The Female Empowerment Series: Annabelle Kajbaf

As Women's History month unfolds, we sit down with Annabelle Kajbaf, French journalist and West Coast correspondent for Bayard Presse to discuss the progress women worldwide have made in media today. 

What does female empowerment mean to you?

"Women have a long track history of waiting for validation, whether for social status, career and community identity. I belong to the millennial generation and I feel like for the first time, we can do and be whoever we want to be without waiting further ado. This means, juggling career and personal life, traveling solo or with girlfriends, discovering and exploring who we are while finding our true selves. That, to me, is empowerment. Being free or shaping our identity and
existence through the prism of freedom."

You moved to the USA from France to pursue your dreams. What motivated you? 

"I was given the opportunity to report on stories in the United States after being a journalist in London at the Associated Press, a TV presenter in Israel at I24News and a fashion correspondent in Bangkok. I am truly grateful to be the West Coast Correspondent of Bayard Presse, which allows me to discover more about America everyday. Discovering more about the local culture and getting to know the commonalities of France and the United States has been one of the best experiences of my life."

Which women are you inspired by? Who are your role models?

"Beyond my family role models, famous women who have been inspiring me are Brigitte Bardot, for her everlasting glamor and wit, Josephine Baker, an American Artist in Paris who knew how to lead an independent life and make America shine in France while raising half a dozen children on her own and Delphine Horweiler, the first female rabbi in Paris who has been writing a lot
about life, love and how to be accepted and make her voice heard while navigating in a conservative community. She is a true inspiration!"

What advice would you give other women who want to move to a new country?

"If you want to move to a new country, you have to be happy on your own. You have to have at least traveled to the country and not “fantasize” about the reality of living there. A lot of people I have met in Israel, Thailand, the United Kingdom and here in the U.S had biased views on what the country was based on watching movies or reading books. They are moving somewhere without
knowing a single thing about basic cultural and societal rules and that can lead to going back home very fast, because you will not be able to fit in. Settling somewhere takes a lot of self-confidence and lots of energy. You need to be very honest with yourself if you are okay living far from home and creating a network, friends and be open minded enough to know a new culture, new social codes and being able to be financially independent. You have to know how to make friends, have a good instinct and remain open minded to connect with people."

          We will send The Million Roses to a woman of your choice. Who would it be and why?

I would like you to send The Million Roses to Andrea, my dog’s sitter. She has been an angel to my little Bisou and she deserves your beautiful flowers :)

Which rose box would you choose for them? Which colors and style represent her?

I would love for you to send the Black Heart Box because she is a very selfless and thoughtful. 

The Million Roses are the sustainable choice compared to regular flowers. We know you work a lot in the field of sustainability. Why is it important to you? Do you think that people will be more conscious in the future?

"I am lucky enough to interview a lot of women involved with sustainable fashion and are involved in making an impact in fashion. Sustainability is key to me because it means you respect your environment, not only the people you are trying to reach, but your legacy in general. This is why I am happy to give this interview for the Million Roses. I feel like the company is very dedicated
to this type of message."

How do you support the women in your life?

"Always listen and support. Women have a tendency to have the “imposter syndrome” and feel like they never do enough most of the time, while they are too worried about other people’s judgment. I feel honored to be included in so many women’s lives and try to be the best friend you could ever have because that is what any woman deserves."

What do you think needs to change for women in the future?

"I think the most important thing for women of our generation is to feel secure with who they are. I believe helping women and being involved with charities who allow women to be financially independent is key. The most important thing for change is education and I believe the most important thing is to help women from all social classes to be able to have a job and sustain themselves in order to give them a stronger voice in society, so they can be free of making their
own choice."

           Do you have a life philosophy?

"Work hard and be humble. Accept the love people are giving you, whether it’s emotional support or friendship. Always be happy to help and support, cause the biggest gift is not to receive, but to give. That is your true legacy."

How important is it for you to be independent?

"I don’t think you can be fully independent, in the sense that you will always have a boss, an editor-in-chief (in my case), your family, your friends. I would say it is important to be independent in a healthy way, such as being financially independent. But at the end of the day, you have to allow yourself to rely on people who love and believe in you… And that’s the most beautiful thing in
life. We are all here for a reason and to support each other!"

You can read more about Annabelle Kajbaf here and follow her on her social media here. 

Stay tuned for more interviews with inspirational women all throughout the whole month of March, right here with The Million Roses. 

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