TallSWAG is a 6’6” view of fashion, beauty, love and life. My view is great (patting myself on the back) but there are so many amazing stories of life that I decided to start interviewing tall women and sharing their views with you (sharing is caring:). I couldn’t think of a better person to kick-off these weekly interviews, then with Holley Monelle.
Holley Monelle is in a constant act to make a difference. She is truly a person who lives her life to serve and be the change they want to see in this world (Gandhi). She is an educator, manager, host, radio personality, in my opinion comedian and an appropriately titled “change agent.”
I got a chance to sit down with Miss Monelle in NYC and am glad that I did. Read this interview and you will be glad too.
Alicia Jay: How tall are you?
Holley Monelle: 5'11
AJ: Do you like being tall? What is it about being tall that you like?
HM: I love it! Overall, I'm observant and am always very quiet before joining into conversations because I prefer to listen before speaking to gauge where I stand. I find that in some cases, one might be overlooked for said qualities but being taller often helps me to command attention when I walk into a space without having to say anything.
AJ: Have you had any bad experiences related to your height?
HM: Aside from walking into the occasional low-hanging tree branch, no.
AJ: I can definitely relate! What is your best ‘tall’ story?
HM: Hmmm. I don't know that I have a best story but short(er) men always try to approach me and have offered to 'climb me like a tree.' As tempting and romantic as that sounds, I've always declined. I was also once referred to as a 'tall glass of Ovaltine' -- that was definitely one of my funnier 'tall' moments.
AJ: That's a new one. When you aren't duckin bad pick-up lines, what do you do for a living?
HM: I'm a change agent, radio personality and educator. I align myself with people and projects that are geared toward doing more for those who need it most. More specifically, I work as a Teaching Associate for an East Harlem middle school extended learning program, host a bi-weekly radio podcast, manage and host an education initiative called, The Hall Pass Tour and am also the music manager for the two headlining artists on the tour, j.RENEE and ScienZe.
AJ: You have a full plate...slim it down for us...describe yourself in one sentence.
HM: I am a work in progress -- learning, growing and striving each day, to be better than I was the day before.
AJ: What are your goals and dreams?
HM: When I was growing up, for every role model I had guiding me on what NOT to do, there were at least 3 people in my neighborhood doing those 'wrong' things and I was fortunate enough to make the right choices for myself. My goal is to be everything I needed as a child for a child who needs it now so that he/she doesn't have to struggle to win. Whether it be through the Hall Pass Tour, my work as an educator or as a radio personality - my goal is to move forward by helping people become more. My dreams include taking the Hall Pass Tour nationwide, teaching English abroad, traveling the world and launching a motivational speaking campaign targeting schools in low-income communities across the U.S., assuring youth that everything they desire is attainable.
AJ: With everything that you want to accomplish, if you could only be known for doing one thing, what would it be and why?
HM: Shining my light unapologetically. Because one should never apologize for choosing to be great.
AJ: Tell us something about yourself that people do not normally know.
Any contact with corn starch makes me hyperventilate.
HM: Good to know. I will keep my corn startch in my bag. Tell us about The Hall Pass Tour. What are you looking to accomplish with the tour?
The Hall Pass Tour is an idea that my business partner (j.RENEÉ) and I developed. It’s a series of seasonal (fall and spring) after-school music concerts designed to support the advancement of education while offering a creative space for communities to support their youth. Our aim is to increase access to and preparedness for higher education. We’ve partnered with an incredible education nonprofit organization, College for Every Student (CFES), who's committed to raising the academic aspirations and performance of under served youth so that they can prepare for, gain access to, and succeed in college. In April 2011, we piloted the tour in five of their New York City schools and were pretty successful.
The most important piece of the tour is student involvement. We went into each of the five schools, held student auditions and chose opening acts and co-hosts to represent their campuses. Students were charged with the task of not only performing - but also sharing their college and career aspirations so that they can help create a college going culture in the low-income, under served communities they represent.
Right now, we're gathering data from the pilot tour, reaching out for more sponsors and funding and gearing up to launch the nationwide tour this fall. We'll be starting in the Northeast region of the U.S and making our way across the country from there.
AJ: That's amazing. Good luck with making the Hall Pass Tour national! Is there anything else you would like us to know?
HM: Visit the Hall Pass Tour Website (www.hallpasstour.com). Please support the movement!