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Monique Hicks, better known as Mo’Nique, was born in 1967 in Baltimore, Maryland. Before finding her calling in comedy, Mo’Nique worked as a phone operator, and then after graduating from the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland in 1987, Mo’Nique began performing at a local comedy club and discovered her talent for comedy and acting. She earned her first role as Nikki Parker on The Parkers in 1999, and the role led to a number of other opportunities for her in the new millennium.
During this time, Mo’Nique also performed stand-up regularly on television, including Def Comedy Jam, Showtime at the Apollo (also serving as hostess), and Thank God You’re Here. Her film career during this time also includes appearances in: Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins, Beerfest, 3 Strikes, Half Past Dead, Domino, Phat Girlz, and Soul Plane.
But her most remarkable performance is that of the abusive mother in the film Precious, which led not only to critical acclaim, but innumerous awards, including the Sundance film Festival Special Jury Prize, an AAFCA Award for Best Supporting Actress, a Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress, and countless awards from dozens of film festivals and notable film associations, including the Los Angeles Film Association, the New York Film Critics Circle, and Time Magazine. Mo’Nique’s experience in portraying the abusive mother in the film encouraged her to speak more openly about her own experiences. Mo’Nique has publicly described her own sexual abuse at the hands of her brother, and he has even appeared on Oprah to publicly discuss their family challenges and the tragedy Mo’Nique faced as a young woman.
In addition to her achievements in film, Mo’Nique has appeared on stage in The Vagina Monologues and hosted her own radio show, Mo’Nique in the Afternoon, in 2008 and 2009. She also produced the 2007 documentary film, I Coulda Been Your Cellmate!, which explores the tragic stories of women in the penal system. In the same year, Mo’Nique also guest-starred on the television show Ugly Betty, and her own late-night talk show, The Mo’Nique Show, premiered on BET in 2009. Mo’Nique’s best-selling books, Skinny Cooks Can’t Be Trusted and Skinny Women are Evil: Notes of a Bigg Girl in a Small-Minded World, have also revealed her talents in exploring some very important issues of interest to women.
Mo’Nique seeks to explore those issues in a way that will inspire young women to celebrate themselves for who they are and not for what they media wishes them to be. Mo’Nique has embraced her full-figured status and often seeks to use satire and humor to support the voluptuous women around the globe. Her role in Phat Girlz and other experiences inspired Mo’Nique to launch Mo’Nique’s Fat Chance on the Oxygen network. The show is a beauty pageant for plus-sized woman and is currently one of the projects of which Mo’Nique is most proud.
Rumor has it that Mo’Nique has also acquired the rights to the life story of Hattie McDaniel, the woman who portrayed Mammy in Gone With the Wind and who went on to become the first black woman to win an Oscar. Mo’Nique is looking forward to portraying her on the big screen in the telling of her life’s story.
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