“It’s stressful in these tough times, but you have to keep that smile, you have to keep that attitude. You have to be a peaceful harbor.” Shardell Monique – Northwest Leaf Budtender of the Month
SHARDELL is a vivacious Canna-activist, model, photographer and budtender hoping to help normalize Cannabis use in everyday life. She’s been in the industry several years, and loves seeing Cannabis help the people she loves.
HWY 420 Bremerton
1110 Charleston Beach Rd W, Bremerton,Wa
How did you get into the biz?
Well, I kind of fell into it because I like to smoke a lot and I model, so I started to get hired to work events. I ended up holding down a booth at a couple of the Budtender’s Balls and loved the vibe.
In this new world of Covid, you’ve been deemed essential. How does that feel?
I believe I’ve always been essential (laughs). There are pros and cons to being essential. I feel blessed to be working because so many people are stressed about groceries and being on unemployment. It’s stressful in these tough times, but you have to keep that smile, you have to keep that attitude. You have to be a peaceful harbor.
You mentioned being a model. How does that equate to being a model citizen?
It means looking out for your neighbor. People forget about this because everyone is getting hit by one thing after another. Ultimately it means doing your best for your work, for yourself and your family. But also remembering to treat everyone with kindness.
How would you like to use your social media platform for social matters?
I have been using it to speak out by sharing my thoughts and experiences. It’s really hard for me to do because I’m not someone who speaks up a lot. I’m always very sensitive to the emotions and thoughts of those around me. Even as a child I had trouble discerning my own feelings and thoughts apart from the people around me, and especially those closest to me. So, I’m very careful when I speak out, and even more so when using a social media platform. And I think Black Lives Matter is an important movement that you cannot stay silent about. There is no middle ground.
Who are your idols?
I don’t dream of being exactly like someone else, but there are certainly people I look up to. Currently I’ve been following Issa Rae. She’s a black director, producer, model – she’s extremely talented overall and I look up to her because lately she’s been showcasing the reality of Black lives and what it’s like to be a Black person.
Do you see any big challenges to being a Black woman in the Cannabis industry, or do you feel like you’ve found your tribe?
There are big challenges in every industry for Black women, even this one, as much as I love it and feel like I belong. There is definitely a need for more representation and
Black business owners in the Cannabis industry.
Anything else you would like to say?
I just want to encourage people to be themselves and follow their hearts right now because everything is crazy, and we all need that reassurance. You just be you, man.
INTERVIEW by MIKE RICKER @RICKERDJ | photo by DANIEL BERMAN @BERMANPHOTOS | @SHARDELLMONIQUE