Ubikwist, Editor in Chief & Creative Director
– as told to The Silver Women
Women who inspired you as a young girl?
My Grandmother, Maya Angelou, Betty Davis, Nina Simone, Leonor Fini, Eartha Kitt, Madame Cliquot, Maryse Conde and The Bionic Woman ♥
All because of their talent, integrity, generosity, activism, fearlessness and free spirit.
Women who inspire you now?
My Mother, Zora Neale Hurston, Zadie Smith, Irene Silvagni, Vivienne Westwood, Sylvia Rhone, Yungchen Lhamo, Molly Crabapple, Lisa Lovatt-Smith, Shirley Chisolm, Ntozake Shange, Carolina de Jesus, Cate Blanchett, Michaela Coel, Yaa Gyasi, Freddie Washington, Venus & Serena Williams and all the same women from my younger days.
Again for all the same reasons.
Most valuable lesson taught by your Mother?
Don’t rely on anyone and get an education.
Do you think older women are valued or celebrated enough?
I feel it depends on the country and culture.
Through the decades!
20’s: I was studying to be an accountant in Paris. It was by accident that I started working in fashion. My friend Fifi introduced me to a woman called Marielle Robaut who was the fashion editor for Vogue Sport. She told me how she was traveling to amazing locations like the Maldives and Seychelles. I thought that was super cool. About a year or so after she became the fashion director for the French publication ‘Femme.’ I knew by this time that I did not want to be an accountant. I gave her a call, and she took me under her wing. Marielle gave me my first job in fashion. I was in charge of receiving and returning the clothes being photographed for the magazine. It wasn’t the most glamorous job, but it taught me to be very organized. My 20’s were epic and crazy. It was an incredible time. I partied like a rockstar!
30’s: I had been assisting other stylists. I discovered myself through working hard and traveling around the world. I relocated to London where my career as a fashion stylist started to take off.
40’s: This decade was the beginning of my interest in activism and freeing myself of my insecurities. Enjoying life! My new career and adventure started to take shape. I wanted to celebrate diversity in fashion, art, culture and beauty.
I launched Ubikwist magazine two years ago.
” I thought there was a gap in the market for a multicultural publication that embraces the world that we live in.”
“I am now in my 5th decade; I want to continue learning new things every day. To keep exploring.”
What have been your greatest challenges?
The loss of family and good friends.
What are you most grateful for? The opportunities that came along even in times of despair. Also, I am very grateful to have a tight circle of friends that I have known for many moons.
Thoughts on AGING,
The downside…Memory loss
The upside… The accumulation of experience that brings knowledge and wisdom.
Your advice to young women of today? Get an education, Be Independent, Adventurous, Fearless, Funny, Witty, Focused, Believe and Empower yourself!
–Giannie Couji xoxo
Images courtesy of Giannie Couji unless credited otherwise.
FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS
Book/Novel: I have quite a few. Let’s say many favorites.
Dust tracks on a road by Zora Neale Hurston
Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Cesaire,
A Dry White Season by Andre Brink
My Traitor’s Heart by Rian Malan
La Rue Case-Negres by Joseph Zobel
The Sellout by Paul Beatty
Pieces of a Man by Gil Scott-Heron
I Know Why the Cage Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
Song: Again more than a few.
They Say I’m Different (Betty Davis) Take Me Just As I Am ( Lyn Collins)
Inside my Love (Minnie Ripperton) Bridge over Trouble Water ( Simon & Garfunkel) At last ( Etta James)
Payback (James Brown) Magic Smile ( Rosie Vela) Still Not Dead (Willie Nelson)
Winter in America (Gil Scott-Heron)
City/place in the world: Martinique, St Lucia, Haiti, Tokyo, Malta, Ischia, Sardinia
Film: The Red Shoes, Orfeo Negro, Sugar Cane Alley
Scent/Perfume:Eau d’Adrien by Annick Goutal
Flower: Anthurium grape purple tropical flower
Food or Cuisine: Caribbean, African, Asian, Mediterranean
Style Icon: Leonor Fini, Vonetta McGee, Ana Karina, Monica Vitti, Joyce Bryant, Dorothy Dandridge
Skincare product you cant live without: Odièle: Rose serum, Oliology: Vitamine E oil, Rosehip Plus: Pure & Natural Rosehip oil, Zatik: Rosehip & Black Seed face & Eye Serum, Avalon organics Enzyme Scrubs, Laino:Witch Hazel Water, Liz Earle: Instant Boost Tonic, La Roche-Posay: Hydraphase Intense Yeux Soap & Water Body Butter, Nuxe: Rêve de Miel Face cream, By Nature: Papaya & Manuka Honey Body Butter, By Nature: Soothing Peppermint & Aloe Vera Foot Balm
Makeup product you cant live without: M.A.C Lipglass and Retro Matte Lipstick
& GivenchyBlack Taffeta Mascara