A long-time friend of AUrate, Yseult is the kind of woman that stops you in your tracks, and not just because of her striking looks. She exudes a warmth and generosity so great, it seems almost dichotomous to the level of cool she projects. But with an honest, open-hearted outlook, and her undeniably fresh personal style, it's easy to see why everyone falls under her charm the moment they meet. Here, we dig a little deeper into Yseult’s world to find out exactly what - and who - inspires this severely charismatic global citizen.
Tell us about your work…
My partner and I have a fashion production company called Sequoia. We do fashion films and mini clips for advertising and designers, and I take care of communications and PR for the company. It’s a start-up, so there a lot of projects that go on at the same time.
How long have you been in New York, and where were you previously?
I moved officially about a year ago, but I have been in the States for the past eight years. I would commute between Princeton, New Jersey and New York a lot, but now I live here. I was born in Burundi, which is in Central East Africa next to Rwanda. When I was four or five, we moved to Belgium and we also lived in Texas for a couple of years while my father was doing his MBA. We went back to Belgium but came back here in 2008 - so I have been on the East Coast since then.
What is your favorite place in the city?
I think you can find anything anywhere around the city. Right now I live in Harlem, and I love it for its African cuisine. There’s a place called Patisserie des Ambassades which is delicious Senegalese food, and the pastry is on point! Coming from Europe, it’s the only place where I get to eat real bread and delicious pastry.
Can you recommend a good book?
There’s a French book I am reading now called Un Brillant Avenir, by Catherine Cusset. If you don’t stay focused it isn’t easy to read, as it goes back and forth in time, but it’s really interesting. It’s about a couple from Eastern Europe who experience World War II and the discrimination against the Jewish community. It’s interesting, and I like reading in French because I think I lose words. I speak English and think in English, but I forget it’s in French when I am reading, so that’s nice. My Mom reads a lot too so I don’t even buy books, I just get them from her. It’s really practical!
If you had to go back in time to when you were first starting out, what advice would you give yourself?
I feel like I could still give myself advice today! We’re on the road to really cool stuff, and we work on really cool projects, but I think that’s going to take time. I think the best advice, and what I’m still learning, is that when you’re working with people, you have to stay really lucid about what’s going on. Know who you’re dealing with, because if you trust people too much you may find yourself being manipulated. Don’t treat everyone like criminals, but keep in mind that you can’t trust everyone until they've proven that they are trustworthy.
Who inspires you?
I really admire my mother. She’s a really strong woman. I also had the pleasure of having dinner with Marguerite Barankitse, an Aurora Prize winner. She’s from Burundi and she’s saved thousands and thousands of children. We’re working on a project where we can do something to help her orphanage, Maison Shalom, back in Burundi. And I think working with her to help my country - where I was born - is so positive. She definitely embodies power and strength, and even with everything she’s been through, she’s still super kind - she has such a huge heart. I think that tells a lot about someone when they’re just so kind even though they’ve seen evil.
A lot of people can inspire you, sometimes it can just be a random person in the street. But I really look up to strong women - women who are strong morally, physically and spiritually. I think my Mom and Marguerite Barankitse are two great powers for me.
Yseult wears (above): Circle Earrings in 14k White Gold, $550 | Mini Circle Ring in Yellow Gold, $220 | Quadricolor Ring with White Diamonds in Yellow Gold, $1000 | X Cuff in Vermeil Rose Gold, $300