Monica Luhar
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About Monica

I've been a storyteller for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I used to get a kick out of spotting typos on billboards and would spend hours at the library devouring Highlights Magazine or playing dozens of rounds of Scrabble with my beloved dada. Somehow words quickly became my canvas and a powerful tool to share untold stories. I was able to better see and understand the world around me through the written word. 

I have worked as a journalist, editor, and digital producer for various online, hyperlocal, and national news outlets and higher education institutions. I previously worked as a digital producer for two seasons of the Emmy-award winning television show, "SoCal Connected" on KCET and a web journalist and contributor for NBC News, producing original reported news and feature web stories and on-camera Instagram Stories covering the Asian American Pacific Islander and Latino communities on a national scale.

My bylines have appeared as press releases and original reported articles for NBC News, VICE (Broadly and Tonic), Southern California Public Radio, KCET, OC Weekly, LA Weekly, HelloGiggles, Yahoo News!, The Aerogram, India-West, Louisiana Weekly, Alhambra Source, New America Media, University of California, Irvine, USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy.

The stories I've reported have connected me to inspiring, resilient people. I've interviewed organizations and courageous individuals who are working to combat human trafficking and recruit more foster parents to fill culture and language needs. I will never forget the faces I've met a long the way, or the stories that either broke my heart into a million pieces or gave me hope. 

There are so many stories yet to tell. Today, I’m empowering youth as a substitute teacher for San Gabriel Valley schools. I also provide content writing services and run a women’s empowerment blog, Mornings with Moni.


Selected Articles 


Project Preserves Cambodian Genocide Survivor Stories After Decades of Silence

Monica Luhar, NBC News, April 21, 2017 -- Growing up in Long Beach, California, Phatana Ith often felt detached from her identity as a Cambodian-American woman until she began to have conversations with elder women in the community about their experiences during the Cambodian genocide.

Image: Boris Jovanovic / Stocksy

Image: Boris Jovanovic / Stocksy

The People Who Make You Look Good Are Suffering

Monica Luhar, VICE, March 7, 2017

Tattoo artists literally bend over backwards to make us look like scrawl-emblazoned demigods. Their effort takes patience and sacrifice, though, considering the physical strain involved may be wrecking their bodies, one tat at a time.


A 'Budding' Industry: Asian Americans for Cannabis Education

Monica Luhar, NBC News, December 7, 2015 -- When Tiffany Wu first entered the cannabis industry in March, she noticed that Asian Americans involved in the industry were few and far between — a trend the 28-year-old says was made even more apparent after she attended the Marijuana Business Conference and Expo, one of the nation's largest cannabis trade shows attracting thousands of advocates and industry professionals, in Las Vegas in November.


Selected Work


Human trafficking survivor Ima Matul to speak in Culver City Tuesday

Monica Luhar, Southern California Public Radio (KPCC), March 10, 2014

Nearly 14 years ago, Ima Matul was trapped in a situation that seemed hopeless. Tuesday, she'll be sharing her story during a discussion on modern-day human trafficking in Culver City.

Mixed Martial Artist Keta Meggett Helps Kids Fight Back Against Bullies

Monica Luhar, LA Weekly, July 19, 2017

At 5 foot 3 inches tall, Keta Rush is a compact force of nature in the wrestling ring.When she steps onto the mat, she throws on her signature gold cape and instantly becomes a badass, real-life superhero on a mission to empower kids and eradicate youth bullying.



Counterpunch: Latino Goes to the Mat So Women Can Fight Violence

Monica Luhar, NBC Latino, December 21, 2016

 It was a personal tragedy that led Los Angeles Police Department tactical self-defense instructor Maurice Gomez to what he considers his life's purpose - teaching women to protect themselves, usually for free.

I write for the same reason I breathe - because if I didn’t, I would die.
— Isaac Asimov

The Women in Wheelchairs Changing the World of Competitive Dance 

Monica Luhar, VICE Broadly

The LA Rollettes playfully tousle their hair and blow kisses to their reflections. They spin around the dance floor at Evolution Dance Studios in North Hollywood in wheels that light up like confetti, creating a triangle line formation in preparation for a new round of choreography set to Dua Lipa's "Blow Yo Mind (Mwah)" and Lady Gaga's "Applause."


New Series Highlights Transgender Stories, Introduces 'Ladies Of AsiaSF' - NBC Asian America

Monica Luhar, NBC News

Some people have a hard time remembering anniversaries and birthdays, but for Lorne Anthony, July 13, 2014, is a date she has no trouble remembering.

Multi-Generational Photos of America’s Future Majority Minority

Monica Luhar, NBC News

In the next 30 years, minorities are expected to become the majority population in the U.S. -- a demographic shift that has already occurred in states like California and Texas.

Asian Americans don't get treated for alcoholism. This group wants to change that for South Asians.

Monica Luhar - NBC News - Dec.15.2017 

Each Thursday, a group gathers around a candle at a church in Iselin, New Jersey, to talk about their struggles with alcoholism.

Like many other Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups, members share stories about their problems with alcohol and substance use disorders and their road to recovery and sobriety.

Philosophy professor Margaret Gilbert/Press Release/University of California, Irvine

Philosophy professor Margaret Gilbert/Press Release/University of California, Irvine

Focusing on Rights 

Monica Luhar - University of California, Irvine Press Release, - April 24, 2018

University of California, Irvine, Melden Chair of Moral Philosophy Margaret Gilbert is accustomed to forging new paths. She is one of two women in the UCI School of Humanities to be inducted into the prestigious American Academy of Arts and Sciences and, as a philosopher, occupies a field where women are significantly underrepresented.

Photo: Peter DaSilva / for NBC News

Photo: Peter DaSilva / for NBC News

The Rice Rockettes: 'Sugar and Spice and Everything Rice'

Monica Luhar - NBC News - Oct.09.2015

Estée Longah wears a faux fur coat and a set of pearls to go with her Elizabeth Taylor-inspired white cocktail dress. She gently adjusts the flyaway curls from her wig and applies the finishing touches to her smoky eyes before a night out with the Rice Rockettes, an Asian-American drag performance troupe she founded in 2009.


You can view/download my resume below. 


B.A. Literary Journalism
University of California, Irvine
Fall 2007 to Summer 2011

Skills & Languages

  • Writing

  • Interviewing

  • Social Media Management

  • Copy writing and editing

  • Transcribing

  • Community Engagement


Some Spanish




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