Amanda Ebeye, a graduate of International Studies and Diplomacy from the Benson Idahosa University, Benin, Edo State, is one of the fast-rising Nollywood stars. In this interview with DUPE AYINLA-OLASUNKANMI, she talks about the real reason she quit the popular TV soap, Clinic Matters, among other interesting issues.
I have seen your face on the covers of many movie posters in recent time. What really is the secret?
I think it is a result of hard work and the God’s factor. Those are the two reasons it seems I’m everywhere.
What movie are you working on at the moment?
There are lots of bigger and better movies I’m working on. Some have already been released, while some others will be out any moment from now. For instance, Ladies Secret has just been released. But other ones like Ugly September, Market Babes, Devil’s Contract and Dangerous Silence will be released any moment from now. So, the year 2014 actually started well for me and I’m very grateful to God for that.
How has your journey into acting been in the past years?
I started acting in 2008. So far, it has been challenging. Though there have been hurdles, it is enjoyable. Nothing in life is easy. There will definitely be occasions when one may have a flat tire.
Was acting part of your childhood dreams?
The truth is that acting has always been in my mind. I have always wanted to act from my childhood. Though I studied International Diplomacy at the Benson Idahosa University, I have always had acting in mind. Maybe I studied International Diplomacy because of my parents. But immediately I graduated from the university, I decided to face what I was passionate about.
At what point did acting start paying your bills?
Funny enough, it was last year. Before then, I still needed my father to support me. Most times, it is not really as rosy as it looks. That is why you see some people doing lots of jobs, yet they can’t boast of anything.
Are you saying you have acted in movies without pay?
Initially, I was more into soap operas. It was around 2011 that I started doing more of movies. Though I was getting lots of money from the TV soaps, it still wasn’t enough. Sometime in 2011, I did about nine movies in Ghana, but I was paid for only five or four. But after that period, I started being paid for every movie and it’s been great since then.
People keep associating you with Clinic Matters. Would you say it is your biggest job Clinic Matters is one of the most professional jobs I have done. Why Clinic Matters appears to be so big is because the producers got it right from the beginning. Jobs are not just about the cast or the stars in the story, but it is more about the story, the director and the people you are using to depict the story as well as your location. A lot of producers depend so much on the actors, but it is wrong. I have done so many great jobs, but the producers or directors got one or two things wrong in some of them.
How did you get into Clinic Matters?
I started in 2009. I was the first ‘Nurse Abigail’ ever in Clinic Matters. I left at a point and someone replaced me.
Why did you really leave Clinic Matters?
Let’s say it was on financial grounds. The money wasn’t great at that time. But I don’t know of now.
Do you intend to return to Clinic Matters?
No. I have been approached to go back, but I have chosen not to. I love the production and feel it’s the best sitcom on TV. It has a storyline that I admire a lot. The director is also one of the best I have worked with.
Do you still have unrealised dreams?
I want to get bigger. I want to get to a point, where I can impact on people, especially the up and coming actors. I would like to start a forum, where I will empower and encourage the younger ones in the industry, telling them that they don’t have to sell their bodies before making it. We need to clean up the industry because it is filled with lots of people that are not supposed to be there. Again, I want to go to the Toronto Film School soon to broaden myself in my chosen career. I watch lots of movies so as to learn, but I still feel the need to go there and study more.
Are you implying that you didn’t sleep your way to the top?
I can say that over and over again. I did not sell my body. Anybody who says I did that should come out and say it. It’s a wrong mentality that actresses sell their bodies for fame. I know so many people who didn’t do that. We still have decent actors-the industry is not a dumping ground for prostitutes.
Are there roles you won’t accept?
I can play all roles. But recently, I’ve started rejecting some kind of sexual roles because I think I’m growing older and need to start thinking of what I’m impacting on the viewers, especially the children.
But you were once quoted to have said that you can play a nude role for N7.5 billion naira?
I was asked if I could act nude and I said no. The interviewer then said: “What if you are being paid 50 million dollars?” and I said yes. But who is going to pay such money for any actress to go nude? Nobody can do that. It’s impossible. That statement means I cannot! The truth is that Nigerians are very hypocritical. It was just a joke and lots of people took it very serious.
But what is wrong in going nude?
There is nothing wrong in going nude to depict a character, but it’s against our culture. I can’t go nude because my culture does not permit that. But if I were a Hollywood actress, maybe I could do that because the culture does not frown on it. I respect actors that do it, so I don’t criticize them.
Why is Amanda still single?
I’m not ready for marriage at the moment.
But is there any man in your life?
I don’t know if the man is there or not.
But are you currently in any serious date?
No, and I’m not searching. When it’s God’s time, my kind of man will surface.
What is your ideal man like?
My ideal man should be God-fearing; he must be a man that will protect and respect me and he must be a man that is highly knowledgeable because I like to learn-if you are dump, you can’t be my ideal man.
What is it about you that people don’t know?
Lots of people don’t know that I always love to have a bottle of coca-cola around me and watch movies whenever I’m not shooting. Lots of people don’t know I am not the ‘runs girl’ they watch on movies. I’m clearly the opposite of my movie characters. That is why my mum is my best friend. If I were a bad girl, I wouldn’t have my mum as my best friend. My dad is my friend too, maybe not as my mum.
Have you ever struggled with what to eat?
I don’t mean to offend some people, but the truth is that I have never had to struggle. I was lucky enough not to have (pauses)…Even when it wasn’t rosy for me, my parents were always providing. My mum made sure I had every single thing that I desired. I feel bad when I see people struggling before they can eat. I try to encourage them whenever I see them. I love to encourage young girls and I love telling them to hold on to God.
Out of the 10 commandments, which do you find difficult to keep?
I don’t want to say it. We all know the one that is very difficult to keep. I try so much in other areas, but that one is very difficult to keep (laughs). We know it.
Are you talking about fornication?
I don’t know.
What does love mean to you?
It’s a strong feeling for people that are supposed to be in love. I used the word ‘supposed’ because it seems people that hate each other are now even doing it together. As for me, if I don’t like you, I cannot be sexually attracted to you. Even if you drop one billion, if I don’t like you, I will not have sex with you.
Can you recall any experience that moved you to tears?
I think that was a long time ago. I have grown past it. I think I was 18 years old then. I was already in the university (pauses)…At 16, I was already in the university and I finished at 20. I didn’t do the national youth service, maybe because I was very unserious about it. I didn’t just want to serve.
Are you implying that your first boyfriend broke your heart?
He didn’t break my heart; he travelled out of the country and that was how the relationship ended. I just moved on when he travelled. He is married now. He is one of the best I have ever dated.
You sound like a saint most times. So, would you mind telling me some of your vices?
I have a very bad temper. I am stubborn, but I am trying to calm down. Life has taught me to be patient. I don’t smoke and I don’t take alcoholic drinks either.
What is your sexual orientation like?
I don’t have problems with homosexuals. I have lots of friends that are gays and lesbians. But I’m not a lesbian, so no one should even bring it to me. It irritates me. But you can be my friend. That is my take on it. Even if you want to follow your dog, that is cool-I hear human beings and dogs get married now. Do anything, but don’t bring it to me.
You don’t get attracted to fellow ladies?
How can I get attracted to a woman? It’s irritating to me. I see some ladies indirectly toasting me. You can be my friend; we can even talk about your partners, but don’t bring it to me.
What do you tell some of them when they approach you?
I tell them not to bring it close to me. Some say they were born like that. I know it’s not normal for a woman to be attracted to a woman.
What has been your selling point?
Nothing special! It’s just me; my whole being. I don’t have big boobs and I don’t have a big ass either. So, it is just me. The Nation