Nigerian Princess – A Life of Privilege and Philanthropy

Nehita Jewelry founder, Princess Monalisa Okojie inspiring others through her evolution of success.

By Deborah Hayter

Nehita Jewelry Founder Princess Monalisa Okojie is known throughout the Hollywood and Beverly Hills community as the “Jewelry Designer to the Stars.” Although she comes from a privileged background, she believes it is important to help those less fortunate.  Princess Monalisa navigates comfortably in the world of high fashion couture and the Hollywood elite and often enlists their support with the charities she is involved in. monalisa

Princess Monalisa shares her passion and love of fine gems and her motivation to inspiring women to reach their personal and business goals.

She was born an Ishan Princess from Eguare, Irrua in Edo State, Nigeria, and was brought up in Lagos, Nigeria.  Princess Monalisa attended St Mary’s private school and Federal Government Girls College Calabar before receiving a law degree from the University of Ekpoma in Nigeria.

Although she had the credentials to become a practicing attorney, no one in her family was surprised when she chose a career outside of academia. She realized at an early age that her passion for fashion and jewelry would become her métier. Today she is recognized as one the most sought-after jewelry designers in the entertainment industry.

After completing a traditional education, she decided to become an expert in designing and identifying precious stones, achieving certification from the Gemological Institute of America in California. She was not deterred by the fact that there are only a small percentage of women in the precious gem industry and an even smaller percentage of women of color gemologists.

Today, Nehita Jewelry Designs have become signature pieces and worn by such notable celebrities including Heidi Montag, Allison Kraus, Laila Ali, Halle Barry, Anthony Anderson, the late Whitney Houston and Natalie Cole as well as numerous celebrities in sports.  She has traveled all over the world to find the best and most unique gemstones from conflict-free countries as well as gems that are indigenous to their continent. monalisa_0045

An average day for Princess Monalisa starts around 6:00 AM with gym class and Mass before heading to her downtown Los Angeles office. She sits regally behind her desk, impeccably coiffed, sharing pop culture gossip while reviewing the day’s schedule. Her office is filled with memorabilia from all over the world, which includes a wall full of commendations from the Mayor of Beverly Hills, to the Consulate General of Kenya and numerous philanthropic awards.

It is quite impressive that Princess Monalisa has been able to find balance in her life as a wife and mother of three children. Her work with charities is a family affair. As the founder of Upward African Woman (UAW) she encourages others to get involved in good works, starting with her husband and children. They actively participate in charities and are often seen with her feeding the homeless and passing out information at school health fairs in the Los Angeles area.

Through her work with UAW, Princess Monalisa puts in countless hours to help women lead sustainable lives in Ghana and Kenya. She has in fact, been included in a number of speaking engagements and events that bring attention to the organization.

In February 2019, Princess Monalisa will join a select group in London, England, to recognize women in philanthropy.  The event is called Luncheon For Love and attendees are expected from all over the world.  She will be featured alongside A-List celebrities such as Idris Elba, Madonna, Jack Whitehall and others.  To celebrate the occasion, Princess Monalisa is designing a special piece of jewelry worth $10,000 to be auctioned off to charity. More details will be available on Nehita’s website, monalisa2

Princess Monalisa explains why charities are important;  “I truly believe that successful people have a duty to give something back to society.  Working on philanthropic projects has been rewarding to me and my family.”  She further elaborates, “A single act of kindness has a rippling effect.”

For information on the upcoming Luncheon For Love event go to