Creative agent and stylist Julie Rouby lives among natural light and the sound of the soft purring of her cat Raoul in Paris’ le Marais district. Originally from the South of France, she evokes a sunny energy and, as she told us over an afternoon together, continues to put rosemary on everything she cooks.
Once inspired to work in advertising, Julie quickly realized her goal only to turn towards the role of an agent, through which she more immediately builds on skills of communication and creativity.
What hasn’t changed, however, is her love for her neighborhood, a place that both she and her young daughter cherish for its beauty and bohemian vibe. Smiling from behind the wheel of her convertible, Julie also shares her love of driving while embodiing a true Cote d’Azur lifestyle.
This portrait has been produced in partnership with mb! magazine by Mercedes-Benz. FvF presents a personal portrait of Julie Rouby while mb! magazine takes us on a tour to Julie’s favorite spots around Le Marais which you can enjoy here.
You are originally from Cannes, how did you decide to move to Paris?
I studied at a business school on the Cote d’Azur. I loved my life in Cannes but I knew there was so much to discover elsewhere. Alongside my studies, I worked in a nightclub. I could benefit from evenings during the advertising festival in Cannes, collecting some contacts and business cards. One evening I met the JWT team, an advertising agency, and it was there that I began my internship at the end of my studies a few months later. After the internship, one of the clients of the agency hired me to manage the organization of an event in Cannes in a large pop-up club. I found my universe by playing another role, but I knew that my life was going to be in Paris.
Do you feel close to your region and its traditions?
Yes, I really am southern in my way of being. Friendship and my relationship with my daughter are of great importance to me. I love cooking, I add olive oil and rosemary to every dish! My specialty is pissaladière, an onion tart, which my friends are crazy about. As a reminder of the South, I maintain its scents and sunny energy. There is also my white Mercedes-Benz convertible that I brought from Cannes! I always was the Cannes Girl in my Paris circle of friends and I still enjoy the cliches.
You wanted to go into advertising after your studies. Your career has since evolved into the production and purchase of art.
In my environment, it was rather rare to hear the words ‘creative director‘, ‘TV producer‘, or ‘collector‘. My friends were moving towards careers in real estate or tourism, which are the major activities in the South. For my part, I followed the ranking of the Lions advertising prizes. I watched the shows dedicated to news and media brands. At the end of my studies I wanted to join an advertising agency and so I found an internship for a commercial advertising director.
Did you follow this road?
Ahhh no! Someone had said a few years ago, during a job interview, “You are made for product development“. One day I had the opportunity to join the group Première Heure and this prediction came true. During the following years I worked as event manager at les Résidents, an enterprise which I admired and where I learned my job. Create, design and bring out the best in content, this was no longer advertisement in the classical sense of the term.
What happened then?
One of the producers I worked with started his own business l’Ecurie in partnership with Intersection magazine, and I joined him. We started out in a garage with a small team. Today l’Ecurie is a beautiful agency. I was deeply involved in the business, almost as if it was my own agency. But, little by little, with the development of the business structure, I wanted to try something else.
Did you have a clear idea of what you wanted to do?
Not exactly. My network offered me many opportunities and they encouraged me to become a freelancer. It was not an easy decision, as I always had a job and expected to continue in that direction. I made it as a freelancer and I think today that it is thanks to the flexibility of this status that I never had any time without projects.
What do you really enjoy doing?
I like to invent and develop projects, make connections, build a team. Today, as an agent, the artistic dimension of the projects that I work on is something I really value.
What exactly is your role as an agent?
I represent different kind of artists for the agency Mr. l’agent. I imagine how to connect our artists to different brands. In everything I do, I try to create connections inspired by what surrounds me, such as magazines, advertising and films. I keep myself up to date on competitions and project offers, with an eye toward project opportunities for our artists. Being exposed to creation on a daily basis nourishes me and makes me really happy.
You have always been linked with creative people in your experiences.
That’s right. The big difference today is that I am fortunate to be on the side of artists, to be surrounded by artists. I love it. After years in the production and purchase of art, I went to the other side of this industry.
Your job is also to be aware of trends. What is your relationship with fashion and trends?
By virtue of living in Paris, having your network, your job, your friends, seeing people on the street, you are bathing in a constant flow of information and inspiration. I can swing by a variety of shops, some with affordable prices, others more expensive and be inspired or simply inhale the look of the day. From this I create my outfits by mixing pieces from thrift shops, major retailers, and, from time to time, I buy myself a beautiful piece, often from Acne. I do not like clothes that can be directly associated with a brand or pieces that only last one season. I recently put a stop to the shopping frenzy because, in the end, I know what I like and will often wear the same type of clothing.
Speaking of which, how would you describe your style?
I feel a little masculine-feminine. Since coming to Paris, I have simplified my look. I was always interested in trends and I think I have integrated into my look what I observe in my everyday life. My style has really changed. When I return to the South, there sometimes is a gap between some trends I adopt and current trends in Cannes, up to the point of being asked by my friends, “Julie, are you sure about the socks with your pair of heels?”
It is true that the city has an influence on us, whether we notice or not. What do you love about Paris?
I love to cycle aimlessly through Paris. I feel like an eternal spectator. I admire the beauty of the city. I often go to the docks and l’Ile Saint-Louis, where I can sit on a bench and read. When I arrived in Paris, I worked at Saint-Cloud and the subway ride was the only time I could dedicate to reading. I like to meet my friends in the evening for a drink as often as possible. I am an early riser, even on the weekends. I like to have a coffee at the market des enfants rouges while my daughter sips a fruit juice. Afterwards we go to the bookstore right next door to choose a book. Then we go and cook together and finish the afternoon with a bike ride and scooters. Saturday night I usually prepare a dinner because I often invite my friends to my home.
You have lived in the district le Marais for several years, how would you describe it? What do you particularly like?
There are certain fantasies associated with this district. I am not sure there are many native born Parisians living here. Le Marais is a compressed image and representation of what foreigners imagine Paris to be like. I like the small streets, the particular hotels, the traditional shops, and the aspect of good food, bobo chic and the parks. It is a small area with a peaceful atmosphere. Before having my daughter, I went by the neighborhood schools and thought, “I want my daughter to go to this school.” This is my favorite area.
How did you find your apartment?
I often passed by this street corner, observing the neighbor’s terrace – which at the time was blooming – thinking to myself what a nice address. When I saw the ad in the real estate listing, I immediately wanted to visit. It was in a terrible state, the wooden floors were rotten, the walls were fissured and the paint had cracks everywhere. I saw the potential of the place and the exposure to the southeast! The living room is flooded with light during the day. Immeditaly, I envisioned myself eating breakfast in the sun! It was going to be renovated, so I seized the opportunity.
Thank you Julie for the great conversation and tour along the small streets of Paris in your SL convertible. To find out more about Julie’s work visit the Mr L’Agent website here. To see more of her favorite spots in Paris click here.
Photography: Fred Lahache
Interview & Text: Léa Munsch
Translation: Hannah Hallermann