Monique Janee Johnson


Monique Janee JohnsonSharing Stories Through Fashion

Student Speaker Monique Janee Johnson got her love of baking from her mother, her interest in marketing from her sister, and her passion for fashion from her father. Before coming to Santa Monica College, she used her expertise in her first two interests to launch a bakery that ships pies to customers all over the continent. Now, having earned an Associate degree in Social and Behavioral Science from SMC, she plans to succeed in her third.

“Ever since I was a kid,” Monique says, “I’ve wanted to create a fashion house celebrating Black Southern culture and sharing Black stories across the diaspora.” Although she earned top grades and served as a student leader in high school, her plans were derailed by a traumatic assault at a university in her home state of Louisiana. She dropped out and worked in marketing for several years — including a stint in her dream location of New York — until COVID-19 hit. She never stopped dreaming of completing her education, but did not think she would be able to get into any school. Then a friend suggested she consider SMC.

“That,” says Monique, “was the spark that brought me back to my childhood dream, put me back on my path, and reminded me of the potential I have.” After transferring to Columbia University to earn her Bachelor’s degree, she plans to start a sustainable fashion company that celebrates her culture and heritage while supporting Black textile researchers and fellow designers.