We always knew we loved Garance Doré. And we knew we admired Scott Schuman. Two great creative minds. And we knew they were dating. But we were not at all prepared for what would happen when Schuman interviewed Doré about her life and career onstage at the French Institute Alliance Française (FIAF) on Thursday night. Without resorting to hyperbole, let's just put it this way: Pretty much everyone in the room died and went to heaven.
In a conversation that was just as much informative as it was funny -- Schuman's opening line: "I understand you were born in France" -- we learned quite a bit about Doré's ascent to blogging stardom. Here, the best quotes from the night, because sometimes things are best left unedited:
She invented her first job.
Doré: One day I was with a bunch of friends on the beach, being ourselves, just like hanging. And we're like well, we kind of dreamed a project of selling croissants to the people who had their boats in the water like around the village. People would stay the night with their boats. Schuman: But it's very tiny. Doré: Yeah, you can't put more than like 50 boats in there, that's it. Small ones. So we started that on a whim, and my first job, the real official job -- 'official' -- was to sell croissants. So I had a little boat, and in the morning I would come and say, 'Do you want croissants for your breakfast?' And they would give me money. Schuman: Now she's leaving out the part that she told me that by 12 years old, she had this body. So if you imagine a 14-year-old French girl riding up in a boat, [adopts French accent] "Oh hello, do you want croissants?" "Yes. Come back tomorrow. I'll need some more later." Doré: I was also with a girlfriend of mine, she was blonde, so you know... [laughs] So that was my first job, and I really worked, was really successful.
She's a conservatory-trained cellist.
Doré: It put a lot of pressure on me, and after the first year of that learning that, they throw me into doing a concert of cello, which happened, but I was terrorized. I was rehearsing every day, I didn't have a life, I couldn't see friends and stuff, so after that I stopped cello. It was so hard that I decided I couldn't do that. And then I picked up other music but I never went super deep in that because I was like, I can't have that life.
She went through a serious ugly duckling phase.
Schuman: We all know Garance is one of the most beautiful women in the world, one of the most stylish. [Applause] But I also know that your sister is also incredibly beautiful. So how did that feel growing up on the island? Were you considered the more beautiful of the two? Doré: When she was 14, she just exploded in her beauty. Everyone was like, 'You're a model! You have to, you know.' There were guys like putting flowers at our door, and I'm not joking, it's true! And I was getting fat. I had acne. And my school scores were going down... And I was like, all my dreams were crumbling. I hate her! What's happening? After that I was never the beautiful one or anything. So for a long time -- I love her, we're best friends now -- but that was a tough moment.
Her mother has an eccentric streak.
Doré: We moved houses [once], and that's when I realized she was really in a crazy moment of her life, because when we arrived at the home, it was all white. It was like, the TV was white. The table was white. And we were three kids! I was like, I couldn't say it at the time, but I was like, 'Mom, three kids. What are you gonna do with a totally white house?'
She did not follow through on her guidance counselor's career suggestion.
Doré: The guy's job was to advise you on what you're supposed to do in your life, and there was a computer, and you had to had to answer some questions. And I did the test, and I was very hopeful. Like, that computer is going to tell me what is going to be my job! I was so nervous. And the result was: taxidermist.
Career options in Corsica were limited.
Doré: Everyone has a store or a restaurant, or they're like, a shepherd. Schuman: Or like a gangster. Doré: Or, like, an accountant for the shepherds.
She literally knocked down doors when she started out as an illustrator.
Doré: I went to Paris every other month, because I told myself that if I want to be an illustrator, I'm not going to spend my time doing illustrations and not showing it to anyone. I'm gonna do it, and show it even if they're bad. I want people to tell me, they're bad, you're never going to be a good illustrator. So I was taking my courage, I didn't have any contact, anything in Paris. So I was going and taking the addresses at the back of the books, knocking at their doors. And people would be like, 'What the hell? What do you want? Go away!' And it would be like 15 times in a row, and then maybe one person would open the door and say, 'Okay, come here, five minutes, okay." And they would look at my book and my portfolio and say, "Uh, you should do this like this." But these little things helped... It started working after a year, I started getting jobs.
Scott isn't materialistic. Garance is.
Schuman: Considering how much we love fashion, I don't think we're particularly materialistic people. Doré: I actually, I am.
She started her blog because she needed to push herself to draw faster.
Doré: I decided, I needed to draw faster. I needed to do an illustration in an hour. If it's 200 euros [per drawing], you know, I can make that work. Schuman: And was your style that much different from what you see now? Doré: Super different. I like to spend time. That's why taxidermist came up... It took me five hours to do, like, an eye.
She works very differently while writing than while taking photographs and illustrating.
Schuman: When she's writing: silence. There has to be... I can't breathe, I can't watch TV, I can't turn on the faucet... Doré: The other day I was writing, and he came in the room— Schuman: Just to move some books! Doré: And I was like, 'How long are you going to move those books for?' Schuman: So writing needs to be totally silent. When she's doing photographs, it's like a party.
She doesn't trade in exclusivity.
Schuman: The thing you seem most excited about with your launch is this studio that you're going to do. She always says, 'I want to invite everyone into my world!' I mean, what a great world to live in. I live in it, and it's a pretty great f--king world.
On becoming a businesswoman, not just an artist.
Doré: How do you turn something that's small and intimate as a blog into something that can actually be bigger but keep the same spirit, you know? Reach more people, reach more things, but still stay true... These, I think, is fascinating questions... I think really the thing we're talking about every day with my team is how can we keep having fun, being free, and how can I be a business that protects the content that we're doing on the blog?