Rita Dominic and I are not friends - Monalisa Chinda
Monalisa Chinda cuts a different picture from the well loved screen diva who is bold and speaks tough when the role demands it. But she certainly never cuts the picture of a shy lady on the screen. The ever smiling lady was the perfect hostess. She proudly introduced her family to this reporter; Victor, her husband of four years and Tama, her six month old daughter. Adia Ukoyen brings you the interview that took place at the Maryland, Lagos home of the Ikwerre born lady of style.
Congrats on the birth of your daughter. How does it feel to be a mother, a wife and an actress?
I guess you know the feeling yourself. But it feels very good. It feels wonderful. I cannot describe how I feel. I am grateful to God for where I am today. It is every girl's dream to be where I am today. I am much focused and with my husband's support, I am fine. I have completed a circle. I am married, a wife and now a mother. I have my job. I am just grateful to God.
Did the four year wait before the baby came disturb you?
Not really. My husband and I had tried twice and twice we lost it. It didn't bother me because I was not under any kind of pressure.
When did you start acting?
I started acting when I was still in school, University of Port-Harcourt, where I read Theatre Arts. I began acting in 1993, in a soap opera in Aba. After then, I did my first home video in 1996, Pregnant Virgin. I was still in school then. Upon graduation, I never thought I would take up acting as a career. I wanted to work in the corporate world. I launched myself back into the industry in 2004, though I had done a couple of movies between 2000 and 2001.
You are rated as one of the top actresses in the country today. How were you able to break into the big league?
One thing is this: in whatever profession one finds himself or herself in, whatever is worth doing is worth doing well. Your work speaks for you. If you are good, people will commend and if you are not, people will criticize you. There are a lot of aspiring actors and actresses out there who are yet to come into the limelight. But as God would have it, I just came out with a bang. There is no magic to it. It is just God and my God given talent.
When did you get married?
How did you meet your husband?
I had met him briefly earlier on. But we met again in 2004 and began to date and within that year, we got married.
What attracted you to him?
He is very intelligent. He is completely different from other men around and the kind of man that I had hoped to settle down with finally. He is a very deep and strong man.
What was growing up like for you?
Growing up was fine, very normal. My parents tried to give me all that I needed. My father is dead though. I am the first of two sons and four daughters.
As a married woman, do you have men still chasing you?
No, maybe due to my disposition, it does not happen. Maybe they want to try but they do not have the nerves yet.
Were you ever sexually harassed?
No; maybe because I am married. But even when I was not yet married my attitude to work was very professional. I never gave any producer or director and anybody else for that matter cause to talk to me about anything other than work. I am not overtly friendly. I like to keep to myself.
Are you bothered that actresses are tagged as women who cannot keep homes?
There are couples in the industry who have been together for a long time and their marriages are model marriages. Marriage is not exactly easy or a bed of roses. Like my husband said earlier, it is not easy being married to an actress, a woman who everybody wants to see. This whole business of marriage depends on individuals. I must make my marriage work. I consider it my topmost assignment in life. We have not had any big problems apart from minor misunderstandings that we resolve over dialogue. It has never crossed my mind that my marriage could fail so I do not see it failing.
But recently there was news that your marriage had crumbled and that you had infact moved out of your matrimonial home. Was it true?
I was shocked when that story broke because nothing like that happened.
So where did the story come from?
I don't know. I have an uncle who lives in Festac. When I had work around there, a couple of times, I had had to spend the night at his place because I finished work late. There was no sense in coming back to Maryland that late in the night. So maybe they saw me there and put things together without bothering to find out if there was a problem. My husband and I will deal with that matter later.
Does your husband have rules for you concerning your career?
I do not do roles that require me to kiss. I cannot go nude, semi nude or reveal sensitive parts of my body. I cannot do extreme love scenes.
Who are your role models?
Joke Silva. I love her because she has gone through a lot as a married woman and as a celebrity. She is one person I aspire to be like. Another lady I admire very much is the lady who runs the Little Saints Orphanage (Rev. Dele George). She is amazing.
What day in your life was your happiest?
Days, you mean. The day I got married and the day I had my daughter, Tama. My husband was there with me the whole way. The feeling was just wonderful. I wake up everyday and when I see my daughter, I say thank you God. I had always wanted to get married early and begin to raise a family. I have it now and I am happy.
You are a trendy actress. What defines style for you?
What you see on the outside is a reflection of the inside. I love colours, soft colours. I love dresses a lot. I love skirts. I am not a trouser fan. I love hairdos. I just love to play with colours.
What you would never leave your house without?
My powder and my hankie. My face is very oily and I would not want to be seen looking oily.
What fashion item are you crazy about?
I love shoes; I am just crazy about shoes.
Do you have any friends in the industry?
No. I just relate with them. These days it is my family, work and my family. There really is no time left for socializing.
What was the problem between you and Rita Dominic?
Nothing. We are not friends. We have only been on set together twice.
What of the other well known actresses?
Like I said, we are not friends. I wouldn't want to say any names but I used to hang out with some of them. That was in the past though. The ones that were my friends then are no longer my friends.
What are your hobbies?
I love to travel. I like to go to quiet places and see nature. I hate noise and would prefer to be alone where I can commune with my God.