‘More romantic, elegant, deeper’: why Americans love royal brides in Paris | Fashion

Cranch dressing in her bag, worrying about the carbs in Soupwondering if she’ll ever find a french lover who likes netflix and chilling – these are just some of the old world new world challenges faced by the leads in the first episode of Real Girlfriends in Paris, a reality show debuting on September 6 in Hayu and Bravo.

As you might guess from the show’s title, the show follows six American women in their 20s and 30s, searching for meaning, change, and most of all, love. As different as the backgrounds of Anya Firestone, Emily Gorelik, Margaux Lignel, Kacey Margo, Adja Toure, and Victoria Zito (respectively: tour guide, design management student, aspiring entrepreneur, English teacher, Cornell graduate, and designer of fashion), the only thing they have in common is their passion and monolithic vision of Paris. As the voiceover in the trailer points out, these parisian news are adrift in “the most beautiful city in the world…a fairy tale”, i.e. an enchanted, highly Disneyfied and filtered vision of France, featuring the women performing Parisian style to perfection: drinking wine 24 hours a day, wearing trench coats and berets, eating pancakes, talking loudly about sex. A selection of clichés so familiar and vivid that the local press immediately hailed it as “reality TV’s version of Emily in Paris,” and France’s Elle declared it “directly inspired” by Darren Star’s dramatic comedy. have the two in common? Both shows are seen, by the French media, as a “guilty pleasure” that “one loves to hate” – for their glorious inaccuracy (Paris limited to a handful of bridges and mimes, emaciated women smoking in turtlenecks, not to mention of an entire alcoholic population).

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One thing is for sure: Real Girlfriends in Paris, in production for its third season, closely follows the beaten path of an old fantasy, updated for the age of Instagram by Star. Emily’s locations in Paris appear on Google Maps and are marked in the city guides. They have become sought-after selfie spots for tourists and locals alike: “I feel like a tourist in my own city,” confessed Alicia, 18, a fan of the show who grew up in Paris. The outfits featured on the show and documented on numerous Instagram accounts are seeing booming sales. Not to mention the peak of tourism originating from the US in France this summerone coincidence?

Kacey Margo and Adja Toure from the reality show Real Girlfriends in Paris
Real girlfriends Kacey Margo and Adja Toure. Photograph: Bravo/Getty

Real Girlfriends in Paris and Emily in Paris bring to light a long-standing Francophilia in American film and entertainment, from An American in Paris to Moulin Rouge, Sex and the City, Midnight in Paris and, most recently, The French Dispatch. . It’s a fascinating subject that has spawned dedicated books (Why France? American Historians Reflect on an Enduring Fascination, edited by Laura Lee Downs and Stéphane Gerson), a multitude of podcasts, and even stand-up jobs.

For historian Robert O’Paxton, the expatriate experience provides something of a “Mid-Atlantic identity,” hovering somewhere between the two cultures but maintaining a critical distance from both. “It allowed me to move freely in both the European and American space without being locked into either one.” he writes.

Transitioning between worn-out or shattered clichés, familiar perks and new experiences is what many women describe as moving to arguably the most cinematographic and widely portrayed city. Breckyn, a 32-year-old dancer and choreographer who moved to Paris last November from New York, recalls that the United States saw the French capital as the sum of “a glittering Eiffel Tower, film noir, sensuality, gentleness, romance, the city of the lights.” – but you need to be prepared for some really aggressive energy, like in most big cities.”

However, he advocated “a higher standard of living, a healthier, better and more complete lifestyle, where travel is affordable and also culturally acceptable”, as opposed to New York, where “hustle and bustle is the norm in a fear-based society… where everything feels like a struggle,” she says. However, what she values ​​today is the multicultural dimension, “everything that is not seen in clichés, the diversity of cultures, of perspectives”. She adds that she was surprised to discover “people willing to discuss, debate, fight about an issue and still be friends.”

Stars of Real Girlfriends in Paris at a dinner
Living in a fairy tale version of Paris. Photograph: Bravo/Fred Jagueneau/Getty

In addition to a more balanced life, it is also the promise of love, hand in hand with knowing how to live, that attracts others. Hyo, 37, a Paris Business School student who also moved from New York in July, says she has always been fascinated by “culture and music, which seems to have a special philosophical depth,” mentioning the singer. Tallisker and electronic musician Jean-Michel Jarre. She is “eager to find love and definitely French men, who are more romantic, elegant, deep and can have real discussions and live in the present.”

Going from cliché to reality is also the challenge facing Shawn, a 36-year-old businessman from New York. “Friends often say, ‘Your life feels like Emily’s in Paris, going out drinking or going to amazing restaurants,’ but no place is perfect and the show is not supposed to be seen as anything more than a fantasy,” she says. , after discovering, among other things, the difficulty of the French bureaucracy and everyday reality.

These, together with the political complexity and the dog excrementthey are certainly less likely to show up at Emily’s or Real Girlfriends’ Paris, focused as they are on the Pont Neuf, free health care and French men.

Et pourquoi pas? However, the country’s multicultural history, landscape and rich cultural productions beyond the Périphérique could be worth it for these new TV heroines.