Mona Leo’s Smile – Essence

At the young age of 21, after only two years in the music industry, Monareo She’s already making waves with her sincere bar, slight Southern drawl, and cool girl swag.

With sexually liberating, money-grabbing rap reigning supreme on the airwaves, Monareo stands out for his fierce tone and unabashed demeanor. Her single “Beating Down Yo ‘Block,” a tribute to her fellow Houston rapper Yungstar’s 2000 hit “Knocking Pictures Off the Wall,” has remained strong for over a year. I’m here.Collaborative remix with her latest hit Flow Milli The song titled “We Not Humping” makes it clear that the Duke is on his feet, with Monareo in the truck.

“My sound is very aggressive, assertive and powerful,” Monaleo says of his confident narrative. “You will always feel where I come from. Inspiring.”

Monareo smile
Monaleo Photo by Munachi Osegbu Photo September/October 2022 Monday June 27 at DUST Studios in Los Angeles, CA Produced by The Morrison Group Photo by Munachi Osegbu Styling by Miso Dam Produced by The Morrison Group Hair: JStayReady Marsh Nails : Alex Jacno in Chanel Le Vernis at Opus Beauty Picture taken at: LME Studios

Born Leondra Roshawn Gay and raised in Texas, Monaleo (her name is a combination of Mona Lisa and her nickname Leo) got into hip-hop by pure chance. Taking her brother to a studio session for her birthday gift, she ended up jumping around her booth and messing with her mic.already follow a little Social media, she posted a clip of herself rapping and was inundated with comments impressed with her skills. When she was just 18 at the time, she began exploring the possibilities of her career in music and continued to do so until she scored her first viral hit in early 2021.

Her tough-as-nails stage persona fits nicely with her unbanned boastfulness, but underneath it all is a relatable vulnerability bubbling up. Admirers have drawn more and more to Monareo, with many stopping her in public to lavish hugs, tears, and personal stories of their own.

“My life before being a rapper was literally the complete opposite, so it was a very interesting transition,” she explains of her newfound fame. I never left the house for anything, never stepped out of my house, and never stepped out of my room.”

The article follows the video.

Saying hello to fans and meeting new people is a challenge, but a welcome one for Monareo, who is open about his severe suffering. anxiety and depressionMonareo also suicide survivor And he bravely documented the many attempts to take her life. These lasted from childhood through her late teens, beginning around fourth grade and lasting until her March 2020.miscarriage, her struggle ovarian cyst and her feelings of being ignored by non-black healthcare providers during the ordeal.

“Some people may feel like I’m over-sharing, but I find it therapeutic for me to talk about these things,” Monareo says. I have.”

She experienced that power firsthand while battling bouts of particularly dark depression while pursuing her rap dreams. While watching interviews from some of her biggest career inspirations —Nicki MinajCardi B, Megan Thee Stallion—She was touched by the candor with which they revealed the ups and downs of their journey.

“It made me feel seen, heard, validated,” she explains. “It restored my hope and faith in life in general. Because I was so depressed at the time, I was dealing with suicidal thoughts and interrogations, should i be here? what is my purpose

Difficult times have led to her unique status as a mental health advocate. I am currently exploring recording. “It’s a very liberating experience for me because it helps me rationalize a lot of the irrational thoughts swimming around in my head,” she says. I have now recorded most of what I was doing and play it back whenever I need clarification.”

Monareo plans to release a full-length album that will tell a detailed and multi-faceted story, featuring some of her oral diaries and voicing her turbulent life experiences. But before she hits the heavier, more personal fare, the rising star is sure to give fans a tape highlighting the rowdy, raunchy, and aggressive trash talk that’s made them know and love her. Her skill and range allow her to operate in both lanes, in her own way and on her own time. “I’ve been through real shit and real life,” she summarizes.

Photo: Munatio Segubu
Styled by Misodam
Production: Morrison Group
Hair: JStayReady
Makeup: Kaitlan Marsh
Nails: Alex Jacno using Chanel Le Vernis at Opus Beauty
Lighting Technician: John Collazos
Styling Assistant: Christian Jaramillo
Nail assistant: Bana Jarjur
Location: LME Studios

This article appears in the September/October 2022 issue of ESSENCE magazine on newsstand.

https://www.essence.com/entertainment/monaleos-smile/ Mona Leo’s Smile – Essence

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