César Domboy on the psychological geography of Paris and L.A.

by Ericka Spears

“Everything has to do with how L.A. and Paris are organically designed and how it affects the inhabitants there.” Domboy remarks, “How you move from one location to another is key."
César Domboy, the 26-year-old Paris native who starred alongside Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the heart-grasping film The Walk (2015) describes Los Angeles as less embodied by the superficial title it’s received, and more as a place with distinctive cultures informing its essence. “Every social class in Los Angeles has a cool style—one that looks as if they’ve stepped out of a Bret Easton Ellis’ book or the film Las Vegas Parano [Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas] (1998).” Domboy explains, “It’s notorious for breeding the ultimate cool being, one that has as much to offer as to give.”

The pressure to sustain a sense of beauty could be one of the infamous unspoken rules of living and making it in Los Angeles. In Paris on the other hand, the pressures of beauty reflect a much more organic and authentic take on appearance. Domboy describes a modern day Parisian woman as being “Wildly natural—a beautiful, cool girl that relies on a more natural take on beauty.” Are all individuals in L.A. artificial on the inside and out? Parisians seem to be able to distance themselves from the standards of beauty in their society, and better cope with that pressure. The philosophy of liberté—to be free from society’s standards, free from the thoughts of others, and most importantly free within your own mind, body, and soul—seems to be one that Parisians hold dear, and encounters you might have in Los Angeles can transpire differently in Paris.

“Everything has to do with how L.A. and Paris are organically designed and how it affects the inhabitants there.” Domboy remarks, “How you move from one location to another is key. In Paris, you have way more chances of meeting someone because you are out more and walk. You are most likely to collide with someone and encounter people. In L.A., I am sure you can meet a true friend or soul mate. But you will rarely meet someone unexpectedly... except maybe in a car crash!”

This year finds Domboy in the romantic comedy Up for Love alongside Jean Dujardin—a bonafide star in his native France who snatched American hearts (and the Oscar for lead actor) as George Valentin in The Artist in 2012—and drama Un sac de billes. So is there a Los Angeles future in store for the promising Parisian, or would the nice weather dampen his drive? “I like being in the sun, so a place that is always warm and sunny is certainly pleasant for me. But I think it has nothing to do with talent. You can be a genius whether it rains or not.”

Photographer: Fe Pinheiro.

Stylist: Henry de Castillon.

Groomer: Pomme Seiler for B-Agency.

Location: Hotel Montana, Paris.

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