The Rule Breakers: Monroe Alvarez

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If there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that inspiration can spark from anywhere. It’s the movers and shakers that bring ideas to life, introduce new opportunities and make a lasting impact in communities. In our Rule Breakers series, we’re spotlighting individuals who aren’t afraid to pursue their passion and create their own path. Read on to learn more about skater, Monroe Alvarez.
"The most pivotal moments in my life have been when things were really tough because I am forced to see what works for me and what doesn’t."
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When did you first discover a passion for skating?
I first discovered it on my 30th birthday when I met the other GRLSWIRL co-founders. Lucy, who is the CEO, was such a supporter in teaching me how to skate so I really have her to thank.
As a co-founder of the all-female skate community GRLSWIRL, what has made it a rewarding experience, and what do you hope women interested in joining gain from it?
It's been so amazing to inspire women every day, in all walks of life, of any age. I’m super passionate about teaching “older women” that it’s never too late to learn something new. I was 30 years old when I first got on a board, and for so many years I always had this battle with age and thinking I was too old for this or that—when in reality it's just a number. If you want to be 50 years old and learn how to skate, you can! It’s all about allowing yourself to do it. But one of the most rewarding experiences so far has been our missions to Tijuana and teaching kids at the border how to skate. The power a skateboard has for your mental health is mind-blowing.
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You’re also a great photographer. What is it about being behind the lens that motivates and inspires you?
I spent so many years being in front of the camera and just never felt inspired to be the model because I was hardly ever treated as an equal by the people behind the lens. I felt very much like an object and I hated that. I wanted to change how people approach their models and make them feel more at ease and feel like they’re a part of making the image come to life because they are! Being a model is actually really hard work, so by being a photographer, I am able to really connect with my subjects because I’ve been there (and am there). But I am super motivated and inspired by “realness”. I like my images to feel approachable, classic and attainable. High fashion, as beautiful as it is, is very unattainable and unrealistic. I grew up taping campaigns and editorials all over my walls, but I was always most attracted to the ones that felt timeless, like Ralph Lauren campaigns or old school Bruce Weber Abercrombie campaigns. I want to keep that avenue of photography alive amidst all the new-age crazy weird photography we see (which I love and totally respect).
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Do you recall the first thing or person you’ve ever captured?
Oh man, that's impossible lol. I've always played with cameras, but when I actually started thinking of it as a career I was about 25, which is “later” in life. (Aka: it's never too late!) 
2020 took quite a turn when the pandemic hit. How have you been practicing self-care during COVID-19?
I’ve taught myself to let go of control and allow myself to be okay with stepping away from work and “do nothing” for a few hours. I am the type of person that will always find something to do, a project to work on or photos to edit, etc. I never sit still haha. So putting myself first, my happiness first and knowing that things don’t need to be done right away has been really good for my mental health. I’m also just enjoying getting to spend time with my thoughts and see what I really want to spend my energy on. COVID, as terrible as it is, has also allowed all of us to sit with ourselves and see what works for us and what doesn’t, who we want in our lives and who we don’t and ultimately what really matters in life—for that I am super thankful. I am a huge believer that things need to crumble in order to build up stronger. The most pivotal moments in my life have been when things were really tough because I am forced to see what works for me and what doesn’t. I think COVID is having that effect on a lot of people and I just hope we all can grow from it. Nothing is ever permanent as long as you can learn from the lessons and grow from it. I'm rambling now, haha, so I’m gonna stop there.
Keep up with Monroe on Instagram: @dontbeafool
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