Yvonne Nelson is a known Ghanaian actress that has built a huge crowd of fans within the few years in the movie industry both in… Ghana and beyond. In this chat with FUNMI SALOME JOHNSON, she spoke about how she got into Nollywood, her experience in Nigeria as well as her childhood passion for music which she described as a stage in life which she had outgrown.
Why the interest in Nollywood?
Of course everybody wants to project his or her own country. Also I want to cross boundaries because it is important for you to go international, so you can also sell your country by making other countries know that we also exist. It sounds so good to have this collaboration between Ghana and Nigeria; it is really good because it is helping the industry.
How did you get into Nollywood?
It all started in 2007 and that was my first Nigerian movie. I was invited here to shoot a movie by Kingsley Okereke of Divine Touch Productions, so I came and …
Which movie was that?
To love and to cherish was the title of the movie and I did it with Genevieve. It went well and it was a very nice experience for me and I have no regrets at all.
How has it been, working with Nigerian artistes?
It has been great, only that everybody wants to keep to themselves because of fame and all that but Nigerians are very nice people. I have learnt much from the directors and from the artistes themselves. Generally, everybody was okay and on the average not too friendly.
How would you compare Ghollywood and Nollywood?
I cannot compare them because right now, the Ghanaian movie industry has really picked up. Before now, it used to be soaps and with just a few producers, but now, things have really picked up. We now have so many producers and as you can see, we are doing well. Right now, I see Ghollywood and Nollywood on the same level apart from the fact that you guys have a bigger market than we do in Ghana.
And what do you think is responsible for that?
(Laughs) Of course you can see why, Nigeria is bigger than Ghana both in size and in population and that will definitely reflect on the market as well.
How did it all begin?
It just happened by the way. I took part in Miss Ghana beauty pageant and that gave me a little exposure.
You said you participated in Miss Ghana beauty pageant and you are not a model. How come?
Taking part in a beauty pageant does not necessarily make you a model. We have professional models and we have beauty queens. I am not really into modelling.
So did you win the pageant?
No, I was the first runner up.
What was the experience like when you became the first runner up for the beauty pageant and the first time you acted professionally?
When I went for the beauty pageant, I was very shy because before then, I had not been into showbiz, but after a while, acting gave me the confidence and things are really different now. Now, I can be in the presence of people and shoot movies, but when I was doing Miss Ghana, I was quite reserved and very shy.
Which was your very first movie?
I played a supporting role in Return of Beyonce while my first major break was in ‘Princess Tara’.
What went through you when you watch yourself on set?
Before now, I was just doing it but now I have fallen in love with acting and I am so much in love with it that I am very proud of myself. I am trying to make Ghana proud of me.
Being a 300 level Human Resource Management student of the Central University College in Ghana, don’t you intend to abandon acting someday for practising your career?
Not at all. I am planning to work for an event organising company and I still want to be in the showbiz. You never can tell, I may own my own event organising company in the near future and I will be doing both the event organising and will still be acting because I can never let go of acting.
Were your parents happy at your choice of career when you started out?
They were very supportive and my mum had always been there for me. That makes me happy.
Are you fully Ghanaian or you are a mixed blood?
I am fully and truly Ghanaian.
How do you mantain your sexy figure?
I used to gym a lot but now I am so busy with work and school. I still take my time to go for walks. I also make sure I eat well, and I avoid eating late.
Being a ravishing looking young lady, male advances must be coming your way always. How do you handle these advances?
They are always going to be there and they will always come one’s way, but it is left for me to know how to handle the situation and manage it. I believe that you don’t have to be extremely nice to everybody that come your way all the time because they can take advantage of that sometimes.
Who is that special man after your heart at the moment?
I am very, very single and would not love to go into any relationship right now.
For now, I am single and focused.
So, that makes your sex life less busy?
Yes I am really focused now. I am a very boring person. If I am not working and I am not in school, I am always at home; I am quite a boring person.
But how come it is not showing on you?
Appearance can be very deceptive.
How do you unwind?
I unwind by hanging out with a few friends. I have about three friends that I am really into, so whenever I am not doing anything, I usually hang out with them. We watch movies, play some music or we might just eat out. I am also very much into music.
Who is your favorite musician?
Nasir Jones but he is popularly called NAS, he is an American singer.
How stylish are you and who are your favorite designers?
I am very stylish and I am into designers. I know what is in vogue and I make sure that I look trendy all the time. My favourite designer is Vera Wang but I also have other designers that I love but Vera Wang is my favorite for now.
Where did you grow up and what was growing up years like for you?
I grew up in Accra Ghana. I am the last born and growing up for me was a swell time because as a last born of two boys and a girl. I was pampered and given all the attention. It was real fun for me.
How come you don’t have this heavy Ghanaian accent like your other fellow Ghanaians?
But it is not showing.
I don’t really know, may be it is school. I really don’t know. You know travelling here and there could also have been responsible for that because by the time you go and come back, you have some little changes in the way you speak. But it is not as if I am doing anything specific to change anything about how I speak. What I just know is that like every other things of life, I take my time in doing everything – the way I dress, the way I look, the way I speak and even the way I walk. I take extra precautions in doing everything I do.
Is acting a childhood passion for you?
I can remember in my secondary school days, I used to go on stage and perform rap, I used to sing but never acting.
Are you not thinking of going back to do music later on?
No, that was only a stage in my life. All in my mind then was that I just wanted to be in entertainment. I wanted to be in the showbiz industry. Now, for me, it is acting; music was only a stage in my life and I have outgrown that stage.