Why France's New First Lady Is Straight-Up Awesome

Illustration for article titled Why France's New First Lady Is Straight-Up Awesome

We're falling in love — slowly, naturally, just letting it happen — with Valérie Trierweiler, the new first lady of France. Allow us to explain.


After reading this New York Times profile, we think we might have real relationship potential with Trierweiler. Here are some reasons why:

1. Trierweiler's vowed to hold on to her own identity — and career — even though her partner, François Hollande, is now president. The 47-year-old has been one of the country's top political journalists for more than 20 years, and doesn't intend to stop working anytime soon. "In France, a first lady has no status, and therefore she isn't supposed to do anything else," Trierweiler told the Times. "My perception of life is not to ask François Hollande, who isn't the father of my children, to support me financially." Damn straight.

2. She's had an unorthodox and somewhat messy (read: normal) love life, and she doesn't try to pretend otherwise. Trierweiler is twice divorced, and isn't married to Hollande; they're the first unmarried couple to live in the Élysée Palace. Some are concerned that they might be ill-received by more conservative countries, but the duo doesn't seem like they'll cave into pressure to get married anytime soon.

3. She can actually speak eloquently about the whole working-mom thing. Trierweiler, who has three teenage sons, struggles with feeling guilty about being a good mother, and discusses the issue in a more relatable way than, say, Ann Romney. "I've shared the fate of many working mothers, I felt guilty like them," Trierweiler said. "I took Wednesdays off to see my children and make them crepes." She turned down a foreign correspondent gig because "I wanted to stay with them."

4. She's just like us! (Well, kind of.) While most first ladies act like they've been preparing for the role all of their lives, Trierweiler admits that she's nervous. "[She's] scared of being the wife of a president and is looking for models," said Laurent Binet, a political author. "She sees herself as an active woman."

5. She's proactive, ambitious, and an all-around inspiring role model. Trierweiler's coworkers call her a "hard worker," and she's had to be: she was born to a disabled father who lost a limb in a mine explosion and a mother who was a cashier at an ice rink, and grew up in the French projects. "Valérie is a very interesting mix of strength, pride and fragility," said Philippe Labro, vice president of the TV channel Direct 8, who hired her in 2005. "She cares for her own identity and loves her job."


6. Trierweiler would make an excellent blogger. "All journalists have opinions, they all vote, they all have sympathy, friendships," she told Le Journal du Dimanche in 2010. "But they're not asked to justify them. We believe in their integrity, we trust them and we're right to do so."

7. She's not afraid to be witty — and feisty — on Twitter. "What a shock to discover myself on the cover page of my own magazine," she wrote when her employer, Paris Match, put her picture on its cover in March. "Bravo to Paris Match for its sexism," she added. Burn.


8. We're always suckers for a genuine-sounding presidential romance. Holland calls Trierweiler the love of his life, and the two talked for hours on the phone when they were friends for years before getting together. "François Hollande and I have been accomplices right from the start," Trierweiler said. "But there was something more than only friendship." Aww.

9. She's already influencing the president for the better:

On Friday, she confirmed to Le Figaro that she had asked Julien Dray, a controversial Socialist leader, to leave the victory celebration for Mr. Hollande and his team last Sunday. Between the two rounds of the presidential vote, Mr. Dray drew criticism for inviting Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the disgraced former Socialist front-runner, to his birthday party at an unsavory bar.



10. She's just so quotable! "I haven't been raised to serve a husband," Trierweiler told the Times. "I built my entire life on the idea of independence." Time to make some t-shirts?



She's awesome and I want to give her a million high fives.

I wonder, though, if being romantically involved with the country's president is a conflict of interest for a political journalist. Or maybe it's different in France. I know in the US, if a business journalist was dating the CEO of a major corporation, it wouldn't be well-received.