My name is Monique Contreras and I’m from Orange County, was raised in Missouri, and I have currently been living in Los Angeles the past 10 years. I cut hair, and I mostly cut male hair, barber-style, old school, I love doing that. I think it’s nostalgic for me because I started cutting my grandfather’s hair and he was my only male figure. And I was very tomboy with him. We boxed together so that was always fun. So that helped me also block the punches on stage because I’m the front lead rapper for a rap duo called Icy Lytes.
The first person I came out to was my uncle and I was 14 years old. And I came out to him because he is my gay uncle, one, so might as well go tell your gay uncle before you tell anyone else, after you tell your gay cousin. So then you go to your gay uncle and I tell my gay uncle, I said, “Uncle!” He said, “What?” I said, “I have something to tell you. I’m bisexual. And I feel like I like girls more than boys.” And he said, “Oh, okay, thank God.” And he got really excited about that. I mean, he’s pretty serious-faced so he wasn’t like, but he was like, “Okay, okay, no, it’s fine, do whatever you want to do.” It wasn’t surprising but it was just a relief. I leave and he waits for his partner to come home and he goes, “Kevin! Kevin! Kevin!” He goes, “What Max?” He goes, “Guess what?” He goes, “What? Monique is gay? She came out?” And then he said, “Yes! The Lord has answered my prayers!” And he doesn’t believe in the Lord too much but he did that day.
And we still have like family sayings to each other where I’ll call him on the phone and he’ll go, “Alright, peace out, brother.” And I’ll go, “Peace out, sister.” So it’s just a common, humorous kind of back-and-forth between he and I.
And he did take me to the Madonna concert and I got to see Rosie O’Donnell in a jean jacket which was a sight for sore eyes.
Yeah it’s always been good. He’s clothed me since I was young up until I was older. So there’s always been this fashion-forward, eccentric man in my life. He’s the first to comment if I’m wearing really tacky shoes, really ugly tacky shoes. And I’ll say, “Thanks. Thanks a lot. Is that a new shirt? Or just a new shade of black?” So we’ll kind of get on our little fashion nerves sometimes but it’s good, it’s a good environment between two family members.
We’ve had a bonding trip in New York one year and it was a crazy weekend. I was only supposed to go out with him once and I ended up bunking in his hostel, I didn’t pay because I didn’t have room so I just slept on the bed or the floor or something. And each night we went to a lesbian bar in New York called the Cubby Hole, which I thought it was called “The Chubby Hole” and I was like, “Ew, that sounds disgusting, that sounds like a really intense gay bar, Uncle, we can’t go there.” And then I saw it was a lesbian bar and was like, “Oh, it’s called Cubby Hole not Chubby Hole.” So we ended up going there and that was our 3-day splendor and every night was a new encounter for me and he was like my wingman. Thanks, Uncle.