Tastemaker: Shelby Monita

If you ever find yourself watching Jeopardy with Shelby Monita and “Punk Rock” comes up as a category, be forewarned: she will destroy you. The founder of the punk rock site CasaMonita.com, as well as the founder of the zine Artificial Life in the Market Place and the co-founder of Hoser Punx, nobody knows punk quite like this talented lady…

1-shelby monita photo

Tell us a bit about yourself. What should people know?
I write in the style of a fearless fever, often shooting myself in the foot but taking pride in the honesty. I have my own punk rock focused site, CasaMonita.com, and I have two zines, Artificial Life in the Market Place and Hoser Punx (which is a partnership with a friend). Being known as an Encyclopedia of punk rock history will in the end be regarded as one of my triumphs.

What are three things you can’t live without?
Something to write with; 10 great albums; someone to mostly love and occasionally hate.

What’s one of your secret talents?
I’m really good at making quiche. I wouldn’t come close to calling myself a cook and I can’t say that I enjoy doing it, but if you want a quiche I’m your girl.

What’s in your beauty bag?
Most days I do just fine with a bit of light foundation. Though when I want to stir some drama I’ll add black and white eyeshadows (if grade 9 art class taught me anything it’s to always highlight the darkness), a liquid eye liner that I can depend on as if it were my boyfriend, and the best mascara I blew my budget on (probably Chanel blackout).

Finish this sentence. I love Toronto because…
I never really thought about this until I started talking to more Americans. I enjoy listening to the perspective of visitors who reside in places like North Carolina and Michigan who see our city in a fantastic way, a way that is obvious but I forget is rare since I grew up here. What they remind me of is how uncommon it is to have almost every ethnicity in the world living peacefully in one city. How most people in this city are able to look past the many cultural differences and live together, work with each other and respect each other.

When I was a designer’s assistant there were many times I was in the studio with our team and I was the only one who spoke English as a first language. Or another example is that I have been living in Kensington Market for five years now; when I go to Chinatown to do my banking, many times I’m the only one in the bank who was born in Canada. I love travelling and get restless when I’m home for too long, though what I love about Toronto is a new culture – a new experience can be right outside my front door.

What’s your favourite restaurant and why?
When I was younger my Dad lived at Bay and College. I would stay at his place on the weekends and we would brunch at The Senator on Victoria St. on Sundays, or occasionally get dinner there before seeing a show like Spamalot at the Canon. I don’t go there as often now that my Dad lives in North York, but it will always be an important place for me. Now when I do go it is a refreshing change from my west end lifestyle.

Let’s get social for a mo’. How can people stay up-to-date with your busy life?
I like to keep my Facebook personal, but you can catch me on both Twitter and Instagram. My website is CasaMonita.com, and keep your eyes peeled for my zine – I like to leave is lying around the city for a friendly stranger to pick up and enjoy.

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