathroom is fit for royalty! By the way, I need to hug whoever thought of adding that peacock on that lavabo! Seriously: details like that make such a huge difference!  I also stumbled upon this velvet couch; notice how the gold-framed backdrop brings out the earthy olive tone of this couch and adds so much sophistication? It’s not too loud of a color and the gold element ensures it isn’t bland either.

 

But I’m not done dreaming just yet, take a look at this enchanted piece of heaven! This is proof that heaven is on earth. This Morrocan garden seems to come out of an exotic fiction novel! Notice the lantern and those tiles? Those tiles are everything! I can’t contain myself! I can totally envision myself drinking mint tea and reading Laila Lalami’s The Moor’s Account. She’s one of my favorite authors btw!

 

 

 

Dreaming is nice, especially for those of us who live fulfilling but stressful lives. Which reminds me that I need to make it a point to invest in my health. I have been making a lot of excuses lately. I am a foodie, and I have put on a lot of weight since I’ve been in LA. Lack of exercise is the major culprit. But no more excuses! Especially with a bike like this one! Santa Monica, watch out! Here I come!

 


xx, Kenza

 

Photography credits: We are tribes; urbanoutfitters.com; Elle Decor; Pinterest; amazon.com; sociallitefamily.com