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Mo'Nique

Mo'Nique Imes (born December 11, 1967) ,best known as her stage name Mo'Nique, is an American comedian, actress, and reality television host. She is also the main host of the BET Awards.

Biography

Early life

Mo'Nique was born on December 11, 1967 in Woodlawn, Maryland. She is one of four children born to Steven Imes Jr. and Alice Imes. Mo'Nique graduated from Milford Mill High School in Baltimore County, Maryland. She got her start in comedy when her brother dared her to perform at an open mic night and she was a big hit. Not long after she realized this was the path she wanted to pursue and would quit her job at the phone company in Baltimore. Before obtaining success in her chosen career, Mo'Nique worked as a phone sex operator. She was in charge of monitoring the phone call conversations.

Career

Television roles

She is best known for the role of Nicole "Nikki" Parker on the UPN television series The Parkers. The show ran from 1999 to 2004. Mo'Nique was subsequently featured on a number of leading stand-up venues, including stints on Showtime at the Apollo, Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam, and Thank God You're Here.

She was also named host of Showtime at the Apollo. She is currently the host and executive producer of Mo'Nique's Fat Chance, a beauty pageant for plus-sized women, on the Oxygen cable network. She recently hosted the first season of Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School on VH1, where she crowned Saaphyri as the winner.

Her 2007 documentary Mo'Nique Behind Bars, focuses on women who are incarcerated. Mo'Nique touches on the common factors that bring many women into the penal system while interviewing women one-on-one. In the interviews, she does not shy away from the facts of what happened or excuse the actions of the inmates but she attempts to help the women see the worth they still hold. The documentary was in conjunction with the filming of a comedy special at the Ohio Reformatory for Women also known as The Farm. In 2007, she had a guest starring role on the hit television series, Ugly Betty as L'Amanda, Mode's weekend security guard.

Film and video career

Mo'Nique has had a number of supporting roles in film, primarily aimed at urban audiences. She appears in the 2008 comedy film, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins with Martin Lawrence. She has had roles in Beerfest, 3 Strikes, Two Can Play That Game, Half Past Dead, and Garfield: The Movie, in which she voiced a CGI character. She also appeared in Baby Boy and Soul Plane.

In 2005, Mo'Nique played a significant role in the Tony Scott bounty hunter thriller Domino, co-starring Keira Knightley and Mickey Rourke. In 2006, Mo'Nique was cast as the lead in Phat Girlz, a comedy about an aspiring plus size fashion designer struggling to find love and acceptance. The film is considered to be successful because it made its 3 million production budget back in its first weekend of release. The movie has since made under $10,000,000 in the U.S. and grossed over 14 million worldwide.

She was featured in soul singer Anthony Hamilton's video "Sista Big Bones", the second single from his Ain't Nobody Worryin' album. She plays the role of a beautiful plus sized woman whom Anthony secretly admires because she has always loved herself.

Mo'Nique hosted the 2003 and 2004 BET Awards and appeared as the host again for the 2007 BET Awards. She tore down the house in 2004 and 2007 with openings impersonating Beyoncé's famous "Crazy in Love" dance and her dances from "Dé Jà Vu".

Mo'Nique claimed on the January 28, 2008 Oprah Winfrey Show that Martin Lawrence gave her invaluable advice about show business: "He pulled me to the side and he said, 'Listen, don't ever let them tell you what you can't have.' Since that day, I've made some of the best deals I've ever made in my career because it keeps ringing in my head. … It will stay with me forever."

Theatre

Mo'Nique's first play was Eve Ensler's Obie Award-winning production of The Vagina Monologues, in March 2002. Mo'Nique, along with Ella Joyce (Roc); Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Steve Harvey Show & The Game) and Vanessa Bell Calloway (What's Love Got to Do with It), were the first all black celebrity cast to perform The Vagina Monologues. Executive produced by YYP & Associates, LLC, the show was produced and directed by noted theater producer/director, Yetta Young.

Books

Mo'Nique is the author of the best-selling book Skinny Women Are Evil. She also released a 2006 cookbook called Skinny Cooks Can't Be Trusted.

Radio

Mo'Nique began her radio career in 2006 when she temporarily substituted for afternoon personality Michael Baisden when his contract with ABC Radio was in the process of getting renewed. In 2008, Radio One inked a deal for her to get her own radio show, called Mo'Nique In the Afternoon (or The Mo'Nique Show) which premiered on several Radio One-owned Urban Adult Contemporary-formatted R&B/soul radio stations in July 2008.

Personal life

Mo'nique married Mark Jackson on December 25, 1997 and appended his surname to hers professionally to be known as Monique Imes-Jackson, but they separated after four years of marriage, and divorced 2001. With Jackson, she has sons Mark, Jr. (adopted from Mark's previous relationship) and Shalon (1990). Her oldest son was in a singing group with Mario.

In 2006, she married her childhood friend Sidney Hicks. She and Hicks have twins, Jonathan and David, born on October 3, 2005. Always outspoken, Mo'Nique is not shy when talking about the unique arrangement she has with Sidney Hicks. She and her husband have an open marriage, as she mentioned in a profile in The New York Times:

"We have an agreement that we'll always be honest, and if sex happens with another person, that's not a deal breaker for us, that's not something where we'll have to say, 'Oh God, we've got to go to divorce court because you cheated on me.' Because we don't cheat.

She later clarified her comments on The Oprah Winfrey Show that aired January 28, 2008. She told Winfrey that in her prior marriages, she was constantly searching for "that extra oomph." Mo'Nique explained, "When I said I had an open marriage, people automatically jumped to sex. They automatically went there. But I've been best friends with my husband since we were 14 years old. When we say open, we're very honest. There are no secrets. Often times you have people that are married, but they're strangers, and we refuse to be those people."

She concluded, "I've had to sneak and I've had to lie, and I don't want to do that any more. But my husband is so awesome and so fine and so—oh, girl. … No other man can compare."

Filmography

Year Title Role Other notes
1999-2000 Moesha Nicole "Nikki" Parker TV, 3 episodes
1999-2004 The Parkers Nicole "Nikki" Parker TV, 111 episodes
2000 3 Strikes Dahlia
2001 The Hughleys Nicole "Nikki" Parker TV, 1 episode
Baby Boy Patrice
Two Can Play That Game Diedre
2002 Half Past Dead Twitch's Girl
2003 Good Fences Ruth Crisp Television movie
2004 The Bernie Mac Show Lynette TV, 1 episode
Soul Plane Jamiqua
Hair Show Peaches
2005 Shadowboxer Precious
Domino Lateesha Rodriguez
2006 Farce of the Penguins Vicky Voice
Phat Girlz Jazmin Biltmore
Beerfest Cherry
Nip/Tuck Evetta Washington TV, 1 episode
2007 The Boondocks Jamiqua (Voice) TV, 1 episode
Ugly Betty L'Amanda TV, 1 episode
2008 Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins Betty
Push Mary
Steppin: The Movie Aunt Carla

Awards and nominations

Year Award Result Category Series or film
2001 NAACP Image Awards Won Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series The Parkers
2002 Nominated Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture Two Can Play That Game
Won Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series The Parkers
2003 Nominated Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series The Parkers
2004 Nominated Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie, Mini-Series, or Dramatic Special Good Fences
Won Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series The Parkers
2005 Won Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series The Parkers
2004 BET Comedy Awards Nominated Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Box Office Movie Soul Plane
Nominated Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series The Parkers
2005 Nominated Outstanding Lead Actress in a Theatrical Film Hair Show
2004 Black Reel Awards Won Television: Best Supporting Actress Good Fences

References

External links

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