Anya Firestone
Source: Bravo / Fred Jagueneau

'RGIP' Star Anya Firestone on Living Authentically in Paris: "You're Not Doing It for the 'Gram" (EXCLUSIVE)

Shannon Raphael - Author
By

Sep. 2 2022, Published 12:15 p.m. ET

If you've ever fantasized about what it would be like to fully immerse yourself in a new culture, or if you've found yourself watching and rewatching both seasons of Emily in Paris on a loop, then you may want to tune in to Bravo's Real Girlfriends in Paris.

The reality series, which premieres on Sept. 5, features six young expats who left their homes and their creature comforts in the United States in favor of living in Paris, France.

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Since many of the stars are newer to the city, they often seek job, visa, and apartment advice from longtime Paris resident, Anya Firestone.

Anya, who takes on a motherly role in the group, may hail from the City That Never Sleeps, but she's found a true home in the City of Love. From her fashion (you may spot a croissant or two on her shoes) to her epic meet-cute with her fiancé to her career, Anya's love for all things French is evident from the moment the show begins.

Anya Firestone
Source: Bravo / Chris Haston

Anya Firestone

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Ahead of the RGIP premiere, Anya spoke with Distractify about her own love story, what it's really like to take the leap and live abroad, and why she's particularly excited to showcase her job on the show.

Anya Firestone's meet-cute with her fiancé rivals any 'Emily in Paris' plotline.

Unlike her co-stars, who are exploring their dating lives in Paris, Anya is settled in her personal life. Her love story with her partner, Matthieu Rasset, could have even been ripped from the pages of a romance novel.

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The native New Yorker, who has lived in Paris on and off for about a decade, met Matthieu at Bar Hemingway in The Ritz Paris hotel in August of 2017. Each had arrived to the glamorous and historic bar alone, and they soon hit it off.

Now, Anya is living out the ultimate Parisian fantasy with her French fiancé and their dog, Zsa Zsa. The couple and their pup live in an apartment together in the City of Love.

In Anya's official bio for the show, Matthieu is identified as her "fiancé," but no other details of their engagement are publicly known at this time. Matthieu does appear on the Bravo series.

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The 'Real Girlfriends in Paris' star shared why she's "excited" to showcase her job on the series.

Anya was born and raised in the Hell's Kitchen neighborhood of New York City, but she now feels the most at home when she's in Paris.

"My dedication to France feels quite strong," Anya said to Distractify. "I see a French flag, and I feel patriotic."

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Anya's love for French culture also extends to her career. The RGIP star has her master's degree in French cultural studies, and she gives tours at places like the Louvre and Musée d'Orsay. She's also an art critic for Highsnobiety, and she's the founder of her own brand, Maison Firestone.

During her chat with Distractify, Anya noted that she's "excited" to "bring art history, [and] philosophy to reality TV" in a way that's "accessible" to anyone who tunes in.

"My career is also to communicate the importance of French culture, and art and fashion and literature, but to do it in a way that anybody can understand, not just an academic," she explained.

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The reality star currently charges about 500 euros per tour.

"I think it's unexpected on a Bravo reality show to have an art philosopher as one of your cast mates," she added. "I'm very excited to showcase maybe another side of the brain that's not typically front and center on TV."

 Anya Firestone and Matthieu Rasset
Source: Bravo / Fred Jagueneau

Anya Firestone and Matthieu Rasset

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When she's not leading tourists (or locals!) around exhibits in the city's most famous museums, Anya is often hosting dinner parties for her expat friends.

Since the show was announced, it has often been compared to the Netflix scripted series, Emily in Paris. Though RGIP does feature glamour and some of the more romantic and "Instagrammable" aspects of Parisian culture, Anya hopes that viewers realize don't have to "come from money" to lead an authentic life in the City of Love.

"I'm showing you know that you don't need to come from privilege to suddenly lead a very beautiful, luxurious life. Even in that life, there are struggles. But, if you have the drive, the passion for Paris, and the respect of French culture, you can accomplish a lot," she said. "You're not doing it for the 'Gram, you're doing it for the France."

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Anya Firestone
Source: Bravo

Real Girlfriends in Paris will debut with a two-episode premiere event beginning on Monday, Sept. 5 at 9:15 p.m. EST.

New episodes will air regularly on Mondays at 9 p.m. EST, and viewers will be able to stream episodes the next day on Peacock.

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