The incredible comeback story of ex-ice addict who lost her mum and brother in a house fire at 2, then suffered a horror downward spiral into crime and violence before a ‘scary’ decision changed everything

  • Monique Parker used to be Jessie Clarke
  • At two a house fire killed her mother
  • Crime, addiction and abuse followed  
  • She transitioned to living as a woman at age 25

A young Australian transgender woman and aspiring musician and model has shared her amazing comeback story.

Monique Parker, 27, survived a house fire that killed her mother and brother in 1997 followed by a long recovery from third degrees burns, only to spiral into drug addiction, violent relationships, sexual abuse, crime, jail, homelessness and mental health issues, before turning her life around.

‘I’ve been burned, almost been blown up and stabbed, I’ve been arrested over 25 times, I’ve been chased, beaten, robbed and raped,’ Ms Parker told Daily Mail Australia.

None of those constituted her lowest point though; that was living in an ‘ice den’ at Narellan in south-west Sydney at age 17.

‘I was addicted to ice and never looked or felt worse in my whole life at that point, I’d take just about anything from you if you weren’t looking, I was violent and angry.’ 

While she models with conventional ideas of beauty in mind, she also describes herself as ‘an anti-model’ – an emerging form of modelling practised by people who challenge ideas about having the perfect body

At 19, Monique Parker was Jessie, drug-addicted and deeply angry at the world. Eight years later she is ‘1,000 per cent happier and healthier’

Fast forward 10 years, Ms Parker lives a far more peaceful life in Sydney’s LGBTQI-friendly inner west with her long-term girlfriend and has been clean from drugs for six years.

‘South-west Sydney is the not the easiest place to live for people from the LGBTQI community,’ she said.

Using the name Monni.P, she now writes and releases electronic music and has started a career as an online model using the OnlyFans platform.

She also studies ethics, philosophy and human rights in her spare time and cooks dinner at home every night.

‘It’s a gentler life cooking a meal every night from scratch instead of getting into fights,’ Ms Parker said.

‘Now my life is eventful in much different ways. I get to make friends that I’m not scared of and I don’t have to worry about police at every corner now.

‘I can focus on the things I should have worried about when I was that 12-year-old thug like education, relationships, friendships and self-care.

‘My depression has gotten a lot more manageable with a more relaxed life and I’m 1,000 per cent happier and healthier.’

Ms Parker is telling her story now because she wants people to know that no matter how bad things get, they can always improve. 

Her number one piece of advice is to work through problems slowly, one by one, identify solutions and find a supportive community that will back you.

‘I was in the darkest place anyone could be at multiple times in my life but you can always make it better. 

‘It comes down to the problem are you are having. What can you do about it?’ 

For her drug addiction, that meant surrendering to a year-long rehab stint at William Booth House in Sydney.

The then little Monique (Jessie) was pronounced dead from smoke inhalation and had to wear a burns suit for two years (Pictured, Jessie Clarke in hospital after the fire)

Twenty-plus years later, Monique Parker does not find it hard to forgive herself for the chaotic life of crime that followed

‘If I hadn’t stopped all the crazy stuff I was doing, like drugs and crime I don’t think I would have been able to enjoy life either way.’ she said.

From there, the decision that changed everything was starting the journey to becoming a woman. 

Between the ages of 25 and 27, she has let go of her former self, the deeply unhappy Jessie Clarke, and embraced the far more at-peace Monique Parker. 

‘It was both one of the most scary things but one of the most fulfilling things I’ve ever done, it gave me the ability to put my whole ego aside and start living a genuine life,’ Ms Parker said.

The physical changes are remarkable and obvious. She puts them down to taking oestrogen and progesterone. 

‘It’s supposed to speed up results. It’s a bit expensive though.’

Unlike some trans people she isn’t offended by use of of her pre-transition name. 

‘I like the name Jessie, but I have always liked the name Monique and I took my mum’s last name to honour her.’ 

Donna Ann Parker died in the house fire that burned down the family home at Kirrawee in Sydney’s south in 1997. It also took the life of Monique’s older brother Jay.

And as if Ms Parker’s comeback story isn’t remarkable enough, she also shares that then-two-year-old Jessie was was pronounced dead from smoke inhalation on the lawn of the family home. 

All she knows about the cause was that it was ‘a gas fire’. 

After the trauma of the fire came the trauma of the recovery, which required wearing a full body burn suit for two years.

‘Thirty per cent of my face is covered in a big scar, 50 percent of my legs have scarring. There’s also scarring on my left hand and a large patch on chest and stomach.’

A family member told Daily Mail Australia that little Jessie’s nappy prevented her receiving burns ‘to the genital area’.

‘But school was rough with half of the skin on my face and legs missing,’ she said.

Using the name Monni.P, she now writes and releases electronic music, has started a career as an online model using the OnlyFans platform and studies ethics and philosophy part-time

By the age of 12, and low on self-esteem Ms Parker had fallen in with the wrong crowd.

The powerful combination of body shame, peer pressure and substance abuse began a dangerous spiral that she can see now got worse year by year.

She started on cigarettes at 12, quickly followed by marijuana, then drinking with a group that was into shoplifting and vandalism.

‘By age 15 I was on ecstasy, acid and magic mushrooms and committing petty crimes such as stealing valuable items from cars and construction sites,’ she said.

At 16 she was raped in a bathroom stall after experimenting with her sexuality in online chat rooms.

By 17 she wad addicted to ice and was diagnosed with severe depression, anxiety, and complex PTSD.

Under the cloud of ice her solution was to start doing sex work.

At age 18 she was convicted for aggravated break and enter, larceny, distribution of a prohibited drug and stealing a car.

While the court cases ‘dragged on’ for a year she again got arrested for possession of drugs and for breaching her bail roughly 20 times.

Monique Parker, a young Australian transgender woman and aspiring musician and model, says transitioning and giving up drugs and crime has made her life ‘1000 per cent happier’

‘At 19 I finally got sent to prison after being intercepted by police on the way to sell some weed.’ 

She was on the way to probation and parole appointments at the same time.

On the way to Silverwater prison in a transport van she was beaten up by a former drug dealer and had her shoes stolen.

A sympathetic magistrate granted her bail before final sentencing and she was allowed to attend rehab.

She came out as bisexual in rehab after a fight with a staff member who confronted her about her early attempts to use drugs and do treatment.

After a year-long stay in rehab stay she managed to stay clean, but fell again into abusive relationships and homelessness.

Ms Parker says the motivation to make her transition work prevented her from going back to the bad decisions that characterised her teens.

She got her first job in years, rented an apartment and started not just modeling but also ‘anti-modelling’.

While she models with conventional ideas of beauty in mind, she also describes herself as ‘an anti-model’ – an emerging form of modelling practised by people who challenge ideas about having the perfect body.

And although she’s proud of her feminine appearance, she’s equally proud of her scars – which have defined so much of her life. 

‘Through both anti-modelling and modelling I will show off my scars to let people know they can beautiful.’

‘Through both anti-modelling and modelling I will show off my scars to let people know they can beautiful.’

In May 2022 she met her current partner Erika.

Nine months into the most stable relationship of her adult life, Ms Parker felt ready to begin telling her story.

She is well aware she navigating changing gender at a time there is a very public backlash against transgender rights. 

‘There does seem to be so much negative media coverage about trans people. It feels like every day I log on and someone has been killed just for being trans.

‘If I can spread any positivity I will. I like to use who I used to be to show that anyone can be a better person.

‘Ultimately it doesn’t matter what your gender is, being a better person is about your lifestyle, the people you hang around and the things that you choose to do each day.

‘I believe I was suppressed by a criminal lifestyle.

‘The world is a much happier safer place now, trust me, I was an absolute maggot.

‘But I don’t find it hard to forgive myself now.’

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