Tana Mongeau for Alist Nation
A-list Nation Magazine Oct / Nov 2020 Issue. Exclusive Cover Story!
Photographer : Joey Costa Fashion Editor : Jazmin Whitley
Hairstylist: Rikke Gajda Makeup: Alexis Oakley
Tell us a little about your childhood and where you grew up.
I was born and raised in Las Vegas, Nevada. I credit a lot of the way I am to being raised there, however “raised” is definitely too kind of a word. I always said wolves would’ve probably done better than my parents. I was 21 by the time I was 13. The typical house party being in a casino tower and the typical job being selling drugs. 16 years surviving in that environment was a rarity. I’m lucky that my escape became YouTube. It saved me.
You created a massive brand and business by using social media as a creative outlet, in what way has your success impacted you the most?
Success changed my entire life from the inside out. It’s a powerful force. It has the ability to change everything around you for either the positive or negative. It took me out of a terrible environment, it gave me the ability to help those around me and millions around the world. It gave me a purpose and it provided comfort. But it also showed me the true colors of even my family, the darkest sides of this industry and what power can do to people. It taught me that money and fame were never the solution to my problems, but more so the creator of much bigger ones. I learned that with success you must find balance, you have to surround yourself with people who have true intentions, and you can’t get lost on all of the shaky paths it creates. But at the same time, I don’t want to be the person complaining about having a lot on my plate when I asked to eat this much. I feel that I’m made to juggle this much and want to be a role model to young girls who were told they weren’t enough.
2020 has been a wild ride, what is one thing you learned about yourself from everything you’ve been through this year?
This year has taught me more than any year of my life. I don’t think I’ve ever truly had a reality check until this year. This was the year that I was forced to swallow all of the truths that I’d been avoiding for so long. I refused to be a role model until this year… I had refused to grow up. I realized with everything going on in the world, regardless of how I’d felt about the responsibility of my platform, I had shoes to fill. I had to become the role model I never had. I had to influence the people watching me to do better and to be better. The world is in such a state of crisis so I learned that I would be doing such an injustice to not use everything I have to try and fix it. It was no longer an option to be a good influence or blame being a bad influence on anything. I made it my life’s mission to think this way.
When we posted BTS photos on our Instagram story from your shoot...people immediately had strong opinions about us featuring you as our upcoming cover story. Why do you think people either love or hate you and have such intense opinions surrounding you?
I think at this point, not only myself but, my fanbase has accepted that I’ll always be a controversial public figure. I think there are certain things a lot of people will hold me to until the day I die and I am not here to argue that. All I can do is continue to grow and do my best to show that to the people who care. With that being said, one thing I try to never forget is this: I am indifferent of good and bad opinions of others. It is about how I perceive myself and those around me. A person behind those headlines who’s doing everything she can to be her best self for those who for some reason have an interest in my life. If you expect me to be anything other than human, I will let you down every time. I’m grateful for the criticism that helps me grow, but when it comes to mindless hate, I remember who I am and know I’m not that.
What would you say is the biggest misconception people have about you?
I’ve made a lot of mistakes, and at this point I could never keep up with all of the misconceptions about me. I remember reaching a point where I realized I couldn’t even keep up with people’s perceptions of me, even if I tried. Letting go of that is hard, realizing that no one will ever see you the way you do. Fame comes with people forming opinions of you whether they’re true or not. While I wish every single person who’s ever read my name knew that I was a good person, with good morals, who did my best to be my best, that I’m human, etc., I know that it isn’t my control to convince the world of that. I know who I am and I’ve grown into someone who I like. I would say I am a good person and I know those around me know that. That’s all I can control. I hope to show the world over time that I am a good person, but I won’t ever base my image in the public’s idea of me.
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