Becoming Parisian with Sarah Moroz

***Rachel Khoo would like to thank all the inspiring people who helped make the Khoollect studio a hive of creativity. Although the Khoollect studio’s doors have now closed, you can keep up with Rachel’s newest adventures on and on Rachel’s Instagram and Facebook pages – and, continue to enjoy the Khoollect website’s stories and recipes, which will remain available.***

New Yorker Sarah Moroz has spent a number of years immersing herself in the Parisian way of life. This journalist, translator and copy writer has a love of culture (and pop culture), the primary influences for her work, and has contributed some exciting freelance features for a range of big-name publications – Vogue, The Guardian, and The Cut, to name a few. She talks to Khoollect about what she’s up to, and her pastime as a curious Parisian:

A day in the life

Tell us a bit about what you’re up to at the moment …

I always have a few things on at once. I’m polishing up several art exhibition reviews, pitching new spring ideas, and researching an upcoming trip to Italy.

Drawing by Jean Cocteau at Musée Picasso. #cocteau #jeancocteau #illustration #drawing #Paris

A photo posted by Sarah Moroz (@sarahmsnapshot) on

What’s your favourite topic or genre to write about?

I’d characterise myself as a generalist, although I’ve always focused on topics relating to culture and pop culture. My favourite subjects are photography, art, and fashion, but I also write about travel, food, design and literature.

What have been your most memorable journalistic experiences?

On the fun end of the spectrum? Just recently, interviewing interior designer Vincent Darré. We ran around the hotel he designed in Saint Germain, ducking into various rooms – accidentally one or two that were occupied – and we ran out giggling! We talked about illustration and surrealism and oddly-shaped furniture.

On the other end of the spectrum, I’ve interviewed some photojournalists whose tales really shook me, not only because their work is incredible, but because of how they function under devastating circumstances and witness difficult realities.

We’re big fans of Iris Apfel here at Khoollect. Tell us a bit about your interview with her…

She’s a brassy broad. She was exactly like she is in the Albert Maysles documentary film that features her: same nasal voice, same absolutely-nothing-to-hide attitude. She had only just touched down in Paris when we met up, and must have been tired — I mean, she’s 95! It was a Tuesday afternoon, and she was just sitting in the hotel lobby wearing her enormous glasses, zebra-print pants and a Mongolian wool crossbody bag. I love her not just for her style, but precisely because she is such an authentic, unapologetic person.

Your favourite piece of writing or feature that you’ve produced?

One of the proudest moments I had as a journalist was a piece I did for The Guardian, in which I called out a Parisian gallery for the hypocrisies of one of their exhibitions. This exhibition was alleging to “celebrate” women — but it included several questionable artists, and included more male artists than female artists, which makes zero sense.

What are the best parts of your job?

The best part is definitely getting to exchange with so many interesting people: artists, chefs, designers, photographers, curators, gallerists, writers, photojournalists. I love feeling interested in someone’s work — and then having special access to go deeper into their creative choices and career paths. In addition, I must admit I love avoiding the routine of an office.

Anselm Kiefer, L'Alchimie du Livre @ the BnF. #Paris

A photo posted by Sarah Moroz (@sarahmsnapshot) on

And the worst parts…

The worst part is how fickle freelancing can be — editors don’t get back to you, or they drop your pieces, and you have no recourse as a publication outsider. It can be harder to get access to a subject without a publication automatically behind you. Also, you never know your schedule very far in advance, which can be tricky.

Best Kept Secrets

I khoollect a few…

Oh boy, I’m a total hoarder, I have a zillion collections. I collect vintage postcards and pretty stationery and stickers — I love writing (and receiving) snail mail. I collect silk scarves, which is something that reminds me of my mom, who does the same. I collect vintage French schoolbooks on all topics, and little vintage French pharmaceutical tins — they have the best typography and the funniest catchphrases.

Who’s your #khoollectcrush?

Women who make their own films (Deniz Gamze Ergüven, Céline Sciamma, and Miranda July). Women who draw (Phoebe Gloeckner and Joana Avillez). Women who make me laugh like a lunatic (Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Amy Schumer, Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, and Cheri Oteri). Quotidian writers who are surprising and funny, (Mallory Ortberg, Molly Young, Hadley Freeman). Visionary female artists (Taryn Simon and Helena Almeida). Female singers (Solange, Janelle Monae, Caroline Polachek).

Urban Favourites

Where do you call home?

Near the Parc des Buttes Chaumont. But also New York City, where I grew up, and where my family still lives.

What do you love most about living in Paris?

My proximity to greenery, but also being juxtaposed against the gritty vibe of nearby Belleville, while still having easy access to the trendier Canal Saint-Martin.

Best spot for breakfast?

Picking up a pastry at Du Pain et Des Idées is, sans question, the best breakfast in town.

Your favourite Parisian publications?

I read A Nous Paris, a free weekly publication available in the metro, to get some ideas about what’s on over the coming days. Kiblind is from Lyon I believe, but I love their layout and their celebration of illustrators. M le magazine Du Monde is always very polished, and the illustrations by Satoshi Hashimoto are just so charming.

Double hoodie. #Berlin #graffiti

A photo posted by Sarah Moroz (@sarahmsnapshot) on

If you could live anywhere else, where would it be?

I was in Berlin recently, and feel like that would be such an interesting place to live for a time. The sense of urban space, and the looming presence of history, is so singular; plus the creative population there seems experimental and international and laid-back. Otherwise, London really appeals. It’s diverse, and casually cool, and friendly in a way Paris is, malheureusement (unfortunately), just not.

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