Munroe Bergdorf selects tunes for cardio sessions, falling in love, and Brighton gay bars
The model, activist and writer shares a feel-good playlist, from Björk bangers to Britney classics fuelling chaotic nights out
image Luke Nugent
words Eve Walker
Munroe Bergdorf has always used her platform to passionately advocate for the LGBTQ+ community. The model, campaigner, author, and DJ (and some more titles and accolades for sure) speaks with clarity and positivity about living your most authentic self. Writing in The Queer Bible, she says astutely: “Being trans is not a choice. But making the choice to love yourself and be who you are authentically, is. And that’s a choice that should be celebrated.”
From appearing in FKA twigs and Headie One’s “Don’t Judge Me” video among other influential Black British figures, to walking for Gypsy Sport, co-founding queer nightlife collective Pxssy Palace, fronting beauty campaigns for Illamasqua, and releasing her own intimate and groundbreaking book Transitional – Munroe is a total powerhouse. And what fuels her? An enduring love for good tunes. Munroe grew up in the queer nightlift scene with the Pxssy Palace collective, club night and platform, which celebrates Black, indigenous and people of colour who are women, queer, intersex, trans or non-binary. It’s in these special, inclusive places for dancing that she crafted her identity.
Curating a Spotify playlist for Woo, Munroe takes us on a musical map of her life, sharing her favourite songs for every moment – Britney bangers from Brighton nights out, eurotrash for cardio sessions, and old school R&B for dreaming of love.
Where are you right now as you answer these questions?
Munroe Bergdorf: Right now, I’m at home in East London, sitting on my balcony trying to soak in some vitamin D.
How’s your mood? What’s to get excited about by today and the week ahead?
Munroe Bergdorf: My mood is calm and relaxed. I’m feeling present and pretty rested at the moment, which is always good! I’m currently recovering from some surgery, so making the most of the time off and embracing doing nothing as much as possible.
A song that inspires your happiest memory:
Bob Marley – “Three Little Birds”
Munroe Bergdorf: It always reminds me of childhood, right before life got complicated. Family barbecues, kitchen dancing, long summer car rides to the beach, my grandma’s smile. It’s the first song that I remember listening to as a kid and will always be a motivator to keep going, no matter how difficult life gets as an adult.
A song guaranteed to lift your mood:
Tamia – “So Into You”
Munroe Bergdorf: This never fails to remind me of what it feels like to fall in love with someone special. I’m a romantic at heart, so I’m a massive sucker for an old school r&b love song and it doesn’t get much better than this…
A song to save a dying party:
Missy Elliott – “She’s a Bitch”
Munroe Bergdorf: This will always be my favourite Missy track. What a beat, what a flow, what a video… The ultimate 00s hip hop banger.
A song that reminds you of friends:
Britney Spears – “Gimme More”
Munroe Bergdorf: 2007 was a pretty wild year, but it’s also when I met my best friend. This Britney CLASSIC always reminds me of running around Brighton gay bars in my early twenties, being chaotic and staying out all night.
The movie soundtrack song for a seminal life moment:
Sia – “Breathe Me”
Munroe Bergdorf: I was obsessed with her Colour the Small One album while I was battling a pretty long and deep bout of depression at university. It’s been used to death in TV adverts, shows, and movies since then, but it always reminds me that if I can get through those times, then I can get through anything.
A sad song that actually makes you happy to hear:
Anthony & The Johnsons – “Hope There’s Someone”
Munroe Bergdorf: Listening to this song feels like an exorcism for the soul. Anohni’s is one of my favourite voices of all time, so incredibly full of emotion and intention. I've cried so many times listening to this song, it definitely helps me unlock feelings that need to come to the surface.
A song you love that you hide in a private listening session:
Lana Del Rey – “Video Games”
Munroe Bergdorf: Just because someone always ends up singing along and kills the vibe. But I’ll always have a soft spot for this song, a modern classic.
A guilty pleasure you aren't afraid to love?
Livin’ Joy – “Dreamer”
Munroe Bergdorf: It’s just pure camp, 90s dance nostalgia, and great for a cardio session at the gym. I love dance music from this era, divas with big voices over a house beat will always be a fave for me.
A song you wish you'd discovered earlier in life:
Bronski Beat – “Smalltown Boy”
Munroe Bergdorf: So, I was aware of this song, but I don’t think I really paid attention to the lyrics. It wasn’t until I was in my late twenties that I really started to resonate with what Jimmy Somerville was singing about. It reminds me a lot about how I felt as a queer teen, the suffocating feeling of being stuck in a small town and wanting to run away to the big city to live a life on your own terms.
A new song on rotation:
Syd – “CYBAH (feat. Lucky Daye)”
Munroe Bergdorf: Reminds me of the exciting, uncertain and vulnerable feelings of putting your heart in someone else’s hands and falling in love. The guitar riff sounds like a summer night captured in audio and Syd’s voice is so perfect it hurts. It’s on constant repeat.
A song to share with someone when they're down:
Björk – “Army Of Me”
Munroe Bergdorf: Her Post album was one of the first records that I ever bought and still one of my favourite albums of all time. This track never fails to motivate me, no matter what mood I’m in. It reminds me to believe in myself, be on my own side and put myself first when I need to.
Find the entire playlist here