In Conversation with Lindsey Tramuta on Being an American in Paris, Debunking Myths, and Women Empowerment
Meet The Nomad Collective, The Nopo's community of Ambassadors: endlessly creative and curious individuals who are making a positive impact in the world, working every day to shape the reality of their everyday life for the better. Our Ambassadors are supporting The Nopo in our mission to democratize
e-commerce and allow artistic excellence to become truly borderless. Over the course of the next few weeks, we will be introducing them and their Curated Collections, starting with Journalist and Writer Lindsey Tramuta.
When Lindsey Tramuta first set foot in Paris as a 21-year-old student of French literature and linguistics, she had the clear feeling she was exactly where she was meant to be. 15 years and a proficuous career as a writer and journalist later, she has just published her second book, continuing on her path to debunk myths and shed light on the cultural and social diversity of Paris and its inhabitants.
In The New Parisienne: The Women & Ideas Shaping Paris, Lindsey interviewed close to 50 women from various spheres of life - from politics to tech, to sports, to business - to try and unpack the age-old archetype of the Parisian woman: tall, slim, effortlessly elegant and charming, possibly wearing a marineière top and cigarette jeans, and, of course, white.
“After my first book The New Paris, I really started feeling like the image we commonly have of Parisian and French women at large had little to do with the incredibly diverse women I saw in my network and more widely whose work I was following in the city. Writing the book was about dismantling stereotypes as it was about educating myself first and foremost. It absolutely enhanced my own sense of commitment to honest, hopefully transformative, storytelling.”
Lindsey sat with each woman in intimate interviews, getting to know them and their work, and letting herself be surprised and inspired by the resilience and drive each of these women showed in their respective domains.
Olympic medallist in boxing Sarah Ourahmoune, for example, who in her gym creates an environment for women to take a break from being mothers and wives and just spend a few hours using physical exercise as a form of self-care. Or Dr. Hatem-Gantzer, whose work setting up La Maison des Femmes, a center where women can seek support for pregnancy, sexual assault, and psychological trauma among other needs, has been pivotal in creating a safe space for women in Saint-Denis, a severely underprivileged area of Paris.
“What I really enjoyed during the research and interviewing process was seeing how these women opened up to me gradually and felt empowered to have difficult conversations around race, injustice, and identity. In essence, the book is a vehicle to talk about uncomfortable but important topics in a more relaxed, casual way.”
Lindsey’s love affair with all things France arose very early on when she picked French in middle school and started learning the basics first, before beginning to read Francophone writers from the Caribbeans, who opened her up to a whole different way of being and sounding French. The short trips she had taken to the city through her school years cemented a deep-rooted, though inexplicable to her at the time, feeling that Paris was the place for her, a feeling which she pursued with a study abroad program at Undergrad school.
Born and bred in suburban Philadelphia, Lindsey had never truly lived the big city life and, much like most of the women featured in her book, for her Paris represented a huge and exciting pool of experiences, culture, music, people, and influences that would shape her and her voice over the course of her formative early twenties. Those first few encounters in Paris (including the one with her future husband) were pivotal in helping her discover a sense of true belonging which she had struggled to find back home.
“I absolutely became an urbanite in Paris! The sheer amount of people, places to eat, visit, things to do and see is what makes the hustle and bustle so enticing and appealing if you’ve never had it in your life before. I was quite glad not to have lived in NYC, so I wouldn’t feel like I had to constantly compare Paris to its American counterpart.”
Lindsey’s natural curiosity and penchant for writing took her to start her blog, Lost In Cheeseland, which she used as a sounding board to carve her own space and identity in a city that, despite foreign, felt so familiar to her. Over the course of a few years, Lindsey poured her thoughts and impressions into her blog, reflecting upon her life as an American in Paris, uncovering the truths behind the myths, and leading her to share lesser-known aspects of life in France. One thing led to the next, and soon Lindsey was forging a brilliant career as a journalist and writer for several publications, from the New York Times to Vogue to Condé Nast Traveler.
She soon realized that her pieces had an underlying theme: Paris was a dynamic, multicultural, changeable place far from the romanticized vision of “City of Love” seen so often in Hollywood and international media. This led her to research, write and publish her first book, The New Paris, honest and thoughtful exploration of the modern sensitivities of a city so often celebrated for its glorious past, but very rarely observed in its current, day-to-day idiosyncrasies.
The book was followed by its namesake podcast and inspired Lindsey’s own city tours which expanded on her storytelling mission to show us the real Paris, and which she credits as an empowering way of gaining trust and confidence in her own voice.
“It’s funny, I’ve been here for fifteen years now, but it’s only over the last five or six with the book and the podcast that I became more vocal about all sorts of issues and injustices I see happening around me. That can sometimes get you in trouble because people will maintain you don’t really understand the country and its cultural and political panorama since you weren’t born here, but I now definitely feel like I’m firmly on the inside, with enough of a critical eye to see things from an outsider’s perspective too.”
Having heard of The Nopo from a friend, Lindsey became interested in the site’s efforts of giving artisans a platform and exposure to worldwide audiences and decided to become one of The Nopo’s Ambassadors. We are incredibly excited to have her join the family and are proud to present her Featured Collection, a percentage of the profits of which will be donated to La Maison des Femmes.
Hurry, Lindsey’s Featured Collection will be live from today for a limited time only!