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I remember growing up and seeing Monika Deol on Muchmusic and of course on the fast paced energetic Electric Circus. It was great to see a woman of colour reporting, hosting and leading the way for other young women. Now, the Journalist, Host, Actor and Mom is adding a new title to her resume Entrepreneur. Deol has started a line of cosmetics focused on women of medium skin tones STELLAR* and I had the chance to interview her…
- Monika, you have been in the spotlight for so many years – how did you get your start?
I went to University in Winnipeg, and got a job as a Club DJ, that’s where it all started.
- You have been a singer and a DJ – do you think it is what your parents had in mind for you?
No. You know the answer to that question. To this day, no Indian parent actually aspires to have their child become a singer or a Club DJ. Our parents have taken the risks, they came to a new country, worked hard, sometimes at thankless jobs, to give their children a chance. My parents encouraged me to have musical talent…as a hobby, not a career. It was a bold choice at the time to turn this into a career. It continues to be a bold choice for young Indian women. But it is a choice. As long as you understand it is a profession, it’s a business and it is hard work.
- You immigrated here as a young child with your family – do you remember your first impression of Canada?
Yes. I remember being very sick on the plane. I remember a lot of snow and the cold. I also remember my Mamaji and his family in Wawa, Ontario being very warm and very welcoming. I remember realizing I would always have to work harder to be the same.
- Growing up who were the people you looked up to?
I looked up to my mom. She was idealized in my young mind. I also looked up to aunties, who like my mom, embraced glamour and style. My aunty Avinash and my aunty Veena, both were charming, loving, kind and wore great lipstick! As I got older, I admired Diana Ross, and Zeenat Aman. Women who owned it, their choices, their looks.
- As a strong business woman and self-starter what is it that motivates you?
I was raised on a grain and dairy farm in Manitoba. I don’t know how NOT to work. I was milking cows and hauling hay when I was 11, I have worked my whole life. When I was a DJ, a singer, a television personality, I worked 6 days a week and I never complained. I’m an immigrant. Someone is giving you an opportunity in a new country. You are obligated to make a contribution. When I stayed home with my four children, it was the hardest and most meaningful work I have done in my life. I married a man who has an equally strong work ethic. He inspires me to try to be a better person, and to be a contender. He’s an example of what a very strong work ethic looks like and means. I’m surrounded by it!
- Tell us about your newest business venture with STELLAR*.
STELLAR* is a high-performance line of cosmetics that delivers to all skin tones and over delivers to medium skin tones. We are 2/3rd’s of the world’s population and the fastest growing demographic in North America. We want a seat at the table and our time in beauty is now. There are 22 Limitless Foundations, 6 Limitless Concealers, 4 Cosmic Face Powders, 3 Cosmic Blushes, 14 Infinite Lipsticks, 5 Metallic Moon Lipsticks and 1 Dark Horse Mascara. That’s just the launch, there’s more coming.
- Why did you decide to create this line?
It’s time. It’s time for an informed, authentic line that gets it. That’s lived it. It’s time for us to be to be at the table.
- As a busy mother of 4 how do you find time to do everything?
Time management. It’s something you learn as a kid on a farm.
- What message would you like to pass on to young women?
You are capable. Don’t marry it. BE IT. OWN IT. Don’t compromise. Pretty is a dime a dozen. Frankly, it’s not enough. Show your integrity. Show you judgement. And yes, if a man finds it heavy to let you wear your crown, find a stronger man. Stat!
STELLAR* is available at Sephora