Comedian, actress and television host Mo'Nique Imes-Jackson is remembered by many as the strong willed mother on the “Moesha” spin-off sitcom “The Parkers,” which successfully ran on UPN from 1999 to 2004. Delivering a good performance, she picked up four Image Awards. She also won an Image nomination and a Black Reel Award for her scene-stealing role in the TV film “Good Fences” (2003). On the movie front, Mo’Nique had supporting roles in such projects as “Two Can Play That Game” (2001), “Soul Plane” (2004), “Shadowboxer” (2005) and “Domino” (2005), and starred in the films “Hair Show” (2004) and “Phat Girlz” (2006). Recent and upcoming credits include “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins,” “Steppin: The Movie” and “Push” (all 2008). Mo'Nique hosted “It's Showtime at the Apollo” in 2002, “Mo'Nique's F.A.T Chance” in 2006 and was hired to do the hosting gig on the BET Awards in 2003, 2004 and 2007. She also hosted VH1's “Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School” (2007).
Mo'Nique released the book “Skinny Women Are Evil” in 2003. The book became a New York Times' best-seller. Three years later, Mo'Nique released a cookbook called “Skinny Cooks Can't Be Trusted.” A former plus-size model, she launched her own line of clothing, “Mo'Nique's Big Beautiful and Loving It,” in August 2000, but it only lasted two years.
Mo'Nique has been married twice. She lived with first husband Mark Jackson from 1997 to 2001. The marriage produced two sons, one of whom was adopted from Mark's previous relationship. With current husband Sidney Hicks, whom she married in 2006, Mo'Nique has twin sons, David and Jonathan (born in 2005).
Childhood and Family:
Daughter of Steven Imes Jr. and Alice Imes, Monique Imes was born on December 11, 1967, in Woodlawn, Maryland. She was educated at Milford Mill High School in Baltimore. She has three siblings, Steven, Gerald and Millicent. Prior to her successful comedy career, Monique, known by family and close friends simply as Mo, found work at a local phone company.
Mo was married to Mark Jackson on December 25, 1997, but they later divorced in 2001. The couple shares two sons, Mark Jackson Jr. (born in 1985, adopted from Mark's previous relationship) and Shalon Jackson (born in 1990). After the marriage ended, Mo became engaged to childhood buddy Sidney Hicks, with whom she welcomed twin boys David and Jonathan on October 3, 2005. They eventually married on May 20, 2006.
Maryland native Mo’Nique Imes-Jackson showed an interest in the entertainment business from an early age. She first gained stage experience when she responded to her brother’s challenge to perform at an open mic night. Her act gained positive feedback from the audience and upon high school graduation, she pursued a comedy career professionally.
Some of Mo’Nique’s early jobs included performing stand-up comedy for young audiences and appearing as an opening act for such R&B musicians as Bobby Brown and Keith Sweat. Her comedic career continued to flourish with appearances on HBO's “Russell Simmons' Def Comedy Jam,” NBC's “Showtime at the Apollo,” BET's “Comic View,” and the “Apollo Comedy Hour.” She also appeared at the Uptown Comedy Club and The Montreal Comedy Festival.
In April 1999, Mo’Nique made her acting debut in an episode of the UPN sitcom “Moesha,” playing Nikki Parker. She reprised the role the following month for the episode “I Studied Twelve Years for This,” but did not hit the big time until she recreated the role on the spin-off series “The Parkers.” Debuting on UPN on August 30, 1999, the show was an audience favorite during its five-year run (until 2004). Mo’Nique, who played the plain-speaking and exuberant mother, gained positive reviews for her performance and took home four Image awards in the category of Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series (2001, 2002, 2004, and 2005), and a BET Comedy nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series (2004).
Mo'Nique's television success put her on the radar of movie producers and in 2001, she joined the noted John Singleton and fellow African-American actors Tyrese Gibson and Omar Gooding in the drama “Baby Boy,” as Patrice. She also supported Vivica A. Fox and Morris Chestnut on “Two Can Play That Game,” which was written and directed by Mark Brown. Mo’nique received an Image nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture for her performance.
2001 also found Mo'Nique the center of attention when she joined the cast of the popular concert film “The Queens of Comedy,” which was directed by Steve Purcell. In addition to touring the country as a live comedy concert, “The Queens of Comedy” also spawned an album of the same name which was nominated for a Grammy for Best Spoken Comedy Album. Mo'Nique followed it up by serving as a host of the nationally televised musical stand-up comedy show “It's Showtime at the Apollo” (2002), a coveted gig that made her the first female comedienne to hold the post in the show's history.
After appearing in the film “Half Past Dead” (2002), which starred Steven Seagal, Mo'Nique netted a Black Reel for Best Supporting Actress and an Image nomination for Outstanding Actress in a TV Movie, Mini-Series, or Dramatic Special for her turn as Ruth Crisp in the made-for-TV film “Good Fences” (2003), a based-on novel drama about a nomadic African-American family. The film also starred Danny Glover and Whoopi Goldberg. She then appeared as Jamiqua in the humorous comedy “Soul Plane” (2004), opposite Tom Arnold and Kevin Hart, before starring in the comedy “Hair Show” (2004), where she was cast as a Baltimore-born hair stylist named Peaches.
Following the demise of “The Parkers,” Mo'Nique teamed up with Oscar winners Cuba Gooding Jr. and Helen Mirren in “Shadowboxer” (2005), an independent film directed by Lee Daniels. She then appeared in the cameo role of Lateesha Rodriguez on the Tony Scott helmed thriller “Domino” (2005), starring Keira Knightley as Domino Harvey and Mickey Rourke as Ed Mosbey, provided the voice of Vicky on the animated comedy film “Farce of the Penguins” (2006), and appeared as Cherry on Jay Chandrasekhar's “Beerfest” (2006). A plus-size model at age 17, Mo’Nique also starred as Jazmin Biltmore on the disappointing comedy “Phat Girlz” (2006) and hosted Oxygen's “Mo'Nique's F.A.T Chance,” an annual beauty pageant for ”Fabulous and Thick” woman in which she also took on the duty of executive producer.
A frequent host at the BET Awards, in 2007, Mo'Nique became the host of the first season of “Flavor of Love Girls: Charm School,” a reality TV show on VH1. She made a guest appearance as security chief L'Amanda on the ABC popular series “Ugly Betty” that same year and portrayed a character named Betty in the film “Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins” (2008), a comedy starring Martin Lawrence.
Multi-faceted Mo'Nique will be cast as Aunt Carla on the comedy film “Steppin: The Movie” (2008), which is being directed by Michael Taliferro and written by Sean Alexander Jefferson and Bryan Anthony Pierre. She also has a costarring role opposite Gabourey 'Gabby' Sidibe, Paula Patton and Lenny Kravitz in the upcoming drama “Push” (2008), based on the novel by Sapphire.
Image: Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series, “The Parkers,” 2005
Black Reel: Best Supporting Actress- Television, “Good Fences,” 2004
Image: Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series, “The Parkers,” 2004
Image: Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series, “The Parkers,” 2002
Image: Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series, “The Parkers,” 2001