Rhianna Jones Chats Parisienne French!
Rhianna Jones is the author of Parisienne French: Chic Phrases, Slang and Style, a super handy French guide that will help any girl fit in perfectly in Paris!
The book includes the most relevant fashion vocabulary, hippest slang and phrases that will help you navigate the most sophisticated situations!
We recently spoke with Jones about her experiences with the language and the country, her love for fashion and more!
Rhianna Jones started studying the French language when she was 16 years old. It was a perfect fit.
"I studied Latin forever starting in kindergarten and Spanish when I started high school," she said. "I had a knack for languages so I picked up French simultaneously. I was always allured to the language, style, cuisine etc., so adding the verbal aspect really deepened my love for the culture."
Jones feels that the French language and the world of fashion intrinsically linked. As she points out in the book Parisienne French, a great number of French fashion terms have made their way into English dictionaries.
"Chic, style, mode, couture all originate from French, and the basis of fashion week "ready to wear" comes from pret-a-porter," she explained. "Likewise the élégance of the French language and the manner in which we swoon the second we hear it is the same way in which people tend to view French fashion."
As an extension of that, many see French fashion as the definition of classic style and beauty.
She said she was lucky to be offered a unique opportunity from Ulysses Press, who were looking for someone exactly like Jones to write such a book.
"They needed a fashion-forward, French fluent author to write a book," she said. "I had never written a book before, but fashion and French are my two biggest passions so I took a chance and drew up a sample; the editors loved it and so started the process."
Working with an independent publisher gave Jones a great deal of creative freedom. After a long year of work, the book was ready.
"I'll never forget the moment I held the first published copy in my hand," Jones said. "There's no better feeling than accomplishing something you've worked towards your whole life."
Her inspiration for the French style phrasebook came from her own personal experiences in the French capital.
"I've always found that my travel experiences are worlds richer when I speak the native tongue and have a genuine grasp of the culture," she said. "I was really fortunate that I was fluent and blended seamlessly into the culture when I lived in Paris."
But not all visitors to France are so lucky.
"Often their experience is tainted from their inability to 'fit in' with the French," she said. "So many women romanticize their trips to Paris that I wanted to give them all the tools necessary to embody that Parisian je ne sais quoi, and be able to navigate the city and its culture in a friendly and fun manner."
With her book, Jones hoped to help other young women blend in as successfully as she did. She also was very particular about the book's pocket size.
"The fact that it fits perfectly in a purse, and can thus frolic with you all over the city makes it a literary bestie of sorts," she said.
When she lived in France herself, Jones did what she could to live an authentic French lifestyle. She lived with a host family and attended La Sorbonne, or The University Of Paris.
"I interned at the Paris office of Women's Wear Daily, which was killer, and tried to soak up every opportunity that came my way," she said. "The biggest difficulty in living abroad is stepping outside of your comfort zone, and acknowledging the fact that life's going to be different in every aspect."
She said that many Americans tend not to realize that foreign countries have their own ideologies and mannerisms different from what we may be used to.
"In France especially, they are much less bold and open than us. Essentially a bit more conservative," she said. "Rather than the age ole 'the French are so rude' mentality, you have to see everything as a potential cultural nuance."
Because of these cultural differences, Jones said that it can be difficult to meet new people and make quick friends.
"But its all part of the challenge," she said. "The most rewarding parts are when you can embrace all those differences and adopt them into your personal perspective on the way the world works. That's what makes you a cultured cosmopolite."
She said that coming back to the U.S. and being able to bring her love and experience for France together to share her expertise with Parisienne French was another huge reward.
For girls who are planning to visit an exotic new location for the first time, Jones has a few points of advice.
"Most important thing is to be really excited," she said. "Naturally it can be a little stressing to go somewhere new where you may not speak the language, but confidence and charm are translatable worldwide."
She also urged travelers not to fear their new environment.
"Go with the flow and challenge yourself to take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way," she said. "Never stop exploring and don't be afraid to get lost. All the unexpected surprises you'll encounter are the beauty of a foreign escapade."
Lastly, she stressed the importance of really soaking in the experience, and putting your phone away!
"Take everything in with all your senses!" she said. "Don't just Instagram the whole thing. Observe the culture around you and try to absorb a little bit of it for yourself too!"
And whether we're out to travel the world or not, we should always aspire to big things.
"Follow your dreams and be your own muse. Exude fabulosity all the while and channel your inner Parisienne!" she said.
For a chance to win your own copy of Parisienne French and more click here to enter our Sweety Travels contest! You can only win at Sweetyhigh.com!