Linda Marie Moneta sported red hair and a wicked wit, and she believed beauty, like servings of vanilla Swiss almond ice cream, came in all sizes.
A plus-size woman herself, Moneta grew up in Babylon, N.Y., and arrived in Charlotte in 1988 with Dollar General. Four years later, she opened what was then the only plus-sized consignment store in Charlotte, A Closet Full, on Garden Terrace off East Boulevard.
Her mission: To allow other plus-size women to feel good about themselves and what they wore.
Moneta died of liver cancer on April 15 at her condo in southeast Charlotte. She was 64.
“Her shop was cheery and body-positive with tons of reaffirming sayings on the displays,” says Moneta’s friend Donna Scott, an actor and producer.
Crystal Dempsey met Moneta when she was covering fashion for the Observer.
“She offered feedback if you asked,” says Dempsey. “And once you became a regular, she would veto or approve with a smile, a quip or a wink. And sometimes, if you were lucky, you got all three.”
“She made you feel so special, and she had a lot of little extra touches in her store,” says Marsha Pepper, who became friends with Moneta after they met in 1994 in a swim aerobics class at the Harris Y.
“She had large dressing rooms,” she says, “and scarves to put over your head so you wouldn’t get makeup on the clothes.”
Moneta’s cousin and godchild, Gail Inkpen, says Moneta had her own style of dressing, which involved wearing a lot of black and brown.
“She was very neat looking,” says Inkpen. “And she knew how to accessorize. She wore the bigger earrings. She also had a knack for decorating. I told her, ‘When you close the store, you need to go into interior decorating.’ She knew how to accent a room really well.”
The store moved from Garden Terrace to Kings Drive, back to Garden Terrace and, finally, to South Boulevard near Tremont. Business declined after the 2008 recession, and Moneta closed A Closet Full in 2010.
Retirement gave her more time for other loves – the theater and her dogs.
Actor-director Vito Abate says Moneta often brought her dog Bud with her when she worked the box office at Theatre Charlotte.
“Linda was usually the first person people saw when coming to see a show,” says Abate, “and for many, perhaps the only person there they had direct contact with regularly. She knew many of them by face and could hand them the tickets without their saying their name.
“I never saw Linda lose her cool,” he says. “She had a charm and a wit about her, and a wonderful way with people. But she was no pushover either. Let’s not forget that Linda was born a Yankee.”
“She loved theater as a spectator and volunteer,” says Ron Law, executive director of Theatre Charlotte. “Not only did she work our box office, but she ushered a lot at the Blumenthal and extensively at Actor’s Theatre. She was recognized and loved by theater patrons all over Charlotte.”
The box office at Theatre Charlotte will be named to honor Moneta’s memory.