"I know I have an incredible life," says Juliette between sips of mineral water. "We French have a word for it - formidable! For-mee-DA-bleh, - which is like 'beyond amazing' in English."
Sitting with Juliette in front of a café in Paris' Marais district in sight of the Pompidou Center, it's easy to concur. Barely out of secondary school, pretty, blonde, equipped with a ready laugh and a warm manner, Juliette has become one of those human beings central to any city's life - this moment's reigning "It" girl.
Couturiers beg her to wear their creations (she prefers Jean-Paul Gaultier, but she's also got a secret liking for Belgian designer Anne Demeulemeester...) TV Newshounds want her opinion on everything from Fall ready-to-wear to the situation in the Middle East. She's already been invited to guest on Diane Von Furstenberg and Barry Diller's yacht during the Cannes Film Festival. Restaurants and nightclubs regularly beg her to make paid appearances - "Not for me," she says. "That's Paris Hilton's thing. I only go where I enjoy myself."
Her most frequent after dark haunts include Les Bains (still probably Paris' chic-est disco) Buddha Bar for a more raucous hang, Caveau de la Huchette for Jazz "I've only recently discovered Jazz," she explains, and for authentic French cabaret, Au Lapin Agil. "To Americans, it might seem perhaps the word would be 'corny'," she theorizes, "but real cabaret is very raucous and very intime, there are singers, poets, humorists and it's as if the performer is speaking directly to the audience - and the audience definitely speaks back. If they love what you're doing, you'll know it. If they don't, well..."
She especially loves the chansons - old-fashioned French songs where everyone is invited to sing along. "It isn't terribly fashionable," she notes, "but it's really, really fun."
JulietteAnd her fun-loving nature as well as her talent at confounding preconceptions are two intrinsic parts of her charm. She is the Most Popular Girl in Paris for good reason. Contacted by phone, her best friend Brigitte Arnault, who has known her since the two were schoolmates at Le Rosey, the exclusive Swiss Boarding school in Rolle, laughs when queried as to her dear friend's allure.
"She is pretty, but there are prettier girls," she observes. "And she is very clever as well, but again, there are greater intellects. What sets Juliette apart is what I would call an absolutely fearless passion for living. When Juliette learns something new, she will pursue the subject until it is worn out and we, her friends say 'Please, J! No more about String Theory or New Wave Cinema or whatever. We are going to lose our minds."
"She is the same way with boys - not common, but very direct when she is intrigued. She scared the boys in boarding school out of their wits! She once accosted (French author) Bernard Henri Levy on the street about something she didn't agree with in one of his books. I was mortified."
But that passion is a driving force in Juliette's circle of intimates, acknowledges Arnault. "Without Juliette, we would probably all be sitting on our derrieres most of the time," observes Arnault. "Juliette is the one who's always screaming at everyone 'Get Up! We're going to this new club/gallery/restaurant I've heard about!'"
And does Arnault know of any boys in her friend's life? "Oh, no you don't!" she says with a laugh. "That you're going to have to ask J about!"
And indeed, the rumors fly continuously; Juliette with James Jagger (son of Mick), Juliette with Olivier Martinez, Juliette with French rapper Joey Starr, Juliette with Thomas Hollande (son of French Socialist Presidential Candidate Sègoléne Royal).
Juliette"Please!" she says, laughing so hard she chokes on her water. "If I was this busy romantically, I'd have no time to live!"
Hmm. Nice feint, but we're not buying.
Next Fall, she plans to enroll at the prestigious Institut d`Etudes Politiques de Paris - known as "Sciences Po" - to study Urban Policy.
"I have to do something useful," she explains. "I'm having a wonderful time, but I can't spend my entire life dressing up and going to parties, can I?"
Probably not. But given her vivacious nature, Urban Policy seems a bit dry, no? Juliette is philosophical. "My dream would be to sing, but what are the chances of one supporting oneself as a singer? Best to be practical. I can be a fun Urban Planner, one need only journey to the Paris city border to see there aren't enough of those."