From Theater to TikTok: An Interview with TheQueenFatima

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From Theater to TikTok: An Interview with TheQueenFatima

When I first met Fatima, I was studying abroad in Paris in 2022. Not only was she knowledgeable about the city, she was also welcoming and understanding when it came to things like finding an apartment in Paris, renewing a visa, and searching for a job.

After I moved back to the U.S. and decided to start looking for jobs in Paris, I reached out to Fatima for advice. Similar to me, she moved to Paris shortly after college graduation at 22 years old. Originally from New York, she’s now lived in the city for nearly a decade, studying, working, and inspiring other young people.

Recently, she’s been running her own business and dipping her toes in digital media through content creation about life in Paris. In the summer of 2018, she decided to create Loline Stage & Film, a hybrid film/television production company and theater company aimed at promoting diverse and eclectic narratives. In the past few years, she has produced two new works festivals in Paris under the name The Lemonade Short Play Festival. She also produced and directed a production of the contemporary American play “The Mountaintop” by Katori Hall and the French adaption of the classical play “Antigone” by Jean Anouilh with an all-Black cast, all in France.

Fatima has been one of the most supportive expats I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in France, and I hope her words and work inspire and help you as they’ve inspired and helped me. 

What brought you to Paris initially, and what made you want to stay?

I came to Paris because I wanted to put my French, which I had started learning in middle and high school, to the test. Additionally, I craved experiencing something vastly different from life in New York out of sheer curiosity. While I adore New York for its vibrancy and because it’s home, Paris intrigued me precisely because it was foreign. What began as a planned 7-month stay has stretched into 7 years and counting. I chose to remain because I found comfort and a sense of belonging in Paris.  

How do you make a living as a foreigner in Paris, and what kinds of jobs have you held over the years?  

I have garnered experiences in a diverse array of fields, ranging from teaching theater in English, to working in the corporate sector of the French film & television industry, and serving as a freelance theater director and producer. However, my genuine passion resides in being a multidisciplinary artist, committed to crafting works that advocate for diversity and freedom of expression. In recent years, I have concentrated on writing, directing, and producing with the aim of nurturing inclusivity and creativity. Presently, I am immersed in projects that illuminate and celebrate the vast diversity within Franco-American relations.  

What is your favorite part about living in Paris?

I appreciate the quality of life here, the access to culture in Paris, France, and Europe in general, and living in a walkable city. However, my favorite aspect of living in Paris is the element of the unknown. Despite my curiosity, I constantly find myself learning about new things — whether it’s discovering a cool new bar, park, class, museum exhibition, pastry, dish, or neighborhood. This city never fails to keep me engaged and intrigued.

What made you want to start sharing your journey and advice online?  

I began posting online during the pandemic for fun and out of curiosity. What initially began as humorous videos depicting someone simply living their life in Paris has evolved into content about navigating life in the city. The topics I cover vary depending on my mood and interests at the moment. 

 

What advice would you give to young people looking to move to Paris or France in general?  

It is crucial to understand the motivations behind wanting to relocate anywhere in the world and to assess if it is a realistically achievable objective. Often, people idealize cities like Paris and New York without fully grasping the practicalities involved in moving and residing there permanently. Realistic expectations and thorough research are essential, as not everything matches the glamorous image portrayed.  

While France is undeniably charming, it also has its drawbacks. One must weigh the shortcomings in their home country against those in France to make an informed decision. If France is the chosen destination, I highly recommend dedicating oneself to learning the language to the best of their ability before arrival and continuing with classes upon arrival, never ceasing the effort. While not knowing the language isn’t an insurmountable obstacle, fluency significantly enhances the experience of living in the country.  

To find out more about Fatima, check her out online: 

IG: @TheQueenFatima  

TikTok: @ItsTheQueenFatima  

YouTube: @ItsTheQueenFatima  

Podcast: Emily Is Not In Paris | The Podcastavailable everywhere  

 

Lead photo credit : Photo: The queen fatima/Instagram

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Jill Amari is a writer and environmental activist from Massachusetts, USA, now living in Paris. She has a B.A. in English and is a passionate writer of short stories, poems, songs, blogs and novels. She is currently querying her first YA fantasy/sci-fi novel, and her day jobs include tutoring and freelance writing. After studying in Paris for four months in 2022 and having returned in summer 2023, she has found no end to the inspiring nature of the capital and the charm of French culture. You can follow her journey on Instagram @author.in.the.attic or on her website https://authorintheattic.wordpress.com/.