Hi! My name is Monica Luhar and I’m a freelance writer, journalist, and aspiring teacher based in Los Angeles, California.
I am a second-generation Indian American, and the proud daughter of immigrant parents. My grandfather (dada) always nurtured my love for writing and inspired me to continue telling untold stories. We’d often play Scrabble and memorize words from the dictionary and make new words out of words. It was a necessary ritual that led me to the world of storytelling. I owe my grandfather everything because I wouldn’t have pursued journalism without his support for the craft. Stories matter. As journalists, it’s our job to uphold the truth and record the past and present with accuracy and sensitivity. My hope is to continue telling impactful stories across multiple platforms. I learn something new every day and am so grateful for crossing paths with some truly remarkable individuals who deserve to have their stories told. I believe it is my life’s purpose to report the truth and tell stories for as long as I am able.
Over the years, I’ve covered stories on sexual health education and consent on college campuses to profiles of acid attack and human trafficking survivors. I’ve spoken with a tactical self-defense instructor who dedicated his life to empowering women, ensuring that a tragedy like the one he experienced would never be repeated. I talked to survivors of the Cambodian genocide and a researcher who put together an oral archive history project, making sure the voices of Khmer women would not be erased as the elders began to age out of the population. I also spoke with Far East Movement‘s Kev Nish while he was on tour in Korea. We talked about losing and finding their identity with the launch of their comeback album, Identity.
My bylines have appeared in several hyperlocal and national news outlets: VICE.com’s Tonic, NBC Latino, NBC Asian America, NBC Out, Yahoo! News, Huffington Post Los Angeles, KPCC, KCET, Time Inc’s Hellogiggles, New America Media, India-West, LA Beez, OC Weekly, the Aerogram, AOL’s Patch.com, San Diego Free Press, Louisiana Weekly, DISFunkshion Magazine. Before I became a freelance journalist, I previously served as assistant digital producer and site and social media editor for two seasons of KCET’s award-winning newsmagazine show, “SoCal Connected,” and also worked as a general assignment reporter at India-West newspaper in Northern California.
I am currently at work on a memoir, battling my complicated Virgo tendencies.