Life is a Carnival: Celebrating Diversity

Life is a Carnival: Celebrating Diversity


Sophie Fouron has traveled around the world several times. Literally as well as figuratively. This former researcher and producer went to the other side of the camera a dozen years ago hosting the series Ports d'attache< strong> and To each his own island on TV5. A dream job! 

Sophie Fouron

Curious, Sophie loves people. She has contagious interpersonal skills. In the fall, she is at the helm of the magazine Retour vers la culturewhile winter, we find her at the head of the magnificent series Tenir salon, which begins its third season, in which she interferes in hairdressing salons of all cultures. These cultures, she embraces them again in a magazine as crazy as necessary to promote living together, Life is a carnival.

We talk a lot about diversity for a few years. How Life is a carnivaldoes it resonate in 2023?

This project is a reflection of our society. It's like opening the door to my living room on a Saturday night. A real Spanish inn! It welcomes people who have a diversity of origins, a diversity of experiences. But for me, it goes far beyond a question of diversity. It is a tour of cultures on subjects as diverse as car driving or education. It is here, now. It was time to go into uncharted territory. For me, it's not a program about diversity, but rather about reality. 

Is it possible to talk about cultures without addressing the traditional aspect?

We don't want to fall into folklore. We try to deconstruct the myths. And we always find an angle to connect the subject to what is happening today. For example, in the first episode, it was about greetings, but we concluded by talking about proximity bracelets. We also talked about utensils. Did you know that the most used in the world is the hand. We received a Senegalese chef who served us a dish and it was an opportunity to measure how everyone would react. We laugh a lot in Life is a carnival. We are laughed at. To know about others is to know about us.

On each show, you have the opportunity to chat with people elsewhere on the planet by videoconference. Is this something that has remained in the pandemic way?

Indeed, and it is wonderful. Zoom gives us access to the world. We talk about carnival, we transport ourselves to Rio. We talk about hair around the world with Corneille and we have access to a Buddhist monk in Quebec who describes the ceremony to us. We talk about nudism in Germany and zoom in on a Belgian who practices apartment rental and naturism. We talk about menstruation and we transport ourselves to Burkina Faso where it is taboo. 

Your collaborators report what is happening elsewhere, not just in their culture. Thanks to Tenir salon, do you have a pool of accomplices with whom you can validate information?

< p>Research is fundamental. This is the engine of a good show. I have an amazing team that I do Tenir salon and Life is a carnival with.. Catherine Bureau, my producer, is a formidable content girl. The researchers Vanessa Quintal, Julie Paradis, Amélie Parent McGarrell, Émilie B Guérette make sure that no place is forbidden to us. It takes courage and recklessness to knock on doors. To enter a living room, build relationships of trust, convince people who don't do TV to give themselves up. They have intelligence and sensitivity. It is a long process. Investigative journalism and psychology. For Life is a carnival, everything is validated by someone in our networks to make sure we don't talk nonsense.

We live in an era of rectitude, some speak out against cultural appropriation. Are there topics you would like to discuss, but are afraid to?

We are very sensitive to how topics are discussed. We can talk about everything. We did a topic on whitening creams used by millions of Afro-descendant women. It sells plenty at Plaza St-Hubert. When Corneille talks about it, we listen to him. There is never any judgment or moralizing tone. We asked Neev to teach us Kosher 101. Our collaborators can carry the subjects. We can talk about anything and even make jokes, if it's appropriate. We ♦ give ourselves a gift when we reach out to each other. 

♦ Life is a carnival airs on Fridays at 9 p.m. on TV5.