Essays - Olivia Stren

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H E L L O

I would love to hear from you.
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tel. 416 728 5741
olivia.stren@gmail.com

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The Color Cure

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ELLE (U.S.) 

May, 2017

“Your mother looks like a gypsy,” a so-called friend once said to me, referring to the clothes my mom would wear to pick me up from school—no doubt making an entrance. It was the mid-80s. I was about 10 years old. Among all the other mothers, sensibly dressed in their sweatshirts and jeans or Angela […]

You Must Remember This

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FASHION magazine

March, 2017

 It was springtime in Paris. Horse-chestnut and almond trees were in white, fluffy bloom, and children were floating toy sailboats across the Jardin du Luxembourg’s Grand Bassin. I was about 12 years old, and I was in giddy, heart- fluttering love—with a bag. My mom and I were visiting my aunt, and the three of […]

The Nanny Diaries

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ELLE Canada

August, 2016

A few years ago, I was invited to take a Silversea cruise through the Caribbean. Ordinarily, a week on board a cruise ship (the enormous kind, where you find yourself corralled into a Zumba class in the a.m. and sloppily adhered to the back of a conga line in the evening) would not entice. But […]

Tidy Up Your State of Mind

The Kit

July, 2016

 A few weeks ago, I turned 40. At the dawn of middle age, I have spent too much time bemoaning the passage of time. My mother is French, so nostalgia for all that is irrecoverable has proven both hobby and birthright. (I know, I shouldn’t blame my mother. I’m too old for that now.) I […]

Cabin Fever

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ELLE Canada

June, 2016

 At sunset on Sundays at summer camp in the Haliburton Highlands, we’d sit around a fire in our pine-green polyester camp uniforms and sing songs. I particularly loved “Leaving on a Jet Plane” because it was a sad song, making it (quasi-) acceptable for me to weep openly and blame it on the music. I […]

Olfactory Nerve

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FASHION Magazine

November, 2015

Last fall, when I was about six months pregnant, I went to the hospital for an anatomy ultrasound. As the technician applied gel to my abdomen, she informed me that she would not be speaking throughout the procedure and that I should address any questions I might have with my doctor. But after about 10 […]

Through the Haze

September, 2015

{ View Article PDF }At 16 days early and weighing six pounds, 13 ounces, baby Leo greeted the world with a soft cry—and a big yawn. As I lay in the hospital bed, my tiny brand new baby sleeping next to me, I felt weirdly euphoric. I’m no stranger to the blues, so I had […]

False Glow

ELLE Canada

April, 2015

A few years ago, I had lunch with a friend who was six months pregnant with her third child. “I loooove being pregnant,” she said as she tore happily into a crois­sant, her gestational mane gleaming. “It makes me feel powerful!” I never thought that pregnancy would make me feel formidable. (Power and I have never […]

Kill or Be Killed

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ELLE U.S.

March, 2015

Soccer is a beautiful, elegant game to watch. Unless you’re watching me play. “You’re on!” a teammate yells my first day on the field. I scurry, hoping for invisibility, toward the safety of the sidelines, feeling vulnerable and stunned, like a gimpy gnu among prowling lions. I’d recently watched a National Geographic documentary about predatory […]

My Silver Linings Playbook

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Chatelaine magazine

May, 2014

The philosophy in my family has generally been not so much that the glass is half empty as that it’s basically a sieve. My mother is French, so pessimism is arguably her birthright. The French have, historically, exhibited an impressively unrelenting fidelity to pessimism and its assemblage of black-turtleneck-wearing in-laws: Moroseness, Ennui, Despair, Misery, Melancholy, […]