Home Entertainment STELLA DAMASUS: Playing prostitute my most challenging role

STELLA DAMASUS: Playing prostitute my most challenging role


AWARD-WINNING actress, Stella Damasus will forever be a fan’s favourite. The thespian, who is based in the United States of America, recently visited Nigeria. In this interview with SAMPSON UNAMKA, she reveals the reason for her brief visit home, journey into filmmaking, acting career, controversies around her, most challenging role among other things.

YOU haven’t been in Nigeria for a while, any reason for your visit?

Okay, my mom passed away in December, I came to bury her. We buried her on the 3rd and 4th of February. We buried her in Asaba, so when I was done with the burial, I came back to Lagos and I was supposed to have gone on 15th but I decided to extend my flight because I had people I wanted to see and you know to meet my old friends and colleagues again, you know, talk to my management company that I just signed with and trying to line up work for myself as well because I’m coming back in May 2022. So, I’ll stay longer to do some work and meet some more people, trying to come back as often as I can, you know, so that’s basically why I’m here.

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It’s not been easy. I’m not going to lie because we face a lot of discrimination abroad. People might not want to be honest about it but I’m going to tell you the truth, it’s not easy especially as a Nigerian. I don’t look like the kind of African they expect, they expect black, they expect you to have a certain type of accent you know, so If you’re not black you don’t have that accent, I’m also not white neither do I look like I’m mixed race. I don’t sound American, nothing, so it’s hard and they keep telling you oh they’re not writing enough stories for people like us but we have a lot of Nigerians abroad who are filmmakers and we make good films only that we still don’t have the right platform for the films we are making in America to go to where everybody can see it like Netflix, Amazon and the rest because we don’t have an aggregator, we don’t have a middle man because when people make films here they take their films to an aggregator, who now submits to Netflix. But we don’t have that so when Africans make films abroad, they have to come back to Africa to find an aggregator before their films can get on those platforms. So, what people have been doing in America is just show it in the local cinemas there and people don’t get to see it, so they don’t make as much money as they should, so it’s the struggle but we’re not giving up, we are still trying our best to at least build an industry there where we can do collaborations with our people here as well so we are working on that but some of us still insist that home is where it is no matter where you are, you will still come home and serve the industry that you grow up in.

Aside being an actress and producer, are you into film directing?

I haven’t directed a movie yet, but I’ve directed some music videos, commercials and campaigns. That’s what my company does. Adiva networks is my company. My daughter is my staff member, she went to film school, so she and Rumeh do a lot of filming and editing and all of that so we have a media company and that’s what we do. I’ve directed small projects but when I come back in May 2022, I’m going to do my project as well even though I’m acting for other people so that one I would direct it possibly direct with someone more experienced, I don’t like to jump into things before I’m properly ready. So, I’ve been producing but this time I would work with a seasoned director to help me.

You seem not to be ageing, what’s the secret?

I try, I spend a lot on trying to eat the right things (and the exercise?). I don’t like the gym, so I dance, I dance in my bathroom and any opportunity I get, I dance, I walk but most importantly the food because no matter how much you exercise, what you’re putting inside your body. If it is not good, it won’t work. That’s it, just trying to keep fit.

The movie industry is seen as a glamorous industry. How would you describe the other side of fame?

Fame comes with a huge price, when we got into it, it wasn’t about the fame or the money we just loved it, it was about passion. How much were they paying us? But it became glamorised and people were like I want to act, even those that don’t have the real talent, everybody want to be a star. Being a star is different from being a talented artist, fame comes with a price, your life is no longer yours, anything you do, anywhere you go, anyone you talk to, everybody’s eyes are on you and then some people want to sensationalise anything around you to make the news because good gist doesn’t spread, so they know that if they say scandal or this or that so if you want to get into it, you have to be sure that you can handle it. You can deal with it because it affects a lot of people mentally, all of us so it takes experience and being strong and you know having gone through so much to say okay I can deal with it, I can handle it, because when young people come out and say I want to act, I want to be a star, that’s one side of it but on the flip side, can you deal with what comes with everybody knowing who you are that everywhere you go you have to behave in a certain way look over your shoulders and be perfect all the time if not, it is not easy either ways.

What would you say are the qualities that make one a good actor?

Talent. You need to have the talent, you need to have patience, you have to be a friendly person because the relationship is what gives you that status that you want, talent is not enough, it is one of the things but being a good person, being a positive minded person that people would like is the one to take you there because everything in entertainment is connections and without it, you can’t do anything and then you have to be disciplined if your call time is 8 am, I would even say be there ten minutes before 8. If there’s something to do, if you say I’ll be with you for eight days, be with them for eight days, do your bit and then be disciplined it’s very important.

What would you say about controversies over the years as a frontline film star?

I’m the madam of controversy.

The last time you went viral, you said you were raped and people mistake your surname, Damasus for Damascus, what necessitated that?

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