For me, being a big girl was never an issue. I had my other issues, but it wasn’t from being a fat girl. I think I started to own who I am when I got into a space in my life where I said, “You know what? I love all of me. For my flaws, for everything—I love me.” After my second divorce
I said, “I’m going to fulfill Mo’Nique.”
Gay men and heavier women are friends
because we’re both the underdog and because
we want to be accepted so bad that we find acceptance in each other. You fight because you’re gay. I fight because I’m fat. Put us in a room together, we’re friends. ’Cause we ain’t fighting each other. It’s like, “They fuckin’ with you, too?” It’s a total acceptance. When you have any group of people that is fighting so hard for acceptance, the moment somebody says, “I’m here,” it’s a wonderful relationship. As for gay men, I love my children, baby! They call me mother.
Now, I’ve done television, movies and performed onstage. My favorite? All of ’em. But I would have to say stand-up—that’s my baby. With TV and film, you have to wait for the numbers to come in, and the ratings. But stand-up is that instant thing.
As for doing a music CD, baby, they always think all the fat black women can sing. I promise you, sugar, my CD would not sell for the songs, baby! They’d be like, “No. Is she tellin’ jokes in between the songs?”
My oldest son is 15 now. He’s watched my career from the beginning. I think sometimes it’s hard because I’m gone a lot, but I think I’m extremely liberal in my thinking, so it’s very cool for him. I’m a different type of mommy. It’s our quality time that really makes it special for him and me. My twins don’t travel with me because they’re so young. But I have a great husband. I have a great support system. I don’t have nannies, I have what’s called nanas, because I think that’s more a part of your family. Everybody just really knows their position and everybody pitches in and makes it happen. As their mother, it’s hard. But I know what I gotta do.
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I came up with my show Mo’Nique’s F.A.T. Chance from watching Miss America and Next Top Model. Nothing represented me with those shows. I’ve always wanted to be in a beauty pageant, and I know I’m not the only girl that felt that way. So that’s how we came up with the idea.
The message of the show is simply, do you and love the skin you’re in. That’s it! Don’t let anybody determine your destiny. If you believe you’re beautiful, then guess what—you’re beautiful! And often times, people say, “You know, Mo’Nique, you’re telling people to be unhealthy and you’re telling people it’s okay to be fat.” I’m telling people it’s okay to be them! If you’re 500 pounds and you have sugar diabetes and high blood pressure and all those diseases, then okay, do something about it. But do you still have to hate yourself? Love you every single day. That’s it.
Oftentimes, our society equates that word “fat” with uneducated, unintelligent, unsexy—all the “uns” you can think of, that’s what they put to us. So this year in the selection of our women, it’s extremely diverse. We have a woman that performs autopsies. So we killed that myth that people believe, “Well, to be fat is to be uneducated!” You know what I’m sayin’?
We also did things like horseback riding. How often do you see a fat girl on a horse? She really wants to, but she’s been told, “You’re too big.” When we did the show last year, I was interviewed by Diane Sawyer. She’s a sweetie, but she said to me, “Mo’Nique, why not bathing suits?” And I said, “Because lingerie is sexier.” And she said, “Oh, come on!” Right. So we did bathing suits, baby! We did ballroom dancing. We did everything that society says we should not do.
I think confidence makes a person sexy. That puts the nail in it. It’s just swagger. It’s the way you walk in a room and say, “Mmm. I know I’m here.” Confidence is the key to life.