On this first article putting inspiring women in light, Marie Drago, founder of Gallinée, had the pleasure to meet Sonia Selaire. In this interview, we discuss all things beauty, age, science and of course, being a woman. Sonia is a real inspiration for Gallinée, and you will now understand why.
Marie: Hello Sonia, can you introduce yourself in a few words and tell us about your career?
Sonia: “My name is Sonia Sélaire, I am 44 years old, married and the mother of two teenagers aged 14 and 16. Although I am German-Creole (father from Bavaria and mother from Reunion), I have lived in Bordeaux since I was 18.
I think my background is rather atypical. I’ve been looking for myself for a long time and I’m probably still looking. I have a master’s degree in Germanic and Scandinavian languages but my professional life has been eclectic to say the least: librarian, French teacher, nursery assistant, president of an association, make-up artist, comedian and now a Youtuber.”
Marie: I love your very relaxed view of beauty, in an industry that pushes the anxiety side a bit, you focus a lot on fun and enjoyment. What subject would you like us to relax on ?
Sonia: “I would like us to relax on ALL subjects! I find it curious that some people focus on insignificant things but remain light on real issues like sun protection (to name but one).
The loss of consumer confidence is certainly the major problem. I accept that I don’t know everything and I rely on the expertise of chemists, toxicologists and scientists, each specialised in their own field, to provide me with a safe and effective product. I trust them. My subject is the feminine, femininity, women, pleasure, self-care… I refuse to let my self-care routines be a source of anxiety.
During my studies, I did a lot of history and I can’t help but prefer our much-discussed parabens to Catherine de Medici’s blanc de ceruse, or the lead-laden kohl of ancient Egypt.
I am extremely light and relaxed about cosmetics simply because I know that the men and women who work behind them are professionals, serious and passionate. I am lucky enough to meet many of them through my job as a content creator on the internet, starting with you dear Marie.
I have to say that my sensitive skin has always prevented me from falling into the dogma of all-natural products. I listen to my skin, it gives it back to me and when everyone was decrying silicones, my skin was screaming at me: “Nooooo ( my skin screams in English) “Stop with vegetable oils and essential oils, give me silicones and mineral oils.”
Marie: I am fascinated by your view of age. As women, we are always told to stay as young as possible, and you talk about your age openly, as well as the joy of growing old. Have you always been like this or did it come to you… with age?
Sonia: “When I was 15 I was already preparing to enter my third age. And when I turned 40, I was far from feeling old and out of shape. So I started to deconstruct all the clichés that surround the ageing woman like so many sharks around a wounded sea lion. I decided that no one would order me to disappear from the social field, just as no one has ever succeeded in making me wear less make-up, or speak less quickly and less loudly.
40 is the new 20 as the English say. It’s having all the advantages of old age without any of the disadvantages. Cosmetics and medicine help us to keep our appearance and the passing years give us experience, wisdom and distance from the judgment of others. It’s all good, as the young people say.
Marie: We can feel a strong attraction for science in your videos, you have been interviewing doctors, you are doing some pretty advanced stuff… Would you have liked to be a scientist? Which science attracts you the most and why?
Sonia: “The regret of my life is not to have become a chemist! I would have loved to make my own cosmetics.
That said, I would have loved to be a dermatologist too… The skin is the organ of the human body that fascinates me the most. This skin that we inhabit and which is both a barrier and a connection, a porous and protective border. It is also the first thing we offer to the gaze of others.
I sometimes have the impression that mine knows before I do what is going on inside me (stress, sadness…). It is directly connected to my unconscious and I am very interested in this discipline, which is quite recent, that is psycho-dermatology. These next few years will be very interesting in the management of chronic skin diseases (psoriasis, eczema and others).
Unfortunately, I am a pure literary person, which frustrates me a lot, but I remain fascinated by scientists. In fact, I married one and he helps me sort the wheat from the chaff.”
Marie: You are one of the first French influencers to be interested in the Microbiome. How did you discover it and why are you so interested in it?
Sonia: “Simply because I had skin and scalp problems! My credo is: “There are no problems, there are only solutions and if there are no solutions, then there were no problems”.
As long as I haven’t found it, I look for it and that’s how I came across the first articles about the microbiome and “biome friendly” cosmetic manufacturers. Once again it was my skin that drove my research and my reading.”
Marie: And a little question to finish, can you give us your recipe for Auntie Soso’s fibre cake?
Sonia: “Hahaha it’s always on the fly but we’ll say it’s the healthy bowel patty: buckwheat flour, oat bran, yeast, turmeric, chia seeds, squash, flax, one egg, salt, pepper, untie with a little oat milk and onwards to the brick on the stomach.”
Thank you Sonia for sharing your little secrets with us! We invite you to watch Sonia’s YouTube channel.
And you can discover her favourite Gallinée product, the Soothing Cleansing Cream, in the video below “10 products that changed my life” in which she explains the revolutionary change on her scalp.
Marie Drago, founder of Gallinée