Noémie Lenoir: “People now talk to me more about my age than about my skin color”

“At 5, my daughter loves listening to Dalida. His songs are sad, but there is such vitality in his voice! Her voice is not to be outdone, with its slightly rocky tone, its sudden bursts of laughter, its direct response. On a beach in Saint-Tropez, the energy of the young woman illuminated the photo shoot of the issue of ELLE on July 31, 2020. “It was great,” she comments. There was everything I love about fashion: posing, running, looking at the photos, clapping at the end of the shoot, we’re so happy. You should become a model at 40! Even though people now talk to me more about my age than my skin color or my curly hair. It changes me! Does the time that marks its passage worry him? Not at all: “You have to accept yourself as you are. I have girlfriends who count their wrinkles, and it’s a shame… I remember my mother at 40, her leather miniskirts and her high heels clattering on the asphalt of the city. I heard it from afar! Today, she is 68 years old and has never been so fulfilled… Regardless of age, you have to feel good about yourself, your heart, your soul. ”

Thus lives Noémie. A long road has been traveled since she was spotted, still a teenager, by a talented scout, before parading on the most prestigious podiums in the world. We saw her several times on the big screen, she also impressed us by directing the documentary “Dress us Africa”, broadcast in 2019: “I had wanted to work on the African continent for a long time, because I had realized that it lacked structures for modeling. The sartorial culture is very present there, very varied according to the country, it was necessary to tell it. In the film, I speak of Cameroon, Senegal, Ivory Coast … There are so many things to discover, the richness of the fabrics is exceptional. Africa has always inspired fashion, and it is time for it to succeed. ”

Action rather than statements

It will be understood that Noémie Lenoir is a committed woman. Long before the Black Lives Matter movement, this convinced feminist and universalist spoke without worrying about what to say: “I was already talking about racism in fashion years ago! It took a long time to listen to me… My daddy was white, my mom is black. When they were young and went out in the streets, they would get spit on! The battle against racism must advocate living together. I liked seeing so many white people in the recent protests. But Noémie wants to remain discreet: without hiding her opinions, she is “not here to play politics”. Action rather than statements, engage rather than show off. Long an ambassador of the French Federation of Associations of Guide Dogs for the Blind, she is currently working on a new documentary which questions women from all over the world on beauty through the prism of disability: “The goal is to highlight female strength and beauty. . The speakers are incredible… Without pretending to give lessons, I want to use my experience as a model to tell something that speaks to all women, that brings hope. ”

This summer, Noémie will not be far from the capital, where she lives with her two children: “I love Paris at this time of year. The weather is fine, the museums are open, I go boating on the Seine, picnics in the Bois de Boulogne, I go for a walk in Fontainebleau. Do you know the Vaux de Cernay abbey? It’s magic ! Moreover, I believe that my third documentary will be devoted to France. »She is fond of village open-air cafes, with mussels and chips and rosé options. A very simple everyday life, after all? “Yes, I had to lead a crazy existence to then settle down, understand how lucky I was. I pay more attention to myself today. »Talking with Noémie, we realize how important her childhood is. The music his parents listened to, from Elvis to Gainsbourg, the big tables during the holidays in Reunion: “My grandmother had seventeen children, you can imagine the atmosphere! We ate, we laughed, we hiked. One summer, I broke my arm before I left, but since there were sharks, it was okay not to swim… ”His cascading laugh echoed once again. Impossible to resist Noémie Lenoir, who, when we talk to her about her philosophy of life, suddenly quotes us from the Irish poet Thomas Moore: “The humility, modest and sweet root of all the celestial virtues. “

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