A tiny dancer with big dreams and hopes for humanity.
Photographed, Directed, & Edited By: Tamara Boxx for LUXYMOM® | Styled By: Tamara Boxx and Libby Romano for LUXYMOM® | Photography Assistant: Kara Gardiner | Featurette: Monique Evans
I first met Monique when we collaborated on a photoshoot. She jumped out of her car and literally went up on her toe and said, “I’m ready!” I just tilted my head at her and started laughing. She was a glowing light all wrapped up in a tiny dancer.
I have never seen someone move and speak with such beautiful fluidity. She reminds me of water, the way it falls and ripples in rhythmic movements like music, but also relentless.
Water can be more powerful in its impact than fire or wind. It does not always come all at once; sometimes, drop by drop, which can erode the strongest rocks and barriers.
That is Monique. She is water moving through our lives, slowly eroding barriers in her way and creating a new a landscape for growth.
Born in Laguna, California – Monique Elyse Evans’ parents were firm believers in loving life and people. Her story is firmly rooted in family and the qualities she learned from her parents at a young age.
Her parents were dedicated to teaching their children that great compassion and understanding is paramount to developing as a person, which planted the seed for her to become the elegant and formidable woman she is today.
Her family traveled the globe with her father in pursuit of teaching his children that knowing and embracing different cultures, histories, and people was the epicenter of loving yourself.
“I have had the great privilege of traveling to 94 countries. My father believed that we as people learn so much about ourselves from looking at the past, and he was dedicated to developing my sense of purpose through exploration, conversations, and finding my passion for life.”
Evans’ love for life was channeled through her absolute obsession with dance. She began at the age of two and turned serious about her craft at the tender age of nine. Her extreme discipline to the art form – or in her case love affair – lead her to a grueling schedule of training up to 36 hours a week.
However, there was nothing else that made her feel the way dance did. It was like breathing for her, an extension of her soul that she shared with anyone who watched her. Through dance, Evans was able to express herself in a language that was universal, timeless, and emotional.
When she was thirteen, her father moved the family to Australia for a year-and-a-half. Another land of opportunity to teach his children about different cultures and to embrace the majesty that is life and love. “I am very grateful for my parents’ sacrifices; Australia was one of the most amazing experiences of my life!”
While in Australia, Evans suffered a major dislocation of the knee, which led her to leave her beloved life of dance for an entire year. It was like walking at half pace and breathing with a weight on her chest.
To redirect her thoughts, she focused on coming home to the United States, and she set her sights on rehabilitating her leg to make her comeback when she landed Stateside. Again, like water – she flowed through the moment and created a new landscape of opportunity: learn, focus, and persevere.
When her family returned to the United States, she recalled seeing the American flag and feeling “at home.” It was time to rise, it was time to work – so Evans returned to training at a high level in ballet.
The grueling schedule and discipline required of her was like honey to a bee. She began training with the American Ballet Theater in New York City and the San Francisco Ballet.
Relentless like a driving rain, she trained and worked to perfect her discipline and won the Youth American Grand Prix – she was not even finished with high school yet. “I had incredible drive for the art form and wanted to be a professional,” she quipped. But then, reality hit, and her senior year of high school was upon her. Big decisions needed to be made to lay the path for her future.
“I needed to make the impossible decision – do I train to be a professional ballerina, or do I go to college?” says Evans. Her dream was to be a professional ballerina, but a growing fire in her heart called her to another path.
She ultimately decided to go to college at the University of Texas as a nutrition/pre-med student. Having been in a rigorous training regimen for most of her life, she now had the opportunity to try her hand at another challenge, and this was her moment.
“I was very shy and wanted to find my voice outside of my comfort zone, which is why I decided to go to college out of state from Florida and start pageantry,” she said. Once again, her drive would see her through to meeting her own challenge. During her junior year of college, on July 5, 2014, she won Miss Texas – after her fourth try.
She was able to compete for the title of Miss America in 2015, where her platform was “Remember Your Heart: One Beat at a Time.” She focused on heart disease prevention, a nod to a member of her immediate family with cardiac issues. During her year of service, it was her goal to visit and spread her joy as much as possible.
She became the most booked Miss Texas in history, with an astounding 470 events. Like a tidal wave, she swept across the great state of Texas, where she spoke about her healthy habits: nutrition, exercise, and mindfulness.
After her reign as Miss Texas, Evans went back to college her senior year and graduated. She decided to return home to Florida and found an amazing career within Psychiatric Pharma Sales. She started in primary care sales and within 18 months, she was moved up to psychiatric sales. “I found my calling within psychiatry. I found a need, and I wanted to break the stigmatism around mental health,” smiled Evans.
During this time, she began training for Miss Florida and won on her third and final attempt in January of 2020. “This year has been an incredible moment of growth. I began working within mental health groups, and after COVID, I decided to use social media as an even bigger platform and collaborated with various health experts,” she says. Her Instagram Live platform became a source to educate and embrace people of all ages and break the stigma surrounding the mental health community.
“I focused on spreading positivity and even during the darkest days, no matter how bad it may seem, we must find the area of opportunity for growth. It is up to us to have a positive outlook to see our blessings and be a blessing to others.”
Indeed, like a fresh Spring rain, she is bringing new vitality and life to her community through compassion, education, and joy. A seed that was planted by her parents 28 years ago and has now grown into the most beautiful flower. Her resolute focus on her mission and need to shower our souls with light is precisely why Monique Evans is the embodiment of Agua De Vida.