Ghada is a committed gynecologist and a three-child mom. In 2016, she opened Maison des Femmes in Saint-Denis to help women victims of violence. Ghada fights against gender stereotypes on a daily basis. To succeed, she advises young women to emancipate themselves from the diktats of society, to free themselves from any obscurantism, and to invest in their intellectual potential.
Amalthea commits herself to Maison des Femmes. It is a structure bringing together, in the same place, services which respond to different problems: family Planning and abortion (access to sexual and reproductive health), situation of vulnerability (violence, precariousness, exclusion), repair and follow-up of women victims of excision
Committed gynecologist, founder of Maison des Femmes, you fight everyday to help women. Where does this commitment come from?
Born in the Middle East, with 3 brothers, I knew very early that the valence of gender, as Françoise Heritier would say, was not the same. To boys the rights, to the daughters the duties, and to me it was terribly unfair and above all indefensible. Neither by religion, nor by tradition, nor by any superiority, intellectual or physical. But I had not planned to make it a cause to defend, I had just decided that I would allow myself to do whatever they had the right to do.
So I left Lebanon to study in France, I became a doctor and I specialized in gynecology-obstetrics. This specialty immediately seduced me, for all the richness involved in its practice. But it also put me at the heart of my patients' lives, and thus, from consultations to testimonies, from confidences to solicitations, I decided that I had to overflow the strict framework of my profession and be interested in everything that could mistreat the women or limit their rights. Founding Maison des Femmes is the culmination of a long journey, and for me a great opportunity to defend the cause of women and my beliefs.
I hear you're inciting young women to invest in their brains rather than their beauty. Could you please tell us more?
I am always saddened when I receive in consultation a young woman who asks me to help her to comfort herself with the model that is imposed on her, namely most of the time accepting an arranged marriage, and especially showing her husband, her family or even the whole village, that she is still a virgin. Accepting to cover her hair, her face, not to go out, to give up her studies or her job. Or when I talk with patients who are desperate in seeing their seduction potential decreased by age, pregnancy, weight gain, wrinkles... because again these are imposed models. The ideal of purity and beauty, be a decorative object and docile somehow. So I try to relax them, to make them laugh, to get them to consider things from a different angle. And of course, I tell them to be confident, to develop their own skills, not to depend on anyone and to think, choose and decide for themselves.
It is sometimes very scary for them to think that they could allow themselves to do something, or to free themselves from... They often tell me: I won't bother my daughter with all that, but I can't do the revolution by myself. So I tell them about all those before us, who freed themselves and paved the way for us as the 343 sluts of the New Observer who defended abortion. And I sometimes allow myself to prescribe a little transgression, like having a lover.
How would you define a successful life?
There are so many models of successful lives! Perhaps the most important thing for me is to live in harmony with your convictions, and to mobilize your skills, energy and empathy to make the world a just little more right and warm. Each one has its own cause, but the common good has to be the priority.
Why did you agree to embody Amalthea values ?
Mother of a young woman who was once a teenager, and of course in regular contact with women of all ages and conditions, I am afflicted by what advertising and its diktats impose on them. There would be only one form of beauty, a unique and preferably youthful model. But if you have the misfortune to be different, then many wonderful magic products are there to help us. And even if they only believe half of it, they knowingly forget any critical mind and rush into it, if by chance it might work. I could only be sensitive to a brand that supports products that are carefully selected for their absence of harmful effects, and that encourages to take care of oneself without promising the moon!
Paul has a keen sense of sport and his environmental impact. Going to the end of his dreams and convictions, he has been very active in the development of the bike polo (polo on bike on hardcourt) in France, which today has 20 000 players in the world. His passion for cycling goes with a strong environment awareness
Your childhood in a village has given you a different point of view on life. Could you explain that to us?
Growing up in a big house, surrounded by a huge garden, with a river and a forest just a few yards away was a real pleasure, especially with three little brothers to do all the experiments and the silly things possible. Life in a village allows a proximity and strong social ties with many people, which helps growing in a stress-free environment, where trust, sharing and solidarity prevail. My childhood in such en environment has been very rich, and namely an environmental sensibility. After this joyful childhood, I was delighted to move to Toulouse and continue my life learning, full of new horizons. From my young thirties perspective, I would say that my childhood/teenage time, with their own environments, has really been great for my fulfillment.
How do you become Bike Polo world champion?
There is no really magic recipe, although it is known that the common denominator of successful athletes is to have a steel mind. I have always practiced sport on a regular and quite intense basis. For the Bike Polo, a sport practiced by only 20 000 players in the world, the probabilities of becoming champion are certainly higher than in football or rugby but it still requires a huge investment. Besides the purely technical qualities, passion is obviously the number one asset, it is what makes you want to improve, to go to confront obstacles in winter on concrete, to spend all your savings in travel for national and international tournaments, to truly invest you in sport, for sport. Then it takes a bit of open-mindedness to get into a sport that is so unknown. After 10 years of club football I wanted to leave the federal system. Bike Polo brings together my passion for cycling, my love for collective sport and my appeal for urban, alternative culture. After 2 years of intensive practice, I became France champion (6 times today), then of Europe (4 times) then of the world (twice). Thanks to these successes, I had a lot of opportunities with recognized brands and I was fortunate to be an ambassador for a great watch manufacturing brand.
As a pioneer, what would you like to tell to people who want to pursue their dream?
I am surely still too young to give life advice but what is sure is that one must pursue its dreams, since they are an endless source of happiness. And we're all looking for happiness, right? The will is the number one driver, although sometimes it may not be enough as contexts are so different : social circle, environment, economic resources, family support, etc. ...I consider myself very lucky!
Why did you agree to embody Amalthea values?
My sensitivity on cosmetics has changed recently. With the Parisian air, the chlorinated swimming, the ageing, I felt for the first time just 2 years ago the need to hydrate my skin. As a real beginner, having never put perfume, I bought a basic cream in the supermarket and after discussing with my wife and friends that I realized everything that was going on behind the traditional business of cosmetics, namely pollution, Tests on animals, chemicals and of course the diktat of its advertisement. Thus I immediately embrace Amalthea philosophy which is in line with my environmental convictions and my values.
Passionate about art and fashion, Leslie is now a young entrepreneur, after six years in a large French fashion house. Great lover of the Earth, she wants to be active in the fashion industry transformation, by creating beautiful products, offering quality and sustainability.
Where did your passion for art and fashion come from? What brought you to work in a large French fashion house?
It was my mother who gave me this passion for art. From an early age, she regularly took me and my sister to museums, to go around the exhibits, to awaken us. At every birthday, I invariably received a book about an artist. Paul Klee, Miró, Klint, Picasso, Giacometti, Niki de Saint Phalle, Basquiat... have enriched my childhood. I started drawing, as soon as I could hold a pencil in my hand. I was drawing dresses... It was very naturally that I took Art history and painting courses to the baccalaureate, and that after high school, I joined the Atelier Chardon Savard, a famous Parisian fashion school. But, discouraged by the very technical aspect of the training, I gave up quickly. At that time, I felt a little lost because I grew up thinking about becoming a fashion designer.
An internship in the press showroom of Yves Saint Laurent, and the advice of the Director of communication at the time, allowed me to realize that there were other professions, fields of action, and ways to enter the fashion world. I first studied communication at the American University of Paris, went then to study a few months in New York, then in Florence, where I conducted a Master in fashion brand management in Polimoda. I joined the event department of a large French Fashion house at the end of my master. The department was growing, and I had the opportunity to stay, and grow. I worked there almost six years, rapidly evolving from trainee to project manager, and organized Fashion shows and events around the world. A dream.
And today, a desire to change your life. You just quit your job to get onto the entrepreneurial adventure. What motivated you to embark on that project?
I have never had a vocation strictly speaking for events. I am of a dreamy nature, but very organized, that is why I had predispositions for this job, but I was missing something. I have always needed to create, and this need has simply become vital in recent years. Turning thirty has also been decisive; I thought it was time to make my dreams come true.
I heard you were a yoga enthusiast. What does this practice bring you?
Yes. Yoga is a holistic practice, which allowed me to reconnect with my body, learn about myself and find a balance, because it is a research that is both physical, psychological, energetic and spiritual.
Why did you agree to embody Amalthea values ?
I met Maryll while we both found ourselves at a turning point of life, somewhat similar. Her approach, trying to change the preconceptions for our well-being and for our planet sake in a saturated industry, responds to mine, and speaks to me. I use very little makeup and a minimum of cosmetics, but reading the composition of some of the beauty products that we use everyday can ice the blood. The cosmetics industry is extremely polluting, and affects mainly and directly the oceans. From the moment we are aware of this reality, how do we continue to consume these products? Amalthea provides a responsible and intelligent alternative, less products, only what the skin needs, in respect to the environment.
Graziella, mother of two children, never stops between her professional life and her family life. Latin and greek, literature or politics have no longer secrets for her. Simplicity is a fundamental value in her life, where she finds a certain accuracy and truth
It is not usual to study latin and greek. Could you explain us such a choice?
This choice was determined all along my academic and then university career. I have always wanted to study ancient languages for its fundamental diversity, a means to reach a way to think and understand the world, different from our own perspective, which arises permanent questions. And then there is of course the beauty of the texts.
And today two professions: politics and literature. What do these two jobs bring you?
I do not have two different professions and I don't have any political activity as such. I am working on the speech, on the literary side and on the political side This allows me to combine two different times, that of urgency for politics and a longer and reflexive time for literature.
I understand you're very attached to simplicity. How would you define this value?
Simplicity is about avoiding the frills, the useless, the accessory and to go to the essential. We gain in intensity. There is no elegance without simplicity. This has to do with drawing, when a pencil stroke is enough to make the essence of a silhouette, it would get lost if it goes into to much details.
Why did you agree to embody Amalthea values ?
A simplified beauty routine, natural and high quality products, care for the environment with reusable bottles, beautifully designed, all this could only seduce me. I really like the universe that characterizes the brand, its softness, its attention to the beauty, its natural distinction through scents and delicate ingredients. Nothing surprising for a brand put under the sign of the nurturing mother of Zeus...
Anne-Sophie is artistic director. Very creative, paper and typography are her pillars. Her deep attachment to nature is reflected in her daily life and her sport activities, mainly climbing and skiing. She has lots of concern about the place of the environment in our today's society and hopes for a better balance for our future.
How did you get to work today in the art direction?
I have always liked to draw. Since I was very young, it is one of the few activities that happens to capture my attention. Art studies, Applied art and then the Decorative Arts of Strasbourg (now Heard) were crystal clear for me. I discovered and learned so much there, silkscreening in particular. I used to spend my whole days in the studio, making my inks and then printing on paper! This experience allowed me to appreciate the paper and to develop a particular sensitivity to printed object. I also remember the graphic design courses and history of typography that have completed my learning. After graduating, I started working in an Art direction studio, and more specifically for a Ski brand. I had the incredible opportunity to work on three ski collections. I later worked for two fashion brands. These different but complementary experiences allowed me to have an overall vision of the brand image and its variations. I now work as an independent. It's a new challenge!
What is your connection to nature? How do you find this attachment in your daily life and your sport activities?
Living in Paris, nature is always a bit complicated obviously. But I believe that my connection with nature is primarily a family bond. My grandparents were farmers. Even though my parents have not chosen this path, they have always been attached to the land and the walks. Nature makes me think of escape and respect. I have the impression that this is even more the case for my generation. It is true that I am particularly careful to respect the environment. I try daily to pay attention to the small details and to question myself regarding my habits. I travel by bike all year round, and I cook a lot while trying to reduce as much as I can my waste.
My sport practices are fairly related to mountain, a changing environment because of global warming. This is reflected in the ice melt obviously but also by brutal changes sometimes dangerous. In winter, I do some cross country skiing. That can be quite physical on the way up but what a sensation to the way down! It also allows you to go off the beaten path, to gaze at snow seas between two mountains, only thanks to the strength of your legs! Then in summer it is climbing, another aspect of the mountain. It is a total osmosis with nature! It is a sport that requires extreme concentration, technique, and a little strength to be able to hold and climb on tiny pieces of rocks! I take the opportunity to admire the forces of nature in action, like this tree that seems to grow on the rock or even this tiny plant growing in a mini-hole. My sport practices forces me to pay attention to the environment because everything is interdependent in my opinion.
It seems that this passion also brings you to travel. Would you mind to talk to us your last trip to Japan?
Generally I go skiing in the Alps, at Christmas in general, and then I go back in February if possible. This year I did things a little bit differently, I went skiing in Japan. It was also an opportunity to discover this country, from north to south for a month, at the beginning with someone and then by myself at the end. Japan is a paradise for skiing. There's a lot of snow. Depending on the places, snow is quite light which is absolutely perfect for free ride skiing. It was an opportunity to ski on unknown playgrounds for us, volcanoes! And, who says volcano, says Onsen! These are natural hot Japanese baths, either outside or inside. It is found in almost all over Japan. That is part of their culture. The Onsen is a whole ritual and, above all, a moment for oneself. I particularly loved one because we went there by off-piste skiing. The road was closed because of the snow. It was pretty surreal! What an incredible sensation after 4 hours of skiing to be immersed myself in a natural Onsen at 40 °C while the outside temperature was -10 °C and everything is covered with snow! After this discovery, the Onsen had become a daily practice, with or without skiing!
Why did you agree to embody Amalthea values ?
Cosmetics has always been a very obscure world for me. I was completely lost. I have to confess also my lack of confidence in the composition of the products. I always had this feeling of lack of transparency. All the packaging seems to me far too complicated.
On the one hand, I was quite seduced by the simplicity, by the requirement of the products and materials used. Then on the other hand, this process around a sustainable and responsible packaging touched me. Amalthea allows me to have beauty products that are consistent with my beliefs.