- Words Liam Cattermole
From the dancefloor to the pitch, Monki is at the top of her game. With the Women's World Cup kicking off this week, she gives us the run down on what to expect.
Getting techy behind the decks is one thing and balling out on the football pitch is another, but if anyone epitomises the dexterity shown in both professions, it’s DJ Monki. Kicking ball from the age of five and now playing for Dulwich Hamlet Ladies, Monki – real name Lucy Monkman – has become an integral voice for the game, regularly speaking about changing perceptions of women in sport and closing the gender gap in football.
During her teenage years, the south Londoner didn’t fall out of love with footy per se but a new obsession completely took over her life. Dropping out of school and scoring an internship at Rinse FM, Monki honed her craft as a slick selector, seamlessly switching between dance tracks while staying reactive to the clubs she was playing in. But the Arsenal supporter has her mum to thank for her adolescent interest in electronic music. Brought up on a diet of The Chemical Brothers, The Prodigy and everything in between, four-to-the-floor rhythms were injected straight into Monki’s veins, supercharging an obsession with rave-ready music genres. And, since finding dubstep and grime on the crackly recordings of pirate radio, her life hasn’t been the same. DJing soon became an itch that Monki simply couldn’t scratch.
Despite her meteoric rise to the forefront of international clubland, Monki always felt that something in life was missing. Eight years after hanging up her boots, the DJ reignited her passion for football when experiencing a yearning for escapism and camaraderie. Balancing late-night sets and morning training sessions was never going to be easy but now, Monki is flourishing both on and off the pitch.
Visibility in the women’s game is growing but parity is a long way from being achieved. Monki knows this, but, as the nation roars the Lionesses to *fingers crossed* another tournament triumph, she hopes the game can continue to move in a positive direction. Taking matters into her own hands, Monki started InMotion – ‘A creative collective by women, for women’. Believing in a world where all women can take joy from movement, InMotion promotes this message in a variety of ways – from telling stories that celebrate the power of moving our bodies and creating more spaces to do so, to expanding conversations around women’s sport, fostering a community and working towards wider representation within it.
How did you get into football and what are some of your earliest memories playing the sport?
How will you be embracing the World Cup fever this summer? Any bunting going up in your house?
Can you give us three players to look out for at the tournament?
Lauren James (ENG). Her first World Cup. Recently moved to the 10 position in pre tournament matches. Technically so gifted. I can’t wait to watch her play on the world stage.
Sophia Smith (USA). Golden boot winner in the NWSL. I also have her down as a contender for golden boot winner of this World Cup.
Trinity Rodman (USA). Another exciting US player and World Cup debut. Some may recognise that famous last name.
Alexia Putellas (ESP). The Women’s Ballon d’or winner has been recovering from an ACL injury and missed last year’s Euros. I hope we get to see her in full force this tournament.
Sam Kerr (AUS). Sam Kerr on any day possesses a threat to opposition. But on home turf, in front of sell out crowds, on the biggest stage. You have to be excited to watch what she produces.
I’ve just realised I’ve given you five!
Are there any Lionesses specifically that we should be keeping an eye on throughout the championship?
Predicted score for England’s opening match vs Haiti?
What do you think the Lionesses’ chances of winning the tournament are?
Who would you say are the underdogs in the tournament?
Which teams do you admire that you don’t support?
What would be your dream final fixture?
What do you think the effect of this Women’s World Cup will be on the wider game?
What I hope for is more interest, respect and investment for the women’s game on a global scale. We saw what the Euros has done for us, Arsenal women played in front of a sell out Emirates for the first time. And that kind of energy has been dispersed throughout the WSL.