Monalisa Chinda Coker – Breaking New Grounds In Showbiz And Finding Love Again
By Pamela Echemunor
Three years ago, actress and TV show host, Monalisa Chinda -Cole put her acting career on temporary standstill to produce and host her own TV show called “You and I”. The show focuses on pop culture, entrepreneurs who are doing well, and other human relatable stories geared towards inspiring young people to achieving their dreams. Since its inception she has featured people from all sectors in the Nigerian economy and public life; the actress cum producer also tied the knot in a romantic ceremony in Greece a year ago. In this interview, she sheds more light on her show, family and finding love again.
It’s been a year now since you remarried, how does it feel?
It has been blissful, it feels great, and we are learning and experiencing
What challenges did you face being a single mum especially with work?
Thankfully I am blessed with the ability to multi task. With the
nature of my work, every move was usually planned, with my very tight
schedules, joggling from school runs to helping out on her home works
and making sure the house is stock with food, she never lacked. Having
said that, Tamar was not a difficult child, she was very cooperative.
How do you manage the pressure raising your daughter especially being a celebrity and a woman in Nigeria?
Like I mentioned earlier my daughter is cooperative so I try as much as possible to balance my time with her with my lifestyle as well.
What was it like taking the bold decision to tell your daughter about the new man in your life?
Oh well, that came out of my mouth naturally. ‘Mummy is getting
married soon” I announced, she looked at me and jumped on me with
excitement. She had always longed for a father figure, someone she
could trust enough to call daddy, and as long as ‘daddy’ made mummy
happy, she was good to go. That was all that mattered to her.
How was their first meeting?
Their first meeting hmmm, I must say their meeting wasn’t planned they had been communicating with each other on the phone and when they finally met it was so divine, so natural. They bonded
What is your relationship with your ex husband like?
The relationship with my ex is nonexistent, ex means past, that’s where it belongs in the past.
How did your daughter cope with you being separated from your ex husband?
Cope? She has no clue as to who her dad is, I mean at 18 months when we went our separate ways, what does she know?
Would you say she has a good relationship with your new husband?
You had your white wedding in Greece that was very romantic, whose idea was it and how did it go?
Santorini, Greece was my idea. Alas my dream came true! Santorini is breath taking I had no idea how beautiful and laid back it was. The mosaic structures, the ancient houses, the red beaches and
black beaches, the mountains, the sea oh my word! It was an amazing experience. I want to go back there!!Greece is the home of theatre and entertainment. The first Thespian was said to have originated from Greece.
Should we be expecting the pitty patter of little feet soon?
By his grace, the bible says that “There is no man barren in my land and he will make everything
beautiful in his own time”.
Tell us about your show “You and I”.
You and I with Monalisa is a revolutionary half an hour talk show that uses the vehicle of drama, to highlight social and socio-economic issues that affect people. A first of its kind, the show combines
drama, pop culture, entrepreneurs who are doing well and general human relatable stories. You and I debuted on African Independent Television (AIT) on 2nd August, 2015 and has improved immensely with great content.
Did you have any difficulty sustaining the show in the beginning?
Like most businesses here in Nigeria, the beginning is usually a challenge judging from all factors. Mine is no different, from outsourcing the studio, the guests, the funds, committed man power, the audience, the look and feel of the show proper all wanted to drive me mad. But I was able to pull through it all because I had my eyes on the prize. I remained determined, dogged and focused. I switched on my research mode and brought in my A game in presenting to sum it all up, I am still learning and there would be no end to learning.
The third season just started airing, how do you feel and what should we expect?
The third season kicked off precisely on the 7th of April 2017. This season is themed made in Nigeria and its desire is to host an inspiring list of influential entrepreneurs and silent achievers sharing their soul-enriching stories exclusively. It is time we realize entrepreneurship is not just a means to earn an income; it is also a higher call to serve major problems.
You are glowing, would you say it has something to do with being newlywed?
Why do people tie a glowing woman who’s newly married to the marriage? A glowing woman is a glowing woman married or not (laughs) ,as long as she’s eating right and exercising and above all realizing that her hope is built on nothing other than the love of GOD. Jesus is the author and finisher of my faith simple.
What advice would you give single mums out there who hope to someday meet someone special?
I would say remain focused and steadfast the right man will come. I have realized that when a woman is crazily involved with her work or career she attracts her kind. When I was single I was a very busy mum my time was so
occupied my daughter and my career was what I lived for. In between my very tight schedules I got distracted at some point and that nearly cost me my good name and my career. And I vowed never again .So I maintained status quo.
Who is your style crush?
Oh well (thinks) I really don’t know, that would be me! (Laughs)
What is your beauty regimen like?
It’s actually very simple, firstly I have an amazing skin all to the glory of God, secondly I have maintained and used same products for over 17 years and they keep improving, finally I wash my face every morning and must wash off my make up before I go to sleep. I do a lot of juicing these days and that has also helped in tightening my skin elasticity and the glow is unending, I also make sure I sweat out the day’s hustle either on a tread mill or get my very mean trainer to work me
What is your philosophy on life?
My philosophy is do not let the disappointment of yesterday deter your better tomorrow. Forge on as long as your goal in life is towards positivity then nothing should stop you. You must touch lives and you must be loving and giving.
What is most important to you, body or face?
Both are very important, one can’t do without the other, but if I must choose then I would say my body.
What is the one thing that turns you off when you meet someone for the first time?
Bad breath and body odour,they’re just the worst.
If you were given a choice between shoes or dresses which would you choose and why?
I would choose shoes any day because they’re the best accessory ever!
What would you go for money or character?
What attracted you to your new husband?
New husband (Laughs)? My husband is not new he’s been there. I wasn’t just available for him then. (Laughs) And to answer your question, his Character attracted me.
If given the choice would you prefer to stay in Nigeria or relocate?
I will never relocate for any reason.
What is the one thing you wouldn’t do on your show?
(Laughs) There are a lot of things I wouldn’t do, shows always get better with time and new crazy ideas come up, changes takes centre stage so all I can say is keep watching.
What impact do you think your show has made since you first aired it?
My show has gradually crept into the hearts of my viewers and that alone just gives me joy and motivates me to want to do more. The young people are now getting more and more in tune with the content, there’s so much to learn from, inspiring stories and above all the entertainment is to die for. I give God all the glory.