19 year old, Monique Lombardo, is truely something else, stepping through the door and lighting the room instantly. At the tender age of 8, her parents divorced, and her dad moved to the Philippines, leaving Australia, Monique and her brother.
“Its been a constant echo throughout my life, I have only ever cried once,” she says confidently. Monique instead looks up to her mother, “She was my hero… she did everything in her power to make sure that we got everything we ever wanted in life and that nothing ever stopped us from achieving our goals.”
Sending shivers down my spine she explains “one of the most heartbreaking things I have ever had to witness in my life,” was looking on as her dad peeled her begging brothers fingers off his arm before leaving, telling him to “be a man.” Again her mum was there, “I hope that one day I am as strong as her because honesty, she is the best thing in my life right now, my only constant in a world of uncertainty,” she adds, “as time has gone on, its gotten easier and we are immune to the absense in our lives knowing the void is filled by our mother.”
Around when her dad left, Monique found comfort in dancing, starting at a small studio in Luddenham, “for me dance was somewhere i could discover myself… I discovered the importance of dance and expression,” she excitedly tells, “I would let out anything i was feeling in my classes, which really took over my life, at one point i was doing 20 classes a week- just a little obsessed because i loved the way it made me feel.”
When asked to dance, instead of shying away, she pulls out her old pointe shoes and begins putting them on, “Oh no, you dont have to, dont they hurt?” I ask, “Yeah, but i have gotten used to it, plus pointe is fun!,” she replies happily, spinning and leaping around the pool, glowing and being taken away instantly on a journey, as i look on, a talent i only wish i could have.
In year 10 she also became a student teacher, “It was the leadership skills i developed from my mother that i now carry in every day life,” which seemed to help Monique instill belief into others. As time goes on however, and the busier her life seemed to get she no longer had time to dance, “Yeah, i miss it,” she whispers when i ask, “I miss its free nature and my ability to concentrate on dancing and forget the world.” Monique knew however, “it wasn’t something that i was going to do forever, even though i would of liked to, life gets in the way.”
It was a true pleasure to meet monique, and anyone would be lucky to know this sweet, charismatic and independent woman that was forced to grow and continue to develop into the woman she has become today, “We all need to make decisions, to grow and become an independent individual.”