Sunday, 17 March 2013

Yes, I’m single with a baby out of wedlock, but not searching – Grace Ama

Grace Ama is a Nollywood screen diva who’s still making waves in the make-believe world. She left acting for a while to have her son. Now she is back. Ama, who received a degree in Creative Arts from the University of Lagos, tells Adaeze Amos why some ladies choose to have children out of wedlock and how motherhood feels like as a single parent
Many people know you as Grace Ama, the actress, but in your own words, who really is Grace Ama?
Grace Ama is one of the four children of Chief Ogbonnaya Azu Ama, and a Nollywood actress. If my fans admire what I do and appreciate me with good sense of humour and commentary, I appreciate them too and it is an encouragement to continue to do more in the industry.
Where do you hail from?
I hail from Ebunwana Edda in Afikpo South Local Government Area of Ebonyi State but we were all born and brought up in Lagos. Though, a proud daughter of Ebonyi State, we could as well regard ourselves as Lagosians.
What did you study in the university?
I studied Creative Arts in the University of Lagos.
Why did you opt for acting and not billboard modelling since you have got the face?
Remember that acting is not in many cases studied in the school. Even where it is studied, you must have it as your calling or vocation to be able to perform. I started acting, not necessarily as a career, but as a calling. From nursery school, my teacher had noticed the attitude in me and even had to write to my parents informing them that I had great potential in entertaining people and that I should be allowed to develop the skill in that respect. My parents never understood the letter until many years later. To simply answer your question, my acting is a vocation, a calling, a gift from God and I enjoy doing it. Most of the models you see on billboards are also actresses. There is nothing wrong with that. I have been on the faces of some products before and will not reject such offer if it comes my way.
You are now a mother, how does motherhood feel like?
Motherhood is sweet. It is the aspiration of every woman to have a baby and to grow such a baby for the service of the family and the larger society. My son is my bundle of joy and I’m happy he came at the time he came.
Some women see motherhood as a huge task and very challenging; do you share same opinion?
There is nothing that is easy to do. Even eating food is challenging. If you do not take your time, food might choke you when you are eating. You go to school, you struggle to read and pass your examinations. If you are into business, you think daily on how to make it grow and how to make profit. In the same way, motherhood is challenging to the extent that you now have to sleep less than you did before. You now have to pay attention to a child who needs your company and help at all times. You have to combine that work with fending for the family and taking care of their needs also. But the joy is immeasurable, especially when your child does not take ill and you are always there together and he/she grows in your presence.
During delivery, your baby slipped off you, did you feel a surge of love or a feeling that the burden is off you?
The moment you have a child who stays with you all the time and with whom you share joy, play together and suddenly you have to travel to a location and other purposes, you’d find that you would be like a fish out of water. For the first few days, you will never get yourself together until you hear from the child or from those taking care of him or her. Children are reasons for being on this journey of life. They are the greatest gifts of God to mankind. Little wonder the Bible says ‘go and multiply’.
Some ladies prefer to be married first before having a baby but you had yours out of wedlock, what do you say about this? Is it the fear of menopause that makes some ladies do so?
I’m not sure if any woman would just wake up and say to herself, I want to have a baby and immediately she gets a baby. We have had Virgin Mary only once in history. It is not always the case that a woman just feels like having children out of wedlock. Most times, women had men in their lives who they loved so much and who might have made promises of marriage to them. The women, due to their tender and loving hearts, will trust the men and give themselves to them. Not knowing that like Jesus recognised in the scripture, “This people honour me with their mouths but their hearts are far from me”. The women would only find out too late that the men were only preaching the doctrine of their own hearts and not love to the women. In some of such cases, the women may have relied on the promises and allowed themselves to become pregnant. Some may even visit your parents and do introduction or even married you and still reneged. I do not buy the idea of saying some women get children out of wedlock to avoid menopause. The situation you find any woman has a reason behind it.
What happened in your own case? Do you have any hope of settling down soon or are you occupied with other projects?
Nigeria does not practise same sex marriage of women, neither will any woman marry herself. There will be marriage when a responsible man shows up. There is a difference between being single and being single and searching. I have someone in my life who is responsible for my son. If tomorrow he tells me that he can no longer continue with me, then I will take a decision. For now, my focus is to build my career and move higher than I was, then train my son.
What are some of the works or movies you have featured in?
They are Broken Tears, Can’t let go, Atlanta, Fishers of men, Cinderella, to mention but a few.
Some of your colleagues have released their own movies; any hope of doing that soon?
One does not release movie because another person has released. What makes this our job interesting is the creative aspect. You must be creative and come up with something people will commend and buy, which will make meaning in the life of the people because the whole essence of this job is not only to entertain but also to teach and be a role model for the children growing up. It is not enough to say because I have someone who has cash to sponsor me, I would just create anything in the name of movie and then begin to invite people to gather in the name of movie premiere. We need to do more. I do not imitate people but I will do my things as God directs.
What thrills you about acting?
It is a source of knowledge and education to the youth. It makes you a public figure. You move around the streets and people recognise you as someone who takes up interesting roles and delivers them well. It makes me feel great knowing that people enjoy what I do.
When you started acting, your parents kicked against it. How do they feel about your acting career now that you are a star?
My parents are very religious people. I had a lot of challenges at the beginning. In fact, to convince them to allow me become an actress was a herculean task. But thank God they no longer stop me from acting or frown at any role I take. I respect myself knowing the kind of parents I have.
What was the scandalous story that made you shed tears?
One thing about Nollywood is that many people feel that you cannot be popular if you have not had scandals. I feel it is not true. Scandal is not part of the requirements in the industry. Some people come with a mindset that Nollywood is where they make money or where women easily meet men. When they come and they are not getting the money, the tendency is to begin to look for cheap ways of making it big. That way, scandals come in. I have never had to look for a cheap money or shortcut. So, I cannot remember a scandal that made me cry. As a public figure, it is understandable that the public, especially your fans, want to know what you are doing at each time of the day. By so doing, we do not really have privacy again. In this way, whatever the press sees around you will be reported, whether it is true or not. That may make someone feel bad but that is part of the crosses of the profession.
When you had a hear-tbreak, what did you do to wriggle out of the pains?
Heart-break? Well, I can remember one or two occasions when I had planned my life and someone with whom I planned it turned the other way. Of course, it was painful but then I took recourse to God. It is only God that can heal all wounds.
Would you want your son to be an actor?
God will give him what to do. It is too early to speculate.
Many have died in Nollywood between last year and this year. How does this make you feel?
It is very sad seeing our great talents passing away in the industry. What can we say than to trust God! I will only urge my colleagues to be more fervent in prayers. We should try to remove our hands from the things that do not give God glory. After all, if we have all the money, the cars, houses, great wealth and we pass away suddenly as in most of the cases without any preparation, how do we account to God on our mission on earth? Let’s be more prayerful.

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