Ghollywood actress, Yvonne Nelson loves this country so much she claims to be half Nigerian. On a light note, she says that she has adopted the Nigerian name, Damilola. The sultry thespian who in recent times has been in the news for one reason or another recently came into the country on a twofold mission; the City people’s Award and the premiere of her latest movie, House of Gold. She takes time out of her tight schedule to speak with OVWE MEDEME on a number of issues including her crashed romance with hip-hop artiste Iyanya and her decision to star Nigerian musicians in the new flick, religion and family.
HOW has been your stay? It has been wonderful. I always say Nigeria feels like home. I come here often times and I don’t even want to go back home. It is like Ghana, just that everything is a little fast paced here.
Do you prefer the fast pace?
It is just like Ghana, the difference is just how fast things are done here.
What is your new movie, House of Gold all about?
I don’t want to give the story out but what I can say is that it is a comedy, a family story. I want people to come out to see Ice Prince and Omawumi act. They were amazing in it. It also features Majid and Eddie Watson from Ghana. It was directed by Paschal Amanfo and written by him too. I produced it, my Executive Producers are Media Gh. It is a story about a rich man who had a lot of kids around the world. He was on his sick bed so he invited all of them to come down and the kids did not really like each other. I am just urging people to come out and see the movie because they will laugh and have a nice time.
How were you able to get Omawumi and Ice Prince to be a part of the production?
It was very challenging because they are always performing one show or another. I have my own way of doing things so they agreed to be a part of it. They gave me their schedule so I worked with their time. It was very challenging though but we had to do it?
How long did it take to shoot the movie?
We spent about 15 days on set.
This is your second production with Paschal as Director. Why do you fancy him that much?
Paschal is like the best writer I know. He is one of the best Directors in Ghana. Paschal is a very straight forward and honest guy. It is very easy working with him. He always wants to work with somebody who can deliver and make things go on smoothly.
Were the Nigerian artistes difficult on set?
Amazingly, they were all really good. It felt like they were actors. Ice Prince was the one who really shocked me because he had a show the night before he came in. He didn’t sleep; he went to the airport at about 6am and flew straight to Ghana. He didn’t even rest. He wore his costume and started acting. Everybody was surprised when he started acting. Omawumi is a natural. She is so good. At some point I jokingly told her that if she starts acting, I am sure most of us would be put out of jobs because she is really good. They were amazing.
Why the choice of Ice Prince and Omawumi?
It is my own marketing strategy. I believe that they all have their audience; they all have their fan bases. As a producer, you should be creative, know how to sell your movie. I just wanted spice things up. When you watch my movies, you will know that my casts are usually very interesting.
People get tired of seeing the same things. It has nothing to do with preference for Nigerian musicians. It is just something I thought about doing. I could have used Nollywood actors but I just wanted to spice things up a little bit. I don’t think people were expecting it at all.
How did Single and Married fare in the Nigerian cinemas?
I believe Single and Married was the longest running Ghanaian movie in Nigeria. It did great. It won best movie of the year last year in Ghana so I believe house of gold will do the same.
Does it have anything to do with why you are bringing House of Gold here?
Not really. I am always going to be producing and I know that my movies are always going to do well because I do good materials.
Where else are you taking the movie to?
It will be showing in Nigeria. It is already showing in Ghana. I don’t know how plans are right now but we might take it to the States. I am not really sure now but people are asking for it outside of Africa.
Recently, you have been linked with a couple of controversies…
I don’t live in Nigeria so I might not know what they say about me. As journalists and media people, we just have to know that people use certain headlines to attract readers or to drive traffic to their websites.
What actually happened between you and Iyanya?
I guess it is out there. I granted two interviews recently and I said everything in it so I don’t want to repeat myself. People have ways of writing their headlines which I cannot control. They can write anything they want to write and whatever I say can be misrepresented.
Is it right then to say you have moved on?
That was so last year. The reason I granted thus interviews is that I was just getting tired of lying to my fans and I wanted them to know the truth. Sometimes the fans deserve to know.
It is also said that you bleach your skin. How true is that?
Do I look like I bleach? I don’t want say anyone is dumb but people should know that there are so many filters that we use for our pictures. If you watch TV for example and I look a little dark and you see a picture of me where I look lighter, you should know that it was filtered. This thing has gone on for so long. My mum is lighter than myself. Everybody in my family is light. I don’t even know these people, I don’t know why they say the things they say because most of them have not even met me and they claim that I bleach.
Do you feel disturbed when you hear most of these things?
I don’t. Some people will remain like that. They believe whatever they read so it is good for them to sit back in their houses and believe everything they see online. You can’t go into everybody’s home and tell them you don’t bleach. At the end of the day, I am very happy with myself. I appreciate God and I don’t intend changing my colour.
Are you in any relationship now?
Not that fast. I am a secondary virgin. That means you are not a virgin but you have decided to abstain. After a long time, you become a virgin again.
Are you seeing that through till you say ‘I Do’?
I don’t know but there are a couple of people that I hang out with once in a while. They are special people in my life but I am not in any relationship. I just want to take my time. It is not something that I am looking for. I am not looking for any guy or something like that. I believe that when it is right, he will come.
The general tendency is for ladies to worry about the biological clock. Aren’t you bothered about that?
I am still young though at the end of the day, it is something that I think about. I don’t want to rush it but if it comes my way, fair enough.
Would you date an entertainer?
Is it because of the Iyanya experience?
I guess everybody knows that. It was quite a shocking experience.
At some point, Tonto Dike engaged you in a Twitter spat. Have you seen or spoken with her?
Like I said in another interview, I don’t like bringing a third person into my affair. I don’t want to even mention names but it is all good. That actress did whatever she had to do and I know that the tweets were meant for me. Fair enough. I hope she is happy with whatever she has told me to do. She told me to move on, feelings change and all that. I guess she is also happy. I wish her luck.
At some point, Iyanya said you can say whatever you like…
We are all into this business. Everybody is trying to protect their fan bases. Most of his fan base is women; most of my fan base are men. I would want to not really bring out who I am dating because my male fans are going to be angry. He was also trying to protect his angle; he can’t run away from it. I decided to talk about it because like I said, I did not want to keep my fans in the dark. Nobody can stop me from doing that.
Would you turn down a job because Tonto is on the same set?
I don’t have any problem with anyone. As a professional, if I get a phone call from a producer and I like the script and I like who is directing it, why won’t I take it? It should not be a problem at all. I am not fighting with anyone. We are not friends but all the same, I know that her tweets were meant for me and it’s ok. There is nothing wrong with that. We all have our lives and how we were brought up. I didn’t have to reply anything.
What was the healing process like?
I passed through it just like every other person. Everybody goes through heartbreak. It is a natural thing. I have my work and stuff to do. I can’t just sit at home and cry. I had movies to shoot, projects to do, traveling and stuff like that.
What were your fondest moments with Iyanya?
He is a great guy with great talents. He is like the best singer ever and he gives me goose bumps anytime he sings.
Did you ever think the relationship would have ended in marriage?
I don’t know where it was leading to. I am sure in a relationship, everybody give their best and we all gave it our best I guess.
What was the real problem?
The real problem is what I spoke about in an earlier interview. I don’t want to keep repeating it, that is why I keep referring to them. I don’t want it to look like everywhere I go, I talk about it. I don’t want to talk about it again. People already know the story
They also say that you have interest in Nigerian men. Is that true?
Really? I don’t.
If a Nigerian proposes to you, would you accept?
Why not? If I like the person, I would accept.
Have you ever gotten any proposal from a Nigerian?
Let’s keep that on the low. It has nothing to do with Ghanaian men. Wherever your heart takes you, you go. You don’t decide, you don’t choose. It just happens. You don’t plan these things.
If you had a question for yourself, what would it be?
I would say things people don’t know about me. Back in Ghana, you will never see me hanging out with any guy because I am always indoors, I am not a night person. The reason people get to hear so many things about me is that when I come here, they see me with my colleagues and they start writing stories. That has been my problem in Nigeria. I cannot really continue like that because I don’t live here. If everybody they see me with will be an issue then there is an issue.
What is happening with your Glaucoma Foundation?
It is on the low now because of lack of funds. I do everything myself, from my own pocket. It is challenging. I have people I buy drugs for and it has been tough doing all of that alone. We are planning to do essay competition soon.
Have you tried seeking funds from other sources?
Most of the stuff, I do it myself and my Manager and because I am always not around, it is difficult to do all these things. It has been challenging.
What is your one wish in life?
I desire to go to heaven. I don’t care if I have to die today to make heaven.
How are you working towards that?
I pray and I am okay. We are all sinners, I know what I do. I read my bible.
Are you a born-again Christian?
Of course I am born-again. Can you see somebody and just decide they are not born-again? I come from a very religious background. My mum is like an elder in my church. The funny thing is that people just see you and they judge you. Appearance is very deceptive. I don’t judge people.
Who is your ideal man?
I don’t really have a perfect, ideal man in my head. It’s just something that you feel. When you like or love somebody. You just feel it. You don’t really mind whether they have money, whether they are broke or not. That is just me. As an individual, I work hard. I don’t have to wait for any man to buy me what I need. Love should be unconditional. That is what I believe in.
Would you be comfortable being the bread winner in your home?
Not really. He should be hardworking. He doesn’t have to own the whole world, he should just be hardworking.
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