From Paris to New York PR
Publicist Myrtille Beauvert brings continental charm to her work with arts organizations in New York and beyond. When she moved from Paris to New York in 2011, she translated her passion for photography, strong network of European writers, and penchant for communication into a successful solo business. Now integrated into New York’s cultural and social fabric, she’s willing to share a few of her secrets, from the best pizza in Brooklyn to her networking tactics.
As a freelance publicist, you have meetings all over the city and work from a variety of locations. What are your favorite spots for…
I hold many lunch meetings at the Cafe Cluny in the West Village. The food is delicious, it’s easy to book a table (I hate to wait for one), and you can hear yourself talking in a warm and cozy environment that reminds me of old-fashioned Parisian bistros.
I’ve had countless productive meetings at the light-filled Devociòn Café in Williamsburg. I also like to spread out laptops, photo books, and notebooks on the communal tables at StoneFruit Espresso in Bed-Stuy or 61 Local in Carroll Gardens. A lot of the strategy meetings with my clients are at their offices if they are based in New York. Spending time in their work environment and meeting their teams helps me get a better understanding of their DNA and the message we want to convey. I do a lot of conference calls and Skype calls, from my home office, with clients in London, Milan, or Paris.
When I’m having drinks with clients or foreign writers staying downtown, I like taking them for oysters and cocktails at Bar Belly. If they already know it, my joker is the speakeasy Fig. 19, at the back of an art gallery in Chinatown. The Spaniard, which recently opened in the West Village, is also a perfect place to take clients, especially if like me, they like a good Irish scotch. For drinks after openings in Chelsea, I like the large tree-filled patio of The Park, where we’re always sure to find a table for 10 and good old-fashioneds. And since a lot of the people I work with are based in Brooklyn, there’s nothing better than sharing a pizza and a bottle of wine at Union Pizzaworks in Bushwick, Santa Panza, or Saraghina in Bed-Stuy, all vetted by my Italian boyfriend.
—buckling down to work, outside of your apartment?
I live in Brooklyn, like many artists, writers, and people in my industry, and I usually work within a 20-minute bike ride radius. Urban Vintage in Clinton Hill has a nice vibe and my favorite orange pekoe tea. Civil Service Cafe in Bed-Stuy does delicious mozzarella grilled sandwiches and always plays great music, and I’m extremely picky! (Experimental rock helps me get work done). During the summer, I love working at Outpost with a giant apple-carrot-ginger juice that keeps me fresh and productive.
What were the biggest adjustments when you moved from Paris to New York?
I moved to New York in 2011, a few months after leaving a job at a Paris PR agency and going freelance. My boyfriend at the time got a job in New York and we moved together to this new city, going from living just the two of us in a nice little apartment in the quiet 20th arrondissement to a large three bedroom, three roommate situation in Manhattan. I’d spent a few months in the city in 2001 and 2002, and I knew it would be an exciting but challenging experience. New York’s pace is much faster than Paris’s. It took me a few months to get up to speed. Moving here as a freelance PR meant building an entirely new network. Even though my European network was a solid base that could be of interest to American clients, I was anxious to develop New York connections. It was more difficult to meet people since I wasn’t part of an office.
I prioritized going to a lot of art openings, exhibitions, panels, and other cultural events. I was lucky to meet a few important people who believed in me and introduced me to many new contacts who became part of a strong professional network built over six years. New York felt like a place where everything was possible, where hierarchy was not as heavy as in Paris, and where being a woman under 30 wouldn’t prevent me from being given big responsibilities. This has been incredibly empowering. But the competition is fierce, and having to be aggressively out there was not necessarily natural to me. Fortunately, I’ve met a lot of inspiring people in all fields, and in a city where everything happens faster and stronger, it has been helpful to be able to share our experiences and learn from each other.
Which contemporary photographers do you think capture New York life the best? Why?
Without any hesitation, the photographers of the Bronx Photo League. I have been working with the Bronx Documentary Center since it opened in 2011. When they created the Bronx Photo League, named after the famous “Photo League” (a cooperative of photographers active in the mid 20th century), we all knew some great projects were coming. The Bronx Photo League members capture New York life far from the clichés. They document social issues and give voice for the voiceless. That’s more important now than ever. Their first book and collective exhibition, “Jerome Avenue Workers Projects,” celebrated the work and lives of people and places threatened by rezoning. Curators, critics and editors really took notice.
Another talented photographer I’ve met at the Bronx Documentary is Kholood Eid. Her work is poetic documentary photography. She captures the eerie beauty of New York with a strong social message. I also love the very contrasted black and white images of New York by Joseph Michael Lopez in the pure tradition of street photography.
What photography-related events are you most looking forward to this summer?
I try to go yearly to the Rencontres d’Arles, the famous photo festival that takes place the first week of July in a marvelous small city in the South of France. The whole international photo community meets there, and it’s a nice and relaxed way to catch up with everyone: photographers, galleries, art critics, photo editors, museum curators, and photo publishers. My favorite activity is to organize large dinners on rooftops or terraces and introduce talented people, which often leads to fruitful collaborations.
In September, Photoville takes place in Brooklyn Bridge Park. Magazines, museums, collectives, agencies, and many other photo organizations are invited to curate small exhibitions in shipping containers. New Yorkers and professionals alike come out to the festival. It’s an inspiring way to start the year after the summer holidays!