In conversation with Harlow Rose Monroe
Exclusive interview with the face of Diesel's latest cmapaign Harlow Rose Monroe.
Who are you and what is your profession?
My name is Harlow, I am originally from Calgary, one of the major cities in Canada), and I now live on the coast in the UK. I transitioned 6 years ago as of July 2020, and i am proud to be a transgender wome. I got discovered in 2017 by my amazing manager Chantale Nadeau and I started modelling (professionally) at the beginning of 2018. I'm a living mannequin essentially; I get to transform into all these different characters and play dress up all day, its great! The other half is like marketing myself to clients, people in the fashion industry, and to the public. There's definitely a lot more that goes into it but that’s some of the basics.
How do you think Covid-19 will affect the fashion industry both long-term and short-term? How do you see the impact of Corona crisis on the general perception of fashion?
As awful as this virus is, I’d like to think it'll have a positive effect on the industry. In the short term it'll definitely slow everything down a bit. We all have to protect ourselves and others around us. As things start to return to normal there's still going to be a lot of social distancing and regulations that we have to follow to keep everyone safe. Just the way we do things is going to be really different, there are usually so many people on set to shoot a campaign or an editorial but we will have to adjust to having fewer people and take on more ourselves. Models, photographers, stylists, makeup artists, hair stylists, assistants, clients, and many others work really closely together, so we will have to find new ways to execute our jobs for the final product we as a team produce. I hope that the slowdown of the fashion industry continues into the long term. By slowing down, it gives designers and fashion houses more time to produce well thought out collections, and really gives them a chance to be more creative and explore their creativity. The same goes for how brands will advertise their products. They would have more time to come up with good concepts and how they’ll execute them. I think it's really important for the industry to slow down as we need to stop producing so much waist. I think it has become very apparent to people within and outside of the fashion industry that we all need to do better. More than ever people are being more tactile with their shopping habits, they are buying more used and vintage clothes as well as only buying what they need. people want more quality pieces that will stand the test of time, I feel like people are shifting towards a more sustainable way of shopping and I think this pandemic in a way will force the industry to reflect that. People want to see the industry change; they want to see the industry reflect their shopping habits and their beliefs. a good way to do that is to slow down and stop producing so much.
How do you spend your Quarantine time and are you still able to create while being quarantined?
I've spent most of my time in quarantine just hanging out with my boyfriend, renovating our house, cooking, watching Netflix and just being creative. I am extremely thankful that I am still able to create, I've mainly been experimenting with photography, mostly of myself but have managed to create some cool photos with just my phone and a few apps. I have sketched a bit as well but really wish I had my sewing machine as I have so much time on my hands it would be great to make some clothes again.
What does PRIDE mean to you?
To me it’s a time to celebrate and remember where we’ve come from, the hard ships we have faced as a community and how far we have come, and to stand and fight for our freedom to continue to have the rights we do have and to further the rights we deserve. Pride is a statement, we are saying that we are not afraid, we are proud, and we are here to stay. Pride is so important because it allows the LGBTQ+ community to come together globally, it helps us share our knowledge, story's and lift each other up. It's our time to feel heard and validated in a world where we still don’t have equality for all people.
What is your daily beauty routine like? And what beauty products you cannot go without?
The best way to describe my daily beauty routine is simple. I don’t like to use too many products because my skin doesn't like it, but I also just want a few solid products that work really well for me, I like to keep it simple. Skin care is where I spend most of my time in my beauty routine. I actually use a lot of CeraVe products because they work really well, and it’s a bonus that they are quite inexpensive. For me I'd say the four products I can't go without are the foaming cleanser and the moisturizing lotion and cream from CeraVe and Cosrx’s BHA blackhead power liquid. After my skin care, I'm pretty much done, depending on what I'm doing I'll wear light makeup, and I'll just let my hair do its thing. When I was growing up, I was doing full on drag every day, so I've really come to appreciate simplicity.
What is the coolest new thing you have learnt since being quarantined and how did you learn it?
By far the coolest thing I've learnt in quarantine is how to surf, I'm still learning as this is only recently become a hobby. The past few weeks the beaches where I live have reopened so I've been spending a good amount of time in the ocean, still social distancing of course. I've been very lucky to haave such a great boyfriend who is willing to teach me.
Tell us something about yourself that isn't on your resume.
well I mentioned this earlier during the interview but I don't think a lot of people know this about me unless they know me from back home in Calgary. when I got to the point when I stopped caring about what others had to say and got sick of people telling me who i could and couldn't be, and how I should express myself I had like an explosion of creativity and fearlessness. I was still trying to figure out who I was but I finally had the power within myself to explore my gender identity to the fullest. I did that through drag, for years I would wake up early spend at least three hours getting ready every day. it was an EXTREAM look but I felt so powerful. drag is such an amazing thing, it really allows you to find something within yourself and just own it and not give a damn what anyone has to say about it.
What's the first place you'd want to go when it's safe again to travel and go out of our homes and why there?
One hundred percent the first place I'd travel to is Calgary to visit my family. I was planning on visiting them just as lockdown started so sadly, I had to cancel my trip.
What is your favorite song at the moment and why? Do you have a playlist that you would like to share with us?
it would have to be a song from the new Landy Gaga album Chromatica, it's hard to choose because there's like at least four songs I'm obsessed with on the album, but it would have to be Alice or Rain On Me. I honestly love this album so much because it brings me joy, it has such a good upbeat vibe that just really makes you want to dance. It's definitely something I think we all need in these dark times. i do actually have a playlist to share, its one I created awhile back. it's called French Vanilla Fantasy, I'm still adding to it all the time, but it has a lot of good throwback songs. It's really nostalgic for me, it's a lot of Destiny’s Child, Beyoncé, X Tina, Paris Hilton, all those iconic pop queens. You can follow me on apple music @harlowrosemonroe and listen to the playlist.
What is the first thing you like to do when you wake up, and last thing you like to do before going to bed?
The first thing I like to do when I wake up in the morning is make myself a cup of tea, then get back in bed and decide what I am going to do first. tea in bed is the best way to start any day! the last thing i like to do before bed is doing my night time skin care routine then snuggle up with my boyfriend.
How did the collaboration with Diesel arise? What is the feeling like for being a part of something so great?
I guess it first started like any other job really, my agency came to me with the opportunity, asked me how I felt about it and then a few days later i had a zoom meeting with Francois Rousselet the director. we talked about the project and my relation to the character, and we discussed what we hopped for this project and shared our excitement for it. a few days after that meeting I got the good news from my agency. I honestly have so many feelings in relation to this film, I am absolutely honoured to be a part of it and that Diesel wanted to create something like this and wanted me to be a part of it is truly such an amazing feeling. it was all around a wonderful experience with an amazing end result.
What does it mean to your community that you are a part of the campaign? And what is your message to them (us).
I'd like to think it means a lot. I can really only speak from my own point of view but there's something that just feels so different about this. like that things are really shifting. it's really nice to see such an iconic brand tell a story like this and share it with the world. It's nice to see the story of a trans person that doesn't involve struggle or oppression, it's nice to see a trans person who can accomplish a dream and live a happy and fulfilling life. I think it's great to share these positive story's because it gives our people and our communities hope that we can achieve what in some cases is still considered unachievable.
my message is we can do and be whoever we want to be, nothing should stand in our way of being who we are. all of us are beautiful in our own way and we should celebrate that. the best thing you can do to live a happy life is to celebrate yourself for who you really are, because you are beautiful and you deserve to be happy and free. spread love and kindness and stand up for equality because we all matter just as much as one another.