Monalisa Chinda…..From Acting To Talk Show. It’s time for You and I
Monalisa Chinda is not a new face in the Nigerian entertainment industry. She has awards, experience and recognition to prove this. A woman wearing several caps, she is not only an actress and film producer, she is also a media personality, a philanthropist and can now confidently add talk show host to the already bulging cap.
The lady says she is not tired yet. In fact, she is just getting started, as several other projects, which she is yet to unveil, are up her sleeve.
Describing herself as always very busy, Monalisa admits that she doesn’t know how to achieve all her aspirations, but believes that she will: “Whether I like it or not ” she laughs.
This chat was, in fact, conducted on the set of a movie, and in between, she tried to learn her lines, had wardrobe change and made herself-up, she gracefully answered all questions thrown at her with a smile, though, she was obviously fatigued.
The talented mother of one’s latest project is a talk show, You and I with Monalisa, which she describes as an intimate show. It uses drama to periscope the ills and issues of the society. It also addresses deep social issues that are usually swept under the carpet.
Monalisa goes on to say that having a talk show has always been her dream for as long as she remembers. “The programme was conceived as a platform for me to contribute my own quota to the development of the society by addressing deep social issues and ills no one wants to talk about. It will use the vehicle of drama to probe and dissect societal concerns that affect us as a people, while proffering lasting solutions” she reiterates.
She describes it as a completely different kind of show that will take the genre to a whole new level. Talking more, she explains that it is a rich, activity-packed 30-minute show consisting of five segments.
“Guests will be brought in followed by ‘Candidness’, which discusses pop culture, trending issues, wacky happenings and other related matters. This is followed by audience and guest interaction, music and comedy,” the sultry actress says.
For her, no matter how many talk shows are currently on air, there is always space for another. As an actress with several years experience, “I’m going to marry my profession with the show. I want people to see me not just as a presenter or an anchor, but also, as someone, who wants to make a positive difference in people’s lives.”
She reveals that the show is airing on African Independent Television (AIT) for now, but there are plans to be in other stations, so that she can reach as many Nigerians as possible.
Still on her show, Monalisa asserts that her target audience is people within the age range of 18 and above, “and this is so, because of some sensitive issues that might come up on the show, which might not be very ideal for a younger audience, and have been duly censored by the Nigerian Broadcasting Cooperation (NBC).”
Monalisa goes on to add that despite this, the show will be for everyone. From youths to married couples, even older persons, will be able to relate with the issues discussed. “It will cut across age barriers and boundaries.”
She insists the show is not about celebrities, but more about regular, relatable everyday people that most Nigerians don’t even know about. Already, Lanre Olusola, Tonye Cole and Mrs. Dotun Akande, the former banker, who runs a school for autistic children, have graced the programme.
This actress and philanthropist is hoping to celebrate the unsung heroes in Nigeria — people that are doing so much and contributing positively to the country, but are unknown. She hopes to be able to shine a spotlight on them and their activities, while presenting them to the world.
On challenges she has faced so far, Monalisa says obstacles and challenges are meant to make people stronger and prepare them for success. She views challenges as a part of the process everyone has to go through and advises, “we should all take each day as it comes.”
Monalisa has several things in the pipeline. “I want to produce more films and TV productions, reach out to as many people as possible and touch as many lives as I possibly can, but most importantly, I want to be happy” she quips.
On relationship, she initially refuses to talk, insisting that she wants to focus on her career, but on second thought, discloses that she is currently in one happy relationship even as she refuses to elaborate.
But this beautiful actress is very happy to talk about her daughter from her former marriage, TamarLily, 7, whom she describes as ‘the light of my heart’. Grinning from ear to ear, she says she hopes to have more kids, and laughingly, discloses that her daughter has been requesting for several siblings to play with and she prays that she is able to grant the little baby’s request, “very soon, before time runs out.”
Monalisa also runs a foundation that focuses strictly on women and children. Her pet project, the Arise Monalisa Foundation is an African based not-for-profit organisation that is dedicated to safe guarding lives while promoting health awareness. The foundation’s mission is to give succour and hope to the disadvantaged across the continent, and empower people (especially women and children) in discovering their potential.
Though, the Port Harcourt-born damsel has been in Nollywood for close to two decades, she reveals that her breakout films were, Girls in the Hood and Heaven’s Gate.
According to her, Heaven’s Gate, shot in 2000, didn’t air until a couple of years later, she was happy when it entrenched her firmly as a household name in Nigeria.
Responding to suggestions in several quarters that she is a director in the popular film production outfit, Royal Arts Academy, the actress laughs, saying Royal Arts Academy is Emem Isong’s ‘baby’. “I have no stake in it, though, I have appeared in several movies credited to the iconic producer.”
Monalisa leaves all struggling entrepreneurs and dream chasers with a simple piece of advice, which she employs on herself daily: “Never give up on your struggles while pursuing success. Success may take long, but perseverance should be your watchword.”