Nalima Touré is a Creative Producer based in New York City. After studying at Parsons, she has produced photoshoots for HNDSM, Nike, H&M, Elle Canada, and Saturdays NYC. We caught up with Nalima over the phone while we were all in self-isolation.
AJ: Have you found any positive aspects of being in self quarantine?
Nalima: I constantly remind myself that this isn't something that’s specifically happening to me. It’s something that’s happening to everyone and there is some comfort in knowing that everybody is going through a very similar experience. Everyone is figuring it out in their own way, together. That helps me calm down in moments of total panic.
AJ: In addition to journal writing, has there been anything that you’ve had more time to do that was sometimes more challenging in regular life?
Nalima: Journaling and catching up with friends and family. It’s not just a quick text message here and there. It is actually FaceTiming and seeing them. Whether it is having a drink together or finding funny moments in all of this and taking a second to laugh hysterically at how insane this is. That is actually one of the best parts. I feel more connected to friends that I would catch up with every once in a while and whenever we do catch up, it’s amazing but now it’s like, “Are you doing anything? Call me.”
Nunu: Do you think this situation has changed your perspective on that connection with people close to you beyond the pandemic?
Nalima: Hmm...I would say, no. I am the type of person that when I care about someone, I am really good about staying in touch with them and making time. It’s just that now there is more time available. We can talk for much longer about nothing versus saying, “Hey, let’s talk in half an hour and give me all your life updates. I’ll give you all of my life updates and let’s figure out when we're going to see each other next.” Now there is no urgency on the agenda of topics to talk about. It’s more like hanging out.
AJ: Do you have any working from home essentials?
Nalima: My essentials are my MacBook, my Kakimori journal and I have these little wearable weights called Bala Bangles that are so cute. I’ve been trying to do workouts at home which is so hard. My personality doesn't like it. I like to be in a class or in a gym. This idea of working out at home; my brain still won’t let those real endorphins pass through the way they're supposed to. I’m like, “This is my space, what am I doing jumping around?” Another essential is a bottle of water super close by to stay hydrated and a comfy outfit - of course, my HNDSM clothing! In the late hours, a glass of wine is really helpful these days.
AJ: Did you like your name growing up?
Nalima: I feel like that is the perfect question to ask me, with my name. When I was younger, I would always ask one of my sisters to switch names with me for the day because I always loved their names better than mine: Marie-Leigh and Liela. It just seemed easier to me. “Switch names with me for the day. Just for the day.” They would always say no. The majority of the time, when I introduce myself to anyone, people don’t get it right away. I just found that process to be tedious. I love my name now. It’s a beautiful name. I am so proud of it and it is so unique. But having to say it over and over again and feeling like no one was listening made it such an uncomfortable process of falling in love with my own name. One of my dad’s favorite aunts was named Nalima and he loved it. He told my mom to give me that name. My mom chose my younger sisters’ names which also makes me feel very special that my dad was so vocal about giving me my name.
AJ: What is something you think everyone should experience in their life?
Nalima: To be honest, I strongly feel that everyone should experience love and death in their lifetime. Those are two experiences that are completely inexplicable. You need to feel them because you can never completely articulate exactly what that they are.
Nunu: It is so hard to explain or understand unless you have been through it.
AJ: What was your favorite moment of the day?
Nalima: I’ve been getting into meditation and I’ve been doing it everyday which I've never been consistent with until now. That is probably one of my favorite moments of the day. I’ve been doing it in the morning which kind of sets the tone for the day because it has been a roller coaster of emotions. That’s one, and the end of the work day when I can chill out, is another highlight. When I just hang out on the couch and I’ve done the best that I can for the day in terms of a work schedule. I just allow myself time to watch Netflix. Dustin [Nalima’s boyfriend] has actually said, ‘Your mood completely shifts when it’s time to chill out. You’re so happy.’
Nunu: That’s a peaceful moment.
AJ: It is good that you can turn it off. Speaking of work, you are great at what you do. What advice do you have for young creatives?
Nalima: My advice for young creatives is, number one, just create. Know that whatever it is that you’re doing might not take shape in the way you think it is supposed to on your first go. But the more you do it, the more you practice your craft, the better you’ll become and the more refined that vision will be in front of you. In addition to that, don't be afraid to reach out to people who inspire you and ask them questions or advice. Have them look at your work and be open to feedback. That is from personal experience. It can be really intimidating to put yourself out there especially when you want something so badly and you want to be accepted in that world. The more eyes that look at your work and the more advice you get, the better it will be. You’ll be better at showing what it is you’re trying to communicate about what it is you do.