For over a decade, delectable and multi-talented actress, Grace Amah has been as constant as a “Northern Star” in Nollywood. Since her first appearance on the screen in 1999, she has been dazzling fans, remaining very much in demand. After a brief break due to childbirth, she is back to thrill her numerous fans. In this interview, the Ebonyi-born thespian opens up on many issues affecting her, especially life as a single mother and her planned comeback into Nollywood.
Grace Amah about herself: My name is Grace Amah. I am Igbo. I hail from Ebonyi State. I’m from a family of four. I’m a Nollywood actress.
Your foray into the movie industry, how did it begin?
I did my first movie in August 1999. The movie was entitled 'Chain', produced by Louis Isikafor and directed by Lancelot Oodua Imasuen.
How did you feel the first time you appeared before the camera?
I must confess, it was fun and exciting. It was a dream come true for me. I was like, “God, I’m finally doing what I’ve wanted to do.”
Over the years, you have many films to your credit, which of them brought you to the limelight?
I would say the part I played in the popular soap-opera 'Superstory' with the title ‘One Bad Apple’ really pushed me to the top. But along the line, the home video 'Chain' made me prominent as well. But to be candid what actually shot me to limelight was Superstory. I guess because it was a series drama and also a network thing as well, where everybody at home watched and was very familiar with.
For some time now, you seem to be lying low in your acting career, what happened?
I don’t agree with that. I am not lying low. I’ve been on break after having my baby, but now I’m fully back into the industry now.
Is your child a boy or a girl?
He is a boy and doing great. He is a year plus now, almost two years, which is the normal time you give for a break after having a baby.
How do you intend to fit in? There are lots of young, hot and desperate new stars that are determined to take over Nollywood...
I’m not struggling with anybody. I am Grace Amah. My coming back into the industry by God’s grace will not be a problem, and I’m not going to find it difficult, because I know I’m going to come back. In fact, I have fully bounced back for good. And with time, everyone would surely see that Grace is back.
What makes you feel that you would still fit in at this time?
I can fit in anywhere. I still have my looks. I still have my portable self [laughs], so I am not scared. I don’t even think it is a challenge.
How do you intend to manage acting and motherhood, because both jobs are tasking?
It’s all about getting one’s priority right. I am not going to let one disturb the other. I’m going to do it and do it well, and it’s not by my power. I can’t say that it is easy. It’s not easy, but with God on my side, and everybody placed well, things work well for me.
At a time, you had to travel to other states to shoot, who do you hand over your child to?
My mom. She is in Lagos.
And she supports what you do?
Oh yes, everybody supports what I’m doing, and they’ve been there for me. My parents, siblings – in fact all my family members have been supportive.
How about your fiancé, is he not in Nigeria?
I’m not married yet, but he is not in the country, my fiancé is abroad.
How do you communicate with him?
We do communicate. We talk on phone steadily. So no cause for alarm.
And you think that’s not a barrier?
No, it’s not a barrier; it’s about understanding and working things out. His job is not here and my own job is here, so it’s just a matter of working it right and at the appointed time we would get everything done.
Since you came into the industry, what improvement has acting made in you as a person?
It has done a lot to me. Lots of things I wouldn’t personally have been able to do, but with the help of acting or with my fame I was able to achieve them. I still take due advantage of that easily. What an ordinary person or persons would find difficult to get, when it is my turn, I am favoured. In fact, I don’t have any regret for it
It is glaring that acting has both good and bad sides, what has acting and fame cost you?
It has cost me my privacy. That’s all I can say. As an actress, you’d want to do some things, but because you are an actress, because you are famous, you can’t do them for fear of what people are going to say. However, I try as much as possible to be myself because at the end of the day, it’s about me first before any other person and I also put lots of efforts not to let my fans down.
What movie are you working on now, and when should we be expecting it?
You know, one good thing about movie-making is that you get started with a particular name, the title and at the end of the day it comes out with something else. Right now in the market I have 'The Fake Prophet' by Teco Benson, and I also have 'Break Away' and a couple of others that I don’t even know when they are coming out.
When do you plan to produce your own movie?
At the appointed time I’m going to produce my own movie. I will not produce a movie because everybody is doing it I’m going to do it at the appointed time.
Many movie stars are into music, do you intend to go into music at any time?
Music? No. I don’t think so.
You always look good and inviting, how do you handle your fans, especially the male ones?
Talking about my male fans, there is really nothing difficult about that. It is not a crime to admire the work of God. It is not a crime to admire what I do and especially when you do something and you are doing it so well and you get people to appreciate you, it’s really a thing of joy. So, when I work, I work with the mind of passing a message across and in return get favourable commendations from my fans out there. So I feel so happy about it, but when they come with otherwise intent, there’s always something I say in order to chase them away, I used to tell them that I’m a mother but you know some of them would always be stubborn, saying it doesn’t matter, that it’s not a new thing with them.
How do you handle scandals?
I am not a controversial person. I like living a low-key life. Like they say, a gold fish has no hiding place. As much as I have tried to live a low-key life, I cannot control other people’s conversation about me or whatever is written about me. But Grace Amah is a shy person and likes to live her life as a godly person.
How did your parents feel when they found out that you got pregnant out of wedlock?
Like every normal parent would feel. "Oh, she didn’t get married first!" But you would also want to agree with me that it is not everybody that has to get married before having a child. So it happened, I wouldn’t because I have to get married first terminate an innocent child, so what is better is to have the child.
When you first noticed you were pregnant, what was your first reaction?
I was like, "What would my parents say?!" But I’m not a child. I am an adult. So that answers it.
There was once a story of paternity controversy about your child?
I didn’t expereince such situation.
Are you saying there was never a time he denied his child?
Not at all. How would you deny a child that looks like you? Before he was born, there was nothing like that, you can only deny a child when you know the woman is promiscuous, or when the man is not a responsible person. Those are just the two reasons I know why a man would deny his child.