In a world where balancing one profession seems challenging enough, some individuals juggle multiple roles with grace, inspiring us with their determination and resilience.
Karen Napoly stands as a testament to this remarkable ability, embodying the essence of a modern woman.
Having followed Karen Napoly as a successful model, a thriving entrepreneur, the face behind her engaging YouTube channel, and as a passionate traveller, I’ve often found myself wondering how she effortlessly navigates her career and passions?
In a candid and insightful interview, I had the privilege to meet Karen Napoly in Cafe Dose Paris, one of my favourite coffee places, and delve into her world, exploring her remarkable journey, dilemmas faced, challenges conquered, and the invaluable lessons she’s gathered along the way. Join me as we uncover the essence of Karen’s inspiring story and discover the wisdom she shares with fellow Femmelennials seeking their path in this ever-evolving world.
Unveiling Karen Napoly's Personal Journey
Karen, the way you seem to be balancing different facets of life seems fascinating! How do you maintain a sense of routine, especially considering your own business?
“I don’t have a set routine because it’s very complicated to maintain one. As a model, my agent can call me the night before for a job the next day, which means I often don’t know what my schedule will be until the day before. I strive to plan out my week as much as possible in advance and also prepare for the next day as much as possible. For example, when it comes to vlogging, I plan out my filming schedule based on what I know so far. I try to strike a balance between when I want to film and what not, because otherwise I would end up filming everything all the time. I do, however, have a morning routine that is very important to me. I take my time to wake up, work out, and get ready. As for the rest of the day, I can only structure it the night before. So, for me, it’s not so much about having a routine but more about staying organised.”
Having a bicultural upbringing, traveling and living in both Paris and Bali, must have offered diverse cultural experiences. How has this cultural diversity influenced your personal style, your business endeavors, and your overall lifestyle?
“The cultures that have definitely shaped me the most are the French and Brazilian cultures. My father is French, my mother is Brazilian, and they met in Japan where I was born. However, we moved to Canada when I was only three years old, and then to France, where I grew up. When I meet new people, they often tell me that they can sense that I am not 100% French. I consider myself lucky because I believe I have inherited the best aspects of both cultures. The warmth and welcoming nature of the Brazilian people are truly beautiful, while my style and “eye” are more influenced by the French culture. Growing up in various cultures from a young age has also given me the gift of strong adaptability in life. This adaptability has played a significant role in my ability to do many amazing things, such as modeling. Modeling is a versatile job that requires adapting to different people and situations each time. Thanks to my experiences in different cultures, I learned how to feel comfortable in new environments from a young age.”
Overcoming Life's Challenges: Karen's Perspective
Managing a business, modelling and vlogging can pose challenges. What obstacles have you faced, and how have these experiences shaped your approach to entrepreneurship and content creation?
“One of the challenges would be the expectation of immediate success, that you seem to see everywhere. While you will find out that those who are successful have sometimes been working for over 10 years on their brand. And especially on social media, everything looks very effortless. So sometimes, I found myself very discouraged, as if things were not happening. But then when I spoke to other people, I realised that it is fine, this is the path. And this is really something I learned over time. Now I am way more calm about it, and enjoying the journey. Because with each obstacle, you learn something about the world, and yourself, and without them, I wouldn’t be the entrepreneur I am today, or the model I am today.”
From an outsider’s perspective, it looks like you’ve made it in all the different facets of your life. What are your personal goals that you still want to achieve?
“First of all, there is my personal life. This year had an unexpected start for me, in which me and my ex-partner separated. I received many messages of people asking me how I feel comfortable being single in my 30s, with friends around me starting to have babies, etc. Of course, at 32 years old, I had certain expectations of where I thought I would be by now. However, those plans have been completely cancelled. Nevertheless, I am happy with where I am, and I always say, being on your own is the time when you grow the most, because the only person you focus on is you. So, just enjoy the journey, you will appreciate this time one day. It’s just that we often have certain expectations at specific ages. For example, when I was 25, I thought that by the time I turned 30, I would feel so old. Well, surprise, I still feel very young. And then I also believe that when you are in this energy of feeling good and happy in your current chapter, you will attract the good things.
For my business and financial goals, I want to own my own apartment. Being an entrepreneur means having an unstable income, which can be stressful. Therefore, I am constantly working to ensure that everything is running smoothly. I would feel more accomplished when I can say that one of my businesses is stable. Currently, everything feels… as we say in French, éphémère (transient). This is because everything is still very new, including our company. The goal is to get at that stable stage, where I can say, no matter what, I have my steady business. For now, we are still in the process of learning and growing.”
Embracing Dilemmas as Opportunities for Growth
What kind of challenges and dilemmas do you observe among the female millennial generation?
“I think we compare ourselves a lot with what our parents did at our age, while clearly the society has changed a lot. And not did it only change, but it changed quicker. Ten years in our generation and ten years in our parents generation are not the same, we live now in a very fast-paced society. And I think that the 90s kids are still touched by the fact that we don’t have what our parents had at our age. But at the same time, we are the first ones to explore this new way of life, in which being 30 and unmarried doesn’t mean you’re not happy. Then another trend is one that my girl friends and I also talk about, which is freezing our eggs. I again think our generation is the first to have this option, and feeling comfortable with this new way of life. But of course, we still have the DNA of society, questioning our way of life. So, it is an interesting contrast, but I think we are navigating through life, and we should not be too harsh on ourselves.”
Karen, you’re a model, entrepreneur, and vlogger. Where do you find inspiration for your vlogs that resonates with urban millennials?
“Very good question, and I am not gonna lie, every week I wonder if I am going to succeed in making an interesting vlog. I think with everything you do, you always have a little bit of pressure. For example, for modelling, even after doing it for 12 years, I still feel pressure to perform. For my vlog, I notice that since I stopped doing things to make my vlog interesting, it became more relatable to people, I see that in the engagement. So it is not so much about inspiration, but more about looking at my week and deciding if it is interesting to vlog or not. And I get a lot of inspiration from viewers, I receive messages of people sharing what kind of content they would like to see, so I do have a list. For example, lately I have been receiving requests for a styling video, I am working on that, so this is where I get inspiration. But also, when I don’t feel inspired, I don’t film. This week for example, I am not filming, because it is also good sometimes to recharge. Because I don’t want to post for the sake of posting, I believe that people, and it is also what I like, prefer quality over quantity.”
Amidst your bustling lifestyle, how do you prioritise self-care and wellness?
I think the industry that I am in, requires to have a healthy lifestyle. If you want to look good and feel good, it is important to have healthy lifestyle. For example, when I was younger, I was working a lot, and not necessarily partying, it is a different lifestyle you need to have. But I truly got into a healthy routine since 2019, I started doing pilates at least 5 times a week, even if it only 15 minutes. I always try to eat healthy, because I actually enjoy eating healthy. And then most important to me is the balance, so to not be too extreme in anything I do. So healthy lifestyle and diet, yes, but then 70%, and then 30% to do whatever I want. I never restrict myself in anything, because when you do that, you crave things even more. For example, I eat meat, but not all the time, maybe once a week, but I don’t put any type of labels on myself like vegetarian or vegan. I do things more intuitive, and this works for me. I try to listen to what my body needs, because health is everything.”
Lessons Learned: Karen's Insights on Life's Journey
A last message for Femmelennials trying to navigate life?
“Hmm, I really want to think carefully about this, because I am very conscious about the effect that anything I say may have. As a millennial, I would like to share something I learnt this year. At the beginning of 2023, I would never have thought that this year I would not be living in Bali anymore, not be with my partner anymore, so everything this year was kind of a surprise. But at all times, I truly listened to my gut feeling. So I would say, always listen to your gut-feeling, because it truly can help you. To all the single girls in their 30s, I would say please enjoy! Don’t let anyone pressure you to anything, you will miss this time one day. And to all the girls, who don’t want to have kids, it’s ok! Because this is also a new reality, some girls just don’t want to have kids, and that is ok. It will take time for the society to accept it, but more power to you if this is what you want to do.“