Tell me about yourself.
A: Those who know me via social media think my name is Monalissa, but it’s really Alissa (A-lee-sa). I was born and raised in Hollis, Queens but now I’m attempting to live that bi-coastal life between Harlem and California. I’m lowkey a Jane-of-All trades … I used to make hip-hop cards, bracelets and apparel but my career has always been based in Marketing, with my latest venture being at Flight Club spearheading their Marketing & Communications department.
How would you describe your personal style?
A: My style has always been indicative of my roots. It pays homage to growing up in Queens … roaming the streets on Jamaica Ave, adorned in my nameplate, hoop earrings, nails decked out to the T and Jay’s with a combination of Caribbean-influence. My parents were born in Guyana, so you’ll always see me stacked in gold to the most extreme ignorant of levels. It definitely has tomboy flair but it’s important to me to always incorporate some level of femininity because being a woman is, well ….. hella dope.
‘for the Kick of it’ is a sneaker style blog dedicated to dope women who love kicks. What inspired you to launch such a platform?
A: Years back I was gifted a pair of South Beach Lebron 9s. It was during the time when I started my career in Marketing. Our office had more of a casual vibe and I know I wanted to rock this pair outside of a “I’m just running to the corner store” type of scenario. I wanted ideas on how to ‘dress them up’ and while good ol’ Google would show me looks from Rihanna, Teyana Taylor and Rita Ora - while all bomb, their looks weren’t something my pockets could afford; their fits simply weren’t attainable. I remember wishing there was a destination I could go to to get outfit ideas and that’s when the lightbulb went off in my head. A couple of days after, one of my friends came over and we did a ‘photoshoot’ in my parents’ backyard. We even used a cooler as a prop, lol. We tested the idea on Instagram and it grew from there.
Whenever I think about you the first thing that comes to mind is your Queens, NY pride. Queens and sneaker culture go hand, with RUN-DMC taking the shell-toe Superstars to the next level. Does being from Queens influence your personal style or love for kicks in any way?
A: Queens most definitely influences my style (especially with the hoops and the nails) and love for sneakers. I’m often asked ‘How did you get into sneakers?’, which is always difficult to answer because I didn’t get INTO sneakers. Sneakers were a part of the culture. It’s just as synonymous as thinking about New Yorkers and Timbs. Queens made me who I am today: a real, authentic woman who’s passionate about her interests while hustling to get hers.
You worked at Flight Club for a minute so you have to give us the inside scoop! What’s the craziest or weirdest sneaker moment you’ve ever experienced while working there?
A: It’s true, there was never a dull moment at the Flight, however the moment that sticks out the most for me wasn’t crazy or weird, it was actually really touching. One morning, Shane McMahon came in with his son. Now anyone who knows me knows I’m a huge Stone Cold Steve Austin fan, so wrestling definitely has a place in my heart. I went up to him and introduced myself. Very humble and polite, Shane starts chatting with me and I share with him how I grew up watching wrestling with my father and how it was our favorite past time and next thing I know, I start getting choked up. I’ve met so many people before and in this instance, I started getting emotional. I apologized but he was so sincere and wanted to hear more. I talk about this moment a lot as he was genuinely interested in hearing my story. A real human moment that I feel gets lost in today’s world of social media.
Besides your love for rubber soles, your nail art game is insane! How do you come up design ideas? Where do you find your inspiration?
A: I look at my nails as my personal creative outlet. I can be a pretty random individual; my designs are reflective of my current mood/vibe. I’ve recently been in a gem/hardware mood but I’ve found inspiration from children’s birthday parties, costumes, music (one set was WTT inspired) .. really just the world around me, honestly.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
A: It’s quite simple: living that bi-coastal/mainly West Coast life, making movements in the women’s sneaker industry. Might have a dog or a child … let’s see which one comes first ;)
Follow Alissa on Instagram @Yo_Monalissa!