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Léna Conditions, Upstart French Influencer, Is Rattling the Literary Lions

Reached by telephone, Mr. Beigbeder softened his criticism of Ms Mahfouf.

“I want this younger girl lasting success, however I’m pessimistic,” he mentioned. “This type of phenomenon is short-term.” He spoke of “the short making of stars by the media.”

Fueling the controversy, and maybe creating some bitter grapes, has been Ms. Mahfouf’s extremely profitable writing debut. Her ebook, a self-help information for younger adults revealed this fall, has offered over 280,000 copies thus far — an unusually excessive determine for a first-time creator in France.

On common, the winners of the Goncourt, France’s most prestigious literary prize, promote round 350,000 copies, based on the market analysis institute GfK.

To date, Ms. Mahfouf appears to have taken all the eye she’s getting in stride.

“I really like difficult myself, coming to environments the place I’m persona non grata and proving that I could make a spot for myself,” she mentioned in an interview in her Paris condo, sporting a excessive ponytail and thick winged eyeliner. On her desk stood a nameplate saying “I’m not bossy, I’m the boss.”

Ms. Mahfouf is one in every of France’s most outstanding vogue influencers, together with Sanaa El Mahalli and Marie Lopez — who’ve additionally gained hundreds of thousands of on-line followers by sharing tips about make-up and outfits, and private anecdotes about relationships or psychological well being.

Final February, she coated a Balmain catwalk on YouTube on the invitation of Loïc Prigent, a widely known vogue journalist and admirer. On the time, she was comparatively unknown, and she or he was sporting garments made by the fast-fashion model Zara. However her pleasure and humorousness have been evident as she greeted — and was usually ignored by — the opposite company.

When advised that the later individuals come to the present, the extra essential they’re, she joked: “We arrived earlier than they even put in the lights — meaning we’re actually not essential.”

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