When dancer Monique Mannen was chosen by Prince to appear in the video for 1986 hit “Kiss,” she was delighted to have secured any job, and didn’t care too much about the details.

But she later had cause to regret the fact that she didn’t indulge herself more in the opportunity to work with him, even thought the experience had been a positive one as it was.

“He [was] such a hard worker and such a pro,” Mannen told NobleMania in 2014. “He was very nice and thoughtful. No, he did not hit on me. When I got introduced to him, we shook hands and looked each other in the eyes; I told him that it was nice to meet him and I was looking forward to working with him. I set the tone to be professional and that’s where it stayed. Because of that I got respect from him and made him feel at ease with me.”

Prince even tolerated a typical fangirl mistake by one of Mannen’s friends. “I was on the phone with a friend of mine, Sharon; she was checking how the shoot was going – she is a huge Prince fan,” she said. “Prince walked by… I asked him if he would say hello to my friend and he said okay. He got on the phone but her crazy butt didn’t believe him… she said, ‘Yeah, right, who is this? Put Monique back on the phone,’ which he did. When she found out it was really him, she begged me to put him back on the phone and he was nice enough to do so… then she put him on hold for another call. Unbelievable!” After that, Mannen told her that “she blew it,” adding: “Who puts Prince on hold?”

The dancer – who racked up a wide range of video appearances before becoming a producer and director – was called back to work on Prince’s 1990 movie Graffiti Bridge. “My ex-boyfriend was the assistant director on the job and later I heard that he tried to talk Prince out of sending for me,” she said. “When he picked my picture, my ex told him that he already worked with me and all Prince said was, ‘I know. Send for her.’”

It was only later in her career that, after seeing a Prince show, she came to realize what he meant to people, and by extension, the value of having appeared on screen with him. But she’d been “in awe” of his work ethic long before that. “[H]e would be on set at 6 a.m., work all day, then go do jam sessions with Sheila E. and all kinds of great musicians. One time he came back the next morning with a new song, ‘Thieves in the Temple.' … that’s when I truly got his brilliance.”

Mannen shared another story that meant a lot to her, which took place after a day on set directing the other dancers for him: “[H]e invited us to come to his party that night. We went but the security wouldn’t let us in. The next day he was cold to me and I went to him and asked him what was wrong… he told me that I didn’t show up to his party. I told him that I most definitely did but that his hired security refused us. He gave us a private party that night.”

She said her memories of the time still made her smile, but also raised mixed emotions. “[T]hose were great times and [I’m] sorry that I was so blase about working with him and didn’t take pictures with him,”she reflected. “It would have been nice to have a scrapbook of my work with Prince, especially for my kids and future grandkids. I have that regret with all my jobs.”

Prince and the Revolution - ‘Kiss’

 

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