kai conversations with style influencer and editor, tanya thorrington monaghan

we are delighted to bring you this week's kai conversation with style influencer and deputy editor of southbay magazine, tanya thorrington monaghan. tanya’s love for kai started back in 2006 following the birth of her son, also named kai. a friend gave tanya the signature perfume oil because of the serendipitous name and the fragrance instantly reminded her of cherished childhood memories of holidays spent in hawaii (much like my own) — she felt it was a scent “tailor-made” for her. 

drawn to the beach, tanya spent her early 20’s in south africa where she found two loves: a partner and a fulfilling career path. after a near death experience at the end of her time in south africa, tanya’s perspective on life dramatically shifted for the better. today, tanya leads a life of mindfulness, cherishing every day she is given. 

tanya lives near the birthplace of kai fragrance in manhattan beach with her husband and three children. she is the acting deputy editor at southbay magazine where she curates content that shines a light on inspirational people within the community. i hope you enjoy getting a glimpse into tanya’s world. 



how did you first discover kai? 

in 2006, as i embraced motherhood with the arrival of our firstborn, kai, i had the serendipitous encounter with kai fragrance. a cherished gift from my best friend, the roller ball perfume oil, became a symbol of celebration for our baby boy. the enchanting aroma, a blend of fresh gardenia, transported me back to the sun-soaked memories of my childhood holidays in hawaii and my birthplace, south africa—both lush havens for gardenias to bloom.

kai's signature fragrance not only captures the essence of tropical paradise but is also infused with jasmine, a tribute to my late grandmother's favorite flower, and lily, the bloom that adorned my wedding day. i am obsessed with white flowers, particularly those of the tropical variety, it feels as though kai was tailor-made for me. kai is a harmonious blend of intoxicating fresh scents and my most cherished memories. 

how do you embody kai’s “breath*life*flow” lifestyle? 

i am a huge advocate for mindfulness and meditation. ten years ago, i delved deeply into it during a very challenging time in my life. i studied vedic meditation with the highly acclaimed meditation guru and author light watkins. it changed my life and i realize how important this daily practice is to my general wellbeing. 


how did you start your career? and how did you end up with your current role?

i studied communication at usc and then went on to study graphic design at ucla. i began my career as a graphic designer thinking i would be a creative. i ended up traveling to cape town, south africa for a trip where i fell head over heels in love with my husband. i went out with a suitcase for a few weeks and ended up staying. i left my family, my job and my friends and a whole new realm of possibilities opened up for me. i began working for gq magazine as a graphic designer and then parlayed into fashion. i worked really hard and within two years became fashion editor of glamour magazine. i have over twenty years of experience working for numerous international publications. after relocating back home to manhattan beach with my husband and three children, i became deputy editor for south bay magazine where i enjoy doing editorial fashion, writing and shining a light on inspirational people within the community. i am also a content creator devoted to supporting small and local businesses within in my community and beyond. 

what’s the best advice you’ve ever received? 

rather be a giver than a taker. my beloved late grandmother used to always say that to me. 


do you have a mantra you live by? 

do unto others as you would have them do unto you.


what’s your beauty secret? or must have beauty product? 

having dry skin, i am obsessed with moisturizing and never leave the house without sunscreen. my must have beauty product is ce ferulic by skinceuticals. 

go-to lipstick color? 

i love  any of the ysl rouge volupté shine lipstick balm 


what color nail polish are you wearing right now? 

natural with gold french tips! i love having fun with my nails. 


who is your role model? 

the late, great nelson mandela, who always led with love. 


how would you describe your personal style? 

i don’t follow trends per se nor do i try to pin myself down. i express myself through fashion depending on my mood. i like mixing things up. 

what do you love most about where you live? any secret spots you love to go to? 

i am deeply connected to nature and am happiest when immersed in it. i have never lived away from the sea. (there is no coincidence that we named our firstborn son kai which means ocean in hawaiian.) i live in the quaint and beautiful beach town of manhattan beach. i love the healthy lifestyle and the strong sense of community that is here. 


describe your perfect day. 

my perfect day would be spent with my family and good friends at the beach in hanalei bay (my happy place and our second home). 


favorite date spot? 

our favorite date spot would be between love and salt or fwd in manhattan beach. and we love to have a night cap and sit in the window at mangiamo. 


ultimate getaway? 

our happy place is hanalei, kauai but an ultimate getaway would be to greece. my mom was born in athens and i feel at home there. 


favorite food? 

sushi, hands down! i could eat it all day long. 


guilty pleasure? 

coffee, wine and dark chocolate. (i can’t choose one above the other.) 


kai obsession? 

i am definitely in nesting mode with my home and am currently loving the kai room linen spray and reed diffuser. 


morning person or night owl? 

night owl. definitely not a morning person, but i am trying to change that. 


currently craving? 



ideal way to relax/unwind? 

i love going for long walks on the beach. ha, i sound like a dating profile. 


what book are you reading currently? 

the great alone. 


what’s the most adventurous thing you’ve done? 

i moved to south africa by myself when i was 22. i lived and worked there for a year. i almost died in a car accident at the end of my time there. my life flashed before my eyes and i had an out of body experience that changed my whole perspective on life for the better. i cherish every day i am given. 



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