THE first time the writer of this piece met her was at a dance rehearsal in a hotel in Port Harcourt, Rivers State. She was running in a trio then that comprised of Nollywood stars Rita Dominic and Thelma Okoduwa. They were preparing for a show they wanted to host at the PIN PLACE. The hottest show venue in the garden city then. I found it challenging that the young women who were undergraduates could secure such a venue and where planning such a massive show. The show finally held and was a resounding success.

Back then Rita Dominic I knew well, Thelma Okoduwa I considered conceited but Monalisa had something different about her. She has an enigmatic smile that refused to allow anybody into the deep recesses of her mind and life. She looked focused like a girl who knew where she was headed but would not allow anybody into her private space. Sadly that relationship with her friends hit the rocks when Rita claimed that Monalisa snatched an expatriate she was dating, a relationship that resulted in an upscale apartment for Monalisa and a car to cruise the streets.

That was a few years back. Monalisa quashed the relationship, got born again, left Port Harcourt to court stardom like her friends in Lagos and if we are to judge rightly, we can say that the girl from Ikwerre Rivers State, who bears the name of the most famous painting in the world Monalisa, has finally arrived. Her road to stardom kicked off when she started appearing in the still running television soap HEAVENS GATE. It threw her into the public glare and everybody agreed that it was only but a matter of time before she would be the next big item in NOLLYWOOD.

And right now the star of hit movie TOTAL CONTROL seems to be in full and total control of her life. We asked her a few questions about her rise to stardom and about her coming of age in the movie industry
It took you a long time to get here unlike your friends who arrived almost after you left school.
We all travel different routes. And we all take different means of transportation, (laughs) but if you know where you are going you would of course get there.

How did you start?
I read theatre arts and graduated in 2000 but I did my first movie PREGNANT VIRGIN in Port Harcourt in 1996 and after that, other movies followed.
You must be one of the few married women in the industry who most fans do not know is married.

That is because I have found out that it is a good thing maybe the best thing for one to keep her private life from the glare of the public. My husband is an intensely private man and he is the best thing that God ahs given me. I respect him and I think it is best that we keep things the way it is right now.

You did a movie called THE DEVIL IN HER and lately you showed flashes of that devil in another movie MARRIED WOMEN ON CAMPUS. Are those characters a reflection of how and who you are?
That has always been my greatest challenge. Getting people to understand that the characters I play on the screen are entirely different from the real Monalisa. I am a born again Christian and I am serving God with my life. Somebody once described movie making as a willingful suspension of belief. You know this thing is not real but you suspend your belief until you finish.

What do you hope to achieve here?
I am sure everybody you ask that question will tell you that they hope to be the best they can be and I am no different. I hope to be the best I can be but above all I hope and pray that God will continue giving me the opportunity of impacting the lives of men all over the world with the talent God has given me and to use that talent to serve him at greater levels.

Last week you were voted actor of the week by our readers for the second consecutive week running. How does that make you feel?
That is nice to hear and a surprise because I think that there is awesome talent out there and there are several actors doing great work. But if the readers say that, I definitely am not going to reject it. I can only say thank you. It is because of them that we are here.

Everything seems to be happening to you at the same time. We here that you are pregnant?
It is a good thing isn't it. It does not hide and if God has blessed me then I should only be thankful.

Maybe we can only say keep rising girl

Thanks and God bless you.