As we started this project, we did not expect to get so lucky so quickly. Who could have expected to go to Paris for the first time and get a guided tour by a true Parisian during a portrait shoot! And who could have imagined that Parisians truly love everything Parisian about their city! Enjoy this feature about Dina, our charming guide!
Dina, thanks for taking us on a tour about some of your favorite spots in Paris. We started from Île St. Louis and went on to the Jardin du Luxembourg. What do you like most about this area in the very heart of the city?
I like this area because it brings together that feeling of quiet beauty and the busy side of Paris.
You can do everything from shopping, hanging out with your friends or just walking along the Seine. I think it is beautiful – simple, but beautiful. In the heart of Paris you have Notre Dame and just a nice walk away the Jardin du Luxembourg. I like this park because there are a lot of students and young people and being young myself, I feel like this is where I should be. Looking back in time a lot of French writers used to live and hang out around here and, since I like their books, that adds a special touch to the place.
You grew up and still live on the outskirts of Paris. We would have loved to see your neighborhood, too, but you said it might be too dangerous for a photo session. What is the best and the worst about living there?
The city where I live is really busy and I like it. There are lots of things to do but its reputation ruins everything. People from outside tend to think it’s really dangerous because a few things happened in the recent past. But it is not.
Nevertheless, a photo session might be a little too much of an attention getter. You do not see it a lot in the suburbs, so people would want to look and might stare. I think it’s all about the mentality. A few kilometers away, in Paris, it’s normal. You can see photo shootings everywhere. But I like this contrast between Paris and its suburbs.
How often do you spend time in the centre? What are the best places to hang out with friends?
I try to go there as much as I can, on weekends or the days I am free after work or school. I also like to go to Châtelet. Once again, it’s really young and new there, it is getting hip. I also like walking down the Champs-Élysées to the Jardin des Tuileries and exploring the little streets on the side – they are so Parisian!
We have been talking a little bit about music. You said you love indie music. Is there a good scene for local bands and indie music in Paris? Do you have a favorite artist or band at the moment?
Oh well, I don’t know much about the indie music scene here. One of my favorite bands is The 1975. They are playing a show in L’Olympia next year which is a pretty famous venue in Paris. All the big artists perform there. I also like The Vamps, another British band. I met them once at the Panthéon and we took a few pictures near the Jardin du Luxembourg.
You have been street scouted twice and have recently started to work as a model while you are still in school. Are you excited for what is coming next? Will you be going abroad?
I am really excited because it’s something new! I never thought I’d be modeling but I really like it. It’s a great experience. I’d love to go somewhere else than France because I love to travel and discover the world! I think it’s important. I’m lucky to live in Paris but I know there is a lot more to discover.
You told us, you dream about moving to Canada one day. Why do you feel such a connection to Canada? What do you like so much about it?
I don’t really have an explanation. I just love Canada and Canadians, how they live and their mentality. I know a few people who went there and they always have great comments about it and it makes me want to go there. And they talk both French and English so it’s great for me!
While some girls get scouted on Instagram or Facebook nowadays, you do not really use them. But you are still on your phone all the time, like the most of us. How do you keep up with your friends and family? Are there any other apps you use?
I don’t really like social media, but nowadays, it’s part of our work so I created an Instagram account. I can’t live without my phone, it’s crazy to say. Nowadays, it has a big part in someone’s life, even just to keep up with your friends and family and all. The app I use the most is Snapchat. I think it’s really funny to use and you can control who can see your pictures or who you want to send it to.