Find out what it’s like to date as a Black American woman in Paris.
For Boston based real estate agent, Rose Zilla-Ba, the dating game in the United States had run its course. Instead, she signed up for and was cast for Freeform's latest dating series, Love Trip: Paris—premiering Feb. 14, 2023 on Freeform—to find love abroad. She always said she was going to marry a Frenchman, and this was her opportunity to make that a reality.
In the show, four American girls, unlucky in love in their own country, move into a penthouse in the middle of Paris to find a floor of French suitors waiting to date them. We spoke with Zilla-Ba to learn more about what led her to Paris for love and what the experience was like for her as a Black American woman.
EBONY: Why did you decide that finding love abroad in Paris was the best option?
Rose Zilla-Ba: Paris has always felt like a second home to me. I grew up visiting my family often, and French culture was a large part of my childhood. Not only do I believe Paris is the most romantic city in the world, but it's truly a place I feel at home and that I can fully be myself, making it the perfect place for me to fall in love.
As a Black American woman, have you found dating internationally to be difficult or easy? Why?
In all honesty, I think dating anywhere is difficult! What I have found dating in Paris is that although race is always a factor in dating, being American trumps everything. I feel that when it comes to dating, I am less associated with stereotypes of being a Black woman and more with being an American. This is both refreshing and a little disappointing, as the French don't always have the most flattering view of Americans.
You mentioned that you always envisioned yourself marrying a Frenchman, what do you love most about them?
Frenchmen can definitely be a handful. They are passionate, intense and sensitive, but these are all attributes I seek in a person. There is something extremely whimsical about French culture, where beauty is really appreciated in all forms; art, music, food and romance. I find that Frenchmen have that innate appreciation for beauty, and there's less of a rigidity to the so-called "masculine".
Do you still think seeking love abroad in Paris was the best move? What is the dating culture like there?
I think that seeking love abroad was definitely the best move for me. I am someone who knows what they want, and I am also not afraid to be pushed out of my comfort zone culturally. Even though dating abroad brought on other challenges, I really appreciated the intentionality of dating in Paris.
Any tips for other Black women or men who are afraid to expand their search beyond the US?
If you aren't finding what or who you want in the US, push yourself to look beyond. As scary as dating abroad may seem, what you want does exist, and you deserve to have it.