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findingpaola findingpaola

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Paola "Pao Pao" Mathé  Sharing snippets of my colors * 📍Austin | NYC * 🎈 Haitian fairy + Photographer * 💃🏿 Founder + Creative Director of @fanmdjanm * 💌: info@fanmdjanm.com

C&C: Where do your drive and passion come from? ⠀

Me: My drive comes from the way my heart races when I feel like I'm going to step out of my comfort zone. It's embedded in all my daydreams as a shy little girl. And it continues to evolve as I realize how much I can do with the right mindset. My passion? Maybe I was born with it? I don't remember not ever being passionate. I see beauty in abandoned cracks and crevices. Sometimes I create it. And sometimes it just surprises me. It's hard not to have passion. ⠀

Sharing this colorful corner of my home in dramatic morning light since I’m not in a very colorful place this morning.⠀

-The shadow of a leather mask I bought at a leather shop in lower Manhattan made for kinky folks just because it reminded me of Eartha Kitt in Catwoman. Yes, I’ve worn it at home. Yes, it makes me feel like a bad ass.⠀
- A snake pant dancing with the sunlight atop a plant book and a beautiful magazine I was featured in recently. ⠀
- Organic linen sheets hand dyed and made in Portugal. The color pulled at my heartstrings so I knew I had to have them. But I doubt I’d ever pay so much for sheets in the future but we never know. ⠀

Anyway passion... let’s talk about it! Do you have it? Where does it come from?⠀

(PS. I’m honored to be featured as one of the @createandcultivate 100 List in the fashion category this year. If you want to read the full interview, check out my highlighted stories and swipe up for the link!) #PaolaAtHome 🌿

I think about what I’ll be a lot when I’m much much older. When I buy shoes, I think about if a healthy 65 or 70 or 80 year old Pao would still wear or want to wear them or be proud to give them away. (Even when I got the pineapple shoes!) ⠀⠀⠀⠀
I’d love to have accomplished a lot in design my own way by then... What kind of design? Any and all kinds of designs because why stop at one? Why be boxed in? Anything that tickles my colors really.⠀⠀⠀⠀
And then one day, if I get to live long enough, I want to create an inviting space. And whoever can find me (and ask nicely) can just stop by for tea and chat. About everything. Because why not? I love to listen. It always gives new perspective. And I love to share.⠀⠀⠀⠀
It’s funny because when I was younger, I couldn’t imagine who or what I’d be like at any point in my life. I could never picture myself as an adult. And even now, I catch myself in the mirror, and I still feel the same. I see changes on my body, but I still feel the curious little girl who’s unsure about many things but still confident to explore. ⠀⠀⠀⠀
What about you? Do you think about getting older? What do you imagine?

This is what I call the “reading throne” in my house. Baby and I love this corner. Sitting there has already sparked so many new ideas! My husband spends his Saturday mornings reading the news and drinking coffee there. Maybe I’ll just change its name to the “happy throne”.⠀

🌿✨ #PaolaAtHome

I'm making a list of my plants so I can transfer them into a spreadsheet with care instructions and locations so I don’t come back to dead plants when I travel. My husband (the plant killer) bought me some books about plant care, and I've been sharing tips I'm learning along the way in my stories. Thanks for watching and sharing your own tips with me!⠀

This lewk was inspired by my new favorite corner in our bedroom. This dreamy sweater is from @modcloth, one of my favorite brands to partner with because they truly promote women empowerment and inclusivity. ⠀
#ModClothSquad http://liketk.it/2ukJu #liketkit @liketoknow.it

My husband just called and asked me what I was doing, I told him I was taking a mini vacation in our bedroom. He laughed and asked what that was.⠀

This is what it looks like.⠀

Here are five tips to finding instant relaxation:⠀
1. Buy fresh flowers.⠀
2. Fill a tray with containers of your favorite snacks.⠀
3. Get some good reading material.⠀
4. Put on something light and comfortable.⠀
5. Enjoy the simple things. #paolaathome

Because a photo of Vovo always cheers me up. 🍒🍒🍒🍒⠀

I’m trying not to print too much of my work for our home, but I think a giant portrait of Vovo could never hurt.⠀

Stylist: @kikabolinab
Photographer + creative direction: @findingpaola
Headwrap: @fanmdjanm


On the left: A Radermachera sinica stands by the window. I’ve been giving this plant a lot of attention since it can be needy. The occasional pruning here and there. The wiping of the leaves. Removal of bugs. ‘‘Tis the season for plant stress and I’m discovering that most of my plants don’t like tap water. The plants calm me. I’ve been in constant pain, and they take my mind away it even if it’s temporarily. (That’s a whole blog post. Promise.)⠀

On the right: A naked portrait of me taken by a beauty/fashion photographer a lifetime ago for a personal project he called “Evolution”. I remember desiring to be someone’s muse so bad back then. As if I had something to prove to everyone who ever had anything negative to say about how I looked when I was younger. I was also terrified to be fully nude in front of a photographer I was meeting for the first time. Then I remember rubbing the cold mud all over my body, face and hair, and how relaxed the whole process made me feel. I watched the gray mixture hardening under my nails. My coily hair shrank to create this almost cement-like crown. Honestly, I only shot this project because I’d hope he would see the potential in me and would in turn shoot some beauty projects with me. And he even promised, but he never did. I wanted to be the “face” of something so bad back then. But now all I can think about is being “the brain” of something great. I don’t regret shooting this project at all. He printed, signed and dated this photo the same day of the shoot. I took it around with me to everyplace I’ve moved. And I always keep it in the most social room of the house. It reminds me of growth. #PaolaAtHome #mydomaine #interiordesign #interiorinspo

Last year I tweeted, “I don't just want to appear to be doing well. I want to be well. In every way. Well fed. Well loved. Well accomplished. Well.” And so many people reacted to it. I’ve been practicing these words for a while now. And sometimes I have to remind myself of them. Especially when I turn down major trips and partnerships that offer me a lot of money to pretend I’m having fun. People/big brands kept approaching me as an “influencer”, and at first I hated it. I’d take some of the opportunities because they seemed interesting and I wanted to truly see what that world was like. That word kept following me around so I had to define it in my own terms. ⠀

Finding Paola started as a journey of a shy Haitian girl from a small town in Haiti getting lost in New York City, and as a result, not only did she find herself, she broke down so many barriers and accomplished things she wouldn’t even have dared dream. Right now Finding Paola is on a new transition(um, I moved to Austin and I’m going to become a mother!) I thank all of you who have stuck by me all this time since 2009. And I thank all of you who are just joining.⠀

Yes, I will take more branded partnerships. I work hard. I believe in my creativity. And I deserve to get paid (well) for it. I will take on less because I want to dedicate time for my own projects (i.e. @fanmdjanm and others). I will charge more, and I will cross out as many lines on that contract that make me uncomfortable. To brands: No, you may not use my image, name, likeness any way or any time you choose. No, you will not get my creative direction, talent, face, and voice at a discount because other people with more followers and engagement have accepted your (ridiculous) offer. Yes, I may wear a headwrap, bold colors and accessories, but only if I feel like it. ⠀

I want to share more personal style while promoting small and new exciting businesses, thrifting and vintage. Some home decor, topics related to Haitian culture, and anything lifestyle I’m into. Not because it’s trendy but because it makes me feel good. Oh, and more story-telling!⠀

Welcome to my small, colorful world. Any questions?⠀

Creating different happy corners in my home one day at a time. Funny thing is things don’t stay the same very long. A rug might be added. The chair may be replaced. I never know until I find the right piece. I found this old bar cart with pink and green tiles at this vintage store and took it home right away. I love multipurpose things. It’s holding my plants now, but it could easily come in handy for a spontaneous tea party one day. ⠀

This corner is inspired by some of my peaceful moments in Bermuda during my two visits a few years back. I’d walk around the beach and stare at pink walls with random beautiful plants proudly standing or dancing in front of them. And I’d revel in the effortless beauty of it all.⠀

I wore these #pineappleshoes during my visit too. And to add to this corner, maybe I’ll go back and find a photo from my archives to add above the chair. ⠀

#PaolaAtHome #pocketsofmyhome #jungalowstyle #mydomaine #interiordesign #interiorinspo

I moved to the US from Haiti right before my thirteenth birthday. This means, as a shy, awkward, non-English speaking teenager, I was called all kinds of names and was often told to "go back where I came from". At first, the words stung through me deeply, and they hurt more than anything I'd experience before. I fought back of course. I'd defend myself and my country. And I'd talk about how a lot of the stereotypes just weren't true. Then as I got older, I decided that these words although hurtful and incredibly dangerous (especially if they come from "a powerful figure") would no longer affect me the same way. I decided to fight back another way. I'd work. And I'd keep working. I'd uplift. I'd support. And I'd promote what I admired and represented my country and my culture. I'd be the author of my story, and I would find and protect my truth my way. And I certainly will not waste my energy on privileged, racist and ignorant people. ⠀

Today, in remembrance of the eight anniversary of the tragic earthquake that devastated Haiti, I mourn those we have lost, and I send positive light to all those who have been and are still affected. I'm also taking this opportunity to highlight three Haitian individuals/businesses who are doing highly valuable work in the #Haitian community. ⠀
@myhaititravels is a boutique traveling company operated by young, passionate Haitians who combine volunteerism and tourism. They work with local businesses to take you on cultural tours while showcasing the beauty of Haiti. ⠀
@growninhaiti is an ongoing project about living sustainably while promoting reforestation and preservation in Haiti created by photographer Sidney Etienne. Volunteers are welcomed. ⠀
@kreyolessence is a skin/hair care company created by young Haitian entrepreneur, Yvecar Momperousse. 90% of their staff are women, and they employ Haitian farmers to produce their oils and butters, which encourages reforestation and job opportunities in Haiti. You can also find their products in various WholeFoods all across the country. ⠀

No one can shatter who #Haitians are as people. #Haiti is only a shit hole to those who have shit in their eyes.

(Photos by me. 3/16)

A self-portrait showing a little leg and a whole lot of sass.⠀

Headwrap/Bangles: @FanmDjanm | Earrings: @BaubleBar | Dress: @dvf

A fashion book by Kenyan creatives. ⠀

“Not African Enough is a derogatory term lobbed at artists, creators and thinkers who step outside the narrow confines of what the world — and Africans — are told it means to dress, talk, think, and be like an African. With this book, therefore, we endeavour to unapologetically contextualize and position black African bodies as beautiful renderings of humanity, in resistance to the pervasive tokenism, exotification ans fetishization of blackness in global fashion conversations. This book asserts our right to be more than enough.”⠀

This book starts with a preface by creative director, Sunny Dolat who recollects how he started out by rummaging through second-hand clothing in a market in Nairobi in 2011, and it continues with gorgeous editorials featuring local designers while tackling some social, economical issues in Kenya. ⠀

I haven’t read the book yet. Only leafed through it. I just had it shipped from Kenya, and I was just too excited to share it with you all! • Book available via: @thisisthenest#mycolorfultouch

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