#WFH Diaries: Amélie Juillet of Buzzman
As the COVID-19 pandemic gallops along, we're checking in with creative people to see how they're faring. Here's an update from Amélie Juillet at Buzzman.
Give us a one-sentence bio of yourself.
I'm Amélie Juillet, communications director at Buzzman.
Where are you living right now, and who's with you?
I'm with my husband, Eric, on our fourth week of confinement in our Boulogne-Billancourt apartment outside of Paris. We're lucky enough to have a garden; it's become so precious. We can get air and connect with nature, all without breaking the rules.
What's your work situation like at the moment?
The rhythm has slowed a little, but the PR department is continuing to share initiatives from brands mobilizing to help clients through this time: Boursorama Bank, for example, is offering to suspend payments for personal or real estate loans for up to three months. Meanwhile, Burger King's entertaining its communities with Quarantine Burgers and the Harlem Shake!
Describe your socializing strategy.
Easy! My phone has become my passport! I've never felt so connected: Zoom, WhatsApp, Messenger, texts, emails, Google Hangouts … My battery was dead around 3 p.m. in the first days of quarantine.
Seriously, though, this period is helping me catch up with people I haven't spoken to in forever, because I never had the time. No excuses now!
What are you reading?
I'm reading Alice Zeniter's The Art of Losing. It follows a Kabyle family between France and Algeria: the war, their exile, the loss of their homeland, the sense of being uprooted, the migration camps… The title comes from the poet Elizabeth Bishop, and it evokes a loss of orientation and the act of mourning. In some ways it echoes the period we're living through now.
What are you watching?
I'm doing a lot of catchup watching: classics of French cinema like Four Bags Full, and starting series like The Handmaid's Tale.
What are you listening to?
A lot of Michael Jackson; he energizes me! But also meditations that my life coach, Chantal Deravin, sends every day. It's a good way to evacuate all this negative energy, to realign and connect with our inner selves. Grounding yourself is the best way to face the stress and uncertainty of this time.
How are you staying fit?
I'm following the advice of [Buzzman founder] Georges Mohammed-Chérif: Eat well and eat less to balance reduced mobility in confinement. And every two days, I follow the live workouts from the coaches at 21Blanche. They're awesome! You won't feel the 45 minutes go by… but you definitely feel it in your muscles the next morning. :-)
Have you taken up a hobby?
Gardening! I'm watching my climbing hydrangeas flower. I'm revisiting my cookbooks, which I abandoned when I discovered Le Billili (hey, Thomas Brachet!), a wine bar not far from me. And I'm stealing ideas from Ella Aflalo of YIMA Marseille, who shares recipes on Instagram every day.
Any tips for getting necessities?
We go out every 10 days to shop for ourselves and our neighbor. We also deliver groceries to my 93-year-old grandmother, so she doesn't need to go out. We're also supporting local initiatives. Through the Heart of Butter Association, the company Babines is using its 3-D printing expertise to make protective visors for medical personnel. To do that, they need to increase production capacity by buying more 3-D printers. If you want to help, make a donation.
An awkward moment since all this started.
The deafening silence of Saturday nights.
Best work email you got since all this started.
It came from our motion designer, who announced his departure in an email during confinement.
An aha! moment since all this started.
The creativity of people online, with a special shout-out to Noam Cartozo's "Questions for a Balcony" (a play on the classic French game show Questions for a Champion), a makeshift trivia game that can be played between neighbors on balconies. And I love this Barry White reprise by Stan Benett that replaces the lyrics for "You're the First, My Last, My Everything" with the grocery lists of people in confinement: Butter, pasta, Crystalline water...
What's your theory on how this is going to play out?
There's a world of difference between theory and practice, but I'd like to believe this crisis will give us a collective sense of consciousness about how we live, consume and interact with nature. There's a phrase I like in a text doing the rounds online right now: "You are not indispensable. The air, the earth, the water and the sky will survive without you. More than that; they'll thrive. When you return, remember you are my guests, not my masters."