Name: Monique Pinkney
Hometown: Washington, DC
Current Residence: Severn, Maryland
What does it mean to have a voice? Having the courage to tell your story.
How did you find your voice? Writing. I started my first blog, A Day In The Life Of A Mo(del) in 2009 to share my experiences in the Big Apple pursuing a full-time career as a commercial actress and model.
What event or series of events led to you finding your voice?
The event that led me to finding my voice was when I decided to quit my full-time job IN television to pursue a career ON television and print ads. There were always signs, even as a young child, that I was destined to be an entertainer. Putting on fashion shows and talent showcases was common in my household. So it was no surprise to my family and friends that I decided to pursue a career as a print model and commercial actress. As an adult, people would ask me all the time if I was a model. I would say yes, reluctantly, because I hadn’t done anything on a major scale. But the confirmations kept coming and in March 2007 I decided to quit my corporate job to tackle an aspiration that lived in me since I was kid. I’ve been in the business for 11 years now.
Tell me about when you finally found your voice.
I would say I found my voice, more profoundly, now. I launched a new project/blog called Forty-Won and Up last September. Although I started a blog so many years ago that inspired and encouraged others, I knew that there was more to me than my experience as a model and actress. I knew I had to go deeper with my voice because there was something abundantly more important I needed to share, especially with women in my peer group. Being successful as an older woman in a business that is geared toward youth, getting married at 42, and having my first child at 44 — someone needed to hear that.
Many older women feel like it’s to late for them to start over, take on a new venture, or find love. They feel like their ship has sailed and it’s ridiculous to think that at their age they can change course. Honestly, as I’ve gotten older I’ve been more daring, confident, and kick-ass about the things I want to do. I will admit I’m a bit of a procrastinator but that doesn’t diminish the fact that I know I can still accomplish it — whatever “it” is. And women — at any age really — should feel empowered to keep going until their very last breath.
Just because you are older doesn’t mean you can’t keep learning, growing, and doing things completely out of your comfort zone. Imagine how many people you can inspire. Even the young women who think at 30 it’s all downhill from there. LOL. She has something to aspire to. This is why I have felt so compelled to use my voice to share my stories. I know if I’ve inspired one person I’ve accomplished my purpose.
I know for sure that my journey as a model and actress has helped me become the 44 year old woman I am today. So many times I focused on the surface but there was so much more going on inside of me. That season humbled me so much. It taught me so much about myself — things I needed to change, relationships I needed to let go of, and areas I needed to grow …. like my strength, my courage, and most importantly my faith. All the things I needed to have in place for my NOW.
Not in a million years would I have thought I’d get married and have a child in my forties. And while it’s not too out of the norm these days, there are still women who feel like these things won’t ever happen for them because of their age. Go on the blind date, get the tattoo, or even adopt a child. Continue to live life to your very fullest and on your terms. And Lord knows, don’t compare your life to others. We have no idea what it took for them to get where they are today. And a lot of us are getting there after forty. 😉
Today, I’m playing my biggest role ever … MOM!! It’s fun, it’s crazy, it’s unpredictable … it’s hard! Much like my career. (singing) “But if I could make there, I could make it anywhere.” And like the song says, “it’s up to you!”
While I have found my voice; I know as I grow in this new season of my life that my voice will evolve. I can’t wait to share what that voice sounds like.
Define “voice” and why it is important?
Voice is having the courage to share your story knowing it will encourage, inspire, or even change the course of someone’s life. Which is why it’s important to me to share my own. Because I have received such great response from doing so, it has influenced me to want to share more. Like going through IVF. Because of my openness to share my journey, I’ve gotten an overwhelming response from women who are scared or discouraged to go through that process. Whether they fear it won’t work or they will be judged, I’ve been able to encourage them to move through their fears and seek the possibility. We will all experience a challenge, a negative outcome, or just a plain ole NO. But if we don’t take the risk we will never know what will be.
What advice do you have for someone trying to find their voice?
My advice is to pray. Ask God to give you guidance. Ask him to reveal your purpose so that you can honor the gifts he’s given you. We all have a purpose on this earth — we just have different ways of getting to it.
“We very often hear ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ The truth is that our voices can paint and create unimaginable experiences that no picture can show.” -Author Unknown
Monique is a wife, new mom, blogger, commercial actress and model who recently relocated back to the DC area from New York to be closer to her support system. In her blog, Forty-Won & Up she shares her personal experiences with hopes to inspire and encourage women over 40. Her motto is, “we know better, so we do better!” You can connect with Monique on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook at @fortywonandup.