Featured Shirley's Temple

Lola Monroe Talks Touring w/ Wiz Khalifa & Recording A Whole Tape w/ Boosie

January 28, 2024

Read the full interview on SheenMagazine.com!

Lola Monroe deserves all her flowers. During a time where being a video vixen as a professional career was unheard of, Lola thrived.

Hailing from Ethiopia but moving to Washington D.C. at an early age, Lola is a recording artist, actress, model, mother, entrepreneur… a jack of all trades. Her beauty radiates both externally and internally, and she continues to bless audiences all around the world with her contagious energy.

You may recognize Lola from her appearances in some of Hip-Hop’s biggest music videos, including Kanye West’s “Good Life,” 50 Cent’s “I Get Money,” and Trey Songz’ “Wonder Woman.” But there came a point in time where Lola intentionally took the attention away from her body to focus on becoming a lyricist. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that Lola’s man King Los is one of the greatest freestylers of all time!

On the spiritual tip, Lola opens up about how she heals her inner child through shadow work. Having gone through her own trials and tribulations as a kid, Lola had to sit with herself and face her trauma head-on — in turn teaching others how they can as well.

On the 61st episode of Shirley’s Temple, Lola Monroe discusses her dad sending her back to Ethiopia, 50 Cent jumpstarting her career, doing music videos for Kanye West & Trey Songz, her journey w/ plastic surgery, touring w/ Wiz Khalifa while pregnant, the power in shadow work, being w/ King Los for 14 years, why she went vegan, doing a whole tape with Boosie, and more!

Do you like getting glam? 

I like getting glammed for photoshoots. I’m very low maintenance on a day to day.

Because you have beautiful skin and don’t need any makeup.

I’ll wake up in the morning, I’ll do my brows. Do my hai, I’ll do all of that. But I need it super light on a day to day.

Do you use your own products? 

Of course. Shout out Vegan Godd3ss.

I need some sis!

Your skin is clear. It’s beautiful. 

I think it’s because I don’t wear makeup. 

That is why. When I stopped wearing makeup is my skin cleared up. It would make it worse.

What I thought was so dope was you not wearing makeup on television on The Platinum Life. By the way, she manifested having a show on E! Network.

I did. A few other networks, I don’t want to say the name and make it weird, but they contacted me and wanted me for shows. For me, it’s a brand thing. Protecting my brand and looking at the bigger picture of where I saw myself. I wanted to make sure the certain companies and representation that I align myself with had a certain image. If I can do a show, I want it to be on E! At that time, they didn’t have any black shows on there at all. 4 years later, a producer contacted me and they said “hey, we got a show called The Platinum Life.” So I ended up being on the show.

At the time, I was going through really really bad acne. Really bad acne. When you get on set, TV makeup is different. They have to really really cake you up. Every time I wore makeup, my skin would get worse and worse and worse. I said okay, I gotta make a decision. Course with Los over my shoulder, he’s going to help me make good decisions. What am I going to do? Am I going to get on set and wear makeup every day? By the time the season is done, I’m fucked. My skin is going to be trashed. No, let me make it a part of my storyline. Let’s find someone that can help me with my skin. Shout out to Charlotte, they brought her on and she really helped heal my skin. I was on TV with acne, it was really really bad.

Did you have it when you were modeling or doing videos too? 

I did, but got worse throughout the years. Because I’ve been in a game for so long and it’s makeup makeup makeup. Literally, I’d wear makeup every day, then my diet. I had changed my whole diet. I went vegan.

That’s when I break out the most. when I eat bad.

Me to, even to this day. If I eat certain things, it’ll come out on my skin. I’m having to do a cleanse right now because Thanksgiving, I was getting it in. 

It was a vegan Thanksgiving though, right? 

Of course. That’s never gonna change. I cleanse my body and when you cleanse your body, the last organ that it comes out of is your skin. It was blocked underneath my skin so I had to find someone that can attack, go underneath my skin, and that was a process. I went through the process while on TV looking nuts. I had to chalk that up. If I could get through this, then I don’t want to wear makeup anymore and it empowered me. I love getting pretty, sitting there getting my hair done. I love all that.

But I get the makeup thing. I love seeing it. I’m coming out with a makeup line as well, that doesn’t have as much chemicals that attack your skin. Because we still love it, we still love to get glammed up and cute, but I hate the chemicals in it. I hate the things that attack your skin and mess you up. Of course, I love the lashes, eyeliner, shadow. So we’re gonna come out with something for the girls. 

I know you were born in Ethiopia. 

Yeah, I went from Ethiopia to New York because I had family in New York. Then moved to D.C. I grew up in D.C. My life journey was crazy in general. I’ve been on my own since I was 15.

What led to that?

We have this thing in our culture, I don’t even know if it’s an Ethiopian thing or if it’s an African thing. When you start what they think of as misbehaving or they can’t control certain things, they send you back home. So my father did me like that, he sent me back home when I was 13 years old.

What were you doing?

Honestly, me and him didn’t always have the best relationship. It gets a little tricky. I don’t want to put him out there like that.He sent me back home. Third world country, Americanized girl. I had an uncle that was mentally ill.

And he didn’t feed you? 

Yeah, he basically starved me. He’d lock cabinets, wouldn’t give me any food. Would call back home and lie to my parents, say I’m doing all this stuff.

And you’re 15? 

No, I was 13 at that time. Nobody in the family knew how sick he was, mental illness is real. Even that’s why I’m the kind of mom I am now, which is being very, very mindful with who you put your kids around. Who’s watching your kids, no matter if they’re uncle, brother, sister because it doesn’t even matter. Grandparents, you have to make sure that people are mentally stable when they’re watching your children. I don’t feel victimized over what I’ve been through, because it made me who I am now. Maybe if I didn’t experience the things I did as a child, I wouldn’t be aware of certain things as a mother. Everything plays a part.

We come to earth and we’re born into this world to learn through life’s tribulations. My aunt called and said “I’m gonna bring you back. I’m gonna try with you.” When she saw me, she burst out in tears crying because I was really really skinny. I was deprived of food. I came back here, didn’t really work out with her. If I got through what I went through back home in Ethiopia, I can figure this shit out. When you’re 15, you don’t really realize you’re 15. You think you’re way grown than what you are.

You had to grow up fast then.

Yeah. I got on my own, and I never looked back. I never called home. I never tried to go back home.

Where was your mom?

She was worried. I’d call sometimes and say “I’m fine,” and hang up. Just to let her know I’m good. My mom is this Ethiopian woman: super traditional, super loving. But she’s very trusting. She’s a wife and a real mother mother, where she’s also very submissive. She trusted my father’s lead a lot. She felt like his decisions were right and everything he thought was right. She’s one of the most supporting, loving women I’ve ever met in my life. She’s my biggest support system

And she’s probably gorgeous.

She is. She has the cheekbone. I used to be like man when I get older, I hope I have cheekbones like her. After that, growing up in the hood, it raised me in a lot of ways. There’s a love there that you can’t really put into words. I grew up around a lot of boys, but they were very protective of me. They also taught me a lot of game so when I did get in the industry, I wasn’t fazed by a lot of shit.

When it came to artists and rappers, D.C. back then, it wasn’t cool to rap. They looked at rappers like clowns. First of all, it wasn’t real money. Growing up in the streets, that was real money. That’s money you can touch. So when I got in the game, I wasn’t fazed by it. I wasn’t really impressed. D.C. in general, it gave me a backbone to be able to assess things. Follow more so codes and laws, versus going for anything. I appreciate all my journey

You were scouted by a photographer right? 

Yes. 

How did that all happen? Because I’m sure there are a lot of people that follow you that want to model. 

I wouldn’t give them advice to follow the same things I did back then, because the game is different now. I was really getting paid, it was a business. The game was great for back then. I love what it did for me, it was a good experience. The times have changed now and I don’t think the ideal thing that girls should be going for is to become a video vixen. Become a brand more so. You can brand yourself in that vixen-ish, sexy light. Why not? But you can create a business with it now. The structures are different now. I love how I can go on Instagram and I see the girls creating businesses.

What was your first bag?

My biggest bag was Kanye’s “Good Life.” That was my biggest bag. It was $11K.

Do you have a favorite music video you’ve done?

I like them all in different ways

“I Get Goney!”

That was 50. 50 helped me a lot in the game. He gave me advice. He helped kick me off. I’ve been blessed in a lot of ways as far as in the game. It hasn’t given me a bad taste in my mouth, my experiences. The men that I’ve come across in the game didn’t really try me in ways that were demeaning. 50 was one of the first men that I worked with, super professional. I came into the game side-eyeing everybody, because I didn’t know. Especially as a vixen, as a model, I knew how I was shooting. I knew what I was doing. I knew how I was moving, so I had to be extra extra careful so that they wouldn’t feel like they could play with me.

Even the way I conducted my business, you couldn’t contact me directly. I had management team. The first time that artists would even be able to get to speak to me is once they booked me on set. Everything was structured. That’s why even to this day, I have that respect from people in the industry. 50 was one of the first people, he helped me. He positioned me in his artists’ videos like Lloyd Banks, Young Buck. He’d always give me some real advice about how to move in the game. It was always respect.

Was this at the height?

It was when I first started. I got to work with Hype Williams, he’s legendary. For Pharrell and Twista. I like the videos for different reasons. That was more creative. 

What about the Trey Songz “Wonder Woman” video? 

That’s so funny because when I was getting glammed today, they pulled that video up. It was cool. I really liked that video because of how they shot it. That whole video was shot from my perspective until the end, which was my reveal. Director X shot it. We went out to Toronto and he shot it. See, it’s different reasons that I like each video.

Back then, that was the music video era.

It was! You go back and watch those videos, it feels so nostalgic. The songs, everything. The music.

You influenced a lot of these celebrity influencer-type people: Kim Kardashian, etc. Is the ass real?

I mean, is everybody else’s? Back then, it wasn’t really BBLs. That was the process back then. 

The shots? 

Yes, the shots. I introduced it to the game. But the way that I was introduced to it was through the girls. I grew up around the gays and I would see them. I was super young too, I’d see their bodies and everything would be [motions body shape with hands]. Just the way like when I got into the game, they’ve never seen nothing like that before. That’s how I was, really young. I’m a Scorpio, super extreme. Especially back then, I was out of my mind. I’d see them like, I want that. I didn’t even care. I had a lot of people in that community I trusted, thank God. Because it’s not a safe procedure, at all. A lot of people are losing their lives doing it.

Because you’re put under?

You’re definitely not put under. It’s not a medical procedure. Literally you go to somebody’s house type. At the time, you had to make sure that people were clean. In general plastic surgery, you should do whatever makes you happy. But for the right reasons, not because you feel like it’s a trend. Not because you see everyone else doing it. When I did it, of course it wasn’t a trend. I kind of brought it to the game. But now, people think that’s the measure of success and it’s really not. Around 2010 though, when I did transition into music, I got a reduction. I never said nothing to nobody about it.

Why? 

I took it out. Now, everything is all transparent. Back then, it wasn’t like that. I was shifting from being a vixen to being an artist, so I was trying to take the attention away from my body. I didn’t want all my conversations to be about what I was choosing to do with it.

I respect that a lot. Do you feel like it played a role in your modeling career?

It was a shocker. They’ve never seen nothing like that. Of course, my body played a major part. 

Talk about touring with Wiz Khalifa and that whole experience. You were pregnant right? 

I was 6 months pregnant.

Did you hide it? 

In the beginning, yeah. I did hide it till I got off tour. It was amazing! Just working with Wiz. Wiz is one of the most free-spirited, amazing people. 

Wait, that means you couldn’t be around smoke? 

Yeah, I was on a completely different tour bus. My room would be down the hall. It was completely separate and trust me, I’m psycho pregnant. I can’t be around anything. I can’t do certain things, I’m real anal when it comes to that. But it was amazing. It was amazing working with him in general. Even recording, because it’s a free space. He gives you free space to create. He’ll motivate you. I experimented with so many different sounds while working with him. We did go on tour for two months, pregnant at the time. It was great.

He knew? 

Of course, I told him off the break. Very supportive. At the time, Amber was pregnant.

You guys were pregnant together? 

Yeah, 3 weeks apart. 

What was the best memory?

Getting on that stage with my son in my belly, so he got to tour with Wiz. That experience was amazing for me, being able to perform the new records that I had made. The records I was in the studio experimenting with and creating. Just hearing the crowd, they were so receptive. The kind of artist you are is the kind of crowd that you draw. The artist that he is, he draws a positive crowd. It’s not a bunch of people in the crowd standing there being judgmental. Very receptive, super chill. We had a Miami stop, Trina came out for me.

Y’all had a song called “Overtime”!

We had a couple songs. We got “Overtime,” we got “Bad Bychhh,” with me, her, and Shawnna.

How did you tap in with Trina?

Oh my god, she’s a girl’s girl. Super supportive. She’s one of the women in the industry that’s very supportive of other girls. She ain’t got not one hating bone in her body, and she does that for everybody. If she sees you working, she sees you doing your thing, she’s going to support you. She has always been supportive of me. That’s my first official single, “Overtime.” She came and she did it for me. She shot the music video. She’s always been supportive. Her and Lil Kim are like the sweetest girls

Can we talk about you being nominated for Best Female Hip Hop Artist at the BET Awards? Next to Nicki Minaj.

For me, that was one of the highlights. Back then, you really couldn’t be a vixen and rap. It’s not really like right now. I knew being a vixen is not a career. How far can you take being a vixen? My perspective on life has always been bigger. Back then, I wanted to do music. I want to be a mogul, I want to have businesses. Before I even put out a record, I started my own label. I released my first record through the label: Blue Rose Entertainment. Everything has always been okay, bigger picture.

So when I did reach the height of my modeling career, I said all eyes on me. Now is my time to transition into music. But back then, you can’t be a vixen and rap and do music, because they wouldn’t respect it. They didn’t know where I was from. They didn’t know my life. They didn’t know that I use music as an outlet for myself. They didn’t know I’ve always wanted to do music. They didn’t know any of that.

Was that always the end goal?

Yeah, but it wasn’t realistic to me. Being in the entertainment business was not realistic. Growing up in D.C., we’re not like L.A. We’re not like New York. We don’t have artists that we can say, “Oh, he from here. We can do it too.” It was not realistic. It wasn’t a cool thing to rap. It wasn’t cool to rap coming from D.C. That’s why Wale was one of our first real artists to make it out and it wasn’t easy for him either. It wasn’t a realistic thing to me. I just love music. I like to rewrite songs. I would take R&B songs, rewrite them.

But when I met that photographer, I got in the game and things started taking off, I started to calculate. Oh okay, cool. I made it in. This is realistic to me now. I can get in this door? Cool. Everything I’ve been through? This is easy. I can make it here. Now is the time for me to stop modeling, stop posing like that. I need to take the attention off my body. I need to get better at my craft. Because for me, it was lyricism. That’s when I met Los and I learned so much from him.

How did you and Los meet? 

Well he’s from Baltimore, I’m from D.C. We’re 30 minutes apart. He ran into me a couple of times, we ended up having the same entertainment lawyer. We met like that. He taught me so much. He taught me a lot about this Hip-Hop, writing, lyricism. A lot about music in general. I got serious about it. I was putting out records, putting out records, putting out records. Putting out mixtapes, then I earned my respect. I broke down those walls. Even for the girls right now, you can be cute. You can be a vixen and rap. You gotta be that now.

I know you and Los were friends first.

That’s my best friend. We were definitely friends first.

How long were you friends before y’all started dating? 

Like a year.

Was that you friendzoning him?

Yeah, not on purpose. We was just friends. We was really best friends. We was dawgs. It wasn’t like oh, I’ma keep you right there. We had our own things going on in our lives. We became very, very close. Honestly in the beginning, I thought he was just so cute and he was gonna be my boy toy. You’re cute and you’re my best friend, we got this thing and it’s fun. I like it, then here I am. 14 years later, with a baby.

That’s your boo, now y’all have a child together.How is that?

That’s amazing. It’s a journey, because our foundation was being best friends. Being close like that, that’s how we view each other no matter what’s going on.

14 years is a long time. Have y’all had breakups at all?

We’ve never broken up. I didn’t say we’ve never gotten into it, but we’ve never broken up. We’ve never been apart. We’re around each other every day, 24/7. The only time we’re apart was if he went on tour or I went on tour.

I’m looking for my soulmate, what I gotta do? 

Man, you gotta work on yourself. You can’t look for a soulmate. When you work on yourself and you pour into yourself, you’ll start attracting people that will value you in that way. But you gotta value yourself. You can’t not value yourself and pour into yourself, then start looking for a person. Because you won’t attract the right person. You gotta build yourself up first type shit.

Shirley’s Temple has a focus on mental health. I love that you do shadow work, can you explain how that works?

Even when it comes to traumas and the things we’ve been through — after I had my son, that was my moment to sit down and a lot of things came up for me. That’s when I started getting into my spirituality and going within. A lot of times, when we have things going on inside of us, we start to look for things on the outside. You’re never gonna heal it running from it like that. You gotta get through the hard part.

It’s hard for everybody. But once you do it, it’s life-changing. That changed my life. I couldn’t look to Los, I definitely couldn’t look to my son. I couldn’t look to my parents. I couldn’t look to nobody else, I had to deal with myself because only you could save you. Can’t nobody else save you. Even shadow work, that’s a tool that’s going to help you go within yourself.

I found a tweet, you said: “Shadow work. Add it to the list of shit you gotta keep doing cause shit always doing shit. And you gotta keep yourself stable mentally and spiritually while shit being shitty.”

Life be lifing all the time. Because even though I figured out a lot, there’s a lot of shit that I didn’t figure it out. And I’m learning to just be okay. Shadow work is a tool that you can use to ask yourself questions. I do a lot of spiritual baths, that’s one of my rituals. I love candles. Candles is a fire element. It transmutes. It changes things. Fire is something that you can take food in a pot, and it turns it into something else. Fire is very, very powerful. Water is very powerful. I like to take those two elements and use it for that ritual with my shadow work. I’m alone, you gotta not be afraid of the dark. Even the darkness within you, all of us have a dark side. That’s where we hide the shadow. You can’t be afraid of that dark part of you. You gotta expose it and really utilize it to transmute that energy into something that can help you, that can teach you. All that shit is lessons.

You can ask yourself in moments that you’re not feeling okay about something, what is it about this thing that’s bothering me? Even if you feel like somebody else did something to you, you gotta ask yourself, what is it about this thing that’s affecting me? Because most of the time when people are doing things to you, they’re projecting off of what they see from their own reality, based on whatever they went through in their life. What’s affecting me? What is this triggering within me? Because the only thing that you can control is yourself. That’s the only person you can control. How can I break this down to not take things so personal, based on things outside of myself? 

If I would have known this way sooner, I’d react to situations way better. 

Yeah, because it’s not personal. When people are ways, they be having their own shit going on. It’s not taking it so personal to the point that it’s affecting you and your mental state. Because you’ve gotta heal yourself and the shit you’ve been through in the past. This one time, I did a visualization. I went back into trying to heal the child in me. It took me into a place where I was back at my parents’ house. This is all visually. I visualized myself in my room, I had a physical abuse thing as a child. It went back into that space and I saw the darkness. I saw where it was coming from and I did a cord-cutting.

What is that? 

In my visualization, the cord was connected from my stomach to that dark energy. And the dark energy was in the room where the abuse was happening. I literally visualized my older self, me now, taking a scissor and cutting the cord. That’s shadow work. When I was done with that, I cried and everything. You gotta let it go, you gotta release. I’d get out the tub, I’d write all the things I was releasing. I release myself of, I banish this energy of. I’ll fold it 3 times this way, 3 times this way, 3 times this way. Then I burned it.

How often do you do it?

I do it as much as I need to. 

How did you discover this?

I got depressed after I had my son. Postpartum. I was happy about having a child of course. I didn’t really understand where it came from, because they don’t teach you that. Your emotions might trigger it. What you’ve been through might trigger it, and I didn’t know. I had no idea, so I thought something was wrong with me because I’ve never felt like that before. Los said some real shit to me that I didn’t like at the time. He said, “I can’t save you, you gotta save yourself.” But that was the realest shit he could’ve ever said to me. He basically helped me not become so —

Codependent? 

Yeah, just figure my shit out. Figure out what’s going on with me. I got into spirituality. I was always into rituals and certain things like that younger, I got super into it. I started to do my research. I got really quiet and I focused on healing myself. I love my rituals. I love my candles, my crystals, my tarot cards. Listen, it’s giving witchy vibes all the way and I love it.

Do you do it first thing in the morning? 

No, I don’t do it first thing in the morning. I’m really a night girl. I love the nighttime. It just depends. If I’m manifesting, I get into a whole deep thing of plants and…

How did you deal with the postpartum? 

Taking control of myself. The accountability of I have to have myself, helped me a lot. That helped me get out of that whole low vibrational state I was in, knowing that I can heal myself. I can figure it out. The more I did my ritual work, the more I poured into myself, the better I got. I made it a priority to do my work. Anything that you do, I don’t think there’s a rule: you gotta do this. You gotta do that. You gotta see what it is that makes you feel balanced. It’s about being balanced and being okay with how life is going. Even though it might be up today then might be down tomorrow, finding an okayness and a balance in that. It’s an energy thing for sure.

Is that when the veganism came in? 

No, that was before. The vegan came maybe a year after Brix was born, and that came through Los. Los went vegan first. He introduced us to it. He didn’t even think I was gonna get into it. It was just something that he was doing, I had no idea.

Were you eating meat before that? 

Yes, we all were. I had no idea all that stuff was bad for you. So once I started seeing what he was getting into, all that knowledge I had no idea about, I was definitely following his lead on it. Everything that you need is in plants and herbs. That’s it.

When you first went vegan, were you able to fully stop?

Yeah, I went cold turkey. I’m extreme like that though. I had no idea. I didn’t know milk was bad for you. I didn’t know meat was bad for you. I didn’t know that. That’s not how we grew up.

Do you cook? 

Yeah, of course. I gotta cook. I got no choice. I really didn’t start cooking ‘til we went vegan, ‘cause you gotta cook. I love it, it’s really good.

What’s your favorite thing to cook?

I make a really good curry stew, with potato and garbanzo beans. I can make fried chicken using mushrooms, oyster mushrooms or Lion’s Mane mushroom. Fire. Crispy. Bangin’!

Are you dropping music every Monday? 

Not every Monday. Monroe Mondays is back, so I’ll be dropping different things. Definitely more music is on the way. I love to freestyle. I love Hip Hop and really rapping rapping. Lyricism is a thing for me, so definitely more of that. I have records coming. I’m also working on a podcast. I’m excited. Vegan Godd3ss of course. We still got Persuasions. I got a couple other businesses coming. We got the family YouTube coming. 

I had a flashback of you writing on a notepad while you were recording your mixtape with Boosie. 

Damn, that was a minute go. It was before he got locked up. 

Y’all were in there 3 days straight right?

We did 16 songs. I stayed up and was writing verse, after verse after verse.

How was it working with Boosie?

It was good. The house, it was a lot going on. But there was a studio room and we was knocking those records out. It was me and my manager at the time, she stayed up with me and we were working.

That’s legendary. Did you feel pressure working with Boosie?

I don’t know if I felt pressure, but I was very motivated. I was very motivated. I was excited to create these records. It was pressure as far as I think he was recording fast, of course. It’d motivate me and I’d be excited. Shit was flowing to me, it was just coming to me. It was good. It was a really good experience.

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