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The Lëtzebuerger Journal is already celebrating its second digital birthday. We have found our place in the media landscape, evolved and are ready for 2023. None of this would be possible without the people who tell us their experiences and perspectives. To mark the occasion, each team member looks back on a story that was particularly meaningful to them this year.
When Marlee Dos Reis, founder of the Imani brand, looked over to the 10m2 studio in which she lived in the middle of Vianden's main street, time stood still. Emotional flashback for Marlee: "Me coming home from work with no motivation. No plan, nothing." Marlee used to spend her days at the high school in Ettelbruck and her evenings working at McDonald's in Ingeldorf before returning home very late.
Despite all the things she created, the people she helped and the events she organised, this is the image that I remember. It's the first anecdote I would tell if someone asked me: "Who is Marlee Dos Reis?" It is also what makes her story not just another success story, what makes her story unique. Because the truth is that the value of an achievement lies in the path taken to get there. In the good times and the bad. Every minute of our lives has brought us to where we are today.
The books my grandparents used to read to me when I sneaked into their bed at dawn at the age of five, which surely developed my sense of storytelling. The smell of hamburgers and caramelised onions around the football stadium – football was the subject of my first podcast –, together with my dad in Brussels. The articles I used to write to my mum, daring her to recognise them, intermingled with other published articles on the same theme.
Marlee was fascinated by the photos her dad took. Cut out her mother's 3Suisses mannequins. Played the office girl by using Excel. The first steps of a businesswoman. But if I was so touched by her story, it's because I could identify with her periods of doubt, too. Search for herself, loss of motivation, wanting to give up; she had it all… before getting back up and creating her brand "with the phone in one hand, a Hugo in the other and maybe a little drunk. A real Hollywood scene (laughs)." It takes what it takes.
"We all have something that's right for us. Sometimes it just takes longer to find it …"
Nowadays, everyone wants to go fast, to rush things. That's human. When I started the studies that I really liked – and that lead me straight to the Lëtzebuerger Journal – at the age of 24, I felt like lagging behind. I spent three years of university muddling through micro- and macro-economic courses, a choice made by default, before I decided to stop and go for what I really love: the media. And where I am today is worth all the waiting in the world.
In short, we all have something that's right for us. Sometimes it just takes longer to find it… But when you're there, you know it. "Don't sit at tables where you're not welcomed. Don't go where you're not appreciated. Go where you're celebrated. And if there is no table for you, build your own table. You can be alone, start from scratch and people will come little by little", as Marlee told me in her American English.
Because the longer you go, the more unforgettable experiences you have. It is not for nothing that good storytellers look for emotions and anecdotes rather than facts. A guest is asked about his or her achievements, but the questions he or her is asked are about what led up to them. Because it's not the arrival that counts. It is the quest.