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Margaux Benn: "Several times, I sent myself on a mission, instead of waiting wisely"


Journalist at Le Figaro, this young Franco-Canadian has just been awarded the Albert-Londres prize for her reports on the war in Ukraine.

Born in 1988, she has had several lives, between Africa, Afghanistan and Ukraine, but also between writing, radio and video: in parallel with her work at

Le Figaro,

Margaux Benn makes documentaries.

We asked her about her work, her writing and what motivates her.

In video, the wives of Ukrainians detained by the Russians mobilize in a video

Madame Figaro


– Your first memory of journalism?

Margaux Benn.

At 17, after high school, I worked for a few months for an English-language magazine in Transylvania, Romania.

Then, at the age of 24, with a master's degree in my pocket and penniless, I left for Khartoum, in Sudan.

I had done my thesis on the independence of South Sudan, and was learning Arabic.

I see myself in my apartment without air conditioning, in the middle of the desert, by 40 degrees, eating canned tuna, bread, beans… And starting to work for the site of Radio France Internationale (RFI) with a cultural journalist who acted as my translator.

Where does your attraction to other places come from?

Half of my family is French and the other half is English Canadian.

My father is a geologist, he traveled a lot, and my mother is a school teacher and worked in the United States, in Latin America… I was rocked by their stories.

But above all, I always knew that I wanted to discover the world and never stop learning.

The prospect of a too tidy life worries me.

I just want to share with people feelings, laughter, tears, even without understanding the language, listening without imposing myself, nor contradicting or tackling my opinion

Margaux Benn

How do you manage not to fall into exoticism?

I go to a place without a priori: I discover people, I perceive their emotions, their facial expressions, which can remind me of others, seen in other countries.

I just want to share with them feelings, laughter, tears, even without understanding the language, listening without imposing myself, nor contradicting or tackling my opinion.

Because I am aware that on the ground, people talk to a stranger and that, depending on where I am, I can be perceived in many ways over which I have no control.

Has your gender had an impact on the fieldwork?

I had access to scenes and places thanks to the fact that I am a woman, especially in Afghanistan.

I have sometimes taken advantage of the macho side of men: it happened that I was carried my tripod, that I was given an escort to cross a sensitive area... Being a woman also makes it possible to diffuse tensions, like at checkpoints... We are perceived as more harmless.

As a young woman, I don't project the typical image of a war reporter.

Margaux Benn

How did you end up in Ukraine?

When Russia started attacking in February, I had just been hired by

Le Figaro,

where I had been working since 2018, and I was on a mission in Afghanistan.

I returned and, three weeks later, I left for Ukraine.

This year, I went there four times: at the Foreign Service, we take turns there.

Read alsoInfiltrated in an asylum: the incredible story of Nellie Bly, the first investigative journalist

Has the price changed anything?

It's a mark of recognition, and it's nice to think that I managed to reach so many readers, including the jury.

And then, it's an important milestone in my career.

I had left my job to be independent in Afghanistan, because I had understood that as a young woman who does not reflect the typical image of a war reporter, I would not be the one who would be sent on complicated terrain… On several occasions, I sent myself on a mission, instead of waiting wisely.

This prize comes to say that I have succeeded in showing what I am capable of… And encourages me to progress!

In video, a Ukrainian woman plays the violin in a bunker

Source: lefigaro

All business articles on 2022-12-23

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