Showtime Celebrity cornered her at a movie location in Festac Town, Lagos, last Friday, where she speaks on her alleged ban by the movie producers in Ghana, her relationships with Jim Iyke, her love life and anger with the press .
You were a model before going into acting. How has the journey been so far?
I wasn’t modeling. It just happened by chance. I actually took part in Miss Ghana beauty pageant in 2005. It has been fun and I love what I’m doing. I have a degree in Human Resources Management but I choose to concentrate on my acting career.
It’s something I love and people are appreciating what I’m doing presently. I’m making all my fans all over the world proud. I’m making my nation proud. I’m a very patriotic person and it is all about putting my country and Africa at large on top of the chart.
Did you set out in life to become an actress or did you enter the profession by accident?
When I was growing up, I was rather interested in music. I remember when I was in secondary school, I used to perform on stage. I was always into entertainment. I wouldn’t say acting was just by the way. It was meant to be and it happened. One thing is that they are all about entertainment.
You walk into the roles or they come your way?
I never attended any audition. One Ghanaian producer , Abdusalam Umuni, owner of Versus Films brought me into the industry. He saw me and developed interest in giving me a role in his new movie then. Even when I told him I was not an actress and I wouldn’t want to be one, he convinced me to pick up the role. That was how it all started. I never attended any audition, the roles came my way. It was meant to be.
Did you win the Miss Ghana beauty pageant?
I didn’t win the contest. But I won two other awards out of five awards I entered for. I was among the last five contestants during the contest. I’m sure if I had won the beauty contest, I wouldn’t have become an actress. So, it’s good that I didn’t win Miss Ghana Beauty pageant, and it’s because I didn’t win that I’m into acting today. Everything happens in life for a reason .
Recently, Ghanaian movie producers said they lifted the six -month ban slammed on you.
I was not aware of any ban. If something is made official or if somebody is officially banned, there should be a letter notifying that person of such ban. But nobody gave me any letter. I think this whole thing started as a rumour and later, it became bigger by the day.
While the alleged ban lasted, were you still working in Ghana ?
I branched out into business during that period. I opened my shop and I also started my hair line. I was travelling all over the world. My name was everywhere and people were calling me on phone from every part of the world concerning the ban. I didn’t even feel anything. I was very busy during that period. In fact , that was the busiest moment of my life.
They said you were rude to one of the producers that employed you?
Rude! I shot two movies for the producer in question, “Back to Back”. If I was rude to him , I wouldn’t have been on his set. Yes, a misunderstanding is bound to happen while on set. When a producer wants to take advantage of someone and people are not privileged to listen to my own side of the story, they will begin to draw conclusions that one is rude or arrogant. It’s sad.
I’m only ensuring that nobody takes advantage of me while on set. Ghanian artistes hardly voice out their feelings. Sometimes, they find it difficult to complain because they are afraid that the producers might get annoyed and decide not to give them roles again.
For me, if you do something that is wrong, I will not hesitate to tell you so. While on set, artistes usually complain just as producers also complain. I know that as the faces in front of the camera, the producers are duty-bound to care for us and respect our rights. We should be their number one priority.
So, all is well with you at the moment?
Nothing has been wrong with me. It’s unfortunate that people tend to believe everything they read in the dailies. Sometimes, they think that without acting, I cannot exist. No! Absolutely, no. I am about to do my Masters Degree now and I have set up businesses that can sustain me throughout the rest of my life.
If I don’t act for six months, it does not mean it is the end of my life. I am busy doing other things. And I’m very happy with my life. It’s very sad when people sympathise with me without actually knowing half of the story. I am a very strong woman and I don’t allow all these distractions to affect me in any way. In life, things happen and later, one moves on.
So you are being misrepresented in the media?
I will tell you something about the press in Ghana. I will say it here because I’m a very outspoken person. I’m sure it is also obtainable in Nigeria. What the press guys haven’t seen or heard , they will sit back and fabricate stories because they want to sell their papers.
For instance, the latest story in town is that ‘’Yvonne Nelson is pregnant for Sheyi Emmanuel Adebayor, a Togolese footballer who plays for Manchester City as a striker. Where are they getting these stories from? I met Adebayor only but once. Why would anybody come up with this kind of story?
That’s why you never hear that Yvonne Nelson is granting interviews to the press. Whether I grant them interviews or not, they would still go ahead and write things I never said. Back in Ghana, I grant interviews to only two journalists.
All I know is that in the movie I shot recently, I played a role of a pregnant woman. Later, I twitted the photography on Twitter, saying ‘I’m playing the role of a pregnant woman in my new movie…that was all”
Sometimes, you sit back and you are quiet. At other times, you read these stories and you would want to laugh. In fact, some of the stories are shocking and damaging. But no matter what anybody would say, at the end of the day, this is a job that puts food on my table. They will continue to talk about me.
Your parents’ reaction!
My family is supportive. My mum knows the kind of a daughter she has. I live with my parents under the same roof. And most times, when they read these stories, they cannot help but laugh.
And that you were dating Jim Iyke?
Jim Iyke and I shot a movie in Ghana titled “Back to Back.” A Nigerian artiste came to Ghana to work. I can’t watch him struggle to go to the car park to board a taxi, or ride in a producer’s car. What we do as artistes is that we try to help ourselves.
I’m here in Nigeria and I’m sitting in Bobby’s car, the same way I tried to be of assistance to Jim Iyke. He was constantly sitting in my car, as I was picking him up as well as taking him back to his hotel after the day’s production. And before I knew what was happening, rumours started flying that Jim Iyke and I were dating. I guess all these things are happening to me because I’m the only single lady among my colleagues. Jackie Appiah is married just as Majid is married. There is no other single lady to attack apart from myself.
You are always keeping to yourself.
I never had a party in my life. I don’t smoke and I don’t drink either. If I’m not shooting, I’m always at home. I live a very simple life.
Do your actions on screen betray your true nature?
Well, I know how to play my roles very well. That’s what I can say.
People believe an artiste lives at least 25 percent of his or her real character in a role he or she plays in a movie?
I don’t agree with you. Does it mean that if one plays the role of a mad woman, there is the tendency that the person possesses some traits of madness in him or her. I know a couple of actors who play the role of pastors and yet they smoke and drink a lot. People should learn how to differentiate what we do on set and our real lives.
Your role in “Heart of Men”, a Ghanaian soft-porn movie discouraged some of your fans who wondered how much you were paid to expose some vital parts of your body in that movie?
Really! They were not happy with me? But that was one of my best films so far. I never exposed any part of my body. Why do you get it twisted? It was Jackie Appiah and Majid who exposed themselves. I only kissed. Jackie exposed her áss’ and nobody said anything as well as Majid did.
I remember kissing with Majid and John Dumelo. The only thing I did which I know people would raise eyebrow was the poster where I exposed part of my body, not in the movie. My pose in the poster was new to the Ghanaian and Nigerian markets.
Do you feel bad each time you kiss on set?
Why will I feel bad? If I feel bad, it means I’m not real on screen. It is not like deep kissing, as lovers do, because people are around us there.
Are you comfortable with the way the soft-porn movies are thriving in Ghana today?
I’m not in a position to defend what the producers are doing presently because most of them I guess want to sell their movies.
About three months ago, you played the role of Chief Bridesmaid to actress Mercy Johnson. Your fans are wondering when the wedding bell will ring for you?
Very soon. Just keep your fingers crossed, you will be informed.
Were you surprised when Mercy asked you to be her Chief Bridesmaid?
Yes, I was surprised but I was not surprised. At first, I thought she was playing a prank on me. It was when she insisted that I realised she meant it. I was very excited and happy for her. I came to support a friend .
Most times, you are in Nigeria. Are scripts not coming your way again in Ghana?
I shot about four movies in Ghana before embarking on this trip to Nigeria. Those who think I’m always in Nigeria don’t know anything about my movement. I’m hardly in Nigeria. And each time, I’m here, I’m always in a hurry to return to Ghana.
The way you talked about your Nigerian fans leaves room for suspicion. If given an opportunity, would you marry a Nigerian?
Yes, I love Nigerian men. Nigerian men are nice people. There are no two ways about it. I appreciate them and they are like brothers to us. When Nigerian men like you, they will walk up to you to tell you so. Sometimes, when I’m in Nigeria, I hardly remember that I’m not in Ghana except when there is power failure. That’s when it dawns me that I’m in Nigeria. The country is like home to me. The men appreciate what I’m doing presently on screen.
Is that an open invitation to the Nigerian men?
Yes, I love them and they love me too.
How would you describe the kind of relationship that exists between you, Jackie Appiah and Nadia Buari?
God created three of us differently. What Jackie has, Nadia doesn’t possess, and what Nadia possesses, Yvonne Nelson has not, and what I’m endowed with, they lack. I’m not competing with anybody in the industry.
If a producer has a role he wants Yvonne Nelson to play in his production, he cannot give that role out to another actress, except Yvonne Nelson. Just as a producer in Nigeria has Genevieve in mind when he is casting a role, nobody can take it away from her. I don’t know why there are lots of fighting, back-biting, hatred and beefing in the industry. They are my friends any way……
Did you experience a rosy childhood?
I grew up like every other average Ghanaian girl. I attended one of the best secondary schools in Ghana. I read Human Resource Management at the Central University College in Ghana. I grew up in a family of three children, I happen to be the last child.
What is it that your fans don’t know about you?
I’m a very funny and down-to-earth person. But at the same time, I’m a shy person too. People judge me from a distance because of the job I do. They should get close to understand who I am.
How often have you acted nude on set?
I wish I could do it, but I can’t. I have had a lot of offers to act nude but I rejected them. I love what I’m doing. I can’t see myself doing that for any price.
Do you have a love life?
I hardly talk about that part of my life. But I’m okay and happy with whoever, and whatever I’m doing presently with my life.
I mean, do you find time to love at all?
Of course, I fall in love because I’m human. I believe that no matter how hard or soft one tries to be, there is always a time, when he or she falls in love. People always fall in love and I’m no exception.
But I’m sure you have never suffered any heart break
When I started dating, I experienced a heart break. That was the first real relationship I ever had in my life.
…And you were hurt terribly!
Not really. It was a learning process for me.
You gave back to society last year when you set up a Foundation back in your country. Why the focus on school children?
I set up a Foundation called Yvonne Nelson Glaucoma Foundation, which was launched October 2010. Glaucoma has to do with the eyes and it’s a silent killer disease. My grandmother died of the disease. I decided to set up the Foundation to help create awareness about the deadly disease. I’m working with a team of experts in Ghana. That’s the only way I can give back to the society.