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June 24, 2022
Words by Genevieve Phelan.
“I’m a feminist who loves to cook, eat and feed.”
There’s lots of warm and evocative energy exuding from Monique Barton, even via the hazy portal of social media. The Melbourne/Bali consultant, writer and model has a new food-meets-feminism (yes!)project, @naked_hungry that caught our eye some months back on Instagram. It was a tessellation of Mon’s bare body, covered only by decadent morsel of ripe fruits and treat-laden plates — the ultimate balancing act of hedonism and art, as well as a triumph for the female body.
Mon has always been partial to women from a young age, finding more solace in her mother’s company than anywhere else. In her words, those deeply feminine relationship and platonic bonds are in fact the “driving forces” and anchors of her life. Admittedly a “self-conscious” child in feelings of under-representation or not quite fitting in, it’s galvanising (and refreshing) to see how beautifully she captures her unclad body today.
Here, we delve into Mon’s soul-drivers, her latest and greatest digital degustation, and even a healthy dose of pubic hair maintenance tips (because ingrowns). It’s clear from only a brief chat with Mon that she has little time for anything that doesn’t stand for something, doesn’t nurture her community, or doesn’t involve harnessing a best version of ‘the self’. That’s moxie to us. Dig in.
MOXIE: Mon! What are you up to with work these days? What's the juggle, and why do you choose to have that juggle?
MONIQUE: This used to be my favourite question and now I just feel like a bit of an idiot reeling off all the things I call ‘work’. I’m a freelance marketing consultant, copywriter, creative director, part time model and content creator.
Can you talk us through your evocative visual project, 'Naked Hungry:The celebration of food and art coming together?' How did it come about, and why are you doing it?
To put it plainly, I’m a feminist who loves to cook, eat and feed.We all know that the world has been designed by men for men, and women (stereotypically) belong in the kitchen. We also know that they also should never be naked in public or infront of anyone other than their male partners, right? Well, its 2022 and I’m f*cking sick of seeing those outdated gender roles and power plays still oppressing women. For me, as a woman, it’s not my role to be in the kitchen, but rather my passion and it's my right to showcase and share my body as I please.
One night around the dinner table with a bunch of girlfriends, I just decided to snap some pics of my food I’d made for them, and of course, I was already half naked. The content was flowing and my darling friends pumped up my tyres with lots of encouragement to do something with this concept and these images. Two hours later @naked_hungrywas created. It has since evolved from the original concept, but there's some new and exciting things currently in the works.
The Naked Hungry account was recently (and devastatingly) banned from IG - it's now thankfully back, albeit not in its original form. What happened, and how did you overcome this roadblock?
So, I started posting my new venture through the @naked_hungry Instagram and it was going incredibly well. I was constantly receiving positive messages and new recipe requests. I even secured a spot with a sex toy brand, writing sensual recipes for their date night boxes. And then one day a few months ago, I woke up, opened my phone and read that gut-wrenching popup: "your account has been disabled". When I clicked the 'review' button, I was notified that it would be 30 days until Instagram decided the future of my page. Instagram had decided that I was a 'threat' to the community and my content was far too inappropriate to stay. So, I thought fuck it, if you can't join 'em, beat 'em. I initially decided to take all the content (mostly uncensored) to my Naked Hungry Only Fans page where the platform actually allows me to share openly and make money for my art, but I recently got my page back on IG so I'm back online. So stay tuned, Instagrammers - I've got something fun in the works!
What are your thoughts around IG's censorship of female bodies?
Honestly, it makes me sick. I cannot understand why it's 2022 and it feels like we're only going backwards. We're having to protest for fucking everything these days. Women are screaming for equality, just so we can share equally to men on our personal social media accounts. I've been shadowbanned time and time again, I've had warnings that my personal account is in danger of being disabled, I've had collaborative rights taken from me — it's almost as if women have never and will never have power. Heaven forbid we would rule the world...*white, cis, het men shakkkinnnggg*
How have you spent the first half of 2022?
Spending a lot of time coming back to myself. I find my actions are a direct representation of where I'm at mentally. I'm all for having fun and letting go, but there's a point (for me anyway) where drinking and having late nights and feeling foggy for the first 3 days of the week just doesn't feel good and really isn't worth it. It's in those moments when I really take the time to come back to what my body and my mind need, and have those internal conversations between my temptations and my future self. What would she thank me for later?
We see romantic love has entered your life. What's it been like? What kind of lover are you?
Haha! It sure has. The claaaassic story of 'I wasn't looking and then it came'. I had just moved down to Torquay from Melbourne and I was so ready to bunker down and turn to celibacy for a few years haha. We got introduced by a mutual friend at his party (yep, IRL) and the minute we locked eyes, it was on. We spent every day together for a week post-party and fell in love very hard, very fast. The best thing about my relationship with him is that we are ALWAYS doing something. If we're not quickly packing the car on a Friday arvo to boost down to a campsite, we're heading out to do something fun with friends. We both have dogs, so we have lots of fun on the beach with them. I'm definitely a romantic, and I'm always thinking about how I can make them feel good. I'm always conjuring up cute date ideas, nice dinners, curating playlists, planning fun activities etc. And because I'm such a social person, it's so nice to be with someone who is the same. We both love our respective friendship circles, so it makes for a lot of fun.
We absolutely must ask you, with all the skin-baring and stuff…what is your best body hair maintenance tip? For those with unrelenting ingrowns, or occasionally wanting a full Brazilian look, what’s the go?
Ah yes, the body hair! This has been a HUGE journey for me. From a very young age, I started waxing literally every place my body grew hair except my head. I then went through a lot of growth and never removed any hair ever. Now I just feel into it, I let it grow until I feel like getting rid of it. But my vagina is always hairy. I have quite a large ‘landing strip’ or landing ‘pad’, rather! I like to clean up everything else though, whenever I’ve got time and feel like it. My tip would be to shave and leave the landing strip size and shape you want (if you want it). Let it all grow out for a week then head to your local waxer. Explain you’d like everything else off BUT your strip. They usually give mine a little trim which is nice, too!
One would assume you are incredibly comfortable and confident in your body and your skin. Is that the case? If so, how did you get there, and has it always come naturally?
Oh my goodness, I cannot tell you how many times a week my housemate and I talk about this undulating relationship with the self. I am certainly the most confident and comfortable with myself than I've ever been, but I truly do havethose days. I was always self-conscious as a young girl, I think in some parts it had to do with not feeling represented in any media, print etc which left me feeling outnumbered and different. And in other parts I know that insecurity was deeply rooted in the bullying I went through for my entire schooling experience. I guess confidence looks and feels different to everyone. No matter how many times you tell someone how beautiful they are, if they don’t believe it, then they won’t hear you. So, start to believe the compliments you receive, because your insecurities and anxiety are ALWAYS lying to you.
Shooting food-balancing-on-bare-vulva photography must be tricky when your period arrives. What are your preferred period management products, and how did you figure out what works best for you?
I love period undies, because it means I can free-bleed without the triggering experience of using a pad again! But for those moments where I need to tame the flow a little (like going for a wax, shooting and modelling), I always use a cup and carry back up organic tampons when I know I won’t be able to wash my cup properly.
Togetherness and connection seem really important to you. Who are the people in your close circles (or that you admire from afar) that display the most 'moxie' in your eyes?
It truly is such a big part of my existence. My mother taught me the importance of connection and communication from a really young age. She is also my best friend. Her, and then my housemate and surrounding girlfriends, are all such driving forces for me. I know it sounds typical, but they each inspire and influence me differently, which I adore. They also (for the first time in my life) make me feel wholeheartedly accepted for who I am, even when I have my moments.
Pics reproduced with permission via @mons.monday Instagram.
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