Nineteen-year-old tennis star Leylah Fernandez has been putting Quebec on the map with historic wins landing her in this weekend's U.S. Open final. Naturally, local leaders have been speaking out to commend her, but Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante seems to have gotten a little carried away with a hilarious slip of the tongue.
At a press conference on September 10, Mayor Plante was showering Fernandez with praise when she accidentally said a naughty word.
Oups. Amusant lapsus de Valérie Plante 🎾🍆 alors qu’elle parlait de Leylah Fernandez #polmtl https://t.co/h3aX8NnHoz— Thomas Gerbet (@Thomas Gerbet)1631289683.0
Radio-Canada journalist Thomas Gerbet captured the whole thing on video and shared it on Twitter.
"[Fernandez] lights up the tennis court, she lights up the screen. We see a determined, smiling girl and it's very contagious," says Mayor Plante. "I want to say that her passion for the penis..."
She stops short, surprised at herself, and buries her head in her hands.
It's clear that Mayor Plante meant to say "tennis" and not "penis," and people were quick to burst out laughing, including the mayor herself.
On social media, people have praised Mayor Plante for choosing to laugh at her slip of the tongue rather than ignore it and pretend it never happened.
Where my perfectionists at? 🙋🏼
If you've never heard the term "impostor syndrome," you may still relate to feeling like an impostor in your own life. Am I actually qualified for the promotion I just got? Did I really deserve the award I won? Has all my success just been one big bout of good luck?
Montreal author and journalist Marissa Miller knows these feelings all too well. So well, in fact, she wrote a book on the subject. PRETTY WEIRD: Overcoming Impostor Syndrome and Other Oddly Empowering Lessons came out in May, published by Skyhorse Publishing and distributed by Simon & Schuster, and it has already racked up rave reviews, garnering 4.8 stars on Amazon. It also became an Amazon best-seller in multiple categories.
According to Miller's book jacket, the series of relatable, funny and heart-wrenching true stories will teach you "why, like Miller, you're worthy of success by virtue of you thinking you're not." Since feeling worthy of one's own success feels like a no-brainer, but is often surprisingly difficult, we asked Miller for help with exactly that.
What is impostor syndrome?
Courtesy of Marissa Miller
Harvard Business Review (HBR) defines impostor syndrome as "a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success." According to HBR, impostors "suffer from chronic self-doubt" and seem "unable to internalize their accomplishments, however successful they are in their field."
Miller's book jacket puts it in simpler terms: "The sense that success is a product of coincidence and luck as opposed to hard work and talent."
Why write a book on it?
Miller said, when she decided to write a book, impostor syndrome was the "most natural place to start" since it's central to her existence.
"I'd read loads of literature on impostor syndrome from a clinical perspective, but what was lacking was a raw, unfiltered look into what it looks like on a person, how it happens, and why it's maybe not the worst thing that can happen to you," she said.
"It's so common for women to be undervalued in the workplace and in interpersonal relationships that it's become a joke we gloss over. And then we wonder why women, and other minority groups, feel unable to internalize success. [...] If we do meet some criteria of success, it's this very narrow definition that a white male in a boardroom dreamed up for us. But I couldn't stand for that anymore."
Ironically, Miller said the success of her book about impostor syndrome has caused her own impostor syndrome to flare up.
"In a twist of events that should be a shock to no one, I am having serious impostor syndrome over all the love and support I've received," she wrote in an Instagram post following her book launch. "I should probably go reread [my book] because I learn something new each time I do."
Any advice on how to overcome impostor syndrome?
What should you do if you're struggling with impostor syndrome? Here's Miller's advice, in her words:
- Know you're not alone. Some studies say up to 82% of the population experiences some form of impostor syndrome, rendering you less weird than you actually think you are.
- You deserve your success by virtue of you thinking you don't. Those who feel entitled to success by existing haven't gone through the same lengths to prove themselves like you did.
- Feelings aren't facts. Impostor syndrome is a cognitive distortion we experience as a lie we tell ourselves. Those lies could stem from a wide variety of factors like untreated depression or anxiety in some cases, and there are numerous ways to rewire your brain like cognitive behavioral therapy, talk therapy, or reading my book for a solid laugh and cry.
- Be honest about your impostor syndrome. It's strong of you to own your success, but it's also strong of you to admit you're struggling to do so.
- Sometimes overcoming impostor syndrome involves acknowledging you might never overcome it. Sitting with that feeling is a lot more sustainable than fighting it off. Sooner or later, it'll become your new normal, and the sting won't feel as pronounced. You may not even feel it at all.
Miller finished the interview by saying, "If a freak like me from Côte Saint-Luc can do something meaningful with their life, you can too."
And, while she didn't intend it as a piece of advice for dealing with impostor syndrome, we're taking it as a sixth tip. Why? Because she was successful despite impostor syndrome. If you want a living, breathing example of how to overcome it, just look to her.
Melanie Ann Layer opened up about her success.
Melanie Ann Layer is a 33-year-old entrepreneur, founder and head of Alpha Femme, a luxury boutique coaching firm. Narcity Québec reports that in August, she made history in the Lower Laurentides with the purchase of a nearly $5 million mansion — a record sale for the Quebec subregion.
Layer spoke to Narcity Québec about her career journey, including a low point in which she had to sleep in her car.
How did Melanie Ann Layer start her career as a coach?
Layer described how, at age 25, she found herself without a job after breaking up with a boyfriend who had been a manager at the company she had been working for, Narcity writes. She relocated to Sherbrooke but initially failed to find success despite an aptitude for sales.
"I couldn't sell anymore. Everything I had always been able to do effortlessly, all of a sudden, there was nothing that worked at all," she said.
"I went from being the best salesperson in the whole company to not being able to sell a thing. Then my money started to [plummet]. I remember it was at a time with my family that it was really not going well. I was mad at everyone, I felt like everyone had contributed to the fact that it wasn't working out so well in my life."
She said she went broke as a result, eventually becoming unable to afford her accommodation.
"I'll never forget the first night I couldn't pay for my room in the motel I was staying at, and I had to sleep in my Civic," she told Narcity. "It was like the culmination of the worst time of my life."
How did Alpha Femme start?
Then a conversation with a friend put Layer on the coaching track.
"I have a friend who randomly called me to talk to me. She was struggling and what I had started to do for myself, I kind of introduced her to that." Others soon reached out for advice as well, Narcity writes.
Layer went on to start a scrappy coaching firm, charging $100 an hour. "I started my business and my name was 'the invisible coach.' It was really just word of mouth, that was the only way to find me."
In 2017, she took her business to social media. It exploded.
"I started a Facebook group and an Instagram page. Instead of being a life coach who was making maybe $100,000 to $200,000 a year, all of a sudden it started to grow. And what I was teaching was very cutting edge, the way I talk, the way I see things. It got a lot of attention."
Fast forward to 2021, and Alpha Femme is having its "best year ever," Layer told Narcity.
"What's special is that it started in 2017, and we made a million, before taxes, before all that. The other year we did $2.5 million, the other year we did $8.5 million and now we're up to $14 million in revenue."
What is Layer's advice for success?
But despite the success, insecurity can still haunt Layer. She said she has to remind herself that she deserves her success.
"What's hard is to have a drastic life change in the middle of your life and really be okay with it and say you deserve to be here."
"I didn't have a normal trajectory. I'm 33 years old, and I've lived and created a lot in those 33 years. It's trying to ground myself in the right to live this life right now and have what I have, to feel deeply that it's right and that I deserve it. That, I think, is the hardest part."
Her advice to those who will listen: "Don't listen to anyone. Don't listen to anyone if you know inside you that it's right."
Narcity reports that Layer plans to move into her $5 million home in April 2022.
She says she went from sleeping on a floor mattress to owning two triplexes worth $3 million.
Boudreau recently told Narcity Québec that sex work comes with getting "bashed" and "ridiculed," which is "hard on morale." But a new Instagram post throws shade at her haters, as she documents her journey from sleeping on a mattress on the floor to becoming a millionaire who owns two triplexes — all in the span of one year.
"First they laughed at me, but now they ask how i did this? " wrote Boudreau in the post. She also included photos of both versions of herself — one from a year ago and herself today.
"Here's why: never in my existence I would've believed you if you had told me 1 year ago that I would be a millionaire before my 30th. [...] Exactly ONE YEAR AGO I was living in a colocation with my friend. I had just one mattress and a few boxes of clothes."
Boudreau went on to say she is now the "proud owner" of three triplexes — six units — valued at $3 million. She shared photos of the properties with the post.
"Believe me… in just one year your life can change for the very best. I believe in hard work but what's better than working hard, you may ask? Working smarter. That's the key to success," she said.
"Believe in yourself & you're halfway there. So cheesy but so goddamn true. Special thank you at my university and to all my clients you are the real mvp."
"Montreal is bilingual and multicultural and it is something that we should embrace," he said.
"We live in a francophone province in a francophone city from a legislative perspective, but the reality of Montreal is far different," the leader of Mouvement Montréal said in an interview with MTL Blog.
"So, for us, it was important to re-establish the identity of Montreal, which is one that is inclusive."
His party's platform on inclusive language rights is also calling for the translation of all municipal communications into both English and French and softer language laws for private industry in the city.
"We want to make clear that we want companies on the Island of Montreal to be able to operate in both languages without interference from the provincial government," Holness said.
And it calls for a review of the city's hiring processes to allow anglophones with "functional-level, but not high-level, French" to land municipal jobs.
He would also amend article 13 of the city charter to change Montreal from "a French-speaking city that, according to the law, also provides services to its citizens in English," to a bilingual one.
A lot of people agree, Holness says
"This is not a contested question," Holness said, citing a survey showing most Montrealers believe the city is bilingual. "We all know Montreal is bilingual and multicultural and it is something that we should embrace and recognize."
"Moreover, Montreal beyond that is even trilingual," he continued. "There are people from all over the world who speak Mandarin, Cantonese, Arabic, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian. And all of these languages make up the diversity of Montreal, and it enriches us all."
Rather than contributing to the decline of French in Montreal, Holness said his language policies would help preserve it by offering non-francophones incentives to learn.
"The fact that we are going to incentivize and ameliorate the chances of anglophones to work in the City of Montreal means they'll be able to learn French through their employment activity," he said. "We're going to be increasing la francisation des anglophones."
"Right now, what's happening is that we're excluding anglophones," he continued. "They're moving to demerged cities such as Westmount, such as Côte Saint-Luc, such as Kirkland. They're not being incorporated into the reality and to the economic life of Montreal, and we're just pushing them all away."
Holness wants more jobs for people with spotty French
If elected, Mouvement Montréal would work to create a more inclusive municipal workforce because it's currently falling short in terms of ethnic and linguistic diversity, he said.
Of the city's roughly 25,000 municipal employees, "only about 2% of those in management positions are visible minorities and even less of those are anglophone," Holness claimed.
To change that he plans to lower the French language requirements for municipal jobs.
"Right now, when you go in for a [municipal] job, there is an evaluation based on your capacity to speak French," he said.
"So, we want to create assessments and evaluations of language that are less severe to allow individuals to get into the workforce. And then they can learn French, once they are on the job, through their interactions with their coworkers and with the public."
"The idea is that anglophones, especially those that are visible minorities, should have an easier time getting into the workforce," he continued.
'They don't want to be inclusive'
On November 7 people will vote to elect a mayor as well as 46 members of Montreal's City Council.
The current mayor, Projet Montréal's Valérie Plante, is seeking re-election and her main challenger is the previous mayor, Ensemble Montréal's Denis Coderre.
As Plante recently introduced an "action plan" to promote the French language in Montreal and Coderre is reportedly open to provincial government-led language reform, Holness accused his opponents of trying to impose provincial ideas on the metropolis.
"Valérie Plante is from Rouyn-Noranda, Denis Coderre is from Joliette," he continued. "And there's this whole idea that the regions are imposing on Montreal their vision for Montreal. And the question is, what do Montrealers want for their city?"
"Many people across the region say Montreal is the only francophone city in North America, and they're right, but Montreal also has a bilingual multicultural reality," he said. "So you have Quebec City trying to impose an identity on Montreal does not meet reality, which is multilingual and multicultural."
"We need a multilingual and multicultural policy and beyond that, a political party that reflects that diversity through and through," he added.
Projet Montréal does not reflect that diversity, he concluded, explaining how he helped organize a grassroots anti-racism movement, which he says prompted the city's public consultation agency to hold a series of hearings on systemic discrimination in 2019.
As a result, Plante created a commissioner on systemic discrimination and promised to hire more minorities for municipal jobs.
But Holness had sharp words for the mayor, saying she only took those steps out of "obligation."
"The reason why there was a public consultation on systemic racism and discrimination is because the administration had an all-white French executive committee when they were elected in 2017. Period. That's their vision of Montreal," he said.
"They don't want to be inclusive," he said. "Mouvement Montréal, my political party, is by its very nature, authentically diverse. We've done in two months what it took them nearly two decades to do, which is have a diverse team."
#5 "Quebeckers being rude is propaganda."
Moving to Montreal and noticing Montrealers' many quirks might ironically be the most Montreal experience there is. And a recent, locally viral Reddit post proves it.
The August 31 post by Winnipegger-turned-Montrealer Danny Parys entitled "8 things I wish I knew before I moved to Montreal" has garnered over 900 upvotes and 300 comments as of the time of writing.
The eight points are a mix of outside perspective, questions and advice for born-and-raised Montrealers. Among the advice: "it's a bagel, chill the f*** out." According to Parys, Montreal's Haitian cuisine and poutine take precedence over the much-discussed dough holes.
The Winnipegger also picked up on Montrealers' humility when it comes to their English proficiency. Often, as he points out, francophone Montrealers' English is much better than their anglophone counterparts' French.
All Montrealers might appreciate two of Parys's pieces of insight: that "you guys aren't crazy drivers, your rules just suck" (see it's not our fault!) and that "Quebeckers being rude is propaganda."
His other points include five archetypes of Montreal residents (shoutout to the ubiquitous "young men with chest fanny-packs") and, most importantly, the fact that "Celine Dion is a treasure."
We also thank Parys for bringing some much-needed attention to the revelation that is French fries with mayonnaise.
He concluded his post by thanking the city's residents.
"This is the first time I have lived outside of Winnipeg and I feel really welcomed," he wrote.
"This city strikes a perfect balance of enjoying life, economic opportunity, culture, great architecture, and friendly people."