We had the good fortune of connecting with Monica Josette and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Monica, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I think at the beginning of my career I was so focused on “making it” that I didn’t really have a real balance in my life. Everything I did was associated or integral to me building a career path. You know my years in New York City were full of auditions, shows, studio time, and odds and ends jobs to make rent. Even still, all my so called day jobs directly reflected the industry. I was a dance shoe fitter at the flagship Capezio in Manhattan, so even though it was a retail job I was still in my world. As my career took on exciting new endeavors and even new cities my outlook still pretty much stayed the same. It wasn’t until a couple years ago in L.A. after the birth of my son that my perspective shifted and I started to really value and seek out more balance.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I am so blessed to say that I have so much information as an artist. What do I mean when I say that? I just mean that from my beginnings as a classical dancer to my career in musical theater, touring with artists, tv and film production, and as an arts educator I believe I learned so much from so many different venues that I see things with a unique perspective. I think that more than anything sets me apart. Crossing all those genres has not necessarily been easy but my career has ebbed and flowed. I’m currently lending my talents teaching dance at Fort Bend Academy of Arts and Dance and also I’m Directing a virtual musical theater camp for kids 7-17. The Edison Arts Foundation chose me as the Director for their Summer Theater Arts Repertory Camp this year and we took the show online! With all the worry about COVID-19 we just took a leap of faith that producing a “Zoomsical” type production would be in the best interest of everyone. I am the writer and director of both of our original shows produced this summer and I couldn’t be more excited about that venture! “Charlie and the Tik Tok Challenge” is probably my favorite of the two shows! I just want people to know that I love sharing, consuming, and making art! I’m in an educating space right now and I am so blessed to help cultivate young artists! I will make sure I give the info for anyone interested in the virtual camp sessions!
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
This is pretty funny seeing as though most of my friends love to dance, go to shows, and sit around and read and have coffee just like me! We would definitely have to go dancing at club Tropicana. It would be a nostalgic move for me as I went there a lot as a young adult along with another salsa bar called Elvia’s. I love that salsa clubs in Houston actually have live bands, it changes the whole dynamic! Let’s see we would most definitely have to do a tour of Houston’s third ward and Montrose neighborhoods as those are my childhood stomping grounds! We’re eating at The Breakfast Klub at least once and maybe working out in Herman Park! I totally haven’t been to “Cafeza” yet but I follow them on Instagram and it totally seems like my vibe!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
So without any shadow of a doubt my mother deserves a huge shoutout because without her commitment very early on to my artistic growth we may not even be having this conversation! In addition to my mom there were and are some other very integral people that influenced my career. Sally Bowie Daniels was instrumental in my early training and learned discipline in the arts. In addition Paula Sloan, who in my teens was the artistic director of Texas Tap Ensemble poured so much of herself and knowledge into me. Denise Vale of the Martha Graham was another instructor that absolutely changed my life and my artistry. I couldn’t end this without saying that my grandmother, Josie Faye Thomas also a dancer, is definitely a muse of mine. Her idols were dancers like Josephine Baker and Katherine Dunham and I developed those same affections for those women as well.