Manon Lecor is a 29-year-old French author, photographer, and fashion blogger living in Saint-Malo. She just recently published her first novel, Quand s’en ira la peur – or, When Will the Fear Go, which centers around an uninspired young woman seeking to radically change her life. In her self-titled blog and Instagram account, Manon speaks about minimalism, ethical fashion, and living a zero waste lifestyle. Her aim is to refocus the conversation about consumption, specifically about mindfulness when it comes to purchasing. After all, things aren’t the enemy, but rather the compulsive behaviors that can arise from our attachment to them.
A firm believer in owning things that you truly love, Manon documents her journey of living with less with stunning photography and refreshing insight (in both French and English). She shares with us all about how she started on this path, her thoughts about staying real on social media, and her plans for what’s next.
You’ve just debuted your first novel! Congratulations. Can you tell us what it’s about, and why it’s a story that you felt compelled to write?
My book deals with professional burnout and changing your life. It’s about a 25-ish girl who forgot to put happiness in the center of her life, and she wants to change that. I wrote this book because I always wanted to become an author. Writing has been my passion for so many years. This story came from my own experience, and from people I met, my friends, my family… I wanted to talk about life and happiness and self care! Because there is more to life than work and duties.
What was it like to experience your first book signing?
It was a little bit crazy because, for the first time, people came to see me and to talk to me about my book, and about their life. I wrote that book alone in my flat, and so to talk about it with other people was so unreal! Of course, meeting people is a great experience and I’d love to talk with each of my readers. I feel so grateful for that kind of experience.
You’ve mentioned before that you used to live like you were “the only human on earth” before starting off on your path to live more mindfully and produce less waste. I think many of us can relate to that mindset. What made you decide to change your lifestyle?
I started to think about the way I was living when I read Bea Johnson’s book, Zero Waste Home. I bought it by accident, and after a few pages I realized how much I didn’t care at all about my environmental impact. Before that, I never thought about my waste, or who made my clothes, or how much money I spent on bad food or bad products. So, I started to read blogs, articles, books. The documentary of The Minimalists helped me a lot, too. I started decluttering and reducing everything in my life: waste, clothes, people, money. Everything! I quit my job, and started a new life. Today, I’m happy with the little I have, because it’s enough.
“Today, I’m happy with the little I have, because it’s enough.”
What is the most challenging thing about a living zero waste lifestyle? What is the most rewarding?
The hardest thing is living in a society and around people who aren’t in the mood to deal with it. Nothing is made for a zero waste lifestyle: the grocery store, social outings, work. It depends on where you live, but you have to go against societal norms. And of course people, friends and family. They don’t understand why you use a cloth bag instead of a paper bag. They find the zero waste lifestyle hard to do and pointless. Having this lifestyle also shows people that maybe they consume the wrong way, and nobody likes to feel guilty.
The best thing about it is the well-being and the great open-mindedness it gives you. Living with less and producing less waste really helps to focus on what is important in life. Before that, I was like, “I feel bad, so I want to buy something to feel better, and spend my money, so I need to earn more money, so I have to work more, and then feel worse, and buy more things to feel better, etc.” Now, it’s more, “I might feel bad today, but tomorrow will be better.”
What made you decide to start a lifestyle blog, and how has the content that you’ve created evolved over time?
I started blogging in 2011. At the beginning I was sharing drawings I made, and then it became a fashion blog – like a real fashion blog with a lot of fast fashion inside, and make up tutorials, and so on – and then I lost my blog. Someone hacked my site, and I lost everything. In 2015, I started a new one, the one I have today, and I didn’t want to do the same thing. I wanted something more authentic. Not the girl who tell what you should buy, but more the girl who will tell you how real life is. And I started my zero waste lifestyle journey, so I talked about it, then fair fashion, etc. I think I have changed a lot and my blog helps me to progress, and encourages others to progress with me.
Being an advocate for fair fashion and a simple, intentional wardrobe, do you have any advice to those who are looking to become more mindful about their clothing?
The only advice I can give is: wear the clothes you love and already have. We all have a favorite sweater, a favorite pair of jeans, and favorite shoes. But, and I don’t know why, we keep things we don’t like that much. Maybe because it was a gift or it was expensive. But we owe nothing to our clothes. Starting by wearing only clothes we love is the beginning of an ethical wardrobe. And another piece of advice: don’t buy the same clothes you saw on Gigi Hadid or other bloggers, because you might not have the same body… When you bought something because you saw it on an “it-girl”, generally it’s a bad choice and you will regret it.
You’re very good at staying real on social media, and I love that you place a strong emphasis on being an “imperfect” eco blogger. Why do you think it’s so important to show this side to readers and followers?
Thank you! It’s a part of my personality. While some people love to tell others how strong they are, I’m the one who says, “Look! See how weak I am!” So it’s the same on social media. I know I’m not perfect, I know I’m not going to save the world, but I don’t want to lose myself by pretending to be another person. I am like everybody else: we all share the same fears, the same doubts, and if everybody would show their weaknesses I’m sure we’d all feel better!
I know I’m not perfect, I know I’m not going to save the world, but I don’t want to lose myself by pretending to be another person. I am like everybody else: we all share the same fears, the same doubts.
In a world of advertisements and algorithms, it can be easy to become disenchanted with social media. Do you ever get frustrated with using the platform? Or does the good outweigh the bad?
Social media can be the worst thing on Earth! This might be as a result of the society we live in. Rich people become richer every day, big influencers get more followers every day. And then there is us. Typically, I get 100 followers and lose 150! I receive weird messages everyday – thank you, Insta stories – And people don’t really care about you. I never make friends on social media, for example. BUT I love taking pictures, I love writing and there are some good people, too. Last night, I talked with a girl through DM because she had questions about menstrual cup, so I took some time to answer her and be honest with her (yes, you have to put your fingers in your pussy to get the cup out). And at the end of the conversation, she wanted to buy a menstrual cup. That’s why I keep going. If one person can change one habit to reduce waste, then the bad messages and algorithms don’t matter.
How do you slow down and take a step back when you are overwhelmed?
I clean my apartment! It’s the best thing when I feel overwhelmed. It usually works and I feel better. Sometimes not. Sometimes I just feel bad and like my life sucks and I think I’m the worth person on Earth, etc. But that will go away.
What does your creative writing process look like?
I try to write every day (except weekends) 1,000 words. No matter what, I have to write 1,000 words. Even if I think it’s bad, or good, or even if I don’t feel inspired: 1,000 words. I mostly write in the morning on my computer, and I listen to music like Chill Beats playlist on Spotify, and my fingers go on my keyboard. It’s really peaceful to write because during those one or two hours, all is totally quiet within your own life. When I’m writing I become my characters, I feel their pains, their joys, tastes… It’s really weird, but really good!
What is next for you in terms of writing or creative projects?
I started writing my fourth novel a few months ago. I’m waiting on a yes (or a no) from editors for the second one. I will start a blog about photography in September 2018 (www.argentiquegal.com).
Can you tell us the story behind your tattoos?
I have a cormoran on my left arm. It’s my first one. I wanted to get tattooed for so many years and I was scared … of my Mum’s reaction! So this one means “I do what I want”. The second one is a pen on my right wrist. It’s the pen my boyfriend gave me almost 10 years ago, and that I still use every day. I got the tattoo for the release of my first novel.
The five essentials you would bring on a long trip:
Some handkerchiefs, a camera, my phone, a book and my Jeu Illimité backpack.
What is your dream job?
Favorite country to visit?
Maybe The Strokes
Simone de Beauvoir’s autobiography
I just discovered a new podcast called Girl Cult Podcast and it’s some interviews of cool girls. The first episode was with Jessie Andrews. I’m a huge fan!
To check out Manon’s novel (in French) here, or read her blog (in French, so just click “translate” on your browser) go to https://www.manonlecor.com. You can find her on Instagram at @manonlecor, and follow her photography adventures at @argentiquegal.
All photos provided by Manon Lecor.