Ada Ameh: Story of an inimitable actress
She is a constant visitor in nearly every home. If the actress and later-day series producer, Ada Ameh, does not reach you in a film, you are sure to feast on her gifted talent on television, particularly on the now very popular family drama series on African Magic, The Johnsons, where she plays Emuakpo Johnson, the semi-illiterate wife of the screen character, Lucky Johnsons. Simple, down to earth and approachable, Ada is without doubt a recognisable face in Nollywood. From a significant role that she played in Zeb Ejiro’s 1996 movie Domitilla, her very first as an actor, the plumy Ada, whose acting light has continued to shine brightly, has emerged something of a key player in Nollywood. Ada, who doubles as a producer and who does buying and selling at the sides, the friendly, humble and amiable actress, who was born and raised in Lagos, qualifies to be listed among actresses that are good at what they are doing. In this encounter, Ada tells the story of her incursion into acting, which as she revealed, was largely influenced by the movie Sheik, Zebulum Ejiro.
I am Idoma From Benue State
I am from Benue State. I am an Idoma girl. My dad is from Benue and my mum is from Akwa Ibom. But I was born and raised in Lagos at the Naval Barracks on Malu (Mobil) road in Ajegunle.
I recall that as children, we used to gather ourselves after school and engage in all those plays we categorise as mama and papa play, where someone will be asked to play the dad and I will play the mum and so on.
However, what I really loved was music. I though I was going to end up a musician and I also thought I would end up as a medical doctor, because I loved taking care of people.
But somehow, I ran into Uncle Zeb Ejiro 20 years ago in Ajegunle. I told him I needed a job, because I was already a single mother. I had a child when I was a teenager. So, he later cast me to feature in the wave-making film, Domitila, starring Ann Njamenze and Kate Henshaw. That was how I started.Passion For The Job Well, aside movies, I still do supplies and some buying and selling. I am very good with my hands.
But no matter what I am engaged in, once I get a call for a movie, I abandon it and head to location. I recently produced one television series, but it is not out yet. So, I am in entertainment more than any other thing. I will never let it go, because it gives me joy. It is not just about the money I am paid, but the satisfaction I get standing in front of the camera.
I have fans all over, but my parents are my number one fans. They have been particularly very supportive.
I come from a home where they support you all the way. The most important question they ask is whether you are sure of what you are doing and whether you really like what you are doing.
I have a sister, Ajuma, who is an ex-international footballer. She is now a coach. She played football all her life, because that is what she wanted to do, and we supported her.
So, it is whatever you like to do.
It is not easy to even start a career in acting or filmmaking, talk more of staying at the top. Staying at the top takes the grace of God.
It also has a lot to do with hardwork and being at the right place at the right time. We have our ups and downs and we have moments when things will generally look dull. It has not been easy, but I have been able to pull through all these years only by the grace of God. The road here was rough. What has helped is the passion for the job and the orientation I was brought up with, which is to love, be truthful and be content.
I also believe that success is about encouraging others and influencing other people and bringing that change. I mean, if Uncle Zeb didn’t give me an opportunity, I may probably not be in the movie industry today.
Movies In My Pouch
I have lost count of the number of movies I have done, but I have done quite a lot. There is no year in the last 20 years that I don’t get to work.
But I consider Domitila as one of my most memorable. The story of my sojourn in Nollywood will not be complete without a mention of that movie. That was the movie that launched me.
I later shot a movie with Mildred Okwo about midwives. She is a very strong director. Then, there is Kunle Afolayan’s Phone Swap, which earned me an award.
I like my role in Civil War and in 30 Days in Atlanta. And of course, The Johnsons, which has made all of us in it household names.I must thank my first director, Solomon Mac Auley, who became like a lecturer on set. He broke down my role for me and took me through some techniques that I did not know before I came on the set. He made things easy for me as an actress.
For me, The Johnsons is not just a job, but also a child, because I am constantly thinking of how best to make the child better. Charles Inojie, who plays my husband in the drama, is the current director and he is also a great guy.
Charles is one of the most free-spirited human being I know. We have created a bond. We spend time rehearsing, so we can flow easily. We are a family on The Johnsons.
Likes And Dislikes
I love people who are sincere. I don’t think it is a good thing to cheat and backstab. I just believe that we should just love ourselves, because if we do, the world will be a better place to live in. I love cooking for people and seeing them eat my food. It makes me feel good.For food, I like rice and stew a lot. I like perfumes, good shoes and bags.
And as for Mr. Right, of course, he should be God-fearing and a man that would love me for who I am. He must not have all the monies in the world, but he must not think that he is coming to deal with a fool, because me, I be Ajegunle babe oo.
If he thinks I have money and he wants to come and eat, him go fail.
Being An Actress
Absolutely no regret. I am happy here. This is where I belong; this is where God wants me to be.
It has been beautiful so far. I never knew I would get this far 20 years back. And to be candid, this has taken me before great men and women.
I have also travelled outside this country to work. The job has made me popular and has announced me. So, I will be ungrateful if I say it is not rewarding. I only ask for God’s continued grace, because there is a lot I want to do. I want to go into production. I also want to direct.
My other ambition is to establish a facility where I can mentor teenage girls.
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