We had the good fortune of connecting with Monique Watson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Monique, how do you think about risk?
Taking risks to get to where you truly want to be is an absolute guarantee. Similar to change it is the only constant in this life and something to get comfortable approaching and doing. In general, every aspect about my. journey has been risky. Leaving behind a solid life of becoming a college educated military personnel with an already predicted and projected future from 18 years old forward I believe that leaving a life of “stability” to pursue passion was the best risk I’ve ever taken and I continue to stare down the barrel of risky situations but I move from a place of passion and strategy and it hasn’t failed me since. So, if you want to be and do the things you truly love, get comfortable with taking risks because they don’t stop showing up until you approach and then conquer them.
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.
If I could describe myself in three words as a dancer it would be fierce, bright, and feminine. I’m most proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time training and dancing professionally. I grew up dancing in church and after school with friends and cousins at my grandma’s house. I always loved watching movies and music videos but I didn’t realize being a professional dancer was a legit career. By the time I knew I could actually dance and make money I was in my 20s and felt ashamed that I was so far behind what it seemed like every other dancer my age was able to do. I’ve been playing catch up and training my butt off ever since and it’s pretty incredible that I’ve been able to perform at The Super Bowl, currently working on a feature length film, The Oscars with Beyonce, and more in such a short amount of time. It has not been easy but it has been fulfilling. I feel very at peace and aligned with what I get to do everyday and think that that level of happiness is more worth it than anything else on the planet. Challenges come, especially mentally and financially but just remembering why I do this, actively taking care of my mental health, being smart about how I manage and view money, and ultimately taking this life by the horns and not being passive about the journey has helped me get through the rough patches. I learned that you should want whatever your goals are more than anyone else. It should wake you up with excitement in the morning and keep you up at night trying to solve the next puzzle. I learned that being your truest self will always be rewarded. And most importantly to continue to give back because community is THE most important thing about how humans interact. We owe it to each other to come together and share how to make this life more bearable.
I would want the world to know that you can still start the journey towards your dreams a little later and make them come true. No is simply a not right now and you are capable of utilizing every ounce of potential you possess. I am a living breathing example of that and continue to train to improve and love it.
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.
I’ve only lived in LA since July 2020 and spent so much time indoors plus this year I’ve been on the East Coast for work for about 6 months. That being said, my LA knowledge is limited, however I would recommend the following: 1) Black Market Flea for the vibes, good finds, and thrifting, plus great food and music
2) A vogue ball – I train with the House of Ninja and balls are probably my favorite place to be even over a club
3) Cactus Taqueria #3 – great tacos and Tamarind juice!
4) Kreation – perfect smoothie and acai bowls! All the healthy vibes
5) Malibu Lagoon! My favorite beach area because depending on the way the tide is, there is long patch of sand that extends into the ocean that you can walk across the water to almost like a mini island
6) Griffith Park – hiking is so dope to me. We don’t have a lot of mountains where I grew up and the views are breathtaking to me every time
Otherwise, most of my friends are dancers so I’m sure we’d also hit the studio and create or take class
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
The DMV dance community is the nucleus of my “why” and reason for being curious about what I do now and also nurturing and supporting that curiosity. In 2013, I was a freshman at University of Maryland College Park and auditioned for Phunktions Dance Co. There I met some of my best friends and family. I grew and then made it to Culture Shock DC. I spent 4 years on Phunktions (2 as a Director) and then 5 years on Culture Shock (2 as an Artistic Director). My experiences with everyone in these groups and affiliated with them were huge in my development as a dancer, choreographer, and most importantly a growing woman. Coming into it at 18 and then leaving when I was 24 I transformed during that time in every way and I’m so grateful for the people I was exposed to. I also met my fiance, Minilik during this time and it was just such a natural and loving connection to develop based on an already beautiful friendship.
The full body photo and frame: @glitteeeeeeeeer Headshot: @rcwimages