Pretty Ghanaian actress, Ella Mensah is doing what she knows how to do best and enjoying it. Though she has courted controversies in her three years of sojourn in the movie industry, she is set to join the league of movie producers as well as settling down. ENCOMIUM Weekly had an interview with her about her sojourn in Nollywood…
How has this year been career wise?
This year has been quite challenging because I decided to be selective. When I came to Nigeria, because I wanted to be known and noticed, I was just accepting every movie. There are some movies you will see yourself in and you will get angry. I was just accepting scripts. But this year, I have started doing cinema movies. I have not been working too much this year because I am selective. I am working on producing my own movie, I have been busy with that.
Three years down the lane, how will you describe your career?
So far so good, God has been good to me. I am grateful to Him. If someone had told me that I will be like this, I wouldn’t believe it. God has been gracious to me. It has been fantastic. I appreciate every good thing I have so far. I believe more are coming.
Why did you decide to come to Nigeria in the first place?
I never decided to come to Nigeria. I came from South Africa with my son, I was a journalist. I came with a friend of mine going for audition. When we got there, a producer approached me to take a role but I said no that I was a journalist, later I auditioned and got a role as a prostitute. It was then I realized that there was a difference between an actress and a journalist. I was really encouraged and I fell in love with acting. A couple of days after, another producer invited me for a shoot in Nigerian but I was afraid because of all the rumour we have heard. But my mom encouraged me, so I came. While we were on the set of that movie, another producer approached me that the girl they wanted did not turn up, that I should take her role. That was how I took that role as well. I didn’t plan to settle down in Nigeria.
When did you decide to venture into movie production when you can easily accept a script?
Fame has an expiry date. As a woman, this career has its pros and cons. It will get to a stage that one needs to settle down as a woman. You need to have time for the home front so that your marriage, husband and kids don’t suffer. That moment is about to come for me very soon. I am building an empire for myself now, I don’t want a situation where I will be pregnant and I will still have to be working. The process will take time, getting married, pregnancy, having a baby and nurturing the baby. One will be away for at least two years and new faces will spring up. One might have to start all over again.
I am going into production because I want to prepare myself for the next stage of my life. I will shoot a lot of movies so that when I am away with my family, my movies will be out there. I am also preparing to balance the two aspect so that one will not suffer for the other.
So, how soon are you starting your own production?
I am starting production next year (Ella Mensah Production). I have not fixed a date yet but everything is in place. I am travelling to Umuahia for a movie in a couple of days. I will also go to Ghana for a TV series I am co producing. The series is about girl power and how a lady can be working and still be married. We are trying to tell the world that it is possible. It is a collaboration of Ghana, South Africa and Nigeria.
What are the challenges as a Ghanaian in Nollywood?
The fact that I am here means a lot. I am losing fans back home. Some people who know me are wondering where I went. That is why I am doing the TV series. It will run for a long time so that my face can be registered in the consciousness of people in Ghana.
Also, some actresses are like” you left your country and came here to take our roles ” but the men have been good. They recommend me to producers. The language is another challenge, when I go to the East to shoot, everybody will be speaking their language. I am trying to blend gradually any way. When I was fresh here, people couldn’t hear me well because of my accent. I am even sounding more Nigerian now. I think those are the challenges so far.
Will you say you do more of Nollywood movies or Ghollywood movie?
Yes. For one and half years. Even now, people think that I am a Nigerian. I had to write on the social media that I am from Ghana but I am living in Nigeria. I should even marry a Nigerian and finalize everything.
You sounded as if you are ready to get married?
Yes, I am in a relationship. That is all I can say. I am crazy about my relationship.
How is your son doing?
He is fine. I have not seen him in 10 weeks. He knows mummy is out working but we talk every day. He is five. He lives in South Africa with his dad.
Why didn’t you marry him since you have a son for him?
I don’t believe in getting married because of a kid. I think time has changed. I was 19 when I met him and I became pregnant when I was 21. At that time, you don’t know what you want to do, after the kid, there was so much pressure and we realised that we were not compatible. We were not soul mates. My son loves his dad and he loves me too.
Any possibility of going back to him?
For now, I am in love with someone else and I am so crazy about my relationship. There is something about life, you cannot predict tomorrow.
Is your man an entertainer?
No, never. We cannot do the same thing. The pressure will be too much. The job is even too demanding. He is a business man and he is a Nigerian.
When you made your debut in Nollywood, a lot of people saw you taking controversial roles, are we still going to see Ella in that light?
It is funny. Some of the roles you play, people actually tag you with it. Some people saw me in Lekki Shoprite and said, see that lesbian. I don’t always take naughty roles all the time. Anyway, things have changed now. I am playing more challenging roles now. I have acted as a village girl, blind girl.
A lot of people tag you as controversial as well, who really is Ella?
They don’t know me in person and I don’t know them. They watch my movies and just tag me. Some journalists also twist things. Once my production is out, they will see a different Ella. Ella is just a regular girl. I love life, I love nature. I travel a lot. l like to have fun. I am a single mom and a working woman.
It seems Ella loves exposing her boobs, why?
I don’t expose my boobs, I wear whatever makes me comfortable and I don’t think I show too much.