Adja Toure on ‘Real Brides in Paris’ and life as a black woman in the city

Adja Toure from 'Real Girlfriends In Paris' on romance, representation and the reality of being a black girl in the European city

Courtesy of Brave

When give it to toure first had the idea of move to parisshe was in the middle of the lockdown period in New York City, locked in her apartment, ready for a change of scenery.

“One hundred percent, the pandemic was an inspiration,” he tells ESSENCE.

“I needed to do something different, change my life a bit. I am very lucky to have family in Paris and around the world,” adds the beauty born in Senegal and the United States, raised in Northern Virginia as a child and transplanted to New York City after graduating from Cornell University. . “I decided, you know what? What if I take a risk and move to another country for a few months?

Five months into lockdown, she was ready to make the change. She couldn’t have imagined how quickly she would live her best life abroad, and that her carefree black girl vibes would attract the producers of Bravo’s latest reality series, Royal brides in Paris.

Adja Toure from 'Real Girlfriends In Paris' on romance, representation and the reality of being a black girl in the European city
ROYAL BRIDES IN PARIS — Pictured: (from left to right) Kacey Margo, Adja Toure — (Photo by: Bravo via Getty Images)

Toure is one of the two expatriate black women On and in the series, viewers see her navigate the same 20-something ups and downs everywhere except Paris: dating, career, friendship, and more. And dating is a big part of the experience on the show for Toure. While she initially tried to take control of her experience meeting men, setting up dates before landing in the city through Tinder Passport Featureshe found that letting things happen naturally has been better for her love life since she moved there.

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“I was overthinking it,” he admits. “As my story progresses, people will see me give in to my emotions and show my vulnerability instead of putting up the same walls that I was forced to put up throughout my life. Because being the single black woman in a group of white people for most of my life, you have to have tough skin to be overlooked so often.”

So now that it’s getting a lot of attention, both on TV and among men, how does the dating scene in the City of Love compare to what you’ve experienced in the US?

“You’re going to find some gems and you’re also going to find absolute garbage and that’s a universal fact,” he says with a laugh. “I think courtship and courtship, the difference in how I view men in America that I’ve interacted with versus men that I’ve interacted with in Paris, is that there’s a look in their eyes. You you want a notch in your bed post, and your i really want some kind of connection before the notch in the bed post. There is a little difference. Maybe you both want the same thing, but I’ve dated longer in Europe than in the US, even though I’ve lived in Europe for much less time than in the US. My dating success is much stronger in Europe, even if there are still players out there.”

Adja Toure from 'Real Girlfriends In Paris' on romance, representation and the reality of being a black girl in the European city
ROYAL BRIDES IN PARIS — Season: 1 — Pictured: (from left to right) Emily Gorelik, Margaux Lignel, Adja Toure, Kacey Margo, Anya Firestone, Victoria Zito — (Photo by: Chris Haston/Fred Jagueneau/Bravo via Getty Images)

And when it comes to living as a black woman in Paris, she’s had good experiences so far, although being fluent in French has definitely benefited her in the experience.

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“I think I’ve had a lot of fun because of the generosity,” he says, describing a “pervasive acceptance” he feels but doesn’t feel, at least in New York City. “Paris is known for being stuck up and snobbish or whatever. Everyone is critical, but the people of Paris do not hide it. It is open vs. covert. I never had a problem with it, but I also found places that I always came back to because they felt like home and reminded me of a strong community. I like expat bars, I like bars where the majority are French speakers because I can assimilate both areas. But at the end of the day, it’s less stressful for me in Paris than it is in the United States, specifically New York.”

Toure has been testing the waters in Paris for a year now, and while he loves it so far, that doesn’t mean he sees it as his last stop.

“Living there has given me the confidence to leave the United States entirely if I wanted to,” he says. “Am I going to stay in Paris? For now, I want to remain a bicontinental woman. I want to use those two platforms from France and the United States to see other places. So Paris is supposed to be a base of operations, but not necessarily a final destination.”

For now, though, she’s having a lot of fun in her new home, as well as her new show, Royal brides in Paris, gearing up for its fifth episode on Monday (September 26). She is happy to show people life in Paris and to offer representation in various ways.

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“I definitely feel like a pioneer in a way. Because, for one thing, TV in general doesn’t focus on midsize black women in their 20s. Two, I am bilingual and lucky to have grown up being able to share my Senegalese culture while experiencing American culture. And three, in general, I’ve always been someone who was like, ‘I wish I saw more people who looked like me,’” she says. “I was very in tune with that because of my upbringing and seeing African stars in my home and comparing that to American stars. So even if I’m not great timing or anything, it’s nice to be an African star and an American star at the same time.”