#HerLifestyle: Cierra Monay

Puma and DTLR team up for this line-up of amazing women. | Chicago, Illinois

How would you describe yourself (or in this case Chicago)?

I feel like the city of Chicago is super huge, not only to me but everyone that’s from Chicago. When I go different places and I say I’m from Chicago, people are super excited to meet somebody from Chicago because we have so much history from Michael Jackson living up the street in Gary, Indiana, but still representing Chicago, Michael Jordan playing basketball here, Derrick Rose—just things like that, we have a lot of people that come out of Chicago. I think just them building that foundation around Chicago and it just being a dope, beautiful city, regardless of what people may think negatively about it, but I do feel like the negative parts, as far as some people growing up in poverty or some people not having the easy way out of life, Chicago definitely shapes and molds you to be a person, a go-getter, a person who is strong, a person who could have thick skin and do anything wanted to do. Just being Chicago means being strong, being driven, and being a dope individual.

When and how would you describe your big break?

My journey seemed extremely long. I went from being an intern, then I also left one radio station to come to this station, Power 92, and I became a street team member. I went from street team member to board operator, then a producer. Finally, on December 31st, 2017, I became a radio personality. It felt like it took forever for me, some people it takes longer, some people it doesn’t. I just feel that working my way up and being in all those different positions, having those different roles, seemed like forever. When I finally got on air, which was the weekend of New Year’s Eve, I felt like my emotions were all over the place. I was super excited; I was super nervous. I had known about me being on the air for about a month. I couldn’t tell anyone until the week of, so I just had so many emotions running through my body. I was nervous, I’m definitely going to admit that I was nervous my first time. People were telling me, “I hear you, you sound nervous. Calm down, relax, you’re doing a good job.”

Why do you think it is important for more women of color to be represented in your industry?

Of course I think it’s super important for women to represent this industry. This is definitely a male dominated industry. I will say, before I even got into radio, what I remember growing up is tons of men being on the radio. A lot of my favorite radio personalities are men because there weren’t too many women radio personalities. There were a few scattered here and there, but it is definitely important to represent women because we also have a voice. We have a different opinion from men. We have a different take on beliefs, whatever is going on in the industry, entertainment, or any type of news. Women’s thought process may be different from a man’s thought process, so it’s always important to get those two balanced. Just to see women working on the scene, behind the scene, in front of the camera, behind the camera—it’s definitely important. It’s not too many of us, but I definitely feel like this is the time and the moment for women to not only take over the radio industry, but all industries. I’ve been seeing a lot of women stepping into leadership roles and killing the game. That motivates me as a woman, and I’m sure kids growing up as well.

What advice would you give to other women interested in your industry?

One thing that I would definitely tell women or young girls trying to get into the industry is to network. That’s my biggest thing. If I said I had any type of regrets, it would be that I did not network from the beginning. If you start off as an intern, network. Back then I felt like I didn’t need to network, I was in such a small role and I’d probably see these people again. But that’s not the case. You need to network. Always be in their face, of course respectfully. Just enough to make your presence known, showing them that you want a shot. Get out to different events, whether it be radio, anything in entertainment; you can go on stuff like Eventbrite, Instagram, the people that you look up to when you follow, just make sure you watch their page. Anything that they post, always be there. People love to be supported. If you want help from someone, if you want a mentor, always go to things they have going on and pull them to the side and have conversations with them. I definitely would say networking and mentorship are two things that I lacked earlier on in my career, but I’m getting better at it. It’s definitely important if you want to get into this industry.

My name is Cierra Monay and this is HerLifestyle.