Movies of 2014-03-14

I’m sexy, not bad – Ella Mensah

Actress Ella Mensah is one of the few Ghanaian actresses making wealth in Nigeria’s Nollywood. The whole of last year, she was shooting films in Nigeria and only returned home some few weeks ago. In this exclusive interview, Ella tells NEWS-ONE’s Francis Addo that she never knew her biological father until she was 19. She challenged claims she is the ‘bad girl’ her wild photos in the public domain seek to depict.

You must have acquired a Nigerian name by now

(Giggles loudly) They say I look like an Ibo girl, a tribe in Nigeria, and my Ibo name is Chidinma.

A year is a long period to do much. What has Ella done in Nigeria so far?

Yeah, that’s true, but in an industry like Nigeria’s Nollywood, a year is not enough. Nollywood is so big and huge, and there are a lot of actors and actresses so it really takes time. But God has been good, and things are very great right now. I’ve won three awards so far – Gbedu Awards, Nollyfans Achievement Awards and Fashion 1000 Awards – and I’m so proud of myself.

How is it like working in Nigeria as compared to Ghana?

There are a lot of differences between working in Ghana and Nigeria. Most producers work faster in Nigeria. A movie can come out within a month after it has been shot. There are a lot of producers and directors in Nigeria. They work more there, unlike Ghana, plus they pay better than Ghana.

How did you discover your acting dream?

I’ve always wanted to be in front of the camera. I love the camera. I studied Journalism and Media Studies wanting to become a newscaster. But I realised acting is my calling. I realised my dream when I accompanied a friend to an audition, and I was asked to audition. I got my first role ever as a prostitute in my first film (‘Crime to Christ’), an Abdul Salam movie, and it felt good.

What year was that?

It was in 2008. Then I travelled out of the country after six months of acting.

When did you return?

I came back 2010 with a new born baby; I became a new mum.

I started acting again around October 2012.

It took you two years to start all over again?

I had to take care of my baby.

Could it be because the industry is not friendly to nursing mothers?

Oh no! Never. I never heard anything like ‘the industry is not friendly to ladies with kids.’ Jackie Appiah became a star after being a mum. Omotola became a star after being a mum, and there are a lot more of them. After my child, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted to act again because being an actress exposes your family. It brings your family into the picture. You become a star and everyone wants to know more about you. That’s why it took me that long.

Please tell us about your baby

He lives and schools in South Africa with his dad and I visit them frequently.

Who is Ella and how was growing up like?

Ella is a fun girl who believes life is too short to regret anything; comes from an average home, the only daughter to my mum, but I have siblings from my daddy’s side. I am a Ghanaian and come from Begoro in the Eastern part of Ghana. My dad is from the Volta Region. Growing up was fun. My mum gave me everything I ever wanted in life. I and my two junior brothers were very okay, from my mummy side. My dad is a very wealthy man, but I did not grow up with him. I met him when I was 19. I grew up with my mum, and it was so much fun. I had a step dad.

Why did it take 19 years to meet your dad?

I don’t know, dear!

What did you ask him the first time you met him?

Nothing! We just hugged, and it was great.

Sincerely, do you wish him happy father’s day when the day is celebrated?

Yes, I do.

If you could change anything about your career what will that be?

Nothing, dear.

You have some wild photos out there? This is showbiz; come and show yourself. Who I am on screen or on the cover of magazines and newspapers is different from who I am in real life. I don’t think my photos should portray me as a bad lady or a bad person; it’s an expression of what I feel that particular moment. I take sexy pictures because I am comfortable with my body. I don’t need to be a size zero to feel sexy.

How do you stay sexy? Working out, and eating well. I eat anything rice – Jollof rice, fried rice, steam rice, plain rice, or vegetable rice.

What inspires you? My son; I always want to do more when I see his face.

If you want to be like another actor or actress, who will that be?

Funny enough, I don’t want to be like any other actor or actress but myself. I am different, and that’s what makes me special and unique. I like some of them but I don’t want to be like anyone.