Clémence Polès is the founder of Passerbuys, a recommendation website for women and the co-founder of the female film festival, FFFEST. She also works with the social impact-driven communications firm, No. 29, doing strategy and events.
What does self-care mean to you?
Self-care for me is a matinee at Film at Lincoln Center, or a glass of natural red wine from Wine Therapy, or an order of party bomb sushi from Bozu shared with my friends. It’s also about the things I know that puts me into a peaceful state of mind, like arriving to meetings early so I can read, or tidying up and getting organized. Taking those little moments to create a good atmosphere for yourself so you don’t feel nervous or rushed.
Morning and nighttime rituals like washing my face and using a jade roller are important as well –– they help me to reconnect to my body in a tactile and affectionate way, and serve as a small daily reminder to be grateful for being alive.
What products play a part in your morning ritual?
I typically start my mornings with a glass of water (with a slice of lemon if I’m not feeling lazy) and probiotics from Seed. I like easing into my mornings with coffee and if I remember, I’ll add in Cordyceps Mushroom Powder from Sun Potion.
I’m big on cleansing, moisturizing and sunscreen (the ultimate beauty tip in my opinion), I use Caudalie's Mousse Nettoyante Fleur De Vigne (which I bulk buy at a pharmacy in Paris called Grande Pharmacie du Commerce which discounts great beauty products), spritz Heritage Store’s Rose Water (apparently it helps your skin absorb other creams better), apply Drunk Elephant’s C-Tango™ Multivitamin Eye Cream, moisturize with Peet Rivko’s Daily Moisturizer and finish my routine with sunscreen from La Roche Posay SPF 50 (I’ve been using their BLUR lisseur optique as my foundation, it does wonders.) Recently I discovered an interesting brand founded by Jenn Tardif called 3rd Ritual, whose philosophy is that simple routines can inspire transcendent experiences. I love their BEL candle, which has brass pins that fall and resonate as the candle burns. You use the candle to measure time in meditation, or really any mindful activity.
What about meditation? Do you make time to do it?
A lot of people think meditation is harder than it actually is, myself included.
Reading Just Sit by Sukey Novogratz and Elizabeth Novogratz opened me up to it. I figured that I would benefit from meditation but didn’t really understand why. There’s something quite revelatory about observing your own thoughts and attempting to let them wash away instead of dominate you.. I think that’s what meditation is all about - giving you that awareness and the ability to reflect on your actions before making them.
It’s a very buzzy thing to “be present,” but it actually works. Yes you can do yoga, and there’s a million tinctures and teas for every malady but if you’re allowing yourself to run toxic narratives all day in your head, you’re not going to be getting any of the benefits of those things.
The body shouldn’t be emphasized over the mind, they are one in the same thing.
What kinds of foods make you feel your best?
I’m trying to do better about listening to my body in this regard. Growing up with a Persian mom, I was taught to always clear my plate and opt for a second serving as a sign of respect. As I get older and my body changes, this rule, although very sweet needs to be altered. With that said, it’s hard to resist Lubia Polo, which is a Persian rice dish. It’s heavy, but I may have created a vegan version of the recipe that agrees with me better. Over the last year or so my husband and I have been eating more of a plant based diet which makes me feel great. Vegan stuff is tricky because there’s a lot of crap out there so it’s really been about focusing on the green stuff.
What does self-love mean to you?
Self-love means not being overly critical of yourself, embracing change and treating others the way you want to be treated. Like most women, I’ve been unnecessarily critical of my body image and that’s still something I’m working on. As the baby fat disappears and is replaced with wrinkles, realizing that this doesn’t need to be fixed, as obvious as that may seem to some -- is something I try to remind myself.
With Passerbuys I’m exposed to so many different notions of beauty, and I’m lucky to say that the women I’ve interviewed help reaffirm my self-confidence (and I hope vice versa).
That, and I think of the universe… if someone you know is struggling with self-love, I always suggest watching Cosmos and realizing that the mere fact of our existence is pretty good grounds for loving yourself, and others.
What’s the best advice you’ve received?
Slow down. This comes back to meditation in a sense. We don’t have any control over the future, so there’s no point in tearing yourself apart.