We would like to take the opportunity to present our members for the IAEJ community of journalists and photographers during these trying times of a global pandemic. First to go from France: Sébastien Roullier.
Questions & Answers
Q: Where exactly are you based?
A: Asnières-sur-Seine, in the Northwestern suburbs of Paris.
Q: Do you live with any partners, family and/or pets?
A: I live with my partner, Anton.
Q: Do you work independently or are you affiliated with a particular news organization?
A: I’m the chief-editor of GRANDPRIX magazine, GRANDPRIX.info and GRANDPRIX.tv
Q: How long have you been an equestrian journalist?
A: I started to write news and stories about equestrian sports in 2006 and I’ve been a full time equestrian journalist only since 2011.
Q: What was your path to becoming an equestrian journalist?
A: I studied journalism at the Ecole Publique de Journalisme de Tours, located in the famous Châteaux de la Loire area. Then, I worked a few months for Radio France in Tours and La Rochelle (doing my very first equestrian report/interview at the CSI3* Royan with legendary Eric Navet), then one year in Flers, Argentan et Alençon for Ouest-France, the biggest daily newspaper here in France even if it is mainly a regional media, then for Paris-Normandie/La Presse Havraise, a smaller group of regional newspapers during four years. There, in Le Havre, Evreux and Rouen, I started working only for sports and I was given the challenge to write interesting stories about equestrian sports for a general audience, which was not easy at all! After a little more than one and a half year working as an independent journalist, based in Nice, I was contracted by GRANDPRIX in 2012 and moved definitively to Paris in Summer 2014. My contract started during the marvelous 2012 London Olympic Games. I covered live my first OG in 2016 in Rio, with historic gold medals for France. And I’m so much looking forward to flying to Japan next summer.
Q: What sports and types of competition do you cover?
A: Mainly Jumping, Eventing and breeding, but also Dressage and Para-Dressage, Endurance, Driving, Vaulting and even Reining!
Q: What new skills did you pick up during quarantine? How has the Covid-19 pandemic effected your life?
A: I had to learn how to work with my team only by home office, which was and still is very difficult, annoying and far from who I am. I got the Covid-19 in late May, lost smell and taste during ten days and felt very tired during three days, and then I recovered quickly. The biggest concern, even if journalists here are allowed to move as much as they want/need, was to stay at home, which is the exact opposite of my normal life… If you consider I had to spend the quarantine with my former boyfriend and a friend of his in my 27 m2 apartment… you’ll understand it was not easy at all.
Q: What’s your all-time favourite moment in equestrian sport?
A: I remember more than one, but I would say the incredible round of Patrice Delaveau and Orient Express*HDC in the last individual qualification before the Final Four in Caen during the 2014 World Equestrian Games in Normandy, and especially the very last jump. As you’ll see, it was more than a breathtaking one!
Q: Talk about your most memorable adventure while covering equestrian sport.
A: I had the chance to live fabulous interviews with Eric Navet, Ludger Beerbaum, Rodrigo Pessoa, Steve Guerdat, Kevin Staut, Malin Baryard-Johnsson, Laura Kraut, Philippe Le Jeune, Michel Robert and so many more but one of the most memorable was the one with John Whitaker in February 2015 in Vejer de la Frontera. We had a great talk… and a few drinks until… a time I’m not even able to remember. But above all, John was just so generous by sharing a lot of memories and thoughts. He is a genuine legend.
Q: What is your favourite competition venue and why?
A: Tough question. The Soers Park in Aachen is obviously the most impressive and crowded one, I was also very impressed by the enormous crowd in Badminton and Le Lion-d’Angers, and I still have to discover Dublin and Spruce Meadows, but I to say that François-André stadium in La Baule remains my favourite because of the crowd. The people can enter for free, which means that you can meet different kind of people, and it gives something special to this great show.
Q: What is the last book / latest streamed series / favourite podcast you read / watched /enjoyed?
A: I’m a very bad reader. As I spend all my work time to read and write, I’m hardly able to read at home, and my last book was about psychology. La Casa de papel has made me crazy the last weeks, and I’m now binging the fourth part of The Crown, but I also want mention the fabulous series Pose. I’m listening some podcasts from times to times but I prefer live radio: France Inter to get informed and FIP, which I would recommend to anybody, to (re)discover all kind of independent music.
Q: Who inspires you?
A: Different kind of people, from my mother to great artists, such as Pedro Almodóvar, François Ozon, Christopher Nolan and Xavier Dolan for cinema, Diego Velásquez, Caravaggio, Marc Chagall for paintings, Laurent Garnier, Alain Bashung, Christophe and many more for music, Andre Agassi and Roger Federer for sports, and a few equestrians such as John, Steve and Kevin and breeders like Joris de Brabander and my friend Bernard Le Courtois, and of course my dear friend Alban Poudret, who I consider the best of all us.
Q: How do you spend your time when you’re not working?
A: Going to concerts, clubs, theaters, cinemas, operas, museums, restaurants and bars, and staying with friends just to have fun together.
Q: What is some of your work of which you’re the proudest of?
A: I would mention the two stories I was honored to submit to the McCauley’s Alltech IAEJ A+ Award juries in 2014 and 2018.
Part One Article about french breeder Denis Hubert
Part two Denis Hubert
See you all somewhere