Meet Monique Scohy – a style aficionado and former prima ballerina in her Stockholm home.
High up among the rooftops on Folkungagatan on Södermalm in Stockholm, a former prima ballerina raises her champagne glass. “Life starts after 40,” she says.
Monique Scohy is not a big fan of winter in Stockholm. When the OH MY EYES team meet with her there are just a few weeks to go until she’s off with her husband Nils Gunnar Zander to their second home in Melbourne.
Monique was born in Marseille in the south of France but moved to London at 16 to join the Royal Ballet School. “I was terrified. I could hardly speak any English.” Despite the tough schedule – “we only had Sundays to rest…” – it was all worth it.
“It is a nightmare when you think about it. You truly have to love being in the theatre.”
At 17, in 1967, Monique moved to Sydney to join the Australian Ballet Company as the youngest dancer along the star ballet duo of the time: Rudolf Nureyev and Dame Margot Fonteyn.
“I was always very nervous before entering stage. But as soon as I put my foot on it my body relaxed,” she says. “To share that with an audience was incredible.”
Monique was just about to learn Romeo & Juliet when she had to stop dancing at the age of 26 after an operation on her foot. “I tried for one year but I couldn’t return to the level I wished for. It was a short career. Intensive but short.”
A decade later, at 40, Monique was about to start all over again when she met Nils Gunnar, a Swedish artist who had travelled to Australia to paint. “I had a friend who wanted me to meet Zander. And all of a sudden he showed up to see a Yves Saint Laurent fashion show in Melbourne,” she says. In fact he was there to see Monique. Soon they fell in love over lunch in a Japanese restaurant. They moved in together and nine years later they got married in Nils Gunnar’s studio in Melbourne.
“We celebrated with lots of champagne,” Monique recalls.
When she poses in front of our camera it is like she is back on the ballet stage. She wears: an Saint Laurent black velvet blazer that she bought in 1975. Underneath it – a Commes de Garcons crisp white shirt and black Prada trousers. Her shoes: Yves Saint Laurent. Her red, short and messy hairdo compliments her strict, classic sense of style.
“When I choose an outfit it is like choosing a costume for the theatre. You go from one role to the other, from resembling a flower to wearing incredible fashion.”
She has a big sunglass collection down under, so unfortunately we can’t see it. “A pair of sunglasses complete an ensemble,” she says with her charming French accent.
When I go in to the theatre I put my sunglasses on, and when I leave I take them off.
“When I go in to the theatre I put my sunglasses on, and when I leave I take them off. Depending on the style and mood, they can change your personality. You can be tough, feminim, mysterious,” she says and winks. Most importantly, she would never follow fashion trends.
“I’m the opposite. If it’s supposed to be squared, I wear round,” Monique ends.
Monique in OH-11