Monica Ahanonu — Illustrator + Motion Designer

February 28, 2018

Monica Ahanonu —  Illustrator + Motion Designer

Meet illustrator and motion designer Monica Ahanonu. Her resume bullet points include DreamWorks, a feature in Vogue and if you go to her Instagram page you’ll keep scrolling until your finger cramps up. Her illustrations are a colorful punch to your tired eyes, boldly blending fashion and pop culture. But guess what? She illustrated this path from scratch after an injury left her without a choice.

So the plan was to pursue gymnastics when you were growing up in Tucson, Arizona - What changed that?

The plan was to continue with gymnastics and pursue it in college but I got really injured. It was the summer between 8th and 9th grade. I had surgery on both my feet so I had to stop gymnastics for a few months, and that’s when I started teaching myself how to use Photoshop and Illustrator. I would do it on my free time when I was home. And then I sent that stuff to USC when I was applying to colleges and I got into USC. I studied Animation at USC.

Upriser Monica Ahanonu Illustrator Animator

When did you define your illustration style – the style we see today?

I interned at DreamWorks starting the summer after sophomore year and continued interning there up until graduation. I had a mentor there that I worked with at DreamWorks and he pushed me to keep doing art that I liked and do it the way that I liked, versus trying to change my style to fit what I thought was necessary to get a job. I started drawing things in a very specific way, and playing a lot with color and simple shapes.

Browsing through your art pieces, which are easily accessible through your ETSY shop, there seems to be a theme.

I do a lot of illustrations of women. A lot of my work involves girls that have a crazy look to them or crazy colors that they’re wearing or have crazy hairstyles so they always look very confident. That’s something I’d want people to take away from it – that there are different kinds of beauty and everyone’s unique.

Upriser Monica Ahanonu Illustrator Animator

How do the Uprising pieces mesh with your day-to-day demands?

Right now I’m wearing a dress on top of one of the long-sleeve thermals and so it’s fun that I can dress it up. But I can also take off the dress when I get home and relax in the same shirt that I’m wearing!

Do you have any advice for young #Uprisers reading this right now?

If you really enjoy something you’re going to work harder at it and you’re going to get really good at it. Hard work pays off! But you also have to be open to change – if you’re not thrilled about something from the inside – it’s still fine to change your path and go in a different direction.


Follow her on socials:



Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Creatives, Doers, Leaders

#AmericanMade Stories: Tiffanie Marie and Francis Kenneth
#AmericanMade Stories: Tiffanie Marie and Francis Kenneth

August 14, 2018

Meet Uprisers, Tiffanie Marie and Francis Kenneth. They are both fashion and lifestyle influencers in the digital media space, looking to move the needle and make positive, sustainable change in creative industries.

This is their story.

Continue Reading

#AmericanMade Stories: Aditi Mayer
#AmericanMade Stories: Aditi Mayer

July 24, 2018

Meet Upriser, Aditi Mayer. She is an ethical and sustainable fashion blogger, who is using her platform to shed some light on the fast fashion world, and how action and activism can make a difference... just as long as we come together to make those actions real.

This is her story.

Continue Reading

#AmericanMade Stories: Margie Plus
#AmericanMade Stories: Margie Plus

July 10, 2018

Margie Plus kind of does it all. She kills it a fashion, produces, writes and sings music with her husband and is a plus-size model / kween. Did we mention she also has neon hair?

She is unique and beautiful and we are so excited to tell her American Made story.

Continue Reading

Sizing Chart


19 20 21
BODY LENGTH 24.75 25.50 26.25 27


CHEST 18.75
20.25 21.75 23.25
BODY LENGTH 28.50 9 9.50 10



A Chest
Measure around the fullest part of the front part of chest. 

B Body Length 
Measure from the neck seam to the bottom of the T-shirt.