Tamy Emma Pepin Takes the Proust Questionnaire

Tamy Emma Pepin is a woman of many titles. From host, to producer, to content creator, to media figure, and most recently founder of her very own creative studio Un Peu Plus Loin, Pepin is, above all, a woman of boundless, indefatigable ambition.

Having won the adoration of a Quebecois audience early in her career, Pepin expanded her sights to elsewhere; anywhere; everywhere. From the award-winning show Tamy@UK, and TamyUSA, to serving as a field producer on Anthony Bourdain’s The Layover and Parts Unknown, she has solidified her space not only in the (at times) homogenous Québécois media scene, but as a certifiable media powerhouse on an international level: a feat that many have tried, but few have achieved.

And while many other creators at the top of their game would opt to settle down with an agency, Pepin has instead gone down a different path: one that delves into her heritage. Part creative studio, part collection, Un peu plus loin is a studio that aims to highlight Moroccan and Berber culture, while simultaneously serving as a storytelling studio for fellow creatives looking to use her media expertise. While only a year old, the studio is already making its mark with her collection of stunning, hand-made rugs bringing a sought-after product from one side of the ocean to the other. In short, this is a woman of many, many talents.

Read Tamy Emma Pepin’s Proust Questionnaire below.


What is your perfect idea of happiness?

Tuscany.

What is your greatest fear?

The thought of dying unaccomplished makes me incredibly anxious.

What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?

I’m working on my patience. With myself and with others. It’s quite fitting that my rugs take two months each to make by hand. These objects are teaching me the value in processes that take time.

What is the trait you most deplore in others?

Vacuity tops the list, but mouth noises are a close contender.

What is your greatest extravagance?

5 $ lattes every morning is pretty wild when you think about it.

What is your current state of mind?

Thanks for reminding me that I’m an emotional rollercoaster.

What do you consider the most overrated virtue?

Notoriety. I doubt ‘being famous’ was an original cardinal virtue, but it does feel like that’s what many of us strive for and what today’s culture validates. Especially now that the internet has eradicated the barriers to fame. Celebrities are the new Gods. I’m just sitting here like, when did famous people become our moral compass?

What or who is the greatest love of your life?

My father.

Which talent would you most like to have?

A great painter.

People often assume I’m an extrovert, but I’m an over-achieving, high-functioning introvert. I might be romanticizing the process, but I can easily imagine myself in a remote locale, observing light and landscapes, then retreating to my work in an exploration of color schemes and textures. The movement of the body is also something that draws me to painting. I sometimes think of Yves Klein and Cy Twombly as dancers.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Carving out a life for myself in which I can work from anywhere and think for myself. This, I realize, has allowed me to live very passionately.

What is your most treasured possession?

A card from my father, which he wrote without knowing he was going to die a few days later. I was studying in northern England at the time, and we exchanged many letters during my year abroad. One evening, my mother called the dorm and told me my father had a brain aneurysm. I didn’t fully understand what that meant, but the next thing I knew, I was on a plane to Montreal and reciting poetry at my father’s funeral. When I returned to England two weeks later, I grabbed the letters that were piling up in the mailbox, and there was an envelope with his handwriting on it. It’s a long and beautiful letter, his last, and the most precious thing I own.

Which historical figure do you most identify with?

Abd el-Krim. He united Berber tribes and used guerilla tactics to defeat the colonial ambitions of the Spanish in the Rif, a mountainous region in northern Morocco. I have a great deal of respect for strategic minds, especially when used to defend people’s rights. The peaceful protests that are currently happening across the United States, led by Colin Kaepernick, also very much speak to me. Colin Kaepernick won’t just be an athlete in his Wikipedia bio. He will go down in history. Muhammad Ali used his stage for the same purpose. At some point, you have to be willing to lose a few bucks and jeopardize what you’ve got to tell your truth. For similar reasons, the audacity of writers and artists such as Frida Khalo, Anaïs Nin and Nina Simone, is something that I crave.

Who is your favorite hero of fiction?

Love me some Olivia Pope. Wait – Proust didn’t have Netflix, did he?

Who are the women you most admire?

Women who carry the weight of the world on their shoulders, in the shadows.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Driven for sure.

Where do you eat?

Out. Too often.

Where do you shop?

In Montreal, the Little Shop. In New York, What Goes Around Comes Around and Beacon’s Closet. Bazaars and flea markets when I’m abroad.

Where do you unwind?

Femme Fontaine, on Saint-Laurent Boulevard.

Where is home?

Montreal, by route of Marrakech and a bunch of other places. I genuinely feel at home wherever I am.

What is success?

Improving my own insufficiencies. Being at peace with myself so I can fully spread my wings and stand in a place of love — whether it’s in my professional, personal, artistic or spiritual pursuits.


Introduction by COURTNEY BAIRD-LEW

Feature image courtesy of TAMY

This article is part of Issue 003: Textiles