Monday, January 13, 2020

Story Time : My worst experience as black content creator in Quebec



This article is based on one of my own personal experience and my perception of this said experience. Let me tell you about the worst experience that I had as a black content creator/ influencer in Quebec.  

A random Saturday in October 2018, I was minding my business drinking my Tropicana orange juice (I'm guessing because that's all I drink). I received an email from the PR agency ABCD to be apart of an unpaid photoshoot for the brand XYZ the following Monday. Honestly, I was over the moon! Little old me? Really?! Obviously, I accepted without hesitation, cancelled my plans for that day, meaning calling in sick from work and got ready for my first ever professional photoshoot. I must say though, I did think it was kind of strange that it was so last minute, but again I was just so thrilled for the opportunity that I disregarded how late they were. 

The day of the shoot, I was nervous like a cat in a room full of dogs. But I was trying to convince myself that it will be a fun and a great experience. You know, something for the books. 




Apprehensively, I introduced myself to the Caucasian makeup artist. Told her right away that I brought my own foundation. She laughed and said I did not have to worry about it. [Of course, I'm worrying woman! I'm not just hyperventilating for fun!] She ended up doing an okay job. There was way more highlight on my face than my very textured skin could've handled that day to be honest.  I wasn't too pleased with the result (I mean she had me out there looking like disco ball) but I did not want to complain, again who am I? Me, little black girl from the Bronx, okay Cartierville, Montreal, Quebec whatever, being invited to do a photoshoot for an actual brand. Let me not act like a diva. I fixed my makeup quickly in the bathroom which I'm sure she didn’t even notice.

The girl who was being photographed when I got there, was still taking pictures in different locations in the apartment/studio by the time my makeup was done. With the encouragement of the photographer, “yes girl, you are working this camera, you are gorgeous…blah blah blah”, he continued. He was helping her with her poses encouraging her the whole time they used different props (Bags, watches, etc...) it took about 30 minutes for her whole photoshoot. I remember thinking to myself that it will be super fun to do my first photoshoot with this guy. He looked so friendly with her and helpful. I gained a bit of hope and confidence. I was pretty excited at that point. I still wanted to throw up a little because I was frickin' nervous, but you know the right kind of nervous. 

It was finally my turn. The photographer looked at me from head to toe pointing his index at me and asked if I was going to change for the photoshoot or if "that" was my outfit. "That", ladies and gents was my outfit, I was wearing faux leather pants with and oversize blazer and thought I was pretty cute until that comment. The moment he uttered those words I could feel the tears starting form. Wasn't it good enough? Maybe I did not look as good as I thought I did. I took a quick glance at the previous girl while she was heading out; She was skinny and had legs for days. She was wearing an outfit that was way more form fitting than what I had on, but still very casual. I wanted to run out the room and never look back, but I just smiled swallowed my tears and said, "yes that's it". 

He started taking pictures of me and barely said anything. It was super awkward he wasn't saying anything to me. Just taking half-hearted unpassionate pictures of me. "Oh, how disappointing it must be to take pictures of little old me", I thought to myself while he was clicking away on the shutter, I kept trying to figure out what was running through his mind. Oh well, I will never know. I was trying my best to smile and to look natural and pretty for the pictures, I had practiced in front of the mirror the night before, I thought I was doing an okay job as it was my first time and I probably needed more direction, but I’m not a model I’m a Youtuber so give me a break.  

The energy that day is hard to explain. He did not say anything mean to me or rolled his eyes at any point. I would be lying if I said that he was rude at all. He was just different with me than with the other girl. And I felt it! It took about 5 minutes before he shouted "Okay I think I have what I need. " 5 minutes! And I think I'm being generous. The last girl was there for at least 30 minutes. I was sad that he did not want to take more pictures of me, but also relieved to finally be able leave this tense apartment and run to my car to cry. That day I decided that it was my first and last professional photoshoot. 

It took 5 minutes for a total stranger to make me feel that because of the extra curves on my body I wasn't worthy of being photographed. That I was not well dress, too short, not photogenic, unfit and too black without even saying a thing.

I never really understood what it was to be the token black girl before, but it was pretty clear that day. I do believe that I was only contacted because they needed a little bit of "diversity". I'm tired of being an after thought and being treated differently because I don't look like the masses. I don't want to be the “token black girl”, a box to check off or the only reason why you can say your campaign is diverse. I would like to mention that this brand did not post a single non-white person on their Instagram page, Yes, I went through 315 posts. Not a single Asian person, not a a black person, not a Muslim girl, not a plus-size girl, nothing!

Again, this was me telling my own experience from my own point of view, but the fact that they did not even bother to post a single picture from anyone who did not look like the white Quebecer standard of beauty, says a lot about this brand on its own. Oh, and if you are curious and you figure out who the brand is don't @ me. I'm not sharing this to start any internet drama. Not my style.

This is the first time that I’m telling this story, my own husband doesn't even know the whole thing. I wanted to make sure that I took the time to calm down (yup a whole year) before I could put this into words and try to be as objective as one can be. I will probably do professional shootings in the future, but for the moment I'm a lot more comfortable with my husband behind the camera. He thinks I'm the prettiest girl on the planet and that is the only energy I need. 

On that note 
Aurevoir bisous bisous 
Sophia Tim


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Saturday, January 11, 2020

Happening Gourmand in Montreal



Say goodbye to your new year’s resolutions already because it’s “Happening Gourmand” time in Montréal and you do not want to miss it!



The 12th edition of Happening Gourmand is on! It starts on January 16 and it will be ending on February 9th. Here you will be able to enjoy delicious and affordable table d’hôte menus from any one of nine Old Montreal restaurants owned by the Antothenopoulos Group. You can visit the Vieux-Port Steakhouse (the one I tried) , Bevo, Brasserie 701, Kyo Bar Japonais, Maggie Oakes, Taverne Gaspar, Modavie, the Verses Bistro or Mechant Boeuf.



I was lucky enough, actually blessed, my taste buds and belly were blessed enough to enjoy the menu from the Vieux-Port Steakhouse. I’m tearing up with joy just thinking about how delicious everything was. I took a Caesar salad for my appetizer and even the salad was phenomenal. Let me just say though, my main course was definitely the star of the show. I had the best salmon that I’ve had in a long time. I mean it was cooked to perfection and seasoned with a tasty creamy sauce probably made by angels. It was combined with a lovely wild rice and vegetables. For dessert I had a vanilla crème brûlée. It was flavorful and quite mouth-watering, but it was a big portion and unfortunately, I couldn't finish it but it was absolutely lovely and I will definitely be ordering it again in the future and sharing it. Can you believe all that was for only 25 dollars? Mind-blowing, I know! 


I don't know about you, but I know where I’ll be every night from January 16th to February the 9th. I definitely want to try the Bevo Bar with my husband I think he will love their Italian cuisine and we’ll go back to the Vieux-Port Steakhouse, the steak there looked just as amazing as my salmon. You need to hurry up go book on the Happening Gourmand website now and book because a few of these restaurants are already booked for the rest of the month. Trust me you will not regret it!


On that note
Aurevoir bisous bisous
Sophia Tim

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