-Admits publishing a magazine was a mistake
-Rolls out plans for new talk show
Monalisa Chinda is a multiple award-winning actor, producer and global influencer, with a burning desire to make a change in Nollywood by shooting unconventional movies that recalibrates society’s journey.
With an impressive body of works in the past decades and an ability to effortlessly interpret complex roles, Monalisa has been widely described as Nollywood’s top talent for her unique ways of bringing out everyday characters in interesting and captivating styles. Since her debut into the movie industry, the brilliant and beautiful script interpreter has consistently redefined standards, giving others a run for their money.
In this interview with ENCOMIUM Weekly’s RASHEED ABUBAKAR held on Friday, December 5, 2014, at the Avenue Suites, Victoria-Island, Lagos, Monalisa spoke passionately about her forthcoming talk show, You and I with Monalisa; beauty and plans to remarry, among others…
You and I with Monalisa is something I have longed to do for over the years now. I was inspired by life; I was inspired by the living; and most important, I was inspired by the Queen in Hollywood; how she touched lives with her inspiring talk show. She’s also someone who had gone through a lot, and based on her experiences, she came up with her own talk show. She shared her life with people and healed a lot of homes; healed a lot of people who were bitter about life. Her talk show also served as a source of encouragement for the viewers. That’s what I have always wanted to do. I love humanity, and I want to give as much to the world. What I have inside of me is bigger than what you think. Hence, I want to share my experiences through this platform with the people. That’s my source of inspiration and I thank God, it’s coming into reality.
You developed this idea 10 years ago. Why are you unleashing it now?
Sometimes, you planned to do something when you were young but you didn’t have the facility; you didn’t have the go ahead from God. For me, it has been a plan; it’s an ongoing plan to do something like this. At a point, I wanted to start it but I realised I wasn’t ready mentally. With my experiences coupled with what I had been through, including issues around me and challenges, I think, I am matured enough to handle a show of such magnitude. I am strong and bold enough to carry my audience along.
Are you adopting the same patterns adopted by Queen of Hollywood?
No, because theirs have to do with their own values, which are not applicable here. They are white and we’re black. We’re Africans and our mentality is different. I have to go by the values we have here. There are some western ideas that don’t work here. Therefore, our values as Nigerians and Africans would be showcased in Nigeria’s most promising television talk show. It is meant to connect, challenge and inspire upwardly mobile young people across the continent.
Tell us about the uniqueness of this show?
Based on my background as an actor, I employ drama to illuminate and probe everyday issues of our existence while proffering lasting solutions to them. The ingenious talk show will also feature leadership and youth series with accomplished Nigerians. It tends to also highlight the secrets behind the successes.
We are not what happens to us, we are how we handle what happens to us. This is the gap You and I with Monalisa seeks to bridge.
That’s why a lot of people are interested in partnering us on this project. We want to use this medium to appreciate the Niger Delta Development Commission and other partners for believing in this project, as we look forward to transforming lives and making history on this special cause.
Let’s talk about consistency, how do you intend to achieve this?
First, I want you to understand that there is nothing that’s easy. Even while producing or directing a movie, we faced challenges. I believe with good and well packaged content we have, people will buy into it. Besides, it is not restricted. From age 15 to 70. It has a lot of creativity and innovation. With the contents we have now, there is nothing stopping me. It will fly by the grace of God. I am sure with consistent prayers and hard work, nothing will stop us. No matter the discouraging comments people, that won’t stop us from moving on. I am hopeful, it’ll fly.
Which TV stations will air it and what’s the frequency?
For the TV stations, we’re not sure yet but obviously, it’ll be on DSTV and local TV stations. We’ll ensure that there will be no restriction in terms of viewship when we go on air, first week in January, 2015, by God’s grace. We have recorded some works now. It is the programme for the masses. This show is a product of research of many years, that’s why you have drama, compared to the conventional Nigerian talk show.
You once floated a magazine, and suddenly, you stopped publication. Why did you stop?
Without any regret, I am proud to tell you that the magazine is one of the projects I ventured into by mistake, and I have moved on since. I have learnt so much from it.
Such as the fact that you don’t mix business with certain things. That was my past, and I think it is proper for us to focus on the future, which is my talk show. This is what I want to do now, it’s my life, my dream.
Not really, because I have been active as an actor, just that I screen scripts before accepting them now. You can’t see me in anyhow movies. I have been through all that. Now, we have to act for reasons, not just accepting scripts for movie-sake. I choose my work now, and I have to go by what my spirit tells me.
Have you seen Thorn? A must watch for every home. You need to watch it. I also featured in Itoro 1 & 2 and few others from the beginning of this year. I can’t really remember all. To me, it’s not bad. I must not appear in all the movies, we don’t need that again. We have left that for the younger ones. We have done it before. We need to give the younger ones the experience. We need to provide them jobs.
You are still looking pretty. What has sustained your beautiful look?
I think, it is the beauty inside that reflects outside. I am 40 plus now, I am an everyday child. What I have inside is what you see outside.
Tell us exactly what you do…
I work-out. And let me tell you what I mean by working out, it is kind of exfoliates your skin. When you sweat everyday by exercising, it cleanses you. And I take a lot of water because you sweat when you work out, you need that water back. Also, I moisturize my skin a lot to retain its elasticity. Don’t get me wrong, I am not on a diet. I eat, but I eat right.
What about your fashion sense?
For my fashion sense, I am very girly. And being girly means I must be decent. You can’t catch me wearing clothes that expose my sensitive parts. I won’t do that. That’s why I said I’m girly, even if I hit 50, I will love to be girly. I like to look like a girl (smiles).
So far, how would you say life has been to you?
It is very rewarding. I have lost my friends, but I thank God, I am still alive. I’m over 40 and still looking radiant, I really thank God for my life. I am not better than those my friends that are no more.
When are you remarrying?
(Smiles) Very soon, I will surely remarry. But I can’t really give a specific time.
Are you in any relationship at the moment?
Yes, I’m. (smiles) I am in a relationship with my talk show, and I want all my fans to look out for the show, when it kicks off in January, 2015.