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Mo'Nique is an actress and stand-up comedian who won an Academy Award for her role in Precious.
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"Stand-up keeps you on your toes because it's instant," she told reporters. "With TV and movies you have to wait for the numbers to come in to see what happened at the box office. With stand-up, it's right there, that night, in your face."
To help stay atop her game, Mo'Nique headlined the 2001 smash hit Queens of Comedy,
the successful female version of The Original Kings of Comedy tour. The album produced from those Queens shows, which also featured Adele Givens, Laura Hayes, and Sommore, earned a 2002 Grammy nomination for Best Spoken Comedy Album. From there, Mo'Nique returned to the Apollo, this time as host of the program, It's Showtime at the Apollo, the first female comedian to ever hold that title.
In 2003, Mo'Nique added author to her expanding resume when she penned the riotous Skinny Women Are Evil: Notes of a Big Girl in a Small-Minded World. A second title, Skinny Cooks Can't Be Trusted was published in 2006.
Despite her lack of any kind of formal training, Mo'Nique's acting started landing her movie work around the same time The Parkers run was coming to a close. A year before the sitcom's cancellation, the actress was cast alongside Danny Glover and Whoopi Goldberg in the Showtime film, Good Fences (2003).
Her comedy was also the focus of smaller roles in Soul Plane (2004) and Hair Show (2004). In addition she co-starred with Vivica A. Fox in Two Can Play That Game(2001), which earned her an NAACP Image Award Nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Motion Picture.
In 2005, Mo'Nique returned to television to host the Oxygen Network's Mo'Nique's F.A.T. Chance, a beauty contest featuring all plus-sized women. In 2006, the comedian's extra pounds were at the center ofPhat Girlz, a film about an overweight fashion designer in search of love.
That same year, Mo'Nique stepped into her meatiest role yet in Shadowboxer (2006). Starring Helen Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jr., and directed by Lee Daniels, the film cast the actress as a drug-ravaged woman, a role that turned the heads of critics and audiences who had grown accustomed to Mo'Nique's loud-and-proud brand of comedy.
But not everyone was surprised by the performance. Least of all the film's director, who had first met Mo'Nique a few years before and raved to her about her acting abilities. So, it was no surprise he tapped the actress again for his next project, Precious (2009), a film based on the novel Push by Sapphire. Daniels cast Mo'Nique as Mary Jones, an angry and abusive mother.
It was an ugly role, but one Mo'Nique knew how to play. As a child, she herself had been molested by her oldest brother, Gerald, and she says she drew on that experience to play the part.
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