Pursuing Your Power: A Chat With Austin Monroe

Meet our longtime friend and fellow creator Austin Monroe! Austin formed North York Creative with Jamila Reddy (whom you’ve met before!), and together they host a podcast called The Process, dedicated to everything from self care, to mental health, relationships, working through the bullshit and LIVING YOUR BEST LIFE -- all from the perspective of Queer People of Color. And of course we love it. So we asked Austin a few questions about how the podcast got started, what inspires his #content, and what his own self-care routine looks like.

We love The Process - tell us a little bit about what inspired you to start a podcast.

Wow, thank you! Honestly, The Process started pretty organically. Jamila and I were always having these incredible conversations that felt really important and energizing, but that we’re also just us ki-ing. I believe it was Mila who suggested recording, because she’s low key a documentarian. We tried a couple of things before landing on The Process and now here we are!

we’ve found there to be an undeniable connection between self care and mental health. How have you experienced this connection yourself?

It’s hard, tbh. My typical indicator that my emotional and mental life is in disarray is that my self-care routines have fallen by the wayside. If I’m not doing squats on the reg and washing my face before bed, CHECK ON A BITCH. All that being said, I’m slowly but surely working on leaning more heavily into my self-care toolbox when I feel shitty. I also live with a lil' taste of depression, so regular self-care is immensely helpful. It’s becoming harder and harder to justify not making time for things that are good for me.

What does your self-care routine look like? Meal planning? Gym-ing it up? Skincare? Help us.

I don’t quite meal plan, but I cook at all times. It’s a refuge, and while my sis Wendy’s has her boot firmly planted on my neck and arteries, it’s so crucial for me to eat whole foods and green things. I’ve also never been a gym queen. They make me very uncomfortable, so I’ve gotten really into home workouts. There’s this YouTube trainer Millionaire Hoy who has all these HIIT workouts that had me peak snatched. As far as my iconic visage, me and my bae are skincare fanatics. One thing I’ve had to learn and has been hard (product junkie here!) is to hone in on one regimen and give it time. Right now I use Simple moisturizing cleanser regularly and Shea Moisture African black soap scrub if I need an exfoliation moment. I’m also super into the Shea Moisture Youth Infusing Mud Mask (BUT THEY DISCONTINUED THE LINE AND I'M READY TO FIGHT). For body, any Castile soap. Right now using this Shea Moisture coconut milk bar, and I always and damn near exclusively moisturize with raw shea butter. But really girls, HELP YOU? Y’all always look snatched and poreless!

#tbt cat and sad pup 🐱🐶 @sass.art on the 📸

A post shared by Austin Monroe (@austinmonroe.biz) on

We’re living in a strange time, internet-wise. It’s always been the case that media tailored to queer folks and People of color has been rarer and harder to find. But now, with facebook pretty much controlling everything we’re exposed to, it can feel like those resources are even more hidden. Who do you consider some of the biggest unsung heroes of self-care, strength, and motivation online...and where can we find them?

Honestly, and this is no shade to anyone, part of the reason I was so drawn to creating #content was because I wasn’t really seeing voices that all-the-way resonated with me. So I guess you could say I uhhhhhhhh...look to my own black ass for inspiration (I'm a Leo rising). That being said, I heavily fuck with the work of Chani Nicholas. Sis so effectively and beautifully gets to the heart of this moment and drags me weekly. I also love and am so proud of Crissle and Kid Fury from The Read. Oh, also the work of Brené Brown has provided so many pillars for my emotional growth. I’d be fake to not shout her out. I also love what Oprah is doing with her platform. More than any one specific person, I’m so inspired by Black creatives and activists. I think across mediums and platforms, Black creatives are giving us all the keys to freedom. It’s in the music, it’s in the hair, it’s in the disposition, the communication, the boundaries, the fashion, the style. Go support a Black creative!

What are some of the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your journey pursuing your passions?

This pursuit has made me feel powerful AF. This whole thing exists in the world because I and my beautiful creative partner/kindred friend decided to do a thing. It has also made me confront some ugly narratives about being incapable or not enough. If I'm being completely honest, sometimes I still get overcome by those stories, but I’m so grateful that I have a huge-ass support system around me. I also have learned that it’s ok and normal to feel afraid while trying something new. Doing creative work has definitely forced me to let go of perfectionism.

What else is in the works for you?

We’re getting back into a new season of The Process which feels really exciting. Both Mila and I have been settling into some new experiences so I’m interested to see what we’ve learned through those. I’m also working on making austinmonroe.biz a place where all my ideas/projects can live. I’m just so hype to get out here, do cool shit, and push myself out of my comfort zone!

Follow Austin on instagram @austinmonroe.biz, then do yourself a favor and listen to The Process on Soundcloud!

We post cute stuff on insta too!