After graduating from the University of Port Harcourt in 2000, star actress Monalisa Chinda etched her name on the register of the fledgling film making industry. Having honed her skills on the same stage that has produced several top showbiz personalities (theatre arts), the brainy and beautiful actress transited into the industry with a debut as a ‘Pregnant Virgin’, and had since then proliferated great works earning her a place as one of the best in this part of the world.
Appearing in about two of every five movies released into the market, Monalisa’s prowess and consistency endeared her to the management of Glo Mobile Network for which she effortlessly became an ambassador.
And like many of her colleagues, she has had a fair share of scandals, especially her divorce from her former husband, Segun Dejo-Richards (who has remarried)… but Monalisa is not one to trade words with anyone over what she considers her privacy.
IN THE BEGINNING… “Before I ventured into Nollywood, I was busy with my studies at the University of Port Harcourt where I read Theatre Arts. I actually did my first major movie, ‘Pregnant Virgin’, in 1996 while I was an undergraduate. I did ‘Above The Law’ after I graduated in the year 2002, and that was the beginning of everything.
“So I would say Nollywood found me while I was still in school.
“For me, I don’t think there was any magical wand that helped achieve whatever I have achieved, but the grace of God. If there was any reason I have been consistently engaged and appreciated for what I do, I think it’s because of my gifts, and the giver of that gift is God. I simply discovered my love and natural talents for acting, I followed it through by developing my talents into skills, and God’s grace has been responsible for the rest. I was basically a student determined to learn all there was about theatre arts before acting came calling. If I wasn’t an actress, I would probably have been a lawyer or activist. I already knew acting was the core of my gifting and passion from childhood, so I gladly embraced it when the opportunity came. I had always admired some of the reigning acts as at then although it wasn’t as developed as it is today, and deep down within me, I just felt this thing could be done in a better way.
FAME AND FORTUNE… “I wouldn’t say fame and fortune came my way suddenly; the fame was progressive. Fortune, on the other hand, doesn’t come your way in a hurry, irrespective of the amount you’re earning. Fortune only comes your way with proper planning.
NO REGRETS YET… “To be sincere, our job is one that comes with a lot of ups and downs, especially if you’re the emotional type. For instance, how would you feel when someone sits down somewhere and writes some stories about you which are totally baseless? But if you must live your life to the fullest, you must realise that you cannot have intimacy with peace if you keep allowing people determine your mood. Those are some of the consequences that come with being famous, but they are absolutely not enough reasons to make a serious minded person abandon her passion; every profession has hitches.
COPING WITH SCANDALS… “It’s a worldwide phenomenon. Once you decide to be a celebrity, you must also be ready to accept the adverse side of it. When such happens, the best thing to do is channel it somewhere instead of dwelling on it, because if you do not transform your pain, you’ll surely transmit it. I just take it as it comes, as part of the profession and I deal with the ones that are meant to be dealt with.
LIFE WITH TAMAR… “Life has been great, I tell you; there’s no such happiness as doing what you really love to do. I also bless God for giving me such a wonderful daughter as Tamar, she’s one my greatest gifts from God and it’s been a blessing having her.
MY GLOBACOM DEAL… “Globacom actually happens to be one of the very few African companies solely committed to adding value to lives and I consider it a privilege being a part of their great works.
MY NEXT PROJECT… “Well, there are a couple of things in the offing of which I cannot reveal for now. When the time comes, you’ll experience them.
FRIENDS IN NOLLYWOOD… “To be sincere, Nollywood is filled with lots of lovely people with great character. We are closely knitted like a family that there can’t be a list of preference.
MY OTHER TURN-ON… “Life is absolutely beautiful. In terms of excitement, nothing gives me joy like the sight of my daughter’s laughter. She’s just a wonder to behold!
MY CHILDHOOD… “My childhood was pretty interesting. I’m the first born in a family of two sons and four daughters.”