Welcome to 'At-Home With'...our new feature series where we (virtually) get up close and personal with some of Ireland's most interesting and creative women. They each give us an honest peek into what their "new normal" looks like–from life lessons they've learned in lockdown to the beauty and health products they've been using to self-soothe.
Introducing Mona-Lxsa, a multi-talented DJ, entrepreneur and style queen who has been paving her own path as a creative and - wait for it - actively empowering other hopefuls to do the same.
Experiencing first-hand the importance of having connections as a creative in order to progress, Mona-Lxsa launched GXRL CODE. An all-female creative collective designed to promote, support and inspire up-and-coming talent in the industry. It's no secret, getting one’s foot in the door initially is a tricky battle, but with GXRL CODE you are reassured that you are not alone and your spark is brighter than ever.
Aside from her amazing collective starting a much-needed industry conversation, Mona-Lxsa herself is a rare soul and an all-round good vibes presence on social media. With a similar uplifting message being the basis for this article series we had to come full circle and speak with Mona-Lxsa about her lockdown experience, music and of course, GXRL CODE.
How are you and how was your quarantine experience?
"I am doing well, picking back up now!
Quarantine was a rollercoaster of emotions but also such a creative hub to try new things, but I'm glad to see things picking up again."
Can you tell us a little bit about GXRL CODE and why you decided to create it?
"Gxrl code is a platform and collective of female creatives in the industry. Early on in my career, I was eager to find other female creatives in Dublin to work and collaborate with. My goal was to create a space for women to find freedom in creation, to liberate ourselves from the notion that it’s a male dominating industry when truly there’s enough room for everyone to succeed. I wanted to create a space where sisterhood met creativity and cultures intertwined."
You have the best eyeliner game ever, do you have any tips on how to create that perfect flick?
"Thank you! It’s my signature look and I honestly cannot live without it! I might actually do a little tutorial on my Instagram but here’s a little tip: after applying the eyeliner, clean the eyeline by using concealer with an angled brush just to perfect the sharpness.
Also picking the right eyeliner can change the game for you so be very picky!"
Being successful as a creative can be super challenging. What advice would you have for those who haven’t caught their lucky break yet?
"Being creative can be challenging but it's important to realise that everyone has their own journey and as airy-fairy as this may sound, have faith! This is the best part of the journey! Consistency and dedication is what will lead you to the right path but being fearless is what will push you to your greatest potential so take the risk when it feels right.
Align your vision and passion and you will find your purpose!"
Do you have any staycations planned this summer?
"Nothing planned so far but I do have a bucket list of the places I could potentially be going to. Powerscourt Hotel in Wicklow is top of my list, but I also heard Kerry and Donegal are nice too."
How did you get into DJ-ing?
"I have always had a great ear for music since I was young and I actually wanted to be an A&R and everything else when I got into the industry a few years ago. I dated a DJ and the downfall of that relationship was the rise of a fearless woman. The plan was to make mixes that resonated with me and in a particular order, it just so happened the first mix I ever made went viral on SoundCloud but having social anxiety, I never thought I would be playing in front of people, yet here we are. I have not looked back since haha!"
Your style is so vibrant and cool, where are your favourite places to shop?
"Honestly, I’ve learnt that it's actually not about the shops, it’s about finding pieces that compliment you and make you feel confident! As someone who struggles with sizes because I am very petite, I love to shop in Bershka, Topshop, Zara, Tola Vintage, PrettyLittleThing, Tommy Hilfiger, H&M and mostly vintage shops."
2020 has been an interesting year to say the least, what change would you like to see happen as we enter the ‘new normal’?
"As we enter the new normal I hope everyone has reflected on the issues happening worldwide and is doing their part as a human being to help others. I want to see more diversity in the industry, it’s what I have fought for since I started and will continue to do so."
Do you miss anything from your time in Cork?
"Cork is my favourite city in Ireland, I miss my friends and the atmosphere! Cork has unmatched great energy and it’s such a vibrant city."
I would imagine it would be quite tricky to top a British Vogue feature but do you have any other short-term career goals?
"British Vogue will always be the highlight of my life! I have really ambitious short term goals but one of them is probably making the cover of a magazine and aside from that I want to launch my side businesses. I’d say just watch because I execute everything I put my mind to and I am very excited to try out different ventures."
What are three songs everyone should have on their summer playlist?
"Let's keep it local and support the Irish! Three songs everyone should have on their playlist are:
- Questions by Celaviedmai,
- Taurus by Aby Coulibaly
- Feel That Way by Neolithic.
Has lockdown taught you anything particular about yourself?
"Life goes so fast and it’s so important to slow down sometimes and spend time with loved ones. The journey is not easy and I have learned how resilient and fearless I really am. I have learned that I am my best bet and I need to invest in myself in order to achieve everything I have my mind set on.
I am grateful and humbled to have such an amazing family and friends whom I will never take for granted, they are the best support system and I need to show them as much as possible what they mean to me."
Main image by @mona_lxsa on Instagram