Small town girl with big dreams! Nothing inspires us more than the transformation Moe took on when she decided to leave her hometown for the City of Angels. To learn more about her journey, take a peek below:
Hello! My name is Monique Marie Stuck A.K.A Moe.
2. Where are you from (City, State):
I was raised in Council Bluffs, Iowa, home of the rolling plains & cornfields!
3. What were the first steps that you took after deciding to move to California?:
SAVE MONEY!!! Then, naturally, I attempted to plan it all out detail by detail for about three months in advance, only to find out that LA doesn’t do anything one month in advance, let alone three! So, after pulling my hair out up until about a week before we left, I gave up, booked an airbnb, and decided that I would drive cross-country. If it was meant to be, it would all work out if I tried hard enough. If it didn’t work out, I knew it would make for a great adventure!
4. What initially prompted you to move to Los Angeles?:
I knew from a very young age that I wanted to experience living elsewhere the first chance that I got. It just so happened that chance came after graduating college. As for my decision to move to LA… that was fueled by the fact that it was one of the few places I had already traveled to and really enjoyed. Do I think I’ll be here forever? Probably not. But LA is a great place to start with its limitless opportunity and beautiful weather.
5. What was something that stuck out to you/inspired you when you first arrived in LA?:
People in and around the city are much more health conscious in terms of leading active lifestyles and what kind of foods they’re eating. I’ve learned how important the foods you’re putting into your body is for your overall wellbeing. There are also so many fun ways to keep fit and healthy here! I’ve been inspired to seek out all these new ways to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
I didn’t know much about things like pilates, yoga, cross-fit, boxing… I mean the list goes on and on! And don’t even get me started on how amazing the food choices are here. If you had asked me about going to a vegan restaurant before I lived in LA, I would probably have rolled my eyes. Now, I really do understand the hype. It’s amazing how much happier you can become when you open your eyes up to new things and educate yourself on what being healthy really means. Here in L.A., it’s a lifestyle and it’s fun, delicious, and exciting!
Moe at Boxing Class.
Moe taking in the view of the wild, wild west.
6. Did you find it easy to ‘fit in’ in Los Angeles? What advice would you give a prospective model who fears that they may struggle with this?
I have never really “fit in” and I still don’t. I would never tell an aspiring model moving to LA on what they should do to fit in. LA is perhaps the best example of a city made up of “transplants” (people from other cities and countries who move here). I think it’s one of the reasons why it’s such a fun and exciting place to live because it’s made up of all these unique cultures and flavors. That wouldn’t happen if people didn’t stay true to who they were and where they were from.
My advice to anyone who’s struggling to “fit in” in a new place or even in the same place you’ve been for years – STOP TRYING TO FIT IN! We are all different and weird in our own unique way. Just be the best version of yourself and naturally, people with similar values will gravitate towards you.
7. How have you managed to stay humble in Los Angeles?
Well for one, I was raised to believe that every person is equal and should be treated with respect and kindness regardless of where they come from, what they look like, or how financially secure they are. That very principle is the foundation in which I was taught to build everything else.
I was also taught to work hard for the things I want. Everything I have, I’ve had to work hard for and I know that if I want anything greater, I must continue to do so. I knew it was going to be tough sometimes and there would be days where I second guessed moving here, but I arrived here in a good mindset, with a happy soul, and I’ve only grown since then. I’m not saying I don’t have bad days (or even weeks), we all do, but I feel that I have really good, strong core values and those align with always trying to stay humble.
I think that appreciating your successes and accepting there will be failures along the way are both keys to remaining humble. I try to do things that reinforce that, like listening to Oprah’s super soul conversations on apple podcast and reading inspirational books!
8. Is there something particular that you feel new-comers to L.A. may potentially struggle with that you feel is preventable?
I can’t stress how important it is to surround yourself with the right group of people, not just remotely in Los Angeles, but anywhere. I’ve been lucky enough to have a group of friends here, as well as a family back in Iowa, that are so supportive and genuine. They all are also willing to remind me of how lucky I am to live where I do and have a career in modeling. That helps me stay grounded more than anything.
9. Out of your family, who is your biggest cheerleader? How have they expressed support for your dreams? (If you could include a photo of this family member with you – that would be awesome!)
My mother and my grandmother. They both support me in completely opposite ways. One is my limitless cheerleader while the other my voice of careful reason. They are both a force of nature!
My Mom is a single mother of six children. My grandmother is a single mother of two and has been confined to a wheelchair since she was in her early twenties after a plane crash. I always say that the amount of calamity that has taken place within our family would put the soaps to shame, Hahah! However, never once have I heard that been used as an excuse as to why something couldn’t be done. The words “I’m a single mother” and “I don’t have working legs” were never part of their vocabulary and it wasn’t until I left home, was on my own that I realized how hard both their lives must have been. Yet, they both went through life with all their hardships so strongly. Nothing has given me greater support for my dreams than having both of them as examples to show me I can do anything regardless the setbacks I have faced in life. They taught me to use my worst experiences as motivation and growth, rather than use them to hold me back.
10. What is the biggest difference between Los Angeles and your hometown?
After asking this question to a fellow Iowan friend, who also resides here in LA, her answer was TIME. She stated that time seemed to go at such a different pace than it did here in LA. Then I thought about my own answers such as traffic, population, and weather. I realized that all these things added up to TIME and how much more of it you seem to have in Council Bluffs, Iowa. All the commotion of the big city and even the beautiful weather all year round, make time go by so fast!
10. Is there anything that your hometown has in common with Los Angeles?:
We both have great food!
11. In your opinion, what is one of your most valuable lessons that you’ve acquired after being raised in Iowa?:
It’s not really a lesson, but I feel that it’s one of the most defining factors in how Iowa made me, well, ME! Iowa is comprised of mostly small towns, except for a few cities. When you don’t have 4 million people bustling around a town, life is much simpler.
The simplicity of my small town taught me humbleness, compassion, generosity, honesty, commitment, and most important of all, gratitude. When your town offers less to do in comparison to a big city, you appreciate and get excited about little things, like driving to Walmart with your mom to get groceries! I learned to truly value the little things, which is a lesson I’m finding out myself because I’m slowly realizing, that the little things are all that really matters.
12. Is there anything specific in Iowa that you wish you could put into your pocket and bring to Los Angeles, but can’t?:
My family, so every time I experienced something new and exciting, they could be right there with me.
13. Are there any stereotypes about Iowa that you feel should be put to rest?:
That we all live on farms, own a tractor, and say ‘Merica!
14. Do you ever feel homesick? How do/did you cope?:
Yes. I miss my family, but technology makes things a lot easier to cope. I love Iowa and wouldn’t trade my experience growing up there for anything. It will always have such a special meaning to me. I think it helps considering how many people in LA aren’t from LA; everyone understands the difficulties of being away from home.
15. Are there any new hobbies that you have adapted to since moving to Los Angeles?:
Hiking! It’s free and it makes my soul dance.
16. Has there ever been a favored moment in LA where you had to pinch yourself and say “this is surreal?”:
Yes! When Nous signed me I remember thinking, “this is surreal because I look like an ogre a lot of the time,” Hahaha! No but really, Nous was my number one pick in representation so getting that offer was a very surreal experience. I still have to pinch myself now and then to make sure my life is real.
17. How long did it take for you to feel ‘at home’ in Los Angeles?:
It’s weird because that feeling, of being at home, left me when I was about 14 and I didn’t get it back until about a year ago. I think home is where your soul feels most at rest and happy. I don’t think it’s constant, either. Everyone experiences that feeling at different times and I don’t think it’s entirely dependent on where you are, but rather how you are.
19. Do you have any other advice for prospective models that are looking to move to Los Angeles?:
JUST DO IT. If you have the right mindset, you’ll know that regardless what comes of the leap, the one thing you can be certain of is that it will make for an amazing adventure and a life changing experience.
Just make sure you are doing it for the right reasons. What modeling looks like in the magazines and on the TV shows is much different than what it is actually like in real life – for most of us. You have to take care of your body and work hard, there is always going to be an element of rejection involved with the casting process, and you will be pushed out of your comfort zone at times – but hey, that’s true for anything worthwhile!