Noémie De Lattre is an amazing woman we are so happy to introduce to those who don’t already know her! Brilliant, funny, committed, we love her posts so real ad accurate that lead to awareness. Actress, author and much more, she has imagined a unique and essential show "Féministe pour Homme" (“Feminist for man”) until the end of April at Théâtre La Pépinière in Paris!) with the ambition of "revaluing the image of feminism and showing that it is a commitment of all humans, and not of women against men", we love it! Her journey, her strength and resilience inspire us and we were very thankful to have a few words with this great woman who shows the way to a more equal world!
Actress, actress, comedian, comedian, author, all at once? Is that the right way to describe your profession?
Absolutely! That's very good!
Why did you choose this path?
For the artistic path: It's always been there since I was a child, really.
I've gone through all the stages at every age so that this passion is taken seriously, especially by my parents.
My mother told me if at 7 years old , you still want to do this, I will take you seriously. At 7 years old I still wanted to do that.
Then she told me if at the age of 11, you still want to do that, I will take you seriously. I did! At 11 I still wanted to do that! So she told me : “Graduate and then you can do whatever you want!”
I did what I wanted and I didn't even wait for graduation. Because I played the first shows I wrote myself when I was 15 years old!
Writing, acting, directing... All that has really always been my ambition, my passion.
Concerning my commitment around equality and feminism: It came very late, I was one of the people I'm talking to today, I even had a bit of a caricatured vision of feminists.
I come from very, very far on this subject.
It was a long-term awareness, it wasn't a "click" at all.
It came when I was working on the radio, I had to write short sketches. I was thinking about what to do, and Frédéric Lopez (host of the show) told me "tell me what makes you angry", it's funny and interesting.
And very quickly I realized that everything that made me angry was related to my gender!
After that it went pretty fast in the progression, and once you put on the glasses on and open your eyes... you see everything and you can't accept without saying anything anymore!
Did you have role models (female or not!) when you were a child?
In fact my mother, who didn't claim to be a feminist at all, was an extremely virile person (I say "virile" and not "masculine"!) in terms of her profession, her looks, everything! The cars she drove, the clothes she wore, the job she did, the way she addressed people, what she passed on to me, everything! She was a “real man”, my mother! And a manly man at that!
She was expecting a boy, my name should have been Arthur, she was very disappointed that I was a girl !
So she dressed me up and did my hair like a boy for a very long time.
And I was obsessed with femininity, outrageous femininity because I had no model for it anywhere. And I was fascinated by ultra-feminine icons like Rita Hayworth or Marilyn Monroe. Very early on I wore heels, I wore make-up, very early, very sexy, very feminine. That was my obsession.
But my interests that shaped my thinking had nothing to do with this. I became interested in philosophy very soon, like Nietzsche or Schopenhauer, but I never considered them as models.
I was passionate about them, I read them, but I didn't identify with them at all.
What were your favourite games and activities as a child?
I was very often alone and not allowed to watch TV ... so I kept myself busy and was very creative.
I recreated my favorite cartoons with egg cans, I built things, I customized Barbies...
Back home, we didn't really have the right to be bored... otherwise it was because we lacked resources.
Also, I used to dress up, I used to do shows...
In your journey Have you ever felt that being a girl/woman was a drag or was simply considered as original/atypical? (especially when it comes to humour)?
And if so, what did you think at that moment, what made you move forward?
No, I never felt the feeling of being perceived as atypical or original.
But, I have always been a creator AND a performer, and in all the groups, the companies, of which I was a part, I was always remembered only as an actress only.
And since I was considered rather pretty, it seemed obvious to perceive me as an actress.
I was told so many "Oh, yes, you write too! "It's crazy!
I remember a contest, "Made in Palmade" in which we had to write sketches... and I won almost every other week, I won for sketches I had written and each time the producer would say "Oh yes, it's true that you write yourself! »
That was insane!
I was always brought back to being an actress first. To the point that I kind of think thought myself. So I very quickly assumed my status as an actress, and it took me years, waiting to receive several awards, before I could say to myself "well ok I'm also an author actually! It took me a very long time to be recognized and to feel legitimate for this part of my work.
Some other times being a woman made a real difference and that have been hard:
- Obviously the harassment side, which is the daily life of actresses in general.
- And then when I had my child, I was discriminated. But what was most violent was that my entire entourage at that time took sides against me. Sometimes they thought they were doing the right thing and protecting me... but everyone advised me to shut up or they told me that I had gone too far...
For me it's really the anger that I'm still having a hard time going through.
What's a typical day in your life like?
Apart from some rare moments of holidays, I never stop, 24/7 except 6 weeks a year at best!
I wake up early enough to take my son to school.
In the morning I'm more creative so it’s time for writing and all the "to do" things. I try to be very efficient in this short period of time.
I am totally focused because time is running out!
In the afternoons I'm more in action, so it’s time for work meetings, rehearsals, video shootings, events, interviews, production meetings...
Then I try to get my son back from school (that's a "break" ...!).
And in the evening I go back to a creative phase or I go out to play or see a play...
My working day stops at 8pm at best and midnight at worst!
What do you like most and least about your job?
The most: choosing how I use my time. The times when I can manage my creative time freely, over a day or half-day, are the ones I prefer.
The least: when I am no longer master of my time! I'm surrounded by a lot of people, but there are still a lot of things like reminders, phone calls that I could do without!
What advice would you give to children who are afraid of failure?
It is rare to be aware that you are afraid of failure.
There's a quote I love, "I decided to be myself because others were already taken”. This quote is very inspiring to me. In fact everyone is himself in his own life and does things only for himself. What happens to you and the way you feel it belongs only to you. Sadness, anger or even love of others is only about them, not about you. Even if you are the subject of these emotions.
Failure is relative. If you understand this uniqueness, you cannot fail!
How do you keep your strength and positivity in the face of all these challenges? Do you have a habit, a ritual?
Every year I do an Ayurvedic retreat in India.
And all year long I try to follow these precepts with yoga, meditation, I also try to train myself in wise thoughts. I put all the chances on my side! I "work hard" to be happy!
What do you think we could do, or create so that girls can be inspired and grow up thinking that they can do anything?
Radically change the paradigm, totally change what we teach them at school and at home. I see it with my son, I spend a lot of time just deconstructing what he receives from the world. We've got a long way to go...
What advice do you have for girls who need to deal with barriers and simply believe that they can't?
It's so understandable that they feel these limitations, and at the same time so not normal... I don't know if one piece of advice can be enough.
It's the parents, or people surrounding them who can make a difference. If it was enough advice, we wouldn't have a real problem.
And it's annoying, that it's still the little girls, to bear the responsibility of "overcoming obstacles", it's the world in which we live in that doesn't turn around in the right way! It's not up to them to bear this responsibility. It is the whole of society that has to do it!