When I meet new people, I love getting to know their interests, their likes and loves, what makes them tick, what motivates them, etc. Discovery is always fun. Thanks to social media, we get to take a minor peek into people’s lives. But of course, there’s plenty we don’t know. Here are 10 things you didn’t know about me:
10 things about me:
1. I’m a serial entrepreneur.
I started my first business in high school selling handmade jewelry. I found a place to buy materials wholesale, used the money from one of my part time after school jobs (Merry-Go-Round – remember that store?!) to fund it, designed and made the jewelry, promoted my jewelry to everyone at every chance I got, and took the bus around Philly to meet with/sell to my clients. Then, I launched another biz in college (a floral art business), one in grad school (my handbag line), and one after (What’s Haute). And I recently launched yet another venture which I will share soon. You can’t stop my hustle.
Many people think I’m obsessed with fashion, but really, entrepreneurship is my thing. When I buy magazines, it’s typically Entrepreneur, Inc, Black Enterprise, Fast Company or Forbes. I regularly listen to NPR’s “How I Built This” and “Side Hustle Pro” entrepreneurship podcasts. And when I’m on the web I’m combing through one of many business groups I’m in, or reading entrepreneurial profiles on a business-focused site. And I am working on an entrepreneurship/business-focused podcast as well.
2. I was a scientist for 10 years before switching careers and going to business school.
I started working in a genetics lab while in high school (my other part time job), as my high school; Central High School – 252 (if you know, you know!); had a program for aspiring scientists & doctors. I worked in research labs all throughout college (work study), got my undergrad science degree, and after college worked in a cancer research lab at UPenn Med for over 4 years before heading to B-school. That is the path I should’ve initially followed given my love for launching businesses. But it all worked out in the end.
3. Laughter is my life!
I love to laugh and have always been obsessed with all genres of comedy, including standup specials, sitcoms, sketch shows, satire, and improv. My passion for laughter helped inspire my endeavors into improv and standup comedy. Improv and standup have helped me in unimaginable ways. I won’t go into too much detail, but doing both changed my life.
I’ve been fortunate to participate in a ton of new comedy initiatives and performances this year (much needed). In fact, one of my improv/sketch series’ launches today – check out Earth, Wind and Tired comedy on Instagram for more details. You’ll laugh – I promise!
Other things that keep me laughing are my friends, family and favorite TV shows: The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, Living Single, Sex and the City and Frasier. I’ve watched every single episode of each series, know almost every episode by heart, and still watch at least one episode of each show almost every day.
4. I REALLY love writing.
Ok, maybe you had this fact already figured out. But writing really is my thing – it always has been. Writing is pretty much my day job, my hobby, my preferred form of creativity and problem-solving; even my therapy. I started this blog out of a love for writing. It’s central to my comedy sets and improv characters I create. Writing (and storytelling) for me is akin to taking the pieces to a really complex puzzle, laying them out in my mind (or in Word or a blog template), and putting the beautiful puzzle together.
5. Yo hablo español.
Estudié el idioma desde los doce años hasta los veintiún años. Era mi área secundaria de enfoque en la universidad. Desearía tener la oportunidad de hablarlo con mucha más frecuencia.
6. My name means faith – and I was almost named something else.
Since my religious faith is what’s most important to me, my name is a regular reminder to live in faith. I hated my name when I was younger because no one could ever pronounce it correctly, and I was easily embarrassed by that for some reason. I love it now – it’s pretty unique (although I do know one other person with the exact same spelling), and always a conversation-starter.
Also, since no one has ever been able to pronounce my name correctly and consistently (it’s “ee-mah-knee”), I have a slew of nicknames that mostly start with the letter M. My friends and family mostly call me Mon, Monie, Monie Mon, Mons, Mon-o, Monster (my sister coined this nickname and is the only person allowed to call me this), E, E-Money, and Lady E. And randomly, my parents considered naming me Mercedes.
7. You can call me the “Tiger Queen.”
I’ve always loved tigers for their majestic beauty, and their quiet strength and power. Back in college, way before “Tiger King,” I wanted to own a few of my own. I researched how and where to purchase a tiger, how much it would cost to maintain, what food to buy and where to get it, other necessary animal care, and how to outfit your property to keep tigers safely and legally contained.
I had a packet of info and owning a tiger was once a part of my life’s master plan.
Imagine my surprise when I watched “Tiger King” and realized owning a tiger would only set me back $3,000! Of course, by then I’d already come to my senses and would never want to keep a tiger in captivity, especially in my private home.
8. I can play two instruments: the clarinet and saxophone.
I played the clarinet for 13 years, and now I own/play an alto sax. I’ve played in orchestras, marching bands, and jazz bands – but jazz music is my preference above all. It’s the genre that allows for the most musical improvisation.
9. I’ve already traveled to about 25 countries on five continents..
I love to travel – and miss it, terribly! I’d love to visit more destinations, though 2020 travel is a wrap. Iceland remains at the top of my list, and I’d also love to return to France and Japan once again.
10. A few additional life goals
I’ve achieved a ton of things I’ve set out to do and/or dreamed of doing. Plus, I’ve accomplished some really random things I never even imagined – like performing standup comedy, hosting my own radio show, appearing on The Today Show right after Martha Stewart, being featured in magazines I grew up reading, and sitting front row at NYFW.
But I still have a few remaining life goals, including competing on Jeopardy, launching another successful business, appearing on an episode of “How I Built This” to detail how I launched it, purchasing a beach house in Malibu, shark diving in South Africa or Hawaii, and maybe getting one tattoo.
What are 10 things most people don’t know about you?