Two things are bound to attract you to Monalisa Chinda whenever you are privileged to engage her in a conversation. They are her frankness and humility. These attributes played out last week as Showtime Celebrity took her on a trip into her past, her present and perhaps, her future. For the first time, Lisa bares her mind on a number of issues bothering on her love life, crashed marriage and accomplishments. Chiefly, she confirms that she has found love again, not ruling out however, the possibility of giving marriage a second chance. Enjoy!!!
Do you still believe in love ?
I believe in love. Love is the reason for our existence. It’s really not enough if you want to get something done, you have to do away with that emotion and be real.
Are you religious?
I’m from a religious background. I ‘m an Anglican and all the moral teachings I learnt while I was growing up are still there till date. While I was seven, I was a member of my church choir . I attended an Anglican school, Archdeacon Memorial Grammar School, it’s a convent school. I’m quite religious.
How did you feel when your father was murdered?
Every day that passes by, I think of that man. God bless his soul. He was the reason, I’m doing what I am doing at the moment. My late dad was a philanthropist. He would give out the last money in his pocket to those who do not have. I took after my Dad, whereas my mum was a career woman.
My dad ensured that his children were well taken care of, in all ramifications. He was a good cook and he spent greater part of his life in Germany. As far as I’m concerned, my dad was a German. He was always in the forefront of ensuring that his children were well catered for. But my mum was a career woman before she retired.
We learnt that you are planning to go into marriage again. Is it true?
I would love to remarry. In fact, I’m designed to be under a man. I’m not going to lie that I like this ‘single mother nomenclature. But whereby there is no one at the moment, one is bound to get used to the situation. It’s not a ‘do- or -die affair’ because I have been there before, anything I’m going to do now,it has to be done right.
I’m not in the school of thought, where the first one happened and perhaps, the second one. No, any bold step I have to take in settling down again, it has to be right. I’m not ready to make another mistake. But I will definitely remarry. I believe in the principles of marriage. Whether you like it or not, marriage is a better option.
How soon are you planning to settle down?
I honestly don’t know about that, and I can’t tell for now.
Have you found love again?
It’s neither here nor there. I’m a lover and I love to love.
It was rumoured recently that you have found love again?
Is there anything wrong with that? I just replied you that I love to love. What else do you want to know.
Your fans would want to know if there is any man in your life at the moment?
Yes, there is a man in my life.
…Lanre Nzeribe right?
No comment. This is my private life.
People are alleging that you are pregnant for him?
You can see that I’m not pregnant. Naturally, I’m not pregnant for anybody.
What do you regret most about your past?
One thing I regret most is the fact that I am divorced. Where I come from, I’m the first daughter. I’m from a royal family, it has never been on record in my family that the first daughter will walk out of her matrimonial home. But it was a matter of life and death, otherwise, I would have stayed back and make my marriage work. I tried to make it work, but it takes two people to tango.
That’s the only thing I regret, having to raise my child without the father. It’s a bit painful. But I have to live with it. It’s better that way than to expose my little daughter to all sorts of domestic violence. It will definitely disorient her and affect her upbringing. She will be dis-functional. God knows the best. May be, I should have been more careful.
With such shocking experience, what would you say life has taught you?
I’ m a bit stronger and wiser now than before. I have known how not to get involved in anything emotional again. If you are emotional even in a relationship, you don’t get to think. One shouldn’t allow her emotion to overrule her sense of reasoning.
I have understood what it means to be patient to persevere and also, to be careful with people around me. If somebody around you is your very good friend, you end up finding that the person is actually an enemy in disguise. I have learnt all of that because I have been alone. While my marriage was intact, I was not keeping friends. After I’m through with my work, I usually retire to my house. But since I’m alone, and having to mix up with a lot of people, I have realised that I have to be very careful and free-minded and at the same time, be myself.
In the midst of all these challenges, what would you say has kept you going?
I’m a very strong woman, and open-minded. I know who I am. I’m a Godly person, but I’m not a perfectionist. If I do something wrong, I will always find a way to show remorse and repent of whatever sin I might have committed. That has kept me going. I’m highly determined and focused. I do not go by what people say about me.
If your ex- comes back to you today, will you accept him again?
God forbid. He’s a closed chapter in my life.
Does it mean your little daughter is not missing her father?
She doesn’t know her father . She was barely a year when our marriage crashed. I think she will ask some day.
Share your experience with us as a Glo ambassador?
It has been rewarding for me. Activities always come up here and there, going around, talking about the brand. Glo has made a long lasting mark in the country.
How do you describe yourself?
I’m just the girl-next-door. I don’t have many ears around me, I try to be humble. I want people to be able to reach out to me. I’m not a difficult person. I’m an easy-going lady.
You recently premiered your latest movie, Weekend Getway, What’s the movie all about?
First of all, the premiere was successful. I thank God for that. A lot of people turned out to show their support. The movie was produced by myself ,Ini Edo and Emem Isong. It was directed by Desmond Elliot. It paraded A-list actresses, both young and old ones in the industry. We had to create a platform where up and coming actors star alongside seasoned actors which made the film more unique. The movie is already selling out in the cinemas. Between last Friday when it was premiered and yesterday( last week), we have made substantial amount of money from the box office alone. I also acted in the movie.
What are your recent movies?
Kiss &Tell which was produced in 2010 but premiered in 2011. My second movie, Cat Walk was shot in 2010, but premiered in February, 2012. My third movie, Weekend Getway, premiered forth-night ago.
Why did you go into production of movies?
Producing has always been at the back of my mind as an actress. In fact, I should speak the minds of a lot of people who are in the art. They want to diversify and break new grounds and to also show the various things they can do. Naturally, we all want to try our hands in other things as long as it’s within the genre of entertainment. That’s the reason I wanted to do something different. Right now, I’m even going into live theatre which is already dying in this country. Thespians like myself and a few other people are trying to revive the dying live theatre culture in the country.
Was it why you staged a dance-drama, “Dance for Life’ last December?
Yes, because the first outing was actually sponsored by myself. That’s why I want to see how I can get corporate bodies to partner with me for the the second edition of the dance project which I want it to come up on May29.
Do you dance?
As a Thespian, we all do the three arms of theatre including Dance , Music and Acting. These are the three arms of theatre, so you must be able to do the three and then, specialize in one.
Last December outing, was it the first time you actually involved in dance ?
Yes, it was the first time I would dance in public. I’ve never done that before in my life . I only danced while I was in the university. As an artiste, we were involved in all sorts of performances way back in school.
How did you feel that fateful day?
I had mixed-feelings because of the massive turn-out of celebrities. Again, it was because of the fact that a lot of people enjoyed themselves and they didn’t want to go home again. So, I was in between rolling myself on the floor with tears of joy and also, praying that this kind of dance project should continue. It was a divine feeling.
Did the project actualise your dream of reviving live theatre in Nigeria?
Yes, I’ve always wanted to do exactly that. I’ve always wanted to find an opportunity to revive the dying live theater in the country. People look at dance as a non-productive act, but I don’t think so because dance is even more vigorous than acting. You have to love the art, love theatre and singing before you can be able to have a grasp of the message. The performer on stage is trying to understand the message being put across through dance.
Since you delved into movie production what has been your challenges?
It’s been a good experience, and also, knowing that I’m getting older, I need to step aside for the emerging actresses to excel. But even at that, it’s really difficult for them. I think some of the fresh actresses are joining Nollywood for different reasons and probably not for the love of the industry. They just have this silly idea that if I hit the screen, people would see me and like my face as well. It’s not done like that.
If you call for an audition today, and about four thousand people show up, you will be shocked to find out that not up to five of them have what it takes to be an actress. The five people would have rigorous screening before they are able to deliver their lines. That also is a very big challenge. That’s why we keep recycling a lot of known faces even when we are getting older and tired. We still try to look slim and young, competing favourably with the younger ones.
Do you intend to go solo in your next movie?
Yes, I will like to go solo in my next movie just to see what it’s like not wanting to do the movie with anybody else. But I will still engage seasoned directors to direct my movie. But I want to be the solo financier and solo producer o f my next movie. That will happen before the end of this year.
We learnt you are planning to launch a perfume line?
Yes, I’ve already started and I’m planning to do a launch of the perfume in future. The product is called Monalisa Mcold Beauty Products. That’s the brand name I’m using for now. I have a factory outside Lagos where the fragrances are produced. They took samples of my skin to test if the products are good for human consumption. We are producing body cream, age defining hand creams, body mix for men and women and soap.