Taking A Leap of Faith and Landing On Your Feet: Monica Awe-Etuk
#UnderTheMAGNIFYGlass is our series talking to extraordinary, yet everyday women whose passion for life and faith can inspire us all to dream big and dare to fail.
Monica Awe-Etuk, described as one of Atlanta’s most influential bloggers, has accomplished a lot in her first 38 years of life. Based in Toronto, Canada this wife and mother of two is a full-time blogger and social media consultant. Alongside publishing two books, Monica and still finds time to do closet organisations and makeovers. A brief look at her social media platforms gives an insight to her bright and joyous personality. She is an ordinary woman who took the leap to pursue her passions to their fullest. Monica’s story inspires us to not give up on dreams and to remain grateful in all.
Her website, aptly titled ‘Awed By Monica’ is a fashion and style blog dedicated to help women find their style. However, she touches on other topics, writing everything from Father’s day gift ideas to travel diaries. We caught up with Monica to find out how she does it all and how her faith has impacted her journey.
Monica started her career in luxury retail. After 18 years in the industry she made the decision to quit her job and become a full-time blogger. As can be expected, making this decision was not an easy choice for the mother of two. ‘It took me a long time to start blogging. I had a very successful career in luxury retail I’m but I decided that I wanted to do something for myself. I wanted to follow my passion.’ Monica saw the potential in pursuing her passion, but couldn’t see the possibilities that were in what was then just a hobby. ‘I didn’t know what I was going to do with blogging, I didn’t understand that it could make money for me and it could become a career’. From that hesitant beginning Monica has gone on to achieve some amazing things. ‘Some of my success will be being featured in major magazines such as in style people style watch RedBook Magazine on the list goes on. Collaborating with amazing brands such as the house and Dior, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus, Aveeno, Old Navy, Asos, Shopbop, to name a few, are all successes that I celebrate.’
However, she did not glide effortlessly from success to success. ‘I’ve also deleted my blog page about two or three times so I’ve taken the good with the bad.’ Even with all this success behind her, Monica has still faced challenges in the blogging industry. Like many others in this industry, she has had to rise above the challenges set before her as an African-American woman and as a self-employed blogger. ‘A lot of brands are not always willing to work with you because of stereotypes. I have been able to break some of the barriers, but there are still a lot more barriers to break.’ As a social influencer Monica is in charge of her own brand, she describes the challenges she has faced ‘Finding representation has also been difficult. Because I am somewhat of a perfectionist I find it hard to delegate, hence I do everything myself, which can be exhausting.’
When she isn’t developing her craft, Monica enjoys spending time with her loved ones and pursuing her other passions ‘I love spending time with my kids, my husband and girlfriends. I also love to cook, and I enjoy working out.’ Her coping mechanism when working life becomes too stressful is to reach out to those around her to help keep her on track. ‘My sisters, and my friends, are great stress releases for me. Whenever I have problems I talk to them and they bring me back to earth. They do a great job helping me realize that I and doing extremely well.’
Balancing full time self-employment with being an author, mother and wife is not an easy feat. Monica’s life has us in awe, wondering how she does it all. However, her busy lifestyle gives rise to it’s own set of challenges. She knows well the struggle of keeping a balance on family life and her career. ‘It is extremely hard to balance work and life because social media never stops I’m always working. I am a fashion blogger but I also do lifestyle so my work is to showcase my life, hence it is very difficult to separate the two. I do create time for my kids and my husband but it’s hard.’
Nonetheless, Monica retains a positive outlook on life. She defines success as ‘being able to do what you love’. Despite the obstacles she has faced within this industry she is grateful for the opportunity and freedom to pursue her passion as a career ‘Enjoying life and the people around you is success to me. I can do what a lot of people can’t do, and that is making money from my passion. Success in life and work is being able to do what you love enjoying it making a career out of it and appreciate your blessings.’
Having achieved so much already has not stopped her from aiming for more ‘My hope for the next 10 years is to be one of the world’s most influential bloggers, to own my own affiliate program, and to create a space for bloggers to thrive.’
Throughout the high’s and lows of her life Monica’s faith in God has kept her grounded. Monica became born again in High School and since then faith has always been a large part of who she is. For Monica, faith is more than just a set of rules but has changed the way she sees the world. ‘My faith has given me a different perspective on life. My faith allows me to appreciate every day, and to realize that my success is a blessing and never to taken for granted. I believe that everything that happens for reason, and is by the grace of God.’
Monica’s perspective on life is one rooted in hope and gratitude. As a wife, mother and role model to her large internet following, she strives to set an example by making the most of each day she is given. ‘It is important for me to live with appreciation in my heart. I try to set that example for my kids, I believe that every day is an opportunity to start a fresh, every day is a blessing, so I never want to take that for granted.’ Through difficult and challenging seasons she remains focussed, reminding herself that ‘Every disappointment is a blessing.’
Monica Awe-Etuk, is an everyday woman who was brave enough to pursue her passion. In a society where it seems impossible to do-it-all, Monica’s story shows us that it takes faith to pursue your passions and hard work and determination are vital in order to sustain them. For those who want to join the blogging industry but are uncertain of how, Monica advises this: ‘Because blogging is such a new field and very uncertain, I would advise people to just take a leap of faith, and start. Define what your passion is, and write about it. Be the best at what you do, and create a niche for yourself, make sure you stand out, and create a strong brand.’
You can find Monica on Instagram: @awedbymoni
WORDS BY Kezia Owusu