We had the good fortune of connecting with Monique Gardner and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Monique, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
The things that make me happy are seeing the joy in other people — be it when they talk about the things they’re passionate about, the people they love or in the moment when someone is having an experience that you can see the joy literally radiating through their whole body. Also, when I’m present in the moment and feel the full experience of something like a hike, conversation, road trip or even small things like taking a shower, lol. I know that sounds insane but I’ve found a lot of the times I’m on autopilot and I go through a whole day getting things done without remembering how because I was lost in my head. And of course reading a good book or watching a bomb show/movie. Its kind of meditative for me.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
The thing I’m most proud of is that I’m able to make a career out of expressing myself aka art. I’m grateful for that and I’ll never take that for granted. A key lesson I learnt along the way is not be so critical of my work — to give myself grace and allow myself the space to grow, to improve. To not get stuck in the in between of where my current ability is and my vision is.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Well first I would take them to Los Feliz to visit one of my favorite bookstores Skylight, then we’d catch lunch at Tacos Tu Madré and a movie at the theater. The second day we would probably go for a hike at Griffith and after go to Leimert Park for lunch at Ackee Bamboo (the best Jamaican restaurant out here). We’d definitely hit up Harun Coffee, Eso Won Books and all the other shops in the area too. Leimert is such a beautiful area, anyone who comes to visit me I have to take there. The third day we would do a day trip up the PCH to hit up the beaches in Malibu and watch the sunset. The last leg of the trip we would either chill heavy watching movies, docs, doing face mask and cooking or go to Jtree for a couple days. Most my close friends are old ladies like me soo we always have a few days set aside every trip to do nothing, lmaoooo.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Of course I want to shoutout my friends since they are my support system and recognize things in me before I see it in myself. I also want to shoutout Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday podcast because who the hell knows where I’d be without it.

Website: Weirdandskinny.com

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