Monique Angela Hicks (née Imes; born December 11, 1967), known professionally as Mo’Nique, is an American comedian and actress. She first gained fame for 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, and Welcome Home Roscoe Jenkins. In 2002, she with other female comedians earned a Grammy 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 in Baltimore, Maryland, the daughter of engineer Alice Imes and drug counselor Steven Imes, Jr. She is the youngest of four children: sister Millicent is her personal assistant; brother Steve is her manager. 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.
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 is currently 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.