She wears multiple hats and lends her celebrity status to worthy causes. With a down-to-earth, lovable, and relatable presence, Monalisa Chinda has rapidly proven herself to be a recognizable force amongst her peers, and a poised, articulate and sexy one too. In her role as mommy, she loves to get down and has goals to continue to make the Arts accessible to our youths in a society that is known to primarily support the Sciences. We know you'd agree hands-down that she's truly a Powerhouse Mom! Read our interview with "Mona" (as she's fondly referred to by close friends) and share your thoughts below...
It’s a real pleasure to interview you. How would you describe yourself?
I’m a very joyful, determined, hardworking and highly motivated person. I’m straight forward and take things in stride in a very positive manner. Adventurous by nature and love new challenges as it gives me the zeal and impetus to work towards excellence.
Acting is a major part of my life but I am also very passionate about charitable work which includes promoting autism awareness across Africa. One thing I firmly believe in is that one should always strive towards individual betterment, in whichever form it may be. As such, I'm never tired of beginning where others end. I have a huge faith in God and He has been always faithful in many big ways.
In addition to your role as a celebrity actress, you are also a “mommy”. What does motherhood mean to you?
Motherhood is the most honorable blessing I’ve ever received. It has changed the way I live, think, feel and behave. Who knew you could feel so much love for someone? The only word I can think of to describe it is “Bliss”.
Who is your greatest motherhood role model?
My Mother, hands down! She is the strongest person I know - very supportive, caring, and spiritual. I am grateful for all her sacrifices for us and love her very much. She is a super woman and a super mom!!!
Your daughter has a unique name. What does it mean, and why did you choose it?
Tamar means – the Tree planted on the dessert… It is a symbolic name due to the beauty and fruitfulness of the tree. The wind blows, the storm comes but the tree stays still. It also means the graceful and fertile woman.
What is the one thing you would like your daughter to associate with you?
That she’s got a phenomenal mother who the youths look up to and most importantly, that she’s got a mother after God’s heart.
What are your favorite activities to do with your daughter?
Tamar and I do a lot of fun things together - reading, her homework, coloring and watching her favorite TV shows. We also do some outdoor activities such as playing on the swing, bike riding and shopping, which we both enjoy a lot.
What is the most fun part of parenting at this point? What is your least favorite?
The pure love in her little eyes when I look at her! How her smile could melt my heart even on my worst of days. Knowing that I could create something so amazing and perfect all thanks to God! There is never a dull moment with Tamar. Each time we spend together is special. She’s a treasure, a sweetheart and I love her for life.
How do you create balance in your life, by having some “me” time and being a great mother and successful professional and philanthropist at the same time?
As a working mother, I try to always work around my daughter’s schedule. By doing this, I give my all to both my profession and taking care of my daughter. At the end of the day when she is all tucked into bed, I set aside some ‘me’ time. This is the time I will reflect over the day’s work, meditate and prepare for the next day.
What, if any, differences are there from how you were raised and how you are raising your daughter? What have you retained and what have you changed?
There are no differences from how I was raised and how I am raising my daughter. My mother taught me very good morals, to always put God first in everything I do, keep His word in my Heart and Hold unto His promises for my life. These principles are what I have retained and raising my daughter by.
Have you ever overcome a difficult life experience? If so, please share how you did.
There comes a time in any person’s life when you will surely undergo some difficult life experiences. How you react to these difficulties is the challenge. As for me, I embrace them as they come and I trust in my God to do that which only Him can do - give me resolution on overcoming them and moving on to the next phase in life.
It’s great to see moms like yourself lend your celebrity to great causes especially with the limited exposure Autism has. Between your birthday visit to Patrick’s Speech Center, and starring in Silverlining, do you have a special motivation for adopting Autism as a cause?
Autism is a cause very close to my heart. I have devoted myself to doing what I possibly can by God’s grace to raise its awareness across Africa.
Theatre arts careers are not encouraged in our society, so we applaud you for your goal and plans with Arise Monalisa Foundation - can you expand on some of your planned initiatives?
Thank you. The Arise Monalisa Foundation is setup to increase autism awareness and empower youths to maximize their creative power. It is still in the early stages. More details will be provided as soon as we wrap up the preliminary stage phase. [blurb from site about Arise Monalisa Foundation]
As an actress, you’re in a unique position because your job requires that you take on roles that might be very different from who you really are. Does Tamar watch your movies, and how does that affect her perception of you in real life?
No she does not watch them but at the appropriate age, Tamar will be able to watch them if she chooses to.
How do you stay fit and maintain that gorgeous figure? What practical tips can you offer our moms?
Exercise, Exercise, Exercise!!! Combined with a healthy balanced meal daily.
Finally, what advice would you give to working moms? There's a bit of a distinction between your career as a celebrity and the career of an average working mother, but I think there are a lot of parallels, too. In general, what's your advice to a working mother? Also, having been a single mother, what would you say to single working mothers, too?
Everything comes in stages, have a lot of patience, be flexible and don’t be a martyr. As a single working mother, I know it gets hard sometimes to raise a child on your own. Through your busy schedule, it can be easy to forget that you are not alone when you have so much to deal with. Building your own support system gives you a shoulder to lean on when it comes to all the things that come with raising a child. It’s great to surround yourself with like-minded people — or people you trust to be involved in your everyday life. In my case, I’m incredibly lucky to have family and close friends who are always ready to help as needed.
I love being a busy mother... Every day I feel enriched by everything that’s going on in my life and it goes without saying that Tamar is my favorite part…