Anaïs and her heavy wheelbarrow

Anaïs is the main character of “Anaïs s’en va-t-en guerre” (Anaïs is at war), a French documentary film by Marion Gervais. I like the story of this young woman who dreams of cultivating her own aromatic plants farm in Brittany. She does everything she can to make her dream come true and faces difficulties but she doesn’t give up.

illustration of a young woman who removes som plants from her wheelbarrow

I keep in mind a scene of the film when Anaïs moves all her plants alone. Imagine a frail young woman trying to push a big wheelbarrow full of soil and plants. The wheelbarrow is clearly too heavy for her. So Anaïs takes gently some plants and put them on the floor. She lightens the wheelbarrow until she is able to push it. Then she continues on her way as if nothing had happened. I think it’s a nice metaphor for the way she handles obstacles.

You can watch an extract of “Anaïs s’en va-t-en guerre” (in French) on here. I have seen an interview with the director who said the film may be translated into English in the future. I hope so.

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Livia Firth, activist and entrepreneur

dessin de Livia Firth

For my series of inspirations and inspiring people, I have taken an interest in Livia Firth unusual career. She is an entrepreneur in the luxury industry but also, in her own words, a ‘professional agitator’.

Livia Firth was called Livia Giuggioli and was a production assistant when she met actor Colin Firth during the shooting of a mini-series. One wedding and two children later, Livia Firth produced documentary films and founded Eco-Age, a sustainability consulting company, with her brother Nicola.

Livia Firth got in the spotlight as the wife of a famous actor. So she had the idea to take advantage of her exposure to defend a cause. In 2010, partnering with journalist Lucy Siegle, she took up the ‘Green Carpet Challenge’. She succeeded in wearing ethical and sustainable evening dresses during all the awards season, at the Golden Globes, Academy Awards etc.

Thereafter she has convinced other stars such as Meryl Streep or Cameron Diaz to join the Green Carpet Challenge and she has also convinced brands such as Armani or Lanvin to create some ecological outfits. In parallel, her company Eco-Age advises brands on sustainability strategies. For example, Eco-Age has helped Chopard to source fairmined gold and diamonds for its ‘Green Carpet Collection’ of high jewellery and for the 2014 Cannes Film Festival Golden Palm.

Through all her projects, Livia Firth shows that fashion can be both magnificent and ethical. What I find amazing too is that she managed to invent a job that matches her values.

For more information:
Eco-Age website
the Green Carpet Challenge original blog hosted by British Vogue

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Meditating with the rain

After reading about meditation benefits, I tried to follow advice found on the internet: slowly breathing from the belly, visualise the air that enters and leaves my lungs, letting go the intrusive thoughts etc.

Well, it didn’t work for me. However I have noticed that there are times when I manage to clear my mind and to be in the moment:
* when I watch a snowfall through a window
* when I watch the rain falling through the windshield when I am a passenger in a car (it works only in a car, not through my windows at home, I don’t know why)
* when I watch waves crashing on beach or on rocks

In short, I have been meditating without knowing it. But it’s a little bit constraining to wait for bad weather or untill I go to the sea. So I keep experimenting. If you know meditation techniques for dummies, feel free to leave a comment.

drawing of a sitting woman who tries to meditate while looking at a snow globe

Attempt to medidate using a snow globe (it doesn’t work either 😉 )

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Hillary Clinton twitter biography

I have created an account on Twitter website among other things to publish my blog updates (you can follow me there. My username is @ApolliR).
While seeking how to personalize my profile, I stumbled upon Hillary Clinton twitter profile that is often given as an example of a 160-character biography.

It says:
Wife, mom, lawyer, women & kids advocate, FLOAR (First Lady of Arkansas), FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States), US Senator, SecState (Secretary of State), author, dog owner, hair icon, pantsuit aficionado, glass ceiling cracker, TBD…

I like her way to humorously silence critics: Hillary Clinton presents herself as a hair icon becouse journalists largely commented on her ponytail when she was a secretary of state. She even had to explain in a TV interview why she had let her hair grow (the answer if you are interested: she chose a simple hairstyle becouse it was burdensome to look for a hair dresser when travelling). Fortunately for her, she doesn’t mind what people may think of her hairstyle.

I like also the expression ‘glass ceiling cracker’. Glass ceiling is the whole of obstacles faced by women willing to climb up the corporate ladder. Hillary Clinton notably made a dent in the glass ceiling by beigng the first woman with a serious chance of becoming president of the United States.

As Hillary Clinton may run for president in 2016, TBD (To Be Determined) could refer to 2016 presidential elections.

illustration inspired by a picture of Hillary Clinton texting on her cell phone

drawing inspired by Hillary Clinton twitter profile picture by Diana Walker

Hillary Clinton Twitter profile shows that she and her team seem to master social media. Put aside communication, what is interesting is that it shows in a few words an exceptional path. The twitter biography first draws attention thanks to the diversity of Hillary Clinton’s experiences.

For more information:
Hillary Clinton twitter profile : @HillaryClinton

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Aung San Suu Kyi on freedom from fear

Aung San Suu Kyi is the 1991 Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

In 1988, she gave up her scholar career and left her family in London to go back to her native country Burma and she became politically engaged against dictatorship.

Between 1989 and 2010, she spent 15 years jailed. Upon release, she was elected Member of Parliament. Today she’s working towards Burma’s democratisation by conversing with those who imprisoned her.

drawing of Aung San Suu Kyi when she collected her Nobel Peace Prize in 2012

In 2011, Aung San Suu Kyi gave a lecture on freedom and freedom from fear broadcast on BBC radio. Here is an extract by this woman who had the courage to oppose dictatorship:

“Fear is the first adversary we have to get past when we set out to battle for freedom, and often it is the one that remains until the very end. But freedom from fear does not have to be complete. It only has to be sufficient to enable
us to carry on; and to carry on in spite of fear requires tremendous courage.”

She also said about dissidents like her:

“They pretend to be unafraid as they go about their duties and pretend not to see that their comrades are also pretending. This is not hypocrisy. This is courage that has to be renewed consciously from day to day and moment to moment.”

In short, she’s afraid but she goes on and she pretends that she’s not afraid. Anyway she’s a good actor because she looks like she really doesn’t fear anything.

For more information:
the recording and the transcript (pdf) of Aung San Suu Kyi lecture on BBC

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Michaëlle Jean, from immigrant to governor general

As well as drawing my favorite outfits, I would like to also draw people I find interesting. Then, after Wangari Maathai, I have drawn Michaëlle Jean.

Michaëlle Jean was Governor General of Canada from 2005 to 2010. It’s an important position as the Governor General is the representative of the Queen of England (who is also Canada’s Head of State) and is Commander-in-Chief of the Canadian Forces. And it is a black immigrant woman who was entrusted with this responsibility.

Michaëlle Jean was born in Haiti in 1957. Her family flees dictatorship to to take refuge in Canada in 1968. Her father become violent and divorces her mother. Michaëlle Jean then lives frugally with her mother and her sister.

While studying, Michaëlle Jean works for a charity that helps women suffering from domestic violence. Then she pursues a career in journalism before being appointed Governor General of Canada. Since 2010, she has been UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti.

Michaëlle Jean

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Wangari Maathai

Wangari Maathai is known for her actions in favor of the environment and women’s rights. In 1977, she founded the Green Belt Movement that fights deforestation by planting trees. This non-governmental organization seeks to involve the locals and in particular women in tree planting.
Wangari Maathai was an activist who didn’t hesitate to denounce corruption therefore she made a number of enemies over the years. She was beaten and went to jail but she always kept militating because she knew she was doing the right thing. She received the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. She thought that environmental protection and a good resource management are fundamental to equitable economic development and to preventing conflicts.
Wangari Maathai died on September 25, 2011. The movement she created perpetuates her memory and her reforestation action.

drawing of Wangari Maathai

“It is wonderful when you don’t have the fear, and a lot of the time I don’t… I focus on what needs to be done instead.” Wangari Maathai

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