Monique Angela Hicks (née Imes; born December 11, 1967), known professionally as Mo'Nique, is an American comedian and actress. She first gained fame as a member of the Queens Of Comedy, as well as her role as Nicole "Nikki" Parker in the UPN series The Parkers while making a name as a stand-up comedian hosting a variety of venues, including Showtime at the Apollo. Mo'Nique transitioned to film with roles in such films as Phat Girlz (2006) and Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins (2008). In 2002, she, along with several other female comedians, earned a Grammy Award nomination for Best Comedy Album.
In 2009, she received critical praise for her role as the abusive Mary Lee Johnston in the film Precious and won numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She hosted The Mo'Nique Show, a late-night talk show that premiered in 2009 on BET; it was cancelled in 2011. In 2015, she received rave reviews for her performance as Ma Rainey in the HBO biopic Bessie and earned a Primetime Emmy Award nomination.
Mo'Nique was born on December 11, 1967 in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of engineer Alice Imes and drug counselor Steven Imes, Jr. She is the youngest of four children. Mo'Nique graduated from Milford Mill High School in Baltimore County in 1985 and attended Morgan State University. She is a 1987 graduate of the Broadcasting Institute of Maryland.
Before she was an actress, Monique worked as a customer service representative at the phone company MCI in Hunt Valley, Maryland. She got her start in comedy at the downtown Baltimore Comedy Factory Outlet when her brother Steve dared her to perform at an open mic night.
During a 2008 Essence magazine interview, Mo'Nique revealed that she was sexually abused by her brother Gerald from ages 7–11; he went on to sexually abuse another girl and was sentenced to 12 years in prison. After her twin boys were born in 2005, Mo'Nique cut off all contact with Gerald. On April 19, 2010, he admitted on Oprah to sexually abusing her over several years. He also was abused by family members and struggled with substance abuse.
Mo'Nique portrayed Nicole "Nikki" Parker on the UPN television series The Parkers from 1999 to 2004. She was featured on many leading stand-up venues such as Showtime at the Apollo, Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam, and Thank God You're Here. Monique tackles race issues in her stand up routines, for instance at the Montreal Just For Laugh Festival in 2000: white and black people, we're just mad at each other, we don't know why we're mad at each other. We're not each other's enemy. We're not the enemy. It's the Chinese people we need to watch out for”.
She was also named hostess of Showtime at the Apollo. She was the hostess and executive producer of Mo'Nique's Fat Chance, a beauty pageant for plus-sized women, on the Oxygen cable network. She hosted the first season of Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School on VH1 where she crowned Saaphyri as the winner.
Mo'Nique's 2007 documentary I Coulda Been Your Cellmate! focuses on incarcerated women. In interviews with individual women, she touches on the common factors that bring many women into the penal system. The documentary was related to her filming a comedy special at the Ohio Reformatory for Women, also known as The Farm. In 2007, Mo'Nique had a guest-starring role on the hit television series Ugly Betty as L'Amanda, Mode's weekend security guard.
Mo'Nique has had a number of supporting roles in film. She appeared in the 2008 comedy film, Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins with Martin Lawrence. She has had roles in Beerfest, 3 Strikes, Two Can Play That Game, Half Past Dead, and Soul Plane. She voiced a character in Garfield: The Movie, but her role was cut from the movie.
In 2005, Mo'Nique played a significant role in Tony Scott's thriller Domino, co-starring Keira Knightley and Mickey Rourke. In 2006, Mo'Nique was cast as the lead in Phat Girlz, a comedy about an aspiring fashion designer struggling to find love and acceptance. The film was met with lukewarm response from critics and fans. It did earn back its $3 million production cost in its first weekend of release.
She was featured in soul singer Anthony Hamilton's video "Sista Big Bones", the second single from his album Ain't Nobody Worryin'. She plays the role of a beautiful woman whom Anthony secretly admires.
Mo'Nique hosted the 2003 and 2004 BET Awards and appeared as the host again for the 2007 BET Awards. She received positive responses in July 2004 with her opening performance of Beyoncé's single "Crazy in Love" In 2007, she performed Beyoncé's "Déjà Vu".
In 2008, Mo'Nique stated on Oprah Winfrey Show that Martin Lawrence gave her invaluable advice about show business: "He pulled me to the side and he said, 'Listen, don't ever let them tell you what you can't have.' Since that day, I've made some of the best deals I've ever made in my career because it keeps ringing in my head...It will stay with me forever."
In 2009, Mo'Nique appeared in the film Precious, directed by Lee Daniels, portraying an inner-city teenager's abusive mother. She won the Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize for her performance in the film. The African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) awarded Mo'Nique with the Best Supporting Actress Award in December 2009. It also announced that Mo'Nique received the AAFCA's first ever unanimous vote in an acting category. Moreover, she received Best Supporting Actress awards from the Stockholm International Film Festival, the Washington DC Area Film Critics Association, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, the Boston Society of Film Critics, the New York Film Critics Online, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Southeastern Film Critics Association, the San Francisco Film Critics Circle, the Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association, the Las Vegas Film Critics Society, the Utah Film Critics Association, the Detroit Film Critics Society, the Indiana Film Critics Association, the Online Film Critics Society, the National Society of Film Critics Awards, the Alliance of Women Film Journalists, and the Critics Choice Awards. Time magazine ranked Mo'Nique's outstanding performance as the Best Female Performance of 2009. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress, the Independent Spirit Award, and the BAFTA Award.
In November 2009, Mo'Nique said, "I own the rights to Hattie McDaniel's life story, and I can't wait to tell that story because that woman was absolutely amazing. She had to stand up to the adversity of black and white [society] at a time when we really weren't accepted. Mr. Lee Daniels is going to direct it, of course, and I'm going to be Miss Hattie McDaniel. I really hope I can do that woman justice."
At a May 2017 performance, she claimed Daniels, Winfrey and Perry have been blackballing her ever since she did not promote Precious in 2009.
Mo'Nique's first play was Eve Ensler's Obie Award-winning production of The Vagina Monologues in March 2002. Mo'Nique, Ella Joyce (Roc); Wendy Raquel Robinson (The Steve Harvey Show and The Game) and Vanessa Bell Calloway (What's Love Got to Do with It), were the first all black celebrity cast to perform The Vagina Monologues. Produced by YYP & Associates, the show was directed by playwright and director Yetta Young as well as co-produced by Kellie R. Griffin, Lisa D. Washington and Anita Cal.
Mo'Nique is the author of the best-selling book Skinny Women Are Evil: Notes of a Bigg Girl in a Small-Minded World. She also released a 2006 cookbook called Skinny Cooks Can't Be Trusted.
Mo'nique was part of the Washington, D.C. WHUR radio show with George Wilborn.
In 2008, Radio One signed her to her own radio show: Mo'Nique in the Afternoon (or The Mo'Nique Show), which premiered on several Radio One-owned Urban Adult Contemporary-formatted R&B/soul radio stations in July 2008. It mainly aired on these stations that had a local lineup because some Radio One stations did not carry it due to their contracts with Michael Baisden. The show lasted until March 18, 2009 when Mo'Nique decided to leave to "further her career in television, film, and comedy."
Mo'Nique was briefly engaged to accountant Kenny Mung.
From 1997 to 2001, she was married to Mark Jackson. They have a son named Shalon Jackson.
Mo'Nique gave birth to twin sons Jonathan and David Hicks in October 2005, two months early. In 2006, she married their father Sidney Hicks. In a New York Times profile, she mentions that she and Hicks have an open marriage:
|“||We have an agreement that we'll always be honest, and if sex happens with another person, that's not a deal breaker for us, that's not something where we'll have to say, 'Oh God, we've got to go to divorce court because you cheated on me.' Because we don't cheat.||”|
She repeated this view later on The Oprah Winfrey Show when she said that, in her prior marriages, she was constantly searching for "that extra oomph". Mo'Nique explained, "When I said I had an open marriage, people automatically jumped to sex. They automatically went there. But I've been best friends with my husband since we were 14 years old. When we say open, we're very honest. There are no secrets. Oftentimes you have people that are married, but they're strangers, and we refuse to be those people". She concluded, "I've had to sneak and I've had to lie, and I don't want to do that any more. But my husband is so awesome and so fine and so—oh, girl...No other man can compare".
|Two Can Play That Game||Diedre||Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture|
||Half Past Dead||Twitch's Girl|
||Soul Plane||Jamiqua||Nominated — BET Comedy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Box Office Movie|
|Hair Show||Peaches||Nominated — BET Comedy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Theatrical Film|
|Garfield: The Movie||Rat||Role deleted in final cut of the film|
||Farce of the Penguins||Vicky||Voice|
|Phat Girlz||Jazmin Biltmore|
||Welcome Home, Roscoe Jenkins||Betty|
||Steppin: The Movie||Aunt Carla|
|Precious||Mary Lee Johnston||Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
African-American Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Supporting Actress
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Bravest Performance Award
Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Unforgettable Moment
BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
BET Award for Best Actress
Black Reel Award for Best Ensemble
Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Central Ohio Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Dallas-Fort Worth Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Denver Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Florida Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Female
Indiana Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
International Online Film Critics' Poll Award for Best Supporting Actress
Iowa Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Las Vegas Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
London Film Critics Circle Award for Actress of the Year
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
New York Film Critics Online Award for Best Supporting Actress
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Oklahoma Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Stockholm Film Festival Award for Best Actress
Sundance Film Festival Special Jury Prize for Acting
Utah Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Village Voice Film Poll – Best Supporting Actress
Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Alliance of Women Film Journalists Award for Best Ensemble Cast
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Acting Ensemble
Nominated — Detroit Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated — Houston Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — International Cinephile Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Nominated — St. Louis Gateway Film Critics Association Award for Favorite Scene
Nominated — Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated — Washington DC Area Film Critics Association Award for Best Ensemble
Nominated — Vancouver Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress
||Almost Christmas||Aunt May|
|1999-2000||Moesha||Nicole "Nikki" Parker||Season 4, Episode 18 "It Takes Two"
Season 4, Episode 22 "I Studied Twelve Years for This?"
Season 6, Episode 8 "The Candidate"
|2001||The Hughleys||Nicole "Nikki" Parker||Season 3, Episode 15 "Forty Acres and a Fool"|
|2002||The Proud Family||Boonnetta||Voice;
Season 2, Episode 5 "Behind the Family Lines"
|2003||Good Fences||Ruth Crisp||Television film
Black Reel Award for Best Supporting Actress on Television
|2004||The Bernie Mac Show||Lynette||Season 3, Episode 16 "Who's That Lady"|
|1999-2004||The Parkers||Nicole "Nikki" Parker||Lead role;
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series (2001, 2002, 2004, 2005)
Nominated — NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series (2003)
|2006||Rugrats||Aunt Moo||Direct-to-DVD episode "Tales from the Crib: Three Jacks and a Beanstalk"|
|Nip/Tuck||Evetta Washington||Season 4, Episode 8 "Conor McNamara"|
|2007||Flavor for Love Girls: Charm School||Host/Herself||11 episodes|
|The Game||Plus Size Actress||Season 2, Episode 1 "Diary of a Mad Black Woman, Redux"|
Season 2, Episode 1 "...Or Die Trying"
|Ugly Betty||L'Amanda||Season 2, Episode 8 "I See Me, I.C.U."|
|2009-2011||The Mo'Nique Show||Host/Herself||2 seasons - 251 episodes|
|2014||Love & Hip Hop||Host/Herself||Season 4 Reunion Special - 2 episodes|
|2015||Bessie||Ma Rainey||Television film
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Critics' Choice Television Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Movie/Miniseries
Nominated — Online Film & Television Association Award for Best Supporting Actress in a TV Movie or Miniseries
Nominated — Online Film & Television Association Award for Best Ensemble in a TV Moviee or Miniseries
Nominated — Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Mo'Nique.|