We had the good fortune of connecting with Monika Felice Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Monika, how do you define success?
For me, success is landing in a creative space where you are finding ultimate happiness.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a choreographer/movement coach & dancer. I guess you can call me a storyteller, except I don’t use my words, I use my body. Coming from a degree in art & interior design, establishing a concept for any project is really essential to me. There is never a movement created that doesn’t have meaning or intention behind it. I’m proud of my ability to make a decision quickly and not harp on small details. I also find that in my line of work it’s important never to be married to an idea, because everything is subject to change once the artist, camera, staging, lighting, etc. comes into play. You have to be on your toes, both physically and metaphorically. I’m most excited about where my career is going from here. I have choreographed for many music videos for artists such as FINNEAS O’Connell, Samm Henshaw, Citizen Queen, Sam Fischer, Adam Melchor; feature films like The Relationtrip; Movement Coaching for ads/commercials such as Nike/Jordan Brand, Fabletics for Kelly Rowland, Sift Science, ADAY sustainable clothing & MeYou London, live stage musicals, and teaching master classes & workshops. My tenacity, dedication to my craft and refusal to give in has gotten me to where I am today (and will get me to where I am going next). Of course it was not easy. Anything that is worth while is not easy and takes a lot of care, time and effort. It’s important to keep your eyes on the prize and do your best to tune out the noise. There will always be something or someone who tries to bring you down. Obstacles are bound to happen especially when you’re on the rise. Setbacks are a normal part of life and its imperative to remember to use them to propel you forward. Stay in your lane and lead with only love and kindness for yourself and others.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
If a friend were visiting me here in LA, I would take them to some of my favorite spots! Not gonna lie, I’m a big wino so I would of course go grab a bottle of natural wine from Vinovore on Hoover Street in Virgil Village and head to my rooftop in Echo Park to unwind and overlook downtown Los Angeles. We would eat at some of my top restaurants like Osteria La Buca on Melrose near Larchmont Village, Pizzana in West Hollywood, and some Japanese Tapas at Tsubaki in Echo Park. If we get sick of the wine (which is almost impossible), I would take them to Bar Calo in Echo Park for a smokey Mezcal cocktail. For outdoor fun and exercise I would bring them on a long beautiful remote hike in Tarzana, or head over toward Malibu and hit up El Matador Beach off the PCH for a relaxing time. If they want a more intense workout but super fun, I would take them to my very own class at Cyclebar in Culver City! If they want to wiggle away their blues I would take them to Toogies Class at Movement Lifestyle in North Hollywood, for some improv and live music and just a really good time.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My family absolutely deserves a shoutout for supporting me in all that I do. I was always encouraged to be my best self, never to give up on my aspirations and to do what brings my heart pure joy first. My mom (Karen), dad (Dan) and sister (Renee) have ALWAYS been my biggest supporters…my sisters partner (Chris) is also included in this. I don’t know where I’d be without them. Besides family, I have far too many friends to thank. They know who they are. I have so many who have been with me from the very beginning. Working on projects with absolutely no budget, just to perform and make something we’re proud of. My circle is strong and I wouldn’t ask for any other. I have so many to thank for making so many projects of mine come to life. There is rarely a job that is accomplished without the help of a team. I am also so happy to be part of any team that is eager to make good work. I care mostly about the kind of people that I choose to surround myself with, then I think of the project and then the money.
Facebook: Monika Felice Smith
Other: TiKtoK @monikafelicesmith
Matt Stuckey, Leah LaGrange, Lizzie Steimer