After the launch of our F/W 2015 Collection, we connected with Monique- A private chef and big wave surfer. Get her perspective on height, what she's most passionate about and how MARGE is changing the way she dresses for her elongated frame.
MARGE: Tell us about yourself, Monique. Can you bring to light your background and heritage?
MONIQUE: I was born in Cape Town, South Africa. My mom was a single mother and I was an only child. We moved to America when I was 16 and settled in Santa Monica, where my mom still lives. Today at age 33, I’m a mom first and foremost. My daughter Mia is five and just started kindergarten. I’ve been a private chef for ten years now in homes in Pacific Heights and I’ve been cooking for a very long time.
Besides being a mom and a chef, my other passion is big wave surfing. I surf waves up to 15 feet at Ocean Beach in San Francisco and I also travel the world looking for waves that are similar, but ideally a little warmer. Surfing keeps my fire going and I’m blessed to share this passion with my husband, who’s also a big wave surfer. Mia just had surf camp this summer and caught her first two waves all by herself so it’s in her blood. I love to cook, I love to surf, I love to live by the beach and I love to watch sunsets. I’m devoted to my family and friends. And I’m embarking on a new career path as a real estate agent here in San Francisco.
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MONIQUE: I’m definitely proud of my athleticism. Ever since I was young, I swam competitively and did very well. I also danced competitively and ran relay races. And now surfing has taken over that whole aspect of my life. To me, being an athlete means I have the drive and stamina to go the distance in this life. Sometimes I forget that it can be challenging for people to keep up with me. It’s a good lesson for me to slow down a little bit.
MARGE: What are qualities in yourself that you’re especially proud of?
Another thing I am pretty proud of is my ability to work with food in a way that not many people can. When I see an ingredient, I envision a menu. I taste something ordinary or traditional that inspires me to turn it into something extraordinary. Another thing I’m proud of is that I’m comfortable around people. I’m social, I love to make friends and put myself out there. Having a strong sense of self-confidence is not something that I take for granted.
MARGE: You spoke earlier about how important it is for you to have a strong body. Is your passion for cooking part of this?
MONIQUE: Yes, I believe that what you eat and how you prepare your food are incredibly important to your overall health. In South Africa where I grew up, there aren’t many vegetables and overall the diet there is not fantastic. In California, everything is fresh, organic and you have access to so much more. Also cooking has taught me that certain foods have medicinal properties for the body. I have made it my number one job to find out how food affects the body and how I, in my tiny little way, can help and educate others.
MARGE: Tell us a little about how life has been for you growing up tall.
MONIQUE: I’m 6’0” and my height has only been something unusual since coming to the US. But growing up in South Africa, I felt right at home. It’s really interesting because a lot of my female friends in South Africa are 5'9”+ and that’s normal; you fit right in. Sure, everyone is a different shape and size, but that is nothing I really paid attention to as a kid. Coming into high school, I was that tall, lanky, skinny kid who was towering over most everyone else. And I felt out of place and awkward so I would cover my length with baggy clothes and wear flat shoes or flip-flops and try to fit in and not be different.
As the hormones calmed down and as I grew older, I learned to appreciate myself (accent and all) for who I am. So I have come to accept myself as this tall and “out of the normal box” woman. I then started to wear heels and more fitted clothing and didn’t care so much about being noticed. I think it takes time to get to the place where you can wear what you want to wear and feel beautiful in your own special way. I often surround myself with other tall woman because my “happy place” is up here. Funny enough, my husband is not so tall and when we do date nights I wear my heels because I am proud of them. It’s been a process, it’s taken time, but I am now in my thirties and proud to stand tall.
MARGE: Speaking of standing tall, when you think of MARGE and living a Life Up Here, how would you describe what this essence means to you?
MONIQUE: I would describe living a life up here as an elevated way of being. And I feel that this state of being is an absolute gift. It’s a blessing. I am proud. I am confident. I am honored. I am someone who is grateful for every day and being taller is a very beautiful unique thing. Who wants to be like everyone else? You want to be unique; you want to shine in your own special way. You want to put your fingerprint on something that is going to last forever and being tall fits into that category. So I am 100% proud of my length, of my height. And now, with MARGE, my clothes fit so much better. It was definitely hard to find work pants before MARGE. Kit used to say, "Babe, you’re planning ahead for a flood.” I have long legs, a shorter torso but my hipbones sit so high. You learn a work-around and learn to find clothes that fit you such as dresses and skinny leggings. You figure it out. It’s so helpful to have access to a brand that focuses on tall women exclusively because it makes living up here easier in a sense. You don’t have to worry about those things anymore. So many tall women in the world have been waiting for a line like MARGE. I feel that Life Up Here is so distinctive and it’s really awesome to be a part of it, to be a MARGE woman.
To Monique: A special thank you. We appreciate your authenticity and the way in which you embrace and enjoy your Life Up Here.