When Joy Mangano received a phone call from Oscar-nominated director David O. Russell, she couldn't believe it. Although, years earlier, TV producer Ken Mok had mentioned wanting to make a film about her rise to fame, Mangano had no idea that dinner conversation would lead to an actual deal.

Screen play

“David took the ordinary and showed how extraordinary the ordinary can be,” says Mangano. "I consider the movie a love letter to me. It's an emotional journey that everybody can identify with in one space or another.”

The Brooklyn-born Mangano was stunned after learning Academy Award-winner Jennifer Lawrence would play her in the film “Joy,” which is loosely based on Mangano's life. Her first chat with the legendary Robert De Niro was also unforgettable. Mangano praises all three artists for giving her confidence in the project.

“They are brilliant, caring, amazing human beings, aside from being monster talents,” she glows. “I think the movie will inspire so many people.”

BIG PICTURE: Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence as Joy Mangano in David O. Russell's Oscar-nominated "Joy." Photo: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

The road up

Before hitting it big, Mangano tirelessly toted her mop and bucket to boat shows and parking lots for demonstrations. She says having the support of family was crucial, crediting her beloved grandmother, a waitress, for helping shape her resilient personality.

“Even when she was much older and I was a single mom with three little kids, she used to get on the bus, then the subway and the train and then get on a bus to get to the house to be there with me and the kids,” Mangano recalls. “She had this positivity and determination in life that really kind of transcended into me."

MORE THAN A MOP: While Mangano was struggling to launch her career, mop and bucket in hand, she also carried the support of her family, and most importantly, inspiration and motivation from her grandmother. Photo: Courtesy of Joy Mangano

Secret to success

For women wanting to advance their careers, Mangano says, “You have to be grounded and realistic. You have to be capable. If you've trusted your instincts and they've worked in the past, then you should do that. If they haven't, then you have to rethink things.

“I've found the most important thing to be successful in business is the way you make your decisions,” she explains. “The risk taking—where you take the risk and where you don't.

Mangano continues: “Don't separate your personal life ethics and principles and your business ethics and principles. I've always run my business with the same conscience and principles of honesty and loyalty, and that's so significant in the success I've had around me.”