Mireille Guiliano is a French-American author, and the former CEO and President of Clicquot, Inc. (LVMH). Casual, I know. While she was in leadership, she increased Veuve Clicquot’s market share in the United States from essentially non-existent to over 25%. Talk about a #girlboss. Also, casual.
She is also known for her book, French Women Don’t Get Fat, that I read years ago in college. The book is about adapting a balanced way of eating and changing the way we view food, allowing you to still enjoy that glass of wine and/or piece of chocolate every day. DEFINITELY a lifestyle I am on-board for. I revert back to this book all the time because it’s so eye-opening, but so easy to incorporate into real life. If you haven’t read this post yet, I did a review of one of her other books, Meet Paris Oyster, that you should absolutely read.
Mireille’s books and career have inspired me to explore other avenues of life I probably never would have explored on my own. For example, harvesting a deep interest to learn about wine. I am by no means a sommelier, but you won’t catch me downing a bottle of wine by myself on a Tuesday night anymore. A glass is meant to be enjoyed WITH food, and the right wine will accentuate the dish’s true flavor. I talk about this in more detail in this post. To be honest, I am horrified at the new Frosé trend. Another thing that she has inspired me to do is to learn a new language. She uses a lot of French phrases in her book and I think it’s such a beautiful language. I downloaded Rosetta Stone a few months ago while it was on sale and have started to teach myself French! I could go on, but I’ll spare you for now.
Before I launched my blog, one of my dreams was to be able to interview her. I can’t believe that this opportunity presented itself within just two months of my launch. I’ve been keeping this a secret for some weeks now and I am so excited for you guys to finally read my Q&A with one of my biggest role models, Mireille Guiliano!
Q&A with the wonderful, Mireille Guiliano
RR: What sparked your interest in wine and how did you break into the industry?
MG: I grew up with a mother who loved champagne…and a father… burgundy. I had no intention to take that road as my master was in linguistics but being in NYC, looking for a job I could do and love, I found an ad from a US ad/pr firm for an account executive for the Champagne industry…et voila, being at the right place at the right time, being French, and a bit of luck!
RR: How did you work your way up to being the CEO and President of Clicquot, Inc.?
MG: I did not. I was VP Communications and Marketing, loving it and was not interested in climbing the ladder, but was offered the job for the ambitious 5-year plan (after our first 3 tough years on a crowded market with few resources). I had presented to the top French team who thought I should execute. Was it a trap, a saving combining two jobs at the time, or an honest belief in my skill? I’ll never really know, but all went ok for the next 20 years so I must not have been too bad at it.
RR: What is the most valuable piece of work advice you’ve received? What is one piece of advice you would give to a young entrepreneur?
MG: Be responsible, walk the walk, don’t be afraid to take risks, don’t take the “mean” people personally. I’d say to an entrepreneur make sure you are really passionate about what you do as it takes hard work most people don’t realize. Surround yourself with the best and let the rest go somewhere else.
RR: One of my long-term goals is to be able to write a book. What inspired you to write your first book?
MG: Make sure you know WHY you want to write a book. Personally, I had no intentions until several good friends said “you must share this even if you can only save a few lives”…Twelve years later, I am glad I listened to them even if I was not in the mood to do it. Tough once I started, but it was easy (and cathartic) as it was my own personal story.
RR: What is one beauty item and one clothing/fashion item that you have kept with you and coveted throughout the years?
MG: A good cleanser/tonic/cream for daily care… my old Issey Miyake pants/short jacket which is timeless, comfortable, light, easy to wash and pack and always make me feel classy. A great investment!
RR: If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
MG: That’s a tough one for someone who is gourmande and loves to cook and eat almost everything…but today in Provence it would be ratatouille (I’m up to my 20th something pot in six weeks and all my guests love it), a nice selection of local goat cheeses and right now the melons de Cavaillon are absolutely perfect….with a glass or rosé de Provence.
RR: What do you think is the best fruit to pair with a glass of Veuve?
MG: Definitely fresh raspberries or peaches, but I prefer it with some slivers of fresh parmesan or a simply grilled fish.
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