Living in a city of open hearts and kismet
Shanel Frances Leonard in Shanghai
I am a Girl Gone International because…
I love anything that empowers women and I love how many women are taking on the world in conventional and non-conventional ways.
Frances Shanel Leonard is originally from America but currently lives in Shanghai.
What inspired you to make the move to China？
I moved to China because I wanted the freedom to get to know myself without the familiarities and expectations of home.
What was your first impression in this city compared to how you feel now?
I’ve been in China for about 3 and a half years. I lived in Xianyang for a year, went back to America for a while and then moved to Shanghai. I had visited this city before and immediately fell in love with its endless possibilities. I’m still in love with this city today!
Do you see yourself staying in Shanghai for good?
I am a citizen of the world. I plan to stay here for a few more years. I want to get my business off the ground and take over the world.
Which of your personal or professional ventures in China have been the most satisfying？
I fell in love with and in Shanghai. The openness of hearts in this city has made it easy to find people who are crazy and amazing as the city. I can see the link that lea me to my girlfriend and lead me to my friends.
Do you have a passion project?
My passion is my online shop. I started writing a sex blog about 3 years ago and it’s grown and now I own an intimate boutique. The most exciting part is that even though my shop is small, I donate part of my profits to several NGOs that I support.
What is your favourite place to eat/drink/shop/explore in this city and why?
I love wandering around Jing’an district. I live about 3 blocks away from the temple and that area is is my favorite. I love to grab a peanut butter & chocolate milkshake and Philly cheesesteak from Munchies or a burger from Grinder.
What is the BEST and WORST thing about Shanghai?
Shanghai is crowded, if you can, avoid using the subway around rush hour. Also the weather is humid so expect cold, wet winters and hot, sticky summers. I love the way things happen here. Opportunities that can only be described as kismet, happen here.
Do you think our lifestyle (travelling and living abroad) is genetic or the way we were brought up?
Most of my friends and family have either never left America or never left Kentucky. Where I come from, dreaming big is graduating, getting a 9-5 and starting a family.
My love for travel started the first moment I stepped into the international section of the airport when I was 10 and it never left.
Name three things you crave from your homeland that you are currently living without?
Going to Walmart at 4am, driving around the city with the windows down and enjoying the breeze. I miss my friends and family. Expats aren’t stationary, we’re transient, it’s difficult.
What do you follow on Social Media?
I follow a few fashion bloggers like Gabifresh and Nicole Mason. I also follow Bob the Drag Queen, Kid Fury and @thedeafqueer
Any personal links you would like to include or other info about yourself?
My website is Sleeping Topless, there you can check out my shop and my blog.