Monica Martin, Singer, PHOX


"I’m from a little town in Wisconsin called Baraboo. That’s where everyone in the band is from—since it’s so small, you end up knowing anyone doing anything creative. There’re six of us—two are brothers, some of us played soccer together or were in dance together. I failed algebra twice when I was in a class with our keyboard player. We had all of these interactions, and then eventually we ended up forming PHOX.

For a while I was terrified to even try singing. I’m only starting to own it now that I’ve been doing it for two and a half years. When I first moved to Madison where I live now, I was actually in beauty school which was the craziest thing ever. There’re a lot of characters, naturally—strong personalities, artists and people like that. A lot of emotions. I was so glad to finish, though, and to start doing hair in a salon because I liked connecting with people in that way. You want your outside to reflect how you feel in the inside, and that’s what I think is very cool about hair and makeup. I don't want people to feel pressured to have to do it, but I think it’s very fun. I miss the salon, so sometimes I cut the boys’ hair in the band. I sit in the very back of the van so when the backs of their necks start looking a little hairy, that's all I see in front of me. I get a little crazy and have to do something about it. [Laughs] It’s a nice way to get my fix.

I’m always exploring products for my curly hair, there’s nothing I really stick to all the time. I like to deep clean it, then put products on to make it feel dirty again. I’ll mix a little bit of baking soda into my regular shampoo to make it more like a clarifying shampoo—don’t do this if you have colored hair, though! On the road I’ve been using Big Sexy Hair Back Comb In A Bottle, which isn’t necessarily a product for curly hair, but it works for the style I do. It’s basically a really concentrated hair spray, and I just put it at my roots for volume. It’s insane, I can’t even explain it. Hats are also awesome—they're nice on the road because your hair gets very...‘I slept in a van’-looking.

I’m always cocktail-ing things and experimenting. When I was younger I started taking lipstick and using it as eye shadow by blending it. That and liquid eyeliner were what I mastered in middle school. In beauty school, we were just playing around one day and someone had the Milani Infinite Liquid Eyeliner in Infinite. I tried it on and it stayed for like two days! I don’t know what’s in it—tar, sulfur, fairy blood probably—but it never comes off. It’s freaky but it also looks really great when you’ve had it on for a couple of days. I’ve tried to make motions toward a more natural routine, and now I feel that I have a pretty good balance between nice products and the stuff that will definitely kill me and make me flammable. [Laughs]"

—as told to ITG

Monica Martin photographed by Tom Newton. 

Let’s Talk About It! JOIN IN
  • Elaine

    Monica is so beautiful, inside and out!

  • Yasmeen M

    It's actually quite refreshing not to see paragraphs of products she uses on herself. I think that accurately reflects the care-free approach she has to life--she likes to experiment and isn't religiously connected to anything she uses, making her unique. She's an interesting and beautiful in that way.

  • Bella

    A beautiful, fresh faced girl who looks very happy doing what she loves. Her glow doesn't come from a bottle. She mastered liquid eyeliner in middle school, though? I still think algebra is easier ;).

  • Jessica TeBeest

    Such an incredible band and Monica is gorgeous! So glad to see some fellow Wisconsinites making it :)

    • mamavalveeta03

      Me, too!! I grew up about a 1/2 hr away from Baraboo. Love that Monica and PHOX are getting the attention they deserve. Now, stay "Midwestern-grounded" and you'll be OK in this crazy business!!!

    • mamavalveeta03

      It gets even better, Jessica! I just found out that my H.S. friend's son, Matt Holmen is a guitarist with PHOX! I wish them all the best!

  • Lili

    So unique to see a Top shelf entry with such a minimalist approach to beauty. I admire it on one level however I am still a bit of a beauty junkie who also loves to peek into other women's cabinets/make-up bags. So for that reason can 'shelfie's' show (& tell) at least 5 items on their shelves? Please?:)

  • Aubrey Green

    I have a friend, Malika Chatterji who lives in Madison.

  • Katie

    Ahh I love her freckles!

  • mara

    i saw them open for blitzen trapper a few months ago and i am in love with phox! so happy to see monica featured in a blog post!

  • Evelyn Brockmann

    A very freshfun uplifting read, thank you! :D And Freckle envy is well continued.

  • Talia Wayne

    Hallelujah for another person who believes in the power of baking soda as a shampoo! I love baking soda and I use it every time I wash my hair because it gives a deep cleaning.

  • Cece

    ITG if you ever do a topshelf on eva green I will set up a shrine for you and worship at it daily.

    • JY

      I request also Lana del Rey and Felicity Jones.


Big Sexy Hair
Big Sexy Hair What A Tease Back Comb In A Bottle
Milani Infinite Liquid Eyeliner