What does a former club DJ, VJ and news anchor do when she has a gaggle of littles? Well, Monika Deol quit her on-air career to become a full-time mom to four. She’s most widely known as the host of CityTV’s Electric Circus, a live TV dance show that still gets mad props from headlining stars (Champagne Papi, for example, paid homage by wearing a tee with the show’s logo just last summer).
Notably, it’s also her on-air gravitas that got her foot in the door at Sephora, where her new beauty line, STELLAR* by Monika Deol, debuted a few weeks ago across Canada and the US. The one connection she could find into the store—which was her goal from the beginning—happened to be a Canadian and he remembered the show. “It’s amazing that Electric Circus is still opening doors for me,” she says.
While her notoriety can take credit for scoring a meeting with the beauty retailer, it’s her product that won them over. She noticed a hole in the market for medium skin tones (think Asian, Indian, Hispanic and so many more global beauties that can never quite find the perfect colour match). Combined with her lifetime love of makeup and the resolve to find Canadian manufacturers who could dream up luxe formulas free of baddies (that’s no sulfates, parabens and mineral oils), her master plan has taken flight. And she says the timing couldn’t be better.
Here’s what Monika has to say about staying in her own lane at every stage of work and motherhood
About that time she quit her job as a news anchor. “When I went back to work to do the 6 o’clock news after having my third baby, I realized that I can’t do everything for everybody all the time. I stepped away from my career at the top of the Ferris wheel because I wanted to give my family one hundred per cent. A lot of people judged me for that. That feeling wasn’t new to me. When I was a club DJ and when I worked at MuchMusic, I was judged because my choices weren’t appropriate for my culture. I think everybody should have the freedom to be who they are and make their own choices. I especially think women get judged way too much. I’ve always been asked to take a position about stay-at-home-moms, working moms, or work-at-home-moms. Taking a position doesn’t serve any of us, and I believe parents should be able to make decisions based on what’s best for their family without any criticism.”
Then she threw herself into being a full-time mom. “Of course being at home was hard, especially when the kids are very young, it can be very lonely. The only adults I spoke to were checking out my groceries at Safeway. I had days where I thought, ‘wow, what have I done?’ But that happens in any situation. I had thoughts like that while I was working too. Eventually we all realize every day can’t be all sunshine and roses but that doesn’t take away from being a mother to my four kids. They are an incredibly fulfilling part of my life.”
Soon she realized her work know-how helped her at home. “Live TV is a very intense and short amount of time and you have to know how to multitask and think fast to move a show forward. Everything I did was live and it required putting my game face on and coming together with a whole crew to put a show on. I’ve used those skills as a parent. My kids are now 20, 19, 17 and almost 12, and I’m stressed out like so many moms and I have to remember it’s not about me; it’ about a whole team and managing different agendas and schedules. Before I was producing shows and segments and now I’m producing family dinners or birthday parties for 18 kids. I have to get up and keep going with whatever is front of me just like I used to on-air.”
Now she’s got her start-up on. “My older kids pretty much have their own lives and they want me to do what I want to do. They drive now which is a real game changer. I have more time to dream about what’s next. Less than two years ago, I started to think about offering great makeup with a luxe feeling and high performance at a moderate price. I wanted something my daughters and her friends or my sisters and their friends would buy. I didn’t want it to be exclusive; my entire career has been about being inclusive and accessible. I had a hunch that those with middle skin tones were underserved…and after studying the market, my hunch was right and I thought, I’m going to give this a shot.”
“Makeup has always been part of my identity. Since becoming a mom, I look for clean products that are cruelty-free and vegan-free,” says Monika. “Now that my daughters and nieces wear makeup, they shouldn’t have to custom-blend the way I did when I was on television. The fastest growing demo in the population is Hispanic, Indian, Middle Eastern, and Asian, yet when I walk into a makeup store, that’s not reflected.” With 21 foundations, this mom has made sure that you can find your match whatever your mid-tone and undertone with shade nuances that work for you. Case in point: Color S06 is Light Medium with Peach Undertones and Color S07 is Light Medium with Dark Peach Undertones.
More products from STELLAR* that we should all get excited about: Limitless Foundation, Cosmic Blush, Metallic Moon Lipstick and Absolute Mascara. Follow @stellarbeautyofficial.