La Toya: Determined Survivor

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Where She’s From:
Aspiring model La Toya Monagas, 21-year-old Libra, was born premature, weighing only 3lbs and 2 oz in Elizabeth, New Jersey. “My mother gave me the nickname I go by today—Lil Toy,� she tells The Black Star News. “My family moved to Florida and I was raised in Carol City for 15 years. My mom always told me, ‘If you want to soar like an eagle, don’t flock with turkeys.’ My dad taught me that to get respect you need to give respect. And as Tyra Banks says ‘You do not have to pay if someone wants your looks.’�

La Toya attended Hialeah High School and graduated in 2004. “I first started at Henry H. Filer Middle School by taking modeling classes at John Casablancas and then going on go-sees,� she adds. “Then when I saw they wanted more and more money, I didn’t have it so I started venturing out on my own because money was and still is a serious issue and I was always finding the wrong people to work with.�

Where She’s At:
“My career is now coming along slowly but surely now that I know how to avoid shady characters that just wanted money. As my mom tells me, ‘good things come to people who wait.’ I don’t want to get caught up with someone who thinks they are doing me a favor. Eventually, I see myself on TV doing it big like Halle Berry and in magazines working with all the top notch fashion designers.�

Where She’s Heading:
La Toya warns all aspiring models to beware of sheisters in the industry. “I always had this problem where I wanted to be a model so bad—I would believe scouts, scams, or even people that walked up to me,� she recalls. “They would ask me for $100 here, $200 there, then $400 here, and I would save up my money and pay them so we could get down to business. A week later, either they wanted more money or they got the heck out of Dodge with my money and pictures. Beware. I saw this point in my life where I was going to give up but I had my mom and dad and family keeping me on my toes—telling me don’t let what happened put you down.�

“Beauty can only take you so far—when combined with brainpower, you become indestructible,� she says. “When it comes to dressing, I’m more of an open-minded person. I can shop just about anywhere—brand name items don’t mean much to me. As long as I like the fit, smell and feel of something, then we’re good.�

La Toya’s Words Of Wisdom:
“Never let anyone or anything keep you from your dreams. Dreams are what keep us moving and motivated.�

La Toya’s Secrets Of Success: “When one door closes, another wick open. Keep striving and working hard. Let them doors close on you—let that make you stronger to proceed to the next door.�

La Toya’s Favorite Three Movies: “Nightmare On Elm Street; Hannibal; and The Lion King.�

La Toya’s Favorite Three Books: “The Perfect Mother, by John Salem; Breeder, by Douglass Clegg; and, all the books by Stephen King.�

Leaders That Have Most Inspired La Toya: “Rosa Parks—she stood up for all women’s rights. That’s why we have a voice now; Dr. Martin Luther King—he had a dream; and Tyra Banks—She’s my main inspiration. She’s showed women everywhere to be happy with themselves. Nobody’s perfect.�
The First Three Things La Toya Would Do As President: “Bring the soldiers home—I’m tired of hearing we’re losing them and sending more. Put more money into teachers’ and children’s education. Put money into recreation centers to get kids off the streets and to do something productive in their lives.�

La Toy’s Favorite Cars: “Kia Sorento—cute and small; Mitsubishi Endeavor; nice and big and can fit a whole lot of people and I can use the truck as my closet; and, Lincoln Navigator, for show. I would like to ride high.�


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