We had the good fortune of connecting with Yaël Yermia and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Yaël, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
But with all what is going on, the economic problems, the pandemic, I mostly try to adapt my wishes to what it is possible to do. Because you need to adjust all the time. And that is the difficult part, because it can be really frustrating not doing what you want, especially when you turn fifty. You can’t help but think, I need to do this and that really fast, because soon, it will be too late. I like to create (blogging on movies, writing stories, podcasting, and shooting) but as everywhere, a lot of people are trying to do the sam. You also need money, because in creation when you create, unless you are Jane Campion or Margaret Atwood, you barely live with what you do. So, it is a lot of daily work. To cheer up, I swim every Sunday, I do yoga classes and I am going to a nice place where I practice barreshape (a mix of classic dance and gainage). Without sport, when you are a single mother, it is very hard to keep smiling and to focus on your main goal.
In conclusion, I would say at every step of your life, balance is a challenge. And when you manage it, you feel fulfilled. For now, I am in between two situations but creation is always on my mind.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Then, there is memory. With my grand father’ stories about WW II, I was very early aware of the importance of memory. That is also in my stories.
Then there is violence against women. I experienced it as a child, a wife and an employee and for a long time, I thought it was because something was wrong with me.
Today, even if it not easy everyday, I am happy as a mother, a freelance and a published writer. I wrote Nous Anahnou, a dystopia about memory that you can buy online.
Moreover, for five years, I have learnt a lot about movies, how to write a script and to direct. I have written several projects and I am looking for some producers. I have created movieintheair, a bilingual blog about movies and series and whatever is going on, I always send my weekly newsletter on Wednesday. And during the lockdown, I created Falafel Cinema, a French podcast about Israeli movies and series. Nineteen episodes are online. You may listen to them on every platform.
I always have plans and that is what is excited me and keeps me going on. Along the way, you need to question yourself permanently about what your are doing in your daily life to achieve what you want.
I am grateful for my inner strength, because it was very difficult to divorce, you don’t always get the support you expect. And to do what you want, you need to have your mind free. So, I divorced a violent husband and I quit a job where sexual harassment was not considered as an offense. Then I found out who I was and started to do the things I love. But it was painful because of the guilt, a feeling we all experience as women.
Discipline, perseverance and a very good mindset helped me to cope with every obstacle. Sport, dance, and doing something you like on the side also help you in your daily life. Try to say yes to everything, it will bring you luck.
If I wanted some people to remember something about me is that whatever I am doing, writing, blogging, podcasting, or advising on communication strategy, I am always looking for inspiring stories with an openminded approach.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
We would eat at Cosi, rue de Seine, where there are delicious Italian sandwiches and where you can listen to Opera. After, we would go to Grom, close to Cosi, where there are the best ice-creams of Paris. After we would rest in the Luxembourg Gardens.
The next day, we would go to the Gardens of the Palais Royal, close to the Louvres Pyramid, near the Comédie Française, where you can watch great plays.
I would also bring my friends to visit Montmartre, known for its most beautiful panoramic view of Paris from the Sacré Coeur.
We would go the Philharmonie which has not only a good programming but also a great architecture.
To watch a good show of contemporary dance, I would bring my friends to the Théâtre de Chaillot near the Trocadéro where you can admire the Eiffel Tower.
We would, of course, go to visit the Eiffel Tower the next day.
After visiting the Eiffel Tower, at sunset, we would go on a tour on a barge to admire all of the beautiful monuments of Paris.
To entertain my friends, we would go to the Rocky Horror Picture Show at Galande Studio near St Michel, an interactive musical which is screened since 1980.
During the evening, we would eat in Paris at Giorgio’s (close to Bastille neighborhood) or near my place, at Iammia, another Italian restaurant, or in La Rhumerie, a delicious Creole restaurant in St Germain.
During the day, we would go to shop books at the Librairie Compagnie and Shakespeare and Company, two great bookstores of Paris.
And I don’t forget museums. I love art and we would go to visit Orsay museum, the Quai Branly museum and the MAHJ, which is the Museum of Judaism Art and History.
I have worked as a photographer and we would go to watch photographs exhibitions at the Maison Européenne de la Photographie and the Jeu de Paume.
At the end of the week, we would listen to some jazz. My favorites places are the New Morning, the Duc des Lombards (especially the jam sessions on Fridays and Saturdays), and the Café Laurent at the Debusson Hotel.
I often go to movie theaters. With my friends, we have the choice between the Champô (where there are retrospectives), the UGC Normandie (a huge art deco theater), the MK2 in St Germain, Le Balzac (an independent movie theater) and the Publicis Cinema close to the Champs Elysées.
On Sundays, we would walk and rest in Jardin de Bagatelle, in Western Paris near the Bois-de-Boulogne. It is a huge park with waterfalls and very old trees. In May you can see beautiful flowers. There is also a rose garden with all roses from all over the world with weird names, great colors and perfumes.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
A lot of people have helped me along the way, family, friends and even if I am not a very religious persons, Rabbis. First, I grew up in Equatorial Africa and my grand parents were really important for me. My grand mother used to lend me some books and gave me the taste for reading. My grand father was an extraordinary man. As a Jew he experienced WW II and told us stories on how he had to he run from a place to another to stay alive. At that time, when I was a child, my family was like a tribe. We used to gather every Sunday after a morning at the beach and while the grown-ups talked later in the afternoon, we would go back to it.
Even if I experienced something bad during my childhood, and I resent my mother for a long time, I admire her resilience and her joie de vivre and I finally forgave her. She is 73, she is still working and gives me strength to keep on every day. Everyone is fighting and even if we have our moments, I think that with my brothers, their wives and children, we are a united family. And of course, there are my daughters, Deborah and Judith. They are great, resilient and passionate about what they do in life. As a mother, I gave them values and strength and they gave it back to me a hundred times more. Then,I can thank two progressive Rabbis, the first French woman Rabbi of France, Pauline Bebe and her American husband Tom Cohen, who is from Boston. They are very optimistic and open minded and help you when you need it most.
And I admire a lot women in general. They inspire me. They are very brave, because in a world led by men for millennia, you need to fight more as a woman, even in the Western world. Finally, I need to talk about my childhoods friends from Gabon and my best friend Dominique. Having a chat with them always make me smile.
Other: My Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/yaely23/ Falafel Cinéma : a French podcast about Israeli movies and series : https://smartlink.ausha.co/falafel-cinema https://www.facebook.com/yaelyermia Nous Anahnou novel, a dystopia about memory, published at De Beauvilliers : https://www.amazon.fr/Nous-Anahnou-Yael-Yermia/dp/238123036X