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Touch Yourselfie with Saire







Interview by Melissa Kenny
Prose by Saire M
Select photos by Tyson Millar

Pluck a clever, peripherally observant and beautiful woman from the world. Literally any part of the world—far or near, rich or rare, physical or internet. A skyward follower count is not a determinant for selection. Ask her a set of questions that invites a discussion of sexuality, sensuality, modern feminism, career and creativity, explored through her very personal lens. Have her send you some selfies. And there you have it: that’s Touch Yourselfie, a new Par Femme segment assembled, for you, with pleasure.

Saire is a career woman with a dark sense of humour. She once dated a guy for ten years and has penned an unfinished story about their relationship — one she may never finish or give to him. She 'gushes' about her mother, a professor, philanthropist and marathon runner. (Saire herself takes ballet over running). Go deeper with Saire...

MELISSA KENNY: How do you spend your time every day?

SAIRE M: I work a lot. I’ve worked hard for my career and succeeding professionally is important to me. I have two strong female leaders at work, they give me opportunities that sometimes I feel I don’t deserve, they believe in me, they show me what’s possible in a male-dominated industry. Besides work there are other things.

I used to be a runner. For seven years I ran and I hated every minute of it. I fell in love with ballet a few years ago. When my Grandmother became unwell, I started taking ballet classes to feel closer to her (she was a ballerina as a kid). After one class, I fell in love — I never ran again. Aside from that I write, I read a lot, I travel when my job allows it, cook even though I’m terrible at it and I try to touch the ocean every day. 

How important is sex to you? Why/why not?

I lost my virginity to my a boy that I ended up staying with for a decade. I loved him immensely (and still do) but the sexual chemistry wasn’t there. Maybe because he was my first, maybe because it was never meant to be there. We broke up when I was thirty-two.  I didn’t know how important and amazing sex could be with someone you love (or even just like a bit). I’ve learned a lot in the last three years, about myself, about sex and how important good sex is to me. Some of my relationships since have been about making mistakes, some have been about companionship, some love — all have been about good sex.

What are some things, tangible and non-tangible, that you find sexy?

Vulnerability, sensitivity, rainy days, lunchtime *quickies*, outdoor showers, late nights at the cinema and that electricity you feel with someone new that you’re dating but haven’t slept with yet.

"Some of my relationships have been about making mistakes, some have been about companionship, some love — all have been about good sex."

Are there any qualities or features about yourself — personality, emotional, physical or otherwise — that you once disliked that you now embrace?

A thing few things:

My height! I’ve been 6 foot since I was 14 and was always self-conscious about it. When I was seven, my step-grandmother told me that women taller than their husbands at their wedding, ‘looked weird’. That shook me for a long time. But I never want to get married and I love being tall so I guess it’s okay.

I have a dark sense of humour. My grammie had it and I have it. Not many people in midwestern high school or uni got it and not many people at my corporate job get it. I used to let it get me down but coming into my mid-thirties, I don’t. That’s one of the best things about getting older, you love yourself more.

Can you share a tale or anecdote about something you overcame that has left you feeling stronger? 

I write a lot, mostly about myself (I used to be American after all!); falling in love, heartbreak, unrequited love. A few years ago, I went on a Tinder date with a journalist that I only saw twice but left me with an anecdote that will stay with me forever.  He told me that everything we write is about us, even when it’s not.

I write a short story about each of my relationships and if I hate or love the person enough I give it to them when we break up.

The long-term ex-boyfriend that just got married and moved to New York (that one was hard and the short story may never be finished).

The one that lived in LA.

The one that found me sleeping on his front balcony after a night out.

And the most recent, the sensitive boy that I kept needing just one more ‘last night’ with.

What's your mum like? How has she informed the person you are? 

My mother is the smartest human I know. The most genuine, caring, connected person I know. She’s a professor but now mostly retired and spends a significant amount of her time on her philanthropies. She’s a vegan that has been obsessed with health since a child. She’s always been an athlete but started running marathons at the age of 60. I’m gushing! I always get this way when I speak about my best friend.

She never even slightly implied that I needed to find a partner, marry or have children — just be happy (with a heavy emphasis on formal education). She’s as proud as me for being my true self as she is for any academic or professional accomplishment.

Oh and did I mention that she’s incredibly stunning? Homegirl ticks all the boxes.

What are your approaches to self-care and why is it important?

I know it’s passé to say, ‘obsessed’ but I’m obsessed with self-care. My mother is obsessed, my grandmother was obsessed and I am too. Inside and out. I take six ballet/barre classes a week. Eat (mostly) organically vegetarian and take exceptional care of my skin. I use The Beauty Chef’s Flow Inner Beauty Powder, Votary cleansing face oil and Kyrpis Beauty Elixir religiously — it’s the magic combination that keeps my skin super soft, clean and moisturised.

I’m constantly going on cleanse and hating every moment of it. The other day I read a short article about liver damage and I immediately started a 30 day beetroot liver cleanse. I’m quick to jump on a bandwagon; one of my strengths.

"[My mother] never even slightly implied that I needed to find a partner, marry or have children — just be happy."

Could you please describe your favourite sensual scene from a movie or book?

My father gave me copy of The Catcher in the Rye when I was eleven. I fell in love with Holden Caufield and cried myself to sleep for years because I was in love with a fictional character and knew that I could never be with him. When he spoke about his childhood friend, Jane and how she wouldn’t take her kings out of the back row when they played checkers, that was the scene. I’ve always wanted someone to think that about me, to say that about me.  Not the checker thing exactly but something specific and beautiful about me that no one else noticed. No-one’s ever thought about my kings. That’s my sensual moment.

Also the karaoke scene from Lost in Translation when Bill Murray’s character sings, ‘More than This’ by Roxy Music to Scarlett Johansson’s character. Right person, wrong time is incredibly relatable.

What is interesting or exciting about the current wave of feminism, largely fuelled by the internet, here in 2017?

There has been a misunderstanding of what ‘feminism’ means for a long time. The current wave in the last year is exciting but I still feel the confusion, the hate. If the current wave means people read feminist literature more, if it means more people wake up and stand up — that’s great. I’m personally still working on breaking out of the societal repression of needing to please people, needing to be pretty, needing to be what’s expected of me. I’m excited about what’s happening and I’m excited about what’s to come.

Read instalment #1 of Touch Yourselfie with Tammi Ireland

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