Grace: I’m probably the craziest and most outgoing of my friends! On the weekends, I literally just lie in bed and listen to my vinyl player Hedda got me for Christmas. I’m in a phase where I’m very much a homebody – but once I pass this, I’ll definitely be at every party!
Ashley: I’m Ashley and I’ve lived in Beijing for 14 years. I love playing volleyball and running track but I also love music and singing and performing. People have said I’m chill and down-to-earth and I love making people laugh.
Hedda: My name is Hedda, I come from Stockholm, Sweden but have lived in Beijing, China for 10 years. I have grown to be independent and I try to always stay true to myself and what I think is right. Since I was little I’ve been interested in art and as I have grown up my interest towards fashion has evolved too. Something I’m always doing is taking photographs, I’ve always been an observer.
Your dreams, hopes & plans for the future
Grace: My number one passion is film! The goal is to go to film school in America and eventually become a director, screenwriter or producer. I don’t want to waste my life doing something I don’t love.
Ashley: My dream is to one day be a professional vocalist and musical artist, but my hope and plan for the future is just to never stop doing what I love to do no matter where I end up.
Hedda: My only plan for the future is to just do what I love and what I think I’m best at, which I think is the key to success. I’ll be moving to New York soon to start a new chapter of my life, which I think is very exciting and scary at the same time.
What’s one thing about yourself you’re most proud of?
Grace: I’m definitely very happy I found something that I truly love in life (film).
Ashley: I’m most proud of how passionate I am about a variety of interests.
Hedda: I am proud that I am my own person and am strong enough to not need to rely on someone else all the time.
What does it mean to you as a person to have friends like these in your life?
Grace: It’s… the best feeling in the world to know that there’s always gonna be someone supporting you even when you’re being insane. Whenever anything happens, I always text Hedda because I know she’ll give me good advice and calm me down. She knows me very well and knows how to deal with me hahaha. I text Ashley just because. Our conversations are super funny and sometimes I need that to cheer me up.
Ashley: I’m so thankful to be surrounded by friends who never fail to make me happy. Although I enjoy time by myself, I am always excited about being with my friends, enjoying each other’s company. It’s a support group that I can rely on to have a great time with.
Hedda: When things aren’t always going the right way… you notice who’s really there. I am so lucky to have the friends that I have. There are very few people that would go out of their way at any time just to make sure everything is OK. Without my friends I would be extremely lost. They help me get back up when I’m down and without their support I wouldn’t be me today.
Describe #monkistyle in 5 words
Grace:Quirky, fun, colourful, daring, cheerful
Ashley:Fun, fresh, carefree, comfort, expressive
Hedda: Confident, playful, effortless, comfortable, freshYour personal style
Grace: Sometimes I’m super girly and will wear a pink dress and denim jacket. Other times I feel… more grungy and cool so I’ll wear fishnets and satin trousers with a turtleneck sweater. It really just depends on how I feel.
Ashley: Whatever is the most comfortable and/or makes me feel good.
Hedda: I always need to feel comfortable in what I wear. I am quite simple but put together and love to have (a) fun piece that makes my look more unique and “me”.The biggest difference between Chinese and European style
Grace: I don’t know if I can just categorise all Europeans into one style, but generally I think it’s more preppy, chic with a little grunge. But Chinese style is more girly and simple, definitely less layering and less patterns.
Ashley: Chinese style is more focused on detail while European style is little more minimalistic.
Hedda: In Europe people will usually match their clothing with something casual. But in China they go all out. They'll match anything with some funky clothing piece, tons of jewellery, some pink leggings and heels, etc.What do you love the most about this place? What is your least favourite thing about it?
Grace: I love the culture and the people. I love going to the small hutongs (traditional living complexes) to eat the food that makes Beijing, Beijing. The only thing I can’t take is the horrible pollution. When it gets bad, we’re not allowed to leave the house. But besides that, I love it here!
Ashley: What I love the most is the ability to experience such a dynamic culture and scene. I could be eating my favourite local foods in one of the oldest parks in all of China or in one of the newest shopping centres filled with name-brand stores. There is always so much to do and so many new things to discover. The only thing I can say I dislike is the pollution, but other than that, I love everything about Beijing. I wouldn’t trade it for anywhere else in the world.
Hedda: Beijing is my home and I couldn’t imagine growing up anywhere else. Living here has opened my eyes and the things I’m used to seeing every day are so different from what I’d see anywhere else. I also love Chinese food and there’s no better Chinese food than on the streets of Beijing. What I don’t like… there are many days where the pollution is so bad that you can’t be outside. Whenever the weather is nice I feel guilty if I’m not spending my day outside.What’s it like to be a young woman in Beijing?
Grace: I’ve always gone to international school so I get to meet people from all over the world and it’s nice to see the different personalities and backgrounds of people. But a lot of aspects are the same. After all, we’re all teenagers, we still like to do the same things like be with friends and go to parties and fika!
Ashley: Beijing is one of the most vibrant, yet one of the safest places, I’ve ever been to. Beijing is there for the young woman to enjoy and experience. That would probably be the biggest difference between living in Beijing and Sweden: the busyness and variety. Beijing is always on the go.
Hedda: In comparison to Sweden, my friends and I as young women are a lot more comfortable walking around at whatever time it is and in this sometimes sad world, that is a strong statement. It is slowly becoming more acceptable for Chinese women to be in a higher workforce, which is great, as historically Chinese women have been seen as worthless and much less valuable than men.
Your best tips for a night out in Beijing
Grace: First go to a cute little bar on bar-street to pre-game for the night and maybe even play some games. Then hit the club and dance the night away! There’s clubs for all sorts of music, from EDM to rap. Somehow, at the end of the night (or beginning of the morning), you’ll find yourself at the Forbidden City watching the flag raise.
Ashley: One of the best things about Beijing is the huge variety and choice of fantastic restaurants and bars. A night in Beijing after an excellent meal, should always start at a great bar… a nice, high quality bar with delicious cocktails, or at a hole-in-the-wall bar with loud music… where you and your friends can play cards and laugh and have a great time. The best tip after a night out is to eat jianbing – a Beijing street-food delicacy. Jianbings are like a savoury pancake or crepe and are cheap, delicious, easy to find, and perfect after a night out. It’s always my favourite part.
Hedda: Beijing is full of adventure… my friends and I like to go out for food (there is so much amazing food) and then go to a cosy bar for drinks. There’s many hidden areas in Beijing that are usually spontaneous finds, which is another thing I love. Also the nightlife in Beijing is very energetic and fun if you’re in the mood to get loose. ;)
Your favourite social media
Grace: Definitely Instagram because it’s a more visual platform. It’s a nice way to express myself… and just share things I like… I think going live on Instagram is so fun, especially with my friends. The comments I get when I’m live are so funny.
Ashley: I like Instagram because it can almost be used as a display for a collection made up of snippets of your life. I like Snapchat because it is so easy and fun to use and is a great way of constantly staying in contact with your friends; even if they live far away you can always see little bursts of their everyday lives.
Hedda: Instagram and Tumblr are my two favourites. I like posting photos of whatever random things I like, and also being able to follow other people’s pages, as theirs are so different from mine. I think social media is interesting but it is also taking over people’s lives a bit too much. Put down your phone and enjoy life!Your best tips for taking a selfie or video
Grace: The angle is everything. It’s the make or break moment. It differentiates from the center point being your double chins or the glow of a Greek goddess.
Ashley: As long as you feel good, your selfie will be great. There is no secret other than being confident and trying out new things.
Hedda: Don’t try too hard, just keep it natural. Take selfies from whatever angle that makes you feel good. Natural lighting is the best too!Follow our new BFFs on Instagram: