I first met Laëtitia Wajnapel about three years ago at DONNA IDA where, if memory serves me correctly, I got her into a pair of high-waisted boyfriend jeans. I thought she was amazing, a real journalist who genuinely loved writing and photography but just happened to be blogging about it online. Her digital platform is Mademoiselle Robot, with a nod to her French roots but with a side order of cool, it has grown from daily musings to encompass modern luxury all wrapped up in Laëtitia's distinctive look and feel. Fast-forward three years from our original meeting and I was delighted when she agreed to be the subject of DONNA IDA's much coveted Style Insider feature where I got to chat to her in her Notting Hill home, shoot her in new denim styles and more importantly meet Brak the cat. Finally, I have been lucky enough to interview her on all things blogging with the sad (for us) but exciting news that she is soon to be leaving the UK for pastures new. Here's my Getting Naked With Interview with Laëtitia Wajnapel of Mademoiselle Robot.
NakedPRGirl: We know you as the Parisian blogger, where in Paris did you grow up? What did you study?
Laëtitia Wajnapel of Mademoiselle Robot: I grew up in Le Marais, and I have a BA in History and an MA in Film Studies.
NakedPRGirl: Before you started Mademoiselle Robot you were a journalist and photographer, how did you get into that? What was your big break?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: I was only a journalist before I started the blog, photography came later. I wrote my whole blogging story recently here on Mademoiselle Robot.
NakedPRGirl: What excited you about the online world? Did you seek it out or was it organic?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: I’ve always been intrigued by the internet, I have a strong background in tech so I guess writing online was a logical step for me after working for print for a few years.
NakedPRGirl: When did you come to the UK and what do you like about London?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: I moved here in 2004. I was always drawn to London’s energy, but at the moment, I need peace which is why I am about to leave London after 12 blissful years!
NakedPRGirl: How did you come up with the name Mademoiselle Robot and did you consider your brand when you created the blog?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: It was a name I used when I was DJing in Paris. Then I used it online before the blog so when I started the blog, it seemed like the obvious choice. I definitely didn’t consider the “brand” when I created the blog as blogging wasn’t at all a thing when I started and the concept of personal brand wasn’t quite what it is today (I launched the blog in 2007).
NakedPRGirl: How would you describe the Mademoiselle Robot brand and what image do you strive to create?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: It is ever evolving as the blog is still very much a personal outlet, despite the fact it is now my main source of income! It has grown a lot over the past (almost) decade but now I focus on what I call “everyday modern luxury”, which includes anything from a small but extra special beauty purchase, to a pair of perfectly fitted jeans or a weekend stay at a great hotel. The term “luxury” refers more to a state of mind than a price tag in that case: the luxuries we allow ourselves everyday, be it time to ourselves to read a book, time away or anything really.
NakedPRGirl: How do you structure your working day as a blogger?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: No two days are the same but my time is spent mostly writing or taking photos, maybe 50% of the time. The rest is 25% coding and 15% travelling and 10% meetings!
NakedPRGirl: Is writing really important to you? Where do you find the best place to be creative?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: Writing is the most important thing to me. I would still write every day if nobody was reading the blog. I can write anywhere really.
NakedPRGirl: I love the way your Instagram feed is such a mix of lifestyle from places to people to gorgeous food, do you plan everything in advance or is it more of the moment?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: I take photos constantly because there is always something interesting or beautiful to be captured. Then I post things depending on my mood. I refuse to plan Instagram or to strategise my feed, I find the idea quite depressing!
NakedPRGirl: How important is networking to you? Which other fashion bloggers, PRs or journalists do you work and hang out with?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: I really don't like networking and I am not good at it. I have some relationships with PRs and other bloggers that I cherish and have become friendships of course, but this wasn’t the question I guess! I don’t attend many events, I always prefer to have a meaningful convo over coffee of breakfast for example. I do believe in relationship building but I am not so keen on networking for the sake of it.
NakedPRGirl: What other blogs, magazines or websites do you like to read?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: I read my friends’ blogs mostly so I know what they are up to! I don’t really read fashion mags anymore but I pick up Vanity Fair every month and I also read IDEAT (a french interiors mag) and Huck.
NakedPRGirl: Has your blogging and social media experience always been positive? Have you ever had to deal with negativity?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: It has mostly been positive, yeah. At the beginning I’ve had to deal with a few “trolls” and I have been deeply disappointed by some people in the industry, but that’s life. Overall, I can’t complain!
NakedPRGirl: Do you think of your role as a blogger to be part marketer? Do you look at collaborations and features in the press as reaching a new audience?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: Gosh haha! I guess I fit in brands marketing campaigns so I become a marketer by proxy. But I never create content in order to sell stuff. I create content that I am excited by and the excitement that my readers perceive is what eventually will lead them to buying things if they wish.
NakedPRGirl: Have your photography skills been crucial in creating an image and a consistent look?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: My photography skills have grown with the blog, I am not sure what role they have played, other than perhaps making the site look a bit more sleek :). I don’t think I aspire to have a consistent look, I think the beauty of creative work is to allow yourself to experiment and take risks. I don’t want to develop a formula, then things become boring for me and for my readers.
NakedPRGirl: Where are your favourite places to shoot and who takes your photos? What are your fail safe tips for taking a good picture?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: I am super lazy so I mostly shoot around my house in Notting Hill (which also happens to be the perfect backdrop anyway). I take all my photos myself. If I do outfit posts, my friend Emily from FashionFoieGras shoots me and I shoot her, otherwise I just take my own pics at home or away using a tripod. My tips for taking a good pic would be to think about the composition and the final result before you take the camera out. Think about lighting, backdrop, format and then snap.
NakedPRGirl: Is it hard to monetise what you do?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: It depends! I am lucky enough to have a really kickass agent who helps with this side of things, but even before I got representation, it wasn’t too hard to make a living out of blogging, or to use the blog as a platform to showcase my skills.
NakedPRGirl: I know you also do content creation, what makes a good piece of content and what is your favourite content you have created?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: A good piece of content is something with personality that will fit seamlessly with the ethos of the brand you are creating content for. Whether it is photography or editorial, you have to really analyse the brand’s voice and be able to emulate it without losing your own. It is a balancing act. I would love to tell you what my favourite content is, but then I would have to kill you 😉
NakedPRGirl: I love your feature ‘Are We Relevant Yet? which you are running with Emily of FashionFoieGras, I think we all know you are relevant now. Is it nice to go full circle and look back over your blogging career and look at how far you have come? Do you have any advice for aspiring bloggers?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: The thing is, as bloggers, we can never know for sure if we are relevant or if we will stay that way. Thanks for thinking we are though, this is much appreciated. This is such a young industry, I think as an individual blogger it is quite difficult to stay relevant and to know if you are. But it has definitely been amazing to be able to look back at the past decade and see what I have accomplished with this blog. My advice for aspiring bloggers at this point is to make sure they tune in to mine and Emily’s blog every Thursday for more advice and stories about blogging!
NakedPRGirl: Are there any brands you'd love to work with?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: I would love to work with Jesse Kamm, Elizabeth Suzann, Christy Dawn, all brands created by amazing women. Otherwise, Acne Studios would also be great! I am lucky that I’ve been able to work with so many amazing people already.
NakedPRGirl: What’s next?
Laëtitia Wajnapel: Moving to Los Angeles in a couple months (you get the scoop on this!), so I see a lot of admin in my future!! I also launched a podcast in January called Spirit Animal which is a light hearted weekly musing on serious topics. I am also working on a second book project, which is in the very very early stages and also on a second exhibition project (which is also in the very early stages). Keeping busy, trying to keep things moving.