Tall, pretty and well endowed cross over actress, Emmanuella Gift Mensah, aka Ella Mensah, has her roots firmly planted in Ghollywood and Nollywood. A graduate of Journalism and Media Studies and a mother of a baby boy, she got into acting by chance and has bagged about five awards so far. In this chat with YES INTERNATIONAL! Magazine, she opened up on her career and how she has been able to withstand the challenges that come with the profession…
I am so proud of myself and very happy, because I have won 5 awards in my 2 years in the movie industry.
When did you venture into acting?
Nollywood is always a dream for all African actors because it’s the biggest movie industry in Africa. It happened by chance and I really appreciate it. I am thankful.
Before acting, what were you doing?
I started out as a journalist. I went to TransAfrican College to study Journalism, after which I went for my attachment at a television station called Metro TV in Ghana. So, one day, after my attachment, I was home, when a friend of mine called me and said she was around my neighborhood, and about going for a movie audition. She asked if I was Interested and I said why not, since I was free. So, we went together. After the audition, I was given a role to play as a prostitute in the movie titled From Crime To Crime. After that, they called me for another one titled Playboy, where I played the role of a secretary alongside Majid Michael and Nadia Buari. From there, I went ahead to feature in movies like Excellency, Beauty Queen, Shakira, with Mercy Johnson. That was in 2008. I was in the industry for 6 months, but when there was nothing serious happening in Ghollywood , I left. Along the line, my ex boyfriend, now my baby daddy, a Ghanaian golfer by name Lucky Kwame, suggested that we travel to South Africa. We were supposed to be there for 1 month, but we ended up staying for a year and six months. While in SA, I got pregnant and had my baby. But when I came back to Ghana, I couldn’t continue with the journalism thing. In fact, being a journalist was my father’s idea. He wanted me to be a newscaster. But for me, I love being in front of the camera. So, after the baby, I tried my hands in one or two businesses, but it was not clicking. Along the line, I met this movie producer who wanted to do a movie, but didn’t have a car for a particular scene, so he asked for my car and I gave him the car to shoot. He later gave me like 8 scenes in the movie and we became friends. After a while, he called me and said, ‘Ella, you were good to me while I was in Ghana, I have a movie I’m doing in Nigeria, do you mind coming over to Nigeria?’ So, I came to Nigeria and after the movie, others followed. People kept on calling me for roles. Ever since then, I have been shuttling between Nigeria and Ghana in the last one year and so far, I have featured in about 50 movies and about 35 of them are already in the market.
What is your unique selling point?
Obviously, my face, breasts, ass, height and lips.
How do you handle your male admirers?
The attention I get from them is mad and crazy, but I’m managing them well.
What are the challenges that come with acting?
I am happy where I am. So far, so good. I thank God. I don’t really see anything as challenging because I believe if you want something, you have to work hard for it; you go for it.
The worst story was when I heard I was dating Ramsey Noah on the internet. It was ridiculous, because I’ve never worked with him before. I was shocked when I saw the story.
Why do entertainers prefer to live as baby mamas or simply put, single mothers?
Because it’s stress free. It’s hard for entertainers to get men in Africa who understand the nature of our jobs. It’s difficult.
Which role shot you to limelight?
The role that shot me to limelight was my first ever movie in Ghana, titled Playboy. I was a secretary to Majid and Nadia. A lot of people noticed me afterward in banks and churches as well.
Can you act nude for money? And for how much?
I will never go nude in my life and no amount of money will make me do that.
Has fame changed anything about you?
Fame has not changed anything about me, but it brings me more enemies. I’m still the same Ella from the next door.
How rewarding is acting?
Well, it has been okay. I am so grateful to God. I didn’t see it coming. I’m at the peak of my career and any moment from now, very soon, I’m going to blow. Nigerians should watch out for me. I am so grateful to God. It’s not easy to be in the limelight. Nollywood has grown so big and a whole lot of people want to act and it has made it so challenging to be out there. I am so blessed and I thank God for his mercies. I’m not there yet, but I’m going to be there soon by God’s grace.
What is your definition of fashion?
Fashion to me is a lifestyle. It’s an attitude. It is a feeling. Fashion is how I define myself. I opened a fashion house because it’s always been my dream, especially the African fashion and I’m strictly into contemporary native wears for men. I’m funky. My fashion determines my mood.
Who are your role models in the industry?
Don’t have any role models, but I admire some great people.
How do you see Ella in 5 years’ time?
I see Ella bigger, better and becoming a big brand in 5 years from now. I intend to leave the stage after I have been established, to pave way for the new actors. The same way Genevieve Nnaji and others have done. But I will still love to work behind the camera.
What is plan for 2015?
2015 is going to be a very great year for me. I am opening my own movie house and I will be producing my first ever movie.
NB: First published March 2015