Mo'Nique at the 2010 Screen Actors Guild Awards
Monique Angela Imes
December 11, 1967
|Other names||Myelle Kaye|
Monique Angela Hicks (née Imes; born December 11, 1967), known professionally as Mo'Nique, is an American comedian and Academy Award winning actress. She first gained fame as a member of The Queens of Comedy, as well as her role as Nicole "Nikki" Parker in the UPN series The Parkers while making a name as a stand-up comedian hosting a variety of venues, including Showtime at the Apollo. Mo'Nique transitioned to film with roles in such films as Phat Girlz (2006) and Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2008). In 2002, she, along with several other female comedians, earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Comedy Album.
In 2009, she garnered critical acclaim for her performance in the film Precious and won numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, becoming the fourth African American woman to win the award after Hattie McDaniel, Whoopi Goldberg, and Jennifer Hudson, respectively. She hosted The Mo'Nique Show, a late-night talk show that premiered in 2009 on BET; it was cancelled in 2011. In 2015, she drew rave reviews for her performance as Ma Rainey in the HBO biopic Bessie and earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination.
Mo'Nique was born on December 11, 1967, in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of engineer Alice Imes and drug counselor Steven Imes, Jr. She is the youngest of four children. Mo'Nique graduated from Milford Mill High School in Baltimore County in 1985 and attended Morgan State University. She is a 1987 graduate of the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland.
Before she was an actress, Monique worked as a customer service representative at the phone company MCI in Hunt Valley, Maryland. She got her start in comedy at the downtown Baltimore Comedy Factory Outlet when her brother Steve dared her to perform at an open mic night.
During a 2008 Essence magazine interview, Mo'Nique revealed that she was sexually abused by her brother Gerald from ages 7–11; he went on to sexually abuse another girl and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. After her twin boys were born in 2005, Mo'Nique cut off all contact with Gerald. On April 19, 2010, he admitted on Oprah to sexually abusing her over several years. He also was abused by family members and struggled with substance abuse.
Mo'Nique portrayed Nicole "Nikki" Parker on the UPN television series The Parkers from 1999 to 2004. She was featured on many leading stand-up venues such as Showtime at the Apollo, Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam, and Thank God You're Here. Monique tackles race issues in her stand up routines, for instance at the Montreal Just For Laugh Festival in 2000: white and black people, we're just mad at each other, we don't know why we're mad at each other. We're not each other's enemy. We're not the enemy. It's the Chinese people we need to watch out for".
She was also named hostess of Showtime at the Apollo. She was the hostess and executive producer of Mo'Nique's Fat Chance, a beauty pageant for plus-sized women, on the Oxygen cable network. She hosted the first season of Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School on VH1 where she crowned Saaphyri as the winner. Mo'Nique's 2007 documentary I Coulda Been Your Cellmate! focuses on incarcerated women. In interviews with individual women, she touches on the common factors that bring many women into the penal system. The documentary was related to her filming 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. She appeared 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 Soul Plane. She voiced a character in Garfield: The Movie, but her role was cut from the movie.
In 2005, Mo'Nique played a significant role in Tony Scott's 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 fashion designer struggling to find love and acceptance. The film was met with lukewarm response from critics and fans. It did earn back its $3 million production cost in its first weekend of release.
She was featured in soul singer Anthony Hamilton's video "Sista Big Bones", the second single from his album Ain't Nobody Worryin'. She hosted the 2003 and 2004 BET Awards and appeared as the host again for the 2007 BET Awards. She received positive responses in July 2004 with her opening performance of Beyoncé's single "Crazy in Love" In 2007, she performed Beyoncé's "Déjà Vu".
In 2008, Mo'Nique stated on 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."
In 2009, Mo'Nique appeared in the film Precious, directed by Lee Daniels, portraying an inner-city teenager's abusive mother. She won the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize for her performance in the film. The African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) awarded Mo'Nique with the Best Supporting Actress Award in December 2009. It also announced that Mo'Nique received the AAFCA's first ever unanimous vote in an acting category. Moreover, she received Best Supporting Actress awards from the Stockholm International Film Festival, the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Boston Society of Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Online, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Southeastern Film Critics Association, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society, the Utah Film Critics Association, the Detroit Film Critics Society, the Indiana Film Critics Association, the Online Film Critics Society, the National Society of Film Critics Awards, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, and the Critics Choice Awards. Time magazine ranked Mo'Nique's outstanding performance as the Best Female Performance of 2009. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, the Independent Spirit Award, and the BAFTA Award.
In November 2009, Mo'Nique said, "I own the rights to Hattie McDaniel's life story, and I can't wait to tell that story because that woman was absolutely amazing. She had to stand up to the adversity of black and white [society] at a time when we really weren't accepted. Mr. Lee Daniels is going to direct it, of course, and I'm going to be Miss Hattie McDaniel. I really hope I can do that woman justice."
In 2014, Mo'Nique starred in Patrik-Ian Polk's drama film Blackbird as Claire Rousseau. Her last role (in film or television) was in 2016. In May 2017, she said Lee Daniels, Oprah Winfrey, and Tyler Perry had been blackballing her ever since she did not promote Precious in 2009.
Mo'Nique's first play was Eve Ensler's Obie Award-winning production of The Vagina Monologues in March 2002. Mo'Nique, Ella Joyce (Roc); Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Steve Harvey Show and 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. Produced by YYP & Associates, the show was directed by playwright and director Yetta Young as well as co-produced by Kellie R. Griffin, Lisa D. Washington and Anita Cal.
Books and radio
Mo'Nique is the author of the best-selling book Skinny Women Are Evil: Notes of a Bigg Girl in a Small-Minded World. She also released a 2006 cookbook called Skinny Cooks Can't Be Trusted.
Mo'nique was part of the Washington, D.C., WHUR radio show with George Wilborn.
In 2008, Radio One signed her to her own radio show: 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. It mainly aired on these stations that had a local lineup because some Radio One stations did not carry it due to their contracts with Michael Baisden. The show lasted until March 18, 2009, when Mo'Nique decided to leave to "further her career in television, film, and comedy."
Mo'Nique was briefly engaged to accountant Kenny Mung.
From 1997 to 2001, she was married to Mark Jackson.
Mo'Nique gave birth to twin sons Jonathan and David Hicks in October 2005, two months early. In 2006, she married their father Sidney Hicks. In a New York Times profile, she mentions that she and Hicks have an open marriage:
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.
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. Oftentimes 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".
|The Queens of Comedy||Herself|
|Two Can Play That Game||Diedre|
|Half Past Dead||Twitch's Girl|
|Garfield: The Movie||Rat||Role deleted in final cut of the film|
|Farce of the Penguins||Vicky||Voice|
|Phat Girlz||Jazmin Biltmore|
|Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins||Betty|
|Steppin: The Movie||Aunt Carla|
|Precious||Mary Lee Johnston||Won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress |
|Almost Christmas||Aunt May|
|1999–2000||Moesha||Nicole "Nikki" Parker||Seasons 4 & 6 (3 episodes)|
|2001||The Hughleys||Nicole "Nikki" Parker||Season 3 (1 episode)|
|2002||The Proud Family||Boonnetta (voice)||Season 2, (1 episode)|
|2003||Good Fences||Ruth Crisp||Television film|
|2004||The Bernie Mac Show||Lynette||Season 3 (1 episode)|
|1999–2004||The Parkers||Nicole "Nikki" Parker||Lead role (5 seasons, 110 episodes)|
|2006||Rugrats||Aunt Moo||Direct-to-DVD episode "Tales from the Crib: Three Jacks and a Beanstalk"|
|2006||Nip/Tuck||Evetta Washington||Season 4 (1 episode)|
|2007||Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School||Host/Herself||11 episodes|
|2007||The Game||Plus Size Actress||Season 2 (1 episode)|
|2007||The Boondocks||Jamiqua (voice)||Season 2, Episode 1 (1 episode)|
|2007||Ugly Betty||L'Amanda||Season 2 (1 episode)|
|2009–2011||The Mo'Nique Show||Host/Herself||2 seasons, 251 episodes|
|2014||Love & Hip Hop: New York||Host/Herself||Season 4 (2 episodes – Reunion Special)|
|2015||Bessie||Ma Rainey||Television film|
Awards and nominations
- "Mo'Nique: Biography". Archived from the original on January 16, 2013. Retrieved February 22, 2009.
- Fernandez, Sofia M. (August 1, 2011). "'Mo'Nique Show' Put on Indefinite Hiatus". The Hollywood Reporter.
- John-Hall, Annette (April 8, 2006). "Proudly 'phat' actress has a new, plus-sized role". AZ Central.com. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
- "monique imes Milford Mill High School/Academy '85 BALTIMORE, MD". classmates.com. Retrieved December 13, 2015.
- Crockett, Sandra (November 19, 1994). "Comedian has fine time just being Mo'Nique Laughing out LOUD". The Sun. Retrieved December 16, 2009.
- "Broadcasting Institute of Maryland". Retrieved March 4, 2011.
- The Oprah Winfrey Show, Interview with the cast of Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins. Original air date January 28, 2008.
- "Mo'Nique's Brother, Gerald Imes, Apologizes to Precious Star for Sexual Abuse". ABC News. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
- "Montreal Just For Laugh Festival 2000". Retrieved July 19, 2020.
- BET Coming Soon Monique Show Official Page Archived 2009-10-02 at the Wayback Machine
- Users, IMDb. "IMDb Bottom 100". IMDb.
- "Martin Lawrence's Advice to Mo'Nique". Oprah.com. Retrieved January 28, 2008.
- "The Hurt Locker Schools An Education, Avatar at Brit-Snubbing BAFTAs". E Online.
- "2009 Supporting Actress". The Film Experience. Archived from the original on April 9, 2009.
- "OSCAR PREDICTION CHARTS". InContention.com. February 23, 2009.
- "Will Sandra Bullock, Mo'Nique Meet Their New Man, 'Oscar'". Lexib.net. Archived from the original on February 16, 2015. Retrieved March 6, 2010.
- Ben; Walters (November 15, 2009). "Comic Mo'Nique takes dramatic turn in "Precious"". The Hollywood Reporter / Reuters.
- "Today in Entertainment: Katy Perry cops to that Taylor Swift feud; Vanity Fair's 'Star Wars' covers cue the waterworks". LA Times. Retrieved July 19, 2020.
- "Mo'Nique: I Was "Blackballed" After Winning My Oscar". The Hollywood Reporter.
- "Monique to Fill in for Michael Baisden". All Access. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
- "Syndicated Personality Mo'Nique to End Mo'Nique Show". Radio Online. Archived from the original on March 17, 2009. Retrieved March 24, 2009.
- Yarbrough, Marti (November 11, 2002). "Actress and comedienne Mo'Nique of the Parkers talks about her: career new book `Skinny Women are Evil' new fiance". JET Magazine.
- "Mo'Nique a New Mom Again – of Twins". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
- Lee, Felicia R. (August 5, 2007). "Luckily, There's Plenty of Her for Everybody". New York Times. p. 2.
- Sheri Salata (Producer). (Jan 28, 2008). The Oprah Winfrey Show. Chicago: Harpo Productions, Inc.
- "Mo'Nique on her open marriage". Oprah.com. Archived from the original on January 31, 2008. Retrieved January 28, 2008.
- "82nd Oscars highlights". Oscars.org | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. September 5, 2014. Retrieved July 12, 2020.
- Brock Radke (January 10, 2019). "MO'NIQUE KICKS OFF HER FIRST VEGAS COMEDY RESIDENCY AT SLS". lasvegasweekly.com. Retrieved February 12, 2019.
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