Being the first South Asian female mainstream media personality to gain popularity in Canada was not something someone may have imagined for Monika Deol during her humble, hard-working upbringing on a small Manitoba farm. But she broke barriers and laid the groundwork for so many South Asian media personalities to follow.
Born in Punjab, India, Deol immigrated to Canada as a child with her parents, who were both teachers. Fueled by a passion for music and dance and driven to break the stereotypical view in the South Asian culture that both are merely hobbies, Deol bravely moved out of her parents’ home at 17 to pursue her dreams of a career in entertainment.
I think I have always been true to what I am. I was born in India, raised in Canada and have very strong ties to both parts of me. There are strengths and weaknesses in both and I tried to choose the aspects that I thought were positive in both and be a catalyst for change in what I thought was negative. I’m very comfortable having a dual identity.
She eventually moved to Toronto and landed a job as an entertainment reporter for Citytv. Her popularity continued to rise during the ’90s as she took over television screens with her vibrant personality. Deol later became a VJ for MuchMusic, hosting and co-producing Electric Circus from 1988 to 1996.
In 2002, Deol took her talents to the West Coast becoming the first news anchor with the inaugural VTV Vancouver News at 6 (now CTV Vancouver) and anchor on CityPulse News at 11 on Citytv Vancouver. It was in Vancouver that she ended up taking a well-deserved break from the public eye to become a full-time mom to four.
Fans were thrilled to see her back on screen in a starring role in Deepa Mehta’s 2015 film Beeba Boys.
During her time in the entertainment industry, Deol spent countless hours in makeup chairs and always noticed the lack of cosmetics for South Asian (and other ethnic) medium skin tones. In a continued testament to living with a no-limits, go-after-your-dreams approach, in 2017, Deol launched a cosmetic line called Stellar.
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.
Picked up by Sephora, Stellar offers good quality, high performance and affordable makeup for ethnic women of various skin tones.
A groundbreaking on-air media personality, devoted wife, dedicated mother and business-savvy career woman on her way to becoming a makeup mogul, Deol is a true testament to the powerful force you can become when you bravely and boldly pursue your dreams.
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Main Image Photo Credit: www.tiff.net