Friday, November 27, 2009
Shala Monroque: Fashions Newest Muse Speaks
Shala(r) and a guest during the Doha-Tribeca Film Festival.
(Photo courtesy of Shala)
As one of NYC's hottest "Uptown Girls" who is now reaching fashion icon status with her elegantly-chic look. Shala Monroque, writer and Editor-at-Large for The Pop Magazine has been rising to the top of the fashion heap for the past three years. With her ever-changing coif and sophisticated lady like vibe, the fresh faced beauty and St. Lucia native is making her mark as a writer and a modern-day muse.
This fashionable beauty is all over the web and her chameleon like traits are getting her noticed. Whether this fashion renegade is jetting off to Paris, France or to St. Petersburg, Russia on choice assignment's for her job or off to the many art exhibits, she's often found in NYC where she is a part of the cultural scene.
I was interested in talking with Shala to find out a little more information about her, so I got up the nerve and asked her for an interview. As the saying goes, ask and you shall receive and she was gracious enough to allow me to interview her. No, I didn't fly to NYC, which would have been great, but I conducted the interview the way we do them in these modern times-over the phone or via the web. I'm sure there will be more from other individuals in the future because she is now, one to watch.
Everyone wants to know who is this Shala Monroque? She's not a singer. She's not an actress. She's not a model, but she sure looks like one. Fashions newest muse gives us a taste of who she is.
Divalocity: "Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to interview you. First of all, how are you?"
Shala: "Very well, thank you."
Divalocity: Give us a little history about yourself. What is your occupation and where were you educated? It doesn't matter where you attended school, I just want to show women that they can do and be anything that they set out to be with or without a higher education, just as long as they have the desire and determination to succeed. We tend to concentrate on the superficial of women and dismiss their intellect and accomplishments and I want to show them that how we think and act counts first before how we look.
Shala: I grew up in St.Lucia and went to secondary school there. I've attempted college, and I'm still in the process of slowly getting a degree. It's taking forever but I'm also learning a lot by travelling as well. That works for me. I'm not going to advise anyone against pursuing higher education, I would encourage it. I'm very curious and have lots of questions and so its possible I may keep going to college for life.
Divalocity: Vogue magazine and other's are labeling you as a socialite, do you consider yourself only a socialite? If not, please elaborate about the various philanthropic endeavors that you are involved in.
Shala: To quote Whitney Houston, "I'm every woman, its all in me" I would hate to think that I am capable of doing only one thing, its just not me. I'm very fluid and enjoy being in various environments. It's a good way to learn. I'm currently not involved in any philanthropic endeavours. I haven't been moved that way yet, not that I don't care but I like to do things genuinely. I sometimes donate to Doctors Without Borders.
Divalocity: Who are your fashion influences and icons?
Shala: I don't know that I really have any. Everybody influences me. The list would be too long.
Divalocity: I believe that Haute Couture is an art form and should be protected and preserved for future generations to see. Do you feel that there is a relationship between fashion and art?
Shala: Art speaks, fashion speaks. That's the relationship between the two.
Divalocity: Who are some of your favorite designers? You seem to have a penchant for fabulous accessories and I love how you play them up, who are some of your favorite handbag designers?
Shala: Right now, I'm over the "It Bag" phenomenon. Actually I was never really into it. I am not into "it-anything" for that matter. I like what I like no matter what anyone thinks. That said, I am into Hermès now because they are classic bags that are very utilitarian and chic. Some of which have been around for decades.
Divalocity: I saw the pictures on The Sartorialist Blog of you taken during PFW and every one who commented wanted your Birken bag.
Divalocity: Who are your favorite artists? Which do you prefer, Modern Art or that of the Old World Master painters?
Shala: Difficult to answer, so I'll stick with Picasso for the moment because he can never be erased. I've learned that sometimes the paintings I hated most are the ones I've come to love the most.
Divalocity: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
Shala: I don't really look at life that way, especially now. My motto of the moment is "Inshallah" God willing, what will be will be et cetera.
Divalocity: What words of inspiration can you give our readers?
Shala: "This too shall pass"
Divalocity: Jet-setting from place to place seems like a glamorous lifestyle, please tell my readers how important it is for women to travel the world and learn about other cultures.
Shala: Travel is important to learn about the world. But I also know people who have zero interest in travelling and are quite happy. So its all about knowing oneself and what one wants out of life. I've always wanted to travel, I was always curious and so that has led me down this path but before I could physically travel, I travelled by way of books and its also a great way to see the world. Read, read, read, ask questions, its like travelling through the minds of others.
Divalocity: What are some of your favorite cities in the world?
Shala: Paris, Rome, Venice, Marrakesh, and of course, New York City.
Divalocity: What simple health, fitness and beauty tips can you give us to continue looking fabulous?
Shala: I'm the worst person to ask that question. I'm all about a healthy mind, a curious mind, intelligence, these are the things that are beautiful to me.
Divalocity: What are some of your fashion words to live by and words of inspiration that get you through tough times?
Shala: It's not that deep. Always Wear Confidence.
Divalocity: You are so right and that's also one of my favorite accessories that I never leave home without.
Divalocity: What are some of your favorite home essentials that you can't live without? Do you bring a touch of home with you when you travel?
Divalocity: What are some of favorite shopping destinations and why?
Shala: Souks, because there's just so much to see. Prada because of the whole environment, the music, the art, you sometimes walk into a Prada store and every single person is dressed alike right down to the red lipstick. I like that sort of madness. But in general I love to shop, I always have and suspect always will. Growing up as a child I would save the bus fare just to walk around "town" and window shop. I could have told you where to find anything.
Shala: Even when I moved to New York and had no money, I loved walking into expensive or 99cent stores just to see what was going on. One can tell a lot about a people by the merchandise of their stores. Like I could tell there were Chinese living in Harlem because at Pathmark they sold chicken's feet. I look at shopping mostly from that angle. So mostly its shopping for ideas and information.
Divalocity: You are indeed a style chameleon when it comes to everything about your style and there's never nothing routine about it. When I first your picture in the NYSD, I was in awe of you because you wore your hair natural, now with many women of African descent embracing their beautiful hair, what is your favorite way of wearing your hair and why? Women of African descent have various ways that they can wear their hair styled and always have, I just feel it's refreshing to see a woman self-define what she deems as beautiful by embracing who she is.
There you have it folks, fashions newest "It Girl" gives us a run down of what makes her fabolous and I'm sure you all can agree.
Shala: HAIR. The one constant is that my hair is always changing. Mainly because I'm easily bored. I had my hair short and natural then because at that point wanted one less hassle in my life. But then I wanted to look less like a boy and more "feminine." Only black people truly understand the difficulty of black hair, and also the pride that black people take in their hair. I have a book that documents the various hair-styles from Africa for maybe two hundred years, and basically black people have always had fun with their hair. None of these hairstyles are new. Afros, cornrows, Mohawks, dreadlocks, weaving, its centuries old. I don't know why people take it so seriously. For black people hair is like the "It Bag" or a blank canvas, same thing.
Divalocity: How can I score an invite to NYFW, my daughter and I have been dying to get there forever?
Shala: I have to think about that one for a bit. I go because of work. Maybe you can do it through your blog, get a press pass.
Divalocity: I'll do just that and I'll start writing the PR's of the designer shows that I want to see.
Divalocity: Again, thank you for your time and the wonderful opportunity to interview you.
Divalocity: There you have it ladies and gentlemen. Shala has given us a little information about herself and she seems to be just as down to earth as ever. She's what I call, "Living Well" and that's what we all should strive for because we deserve it.
You can read more about Shala's adventures in the art world, travel and fashion world at her blog.