The Modern Housewife is pushing strollers and style on the streets of New York.
– KEYS SOULCARE
In the center of Cleveland, Ohio, unbeknownst to her, Shaquita Garcia was blossoming into a New York fashion icon. The artist behind @TheModernHouseWifeyNY is regarded as a vibrant superstar with unmatched style. But Shaquita, who now has no problem turning heads, reveals that wasn’t always the case.
We chatted with the founder and designer behind AART NYC to discuss motherhood, fashion, and what it takes to truly shine at full wattage.
WHAT ARE THREE WORDS TO DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE?
Everyone says I’m eclectic. I’m just a free spirit when it comes to my style. I like to think that I’m edgy and colorful. Not even in the sense of color itself. Even when I wear more muted tones, which is very rare, there’s always life to it. There’s a heartbeat to the outfit. If it’s black, it’s gonna be sequin, or have frills, or it’s gonna be something.
HOW HAS FASHION HELPED YOU TRANSCEND LIMITATIONS?
There’s a line in Titanic where Rose says she feels like she’s standing in a crowded room screaming at the top of her lungs, and nobody bothers to look up. That’s exactly how I felt most of my life. I was a victim of bullying throughout my years in school and even college. I had very young parents. They didn’t have the tools to tap into what I was going through or what I felt in those times. My style was what I used to cope with that, and I was bullied for it. People would say I was weird and ask why I wore certain things.
HOW DID YOUR MOVE TO NEW YORK IMPACT YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FASHION?
I finally moved to New York to be free and work in the design industry. I got a job, but on the first day, when I introduced myself to a creative director, she told me to my face that my name was too “ghetto.” I went by Kat for five years because my middle name is Katrice, and they still shortened that. I still wasn’t accepted, but I always showed up in amazing garments. I would go outside on my lunch break and take street-style photos to cope with that part of my life.
HOW DID YOUR JOURNEY WITH MOTHERHOOD GIVE BIRTH TO THE MODERN HOUSEWIFEY?
When I became a mom, I hit rock bottom. I didn’t know it then, but I was battling postpartum depression. We hired a nanny who was the only person that was affordable enough at the time, and she quit on us. My husband and I looked at each other and said one of us had to quit our job. He was making more money, so it had to be me. I’m a very strong-willed Black girl. I’ve had a job since I was fifteen. Going from being a career woman, dropping my baby off with my nanny, to staying home all day, cooking, cleaning, and caring for a baby was a hard pill to swallow.
I posted on Facebook after crying all day about struggling with breastfeeding, and another girl I went to school with saved my life with the power of sisterhood. She said, “I’m not sure what’s going on…but if you need to supplement your breastfeeding with formula, that doesn’t make you a bad mom.” And that little sentence lifted me out of that space. Whenever I gave my son a bottle in-between breastfeeding, I got a bit of myself back. Then I started dressing up to get diapers from Target and whatever else. That became my little movement.
HOW WOULD YOU ADVISE SOMEONE TO FIND THEMSELVES AGAIN, ESPECIALLY WITHIN THE ROLE OF MOTHERHOOD?
You have to remember the last time you were happy. Remember everything you heard, what you tasted, what it smelled like…then start creating happiness out of little moments. For me, it was fashion. I didn’t choose to become a stay-at-home mom but I couldn’t stay home in sweats.
You have to remember: Motherhood is a very, very selfless job. You don’t get an award for everything you do, so you have to reward yourself.
WHAT ARE YOU MOST GRATEFUL FOR IN THIS LIFE?
I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I am successful but don’t need to live in a beautiful luxury apartment. I am not rich, but my heart? My family and soul are so wealthy and happy. Everything else from here on out is just the cherry on top because I’ve done everything I set out to do. I found my husband; I found my children. They’re good people. They make people smile. I make people smile and don’t even know it. It took me five years to figure it out, but I wake up happy every day, doing everything I love.
When was the last time you were truly happy? Let us know what brings you joy in the comments!