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Meet R.M. Michaële Antoine of Curios in Ocean Beach

Today we’d like to introduce you to R.M. Michaële Antoine.

Michaële, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My story, like many others, is that somewhere along the road to living my life as prescribed by societal norms, I realized that following the path of least resistance is a sure way to live a life full of regret. I started Curios because in every environment I engage in, professional and otherwise, there is a veil of dishonesty and fear that permeates every conversation. In the workplace, this manifests as ‘politics’ and in our personal lives it shows up as being ‘polite’ or ‘nice’. All of it leaves us missing out on the full experience of human connection. Curios aims to take the training wheels off talk – meaning, I think we as a society can do better than nice and polite. I think we’re capable of curiosity, bravery, and intentionality – we just need some guidance and practice doing so since our current educational system doesn’t quite focus on our interpersonal skills as well as it could.

In terms of how I started, well, I did what many of us do. I did what I thought I was ‘supposed’ to do. I went to school (and overdid it) by pursuing dual undergraduate degrees in International Business & Intercultural Communication. I pivoted and got a Master’s degree in Higher Education Administration, which is the profession I credit for much of my ability for wearing multiple hats and being a jack of many trades. While working in student affairs, I also pursued a second Masters in Communication which has always been a passion area of mine. Unfortunately, though, I realized that much of what colleges & universities aim to educate students about is not practiced often enough. So, after about seven years doing the very good and decent work of supporting students in realizing their full potential, I pivoted again and went to work for Tony Robbins as a creative content producer. I learned a TON, both from student affairs and from one of the world’s most well-known thought leaders. But I’ve always had a bit of a rebel spirit and wanted to forge my own path and develop a company where individuals could practice what we all want from our interactions.

Has it been a smooth road?
Definitely not. There have been many tears, bouts of imposter syndrome, loss of opportunities and relationships etc. This comes with the territory of living a fully realized life – there is mess involved. The work I aim to do in the world to help others interact in a more authentic/transparent way comes with a lot of bumping up against the ways in which I avoid transparency and vulnerability in order to survive in a world that we’ve designed those attributes to be not as important to success. So, coming to terms with my shortcomings when it comes to communicating in a curious, brave, and intentional way has been both a learning curve and a blessing because it helps me curate the spaces for others to explore with me and gives them permission to do so.

Curios – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Curios aims to take the training wheels off talk. I’d describe myself as master facilitator, educator, leader, and creative focused on equipping the community with the tools and practice to have conversations that matter. So, Curios creates experiences that encourage curiosity through consulting, workshops + trainings, and a retreat entitled ‘Real Raw Experience’. My purpose is to share my passion for intentional self-development, leadership, and communication with others and provide brave spaces for intentional work that allows for effective, authentic, and meaningful interactions.

My proudest moment with Curios has been the conversations we’ve hosted. One was entitled ‘Porn & Puppets’ where we discussed ethical pornography consumption and sex education as a gateway to practice discussing our sensual selves. The most recent one was about race where we were able to virtually create a space where we deconstructed the elements of a conversation and focused on listening as a way to hone in on Black stories and history in order to process the past, present, and future of racism.

I think what sets Curios apart is the ability to curate a brave space for seemingly uncomfortable conversations. So, whether that means incorporating different subject matter experts, or infusing thought exercises and group discussion to process a typically taboo subject, we’re hoping to normalize having those discussions in a public forum.

How do you think the industry will change over the next decade?
Given the state of our world, I do think that the next phase in human evolution is developing our consciousness in such a way where we express ourselves more fully. The human experience is very complicated but we seem to want it in bite-sized, digestible pieces. I think we all feel the shift, especially given the removal of face-to-face interaction. The need for real, intimate connection that isn’t sugar-coated or a means to an end is the way of the future for communication.

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Image Credit:
Stacy Keck Photo

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