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Women are Curvy where I Hail From’ – Movie star Lydia Forson.

Lydia Forson, a notable Ghanaian actress, is one of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) brand ambassadors for its forthcoming 10th anniversary. In an interview with MERCY MICHAEL at Emperor Palace, Johannesburg,South Africa, venue of the AMAA nominees’ party, she talks about her growing up and other interesting issues.

YOU are one of the brand ambassadors for the 10th anniversary of Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA); so, how challenging has it been?

Actually, I won’t use the word challenging; rather, I will say it has been overwhelming. In fact, it has been a great blessing because people I look up to are now suddenly looking up to me. It takes time to get used to that. I am really honoured to be in this position. For me, the Africa Movie Academy Awards embodies everything I believe in as an actor. There is need to project Africa to the world. It’s about time we started telling our stories. We always sit down and complain when other people tell our stories. We know that they don’t tell it the way we want, but can we blame them? So, the only way Africa can be heard is if we present a united front. Therefore, this, for me, is a calling, which I have already embarked on.

When you say it’s a calling you have already embarked on, does it mean you are going to continue in this capacity after the celebration?

Yes. I believe that as actors, we amass so much power, but we don’t tap into the power that we have. Yes, I love to make movies and make people laugh. But my calling as an actor is beyond making people laugh. It’s also about educating people. I don’t want to be called Lydia Forson, the Ghanaian actress. I want to be called Lydia Forson, the African actor. That is my journey and AMAA has just helped me a step further.

What would you say has been the highpoint since your appointment as an AMAA ambassador?

It might seem trivial to people, but I take pleasure in some little things. Most recently, I was invited to be part of the AMAA sponsors’ night and I just thought I came there to grace the event. But I was called to make a speech in front of the Governor of Bayelsa State. I’m used to be the one sitting down and people of such status talking to me. But I felt so honoured being asked to address the Managing Director of Skye Bank Plc and so many personalities at the event. I just hope that I made an impression. But whether I did or not, Iam going to make the most of it.

What door of opportunity has the appointment opened for you?

As I said, it’s been overwhelming. I like to be called an actor. I don’t think I’m a celebrity in anyway. I love to make movies; and, of course, it has opened doors for more scripts. I have a few ones I’m working on. A lot of people have been taking more notice of me, though not even in movies; they’ve been more interested in the speeches that I give and things that I say about African films. So, it has created a new followership, not just for my movies, but for my personality.

Talking about your speech-making, did you receive any grooming to be able to pull that off each time you are called to make a speech?

I don’t even know if I make good speeches. I just like to speak from my heart. That was the first thing that I learnt while I was growing up. If you are honest with yourself, you can be honest with others. But if you are not honest with yourself, then, probably you will need to make up things to say. But I’ve always maintained that, regardless of what people think of me, I’m going to speak my mind and hopefully my speech will inspire people or change the way they think. I didn’t undergo any kind of training. I listen to people and I’ve learnt from a lot of people. I’ve been trained by the world.

What has helped shape the person you are?

I will attribute it largely to good family values. I come from a very creative family. My father is a Reverend, while my mother was a house wife. In their little way, I saw beauty in everything they did. I had strong values. But I think right from the day I was born, my father said if you tell Lydia to sit down, she will ask you why and not where will I sit. My parents allowed me to have an opinion. But in having that opinion, they checked it. So, I respect people’s opinions. I may not agree with your opinion, but respect is the most fundamental thing. And so, when you respect people, I think it’s in everything that you do.

By virtue of your relationship with AMAA, will it affect the kind jobs you do?

If I was hitherto selective, I have to even be more selective now. This is because I don’t just represent Lydia Forson, but I represent Ghana, Nigeria and Africa as a whole. It has opened doors for more movie roles. But I’ve had to ask myself, would I be selfish and do what I wantor do I sacrifice myself for the calling?

Why do you like to wear your natural hair?

I find it funny when people say I’m an African woman because everybody is an Africa woman. My looks has never been inspired by the thinking that I want to be more African. It all boils down to being honest with myself. I can’t stand hair weaving. I’m not good at it and I had to make up my mind on what to do. Do I live up to the expectation people want me to live or I remain myself and do whatever makes me comfortable?

I must have had this hair since 2008. It was not something I created. I think it was just God. I had a salon problem. Everybody who knows me knows that I don’t wear weaves. Even when I had perm hair, it was just always my hair. I had a salon problem on my birthday and I went home, took scissors, cut my hair and that was it. I wish I could say I planned it, but it just happened.

Most plus-size actresses have challenges getting certain kinds of roles that are seen to be only for slim people. Could you share your experience with me?

I always try to be as realistic as possible when I’m answering this question because it’s so easy for me to say it’s not a problem. I want someone reading to know that she is not the only person going through these challenges. The truth is, I accepted my body years ago. But I have my days: there are days I look at myself and I’m not too happy and there are days I look at myself and feel like I’m so sexy. But the reality is, everybody, whether you are slim, short, tall, light or dark, you will have your days. But you have to accept yourself the way you are at that particular moment. If you can’t change it, rock it! Yes, the pressure sometimes makes you wanna lose weight. But I think my focus now is just being healthy. You don’t wanna be 30 and look 40. So, I’m not a strong advocate of lose weight and be a certain size. The truth is, everybody wishes that he or she was somebody else. No human being looks at himself or herself in the mirror and says, ‘I am perfect’. And that’s the message I like to put out there. People will look at me and say, ‘Oh! Lydia, you are so perfect. We love your body.’ No, I have my days. And there are days I’m like, you know what, I’m the best thing that ever happened to this world.

Is your size hereditary?

Yes, I’m a Fanti. I don’t think I’m a big girl. I think I’m just a buddilious girl. I just have a big butt and big boobs. Fanti women are just like that; they are very curvy. It is something that when I was six years old, I wanted it; but when I was in class six, I wanted it to go away. But you grow up and realize the truth that a man wants something he can hold on to. They may look at the skinny models. But they always know what they want in bed. It’s not x-rated, but I’m just saying they know what they want.

Which of your movie roles will you describe as most challenging in recent time?

Honestly, I’ve not got that movie yet. I love all the movies that I’ve been in, but I’m still looking for that thing. I love a movie that forces me to work hard. I love a huge challenge. So, I’m putting it out there. I’m looking for someone to challenge me by saying that, I’m going to give you this role, but I don’t think you can do it; and then, he or she goes ahead to give me the opportunity to prove to the people that I can.

What then is your dream role?

I like psychological movies and thrillers. I love movies that force the actor to become somebody else. When people watch the movie, I don’t want them to see Lydia Forson; I want them to see a character. That’s the kind of movie I want to do.

What role will you not play in a movie?

I never say never! So, I don’t know. Sometimes, you go and say something, but 10 years after, you are caught doing it. There are some situations I pray I’m never put into. But if it is for me to tell a story, why not?

Is acting what you have always wanted to do?

I’ve always been a story teller. My life is one big movie, but I never knew where to put it. Thank God someone created acting so that people like us can find somewhere to put ourselves.

What was your passion at age 15? I remember vividly that at 15, I wrote somewhere that I wanted to be rich and famous. That’s all. I didn’t know what I wanted to, but I knew I wanted to be rich.

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