What Paris taught Bravo’s ‘Real Girlfriends in Paris’ star Adja Toure about love

Bravo’s “Real Girlfriends in Paris” star Adja Toure divulges what it was like to fall in love in the "City of Light."

Watching Adja Toure, one of two Black ex-pats featured on Bravo’s “Real Girlfriends in Paris,” fall in love abroad was a joy to witness. 

The Northern Virginia native moved to Paris on a whim during the pandemic, looking to shake things up a bit. She wound up cast on the new reality show, which chronicled her life as she balanced love, friends, and a budding career in the beauty industry. In the series’ first season, viewers get to see Toure and her castmates traverse the oft-romanticized “City of Light” in chic outfits, paired with adorable little dogs and relatively carefree spirits. We also watch Toure give love an honest try after meeting Alex, a German man who sweeps her off of her feet. 

Adja Toure Real Girlfriends in Paris theGrio.com
(l-r) “Real Girlfriends in Paris” castmates Kacey Margo, left, and Adja Toure. (Photo by: Bravo via Getty Images)

After sitting down with Toure for a brief chat, it’s clear how real her depiction was on “RGIP.” She began our conversation riding on the infectious high of having scored tickets to Beyoncé’s “Renaissance” tour seconds before we sat down to chat. She was thoughtful in her responses as she divulged what it was really like to live and love in Paris while filming, especially as a Black woman. While there has been no definitive word on a second season, Toure is certainly looking forward to returning to the city for a re-do without cameras. This conversation has been edited for length.

theGrio: What inspired you to go to Paris?

Adja Toure: So, growing up, my family is majority Senegalese, and so I spoke French as a little girl because it’s a Francophone country. I have a lot of family in France and Paris. So within my upbringing, I’ve been going to Paris and going to Senegal. Now I am an adult, I have my own money. I was sick of New York. For a little time being, I was like, let me just shake things up. So naturally, I went to a country where I speak the language, so I chose Paris as my destination to work remotely, and you know, shake up life a little bit. 

TG: What led to you joining the cast of “Real Girlfriends in Paris”?

AT: It’s funny. They were looking for folks who were like girls living their best life in Paris. And a friend of mine had showed me that there was a casting call abroad, and I was like, “Oh, ha, like, I am a girl living her best life, why not?” And I guess I matched the profile well enough that the process went on, and I was eventually cast on the show.

TG: How was your experience on the show?

AT: Interesting. I feel like I was like in a blackout, just filming. I have no idea what happened. But it was great. It was fun. It was definitely a very interesting experience. I would do it again. I think that I got to experience TV in a way that very few people do — which is a double-edged sword because I also now can barely watch reality TV without thinking about my experience. But that’s just the empath in me.

TG: That is very interesting. I’ve never thought about that.

AT: It’s been interesting, overall. Though, I think the one thing is I definitely want to do Paris again, without the cameras in my face, so to speak. So, I am excited to be going back to Europe very soon, so I can do the little excursions that I didn’t get to the first time around because my schedule was dominated by work and filming. But also, I haven’t gotten to do my solo time in Paris, and I had a boyfriend very early into [my] living there. So you know, part two, it’s Adja’s world. Let me go actually experience it.

TG: Let’s get into the love aspect of your experience. What was your experience dating and falling in love while you were there, especially as a Black woman?

Adja Toure — (Photo by: Chris Haston/Bravo via Getty Images)

AT: I’ll juxtapose between New York and Paris: In general, when I have dated in New York, the guys who were closest to being my boyfriend were always European. So I think that, in and of itself, is very indicative of my experience in Europe, which was, I would say, overarchingly positive in comparison to America. 

Being of African descent doesn’t mean the same thing in the U.S. as it does in Europe, especially when you’re speaking French, because there’s so many Francophone countries that have since had a plethora of immigrants to Paris, so I am less “otherized,” so to speak, when in a romantic context, [though] probably still otherized in a societal context. I would say romantically, people are a little bit more open to specifically interracial dating, and also just a little bit more respect towards me, I’d say, than what I experienced in America.

I found it very refreshing that I was getting approached versus doing the approaching. I think that in America, there’s a little bit more of a standoffishness at bars or restaurants or wherever you’re hanging out with your friends. Whereas in Paris, I think people are a little bit bolder, maybe sometimes a little aggressive, so then you got to say, “Hey, buddy, take a step back.” But in general, they’re more open and direct. And I think I appreciate that because I also am open and direct.

TG: What would you say you learned about love since being in Paris?

AT: I think love is both a feeling and a choice. Because I have definitely fallen in love before, but I haven’t chosen to develop it with said other people. I definitely had the feelings and the foundations with Alex and maybe with a couple of other people, but [it was] only with Alex that I chose to pursue it in full and kind of just dive right in. 

I think that one big thing I learned about love is that, yeah, love hurts. Sometimes, [there are] going to be things that really rub you the wrong way, or it’s going to be tough, but it’s a choice to fight through that and maintain the relationship and work to better yourself and better the relationship as you continue. You can fall in love — but choosing to stay in love is the hard part.

TG: Any advice for the next young Black woman headed to Paris for a love adventure of her own?

AT: I would say keep an open mind because, first of all, I dated a German man in Paris. You might not find a French guy, so keep that in mind too. Another thing that’s really important, I appreciate quality time. I think that if you are pretty well tuned into your love language and what you’re looking for, you shouldn’t be afraid to be upfront because I told Alex really early on, “Hey, I’m not like a touchy-feely person, but I’ll hang out with you.” Sometimes, he’d be in a cuddly mood, and I’d be like, “OK, OK, like for your sake. This is your love language, but let’s have a cut-off; you got five minutes of it.” … 

I think [respecting boundaries] is something that everyone can benefit from. That’s something to look forward to, in my opinion, at least.

TG: Any final thoughts?

AT: I think holding friends accountable to microaggressions or little comments and that kind of thing is really, really important. That also applies to your love life. Don’t let some random guy say something about your hair or let some random guy objectify you and call you a “chocolate bunny” or some BS. … It’s not about what celebrity I look like. I am a beautiful, Black woman. Diminishing that, either in friendships or in other relationships, is just not worth your time. I definitely implore people to walk away from any sort of situation in which they feel like they are not getting the best treatment out of their non-Black fellow people.

Kay Wicker is a lifestyle writer for theGrio covering health, wellness, travel, beauty, fashion, and the myriad ways Black people live and enjoy their lives. She has previously created content for magazines, newspapers, and digital brands. 

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