Leadership (Abuja)

10 February 2013

Nigeria: I Never Said I Was a Virgin At 25 - Annabella Zwyndila

interview

Annabella Zwyndilla is one of the upcoming actresses to watch out for in 2013. The ebony black thespian who was 5th in the AMBO Season III 2008 reality show was last year a victim of negative publicity. In this chat with SAMUEL ABULUDE, the Adamawa State-born actress states her side of the story and what she has been up to.

Can you introduce yourself?

I am Anabella Zwyndila from Adamawa State. I am cool and calculative. I am an actress and have been acting for a while now, Professionally I started acting a year ago. That was when I took up acting as a career.

How has it been since you started acting actively?

I discovered that I had the talent some years ago and I decided that I would make something out of it. It has been really productive because I can remember when I started, it was audition upon auditions and you will not be given roles. You go home sad. Those were the challenges. I had friends who also were actresses and they would speak of same experiences. Thank God that it is becoming better now and my works are beginning to speak for me. I'm having a head way.

Tell us about the movies you've featured in?

I was in a movie called Painful Sin though I didn't play the lead role. The reception was good. I have also starred in a movie called Beauty. Then 'Common Ground', a movie directed by Andy Nwaokolo. Other movies are Samantha and Young and Married. Though I have not done much but the few ones I have done are outstanding. Last year, I featured in a Wale Adenuga Production, drama series, Itohan which is airing right now.

I was one of the girls, Santwa involved in human trafficking. Santwa was an impatient and ambitious girl that wants things to be done her own way. She was naïve and kept asking questions over and over till the girls got to Europe. That was my first ever drama series. I enjoyed it because it is like acting on stage. But I could not finish the series because I was to travel to UK. I also acted in Common Ground, a movie sponsored by the Niger State.

I played the role of Anne, a Christian girl married to a Muslim man who had lived in peace despite the religious differences. The movie was about fostering relationships between the different religions and ask questions like why fight yourselves, issues on violence in the north and all that. The movie is yet to come out. I played the role of a sister-in-law to Ali Nuhu.

So what are you looking out for in 2013?

Ahh... (she laughs), this is my year, this is that year that I have to really bloom.

My career and other things I am involved in will blossom because I am doing some things underground and with the help of God.

I am really working towards this and people should watch out for me this year. I have three scripts on ground and one of them is a soap opera about to come on the screen. I'm not going to say more than that. Expect a more mature me. In the next few years, I would have made my name and produced a few movies doing unimaginable works.

As an actress, what stands you out?

As an actress we all have our unique qualities. A lot of people say being from Adamawa, Northern Nigeria, I have a good command of English. I am a diligent worker and love to keep to time. I take my job seriously. Apart from my personality, I have learnt how to interpret my roles perfectly.

Acting is make-believe they say, but we all have two per cent of our acting in us. If a character has to cry and be wild, you have to go and make a research, how a wild person behaves.

How challenging is it for you to fit into a role?

A lot of people say acting is challenging. I agree because in the course of adapting to a role, you have to take a person's character that you have not seen. You wear a character like a cloth. Why I see it less challenging is because I am passionate about acting and love the profession. So far, I am yet to see the challenging role. All I have done so far is love, love and betrayal.

You mean that you kiss on set?

(General laughter). I can recall when I had to shoot a particular movie, Samantha and I had to fake the kiss, one of the directors, Tari said, if you don't kiss then you are not taking part in my movie. The actor and me had to excuse ourselves briefly and ask, do you think you can kiss? I have a relationship and he too said he has a relationship. So we agreed that we could actually deceive the director that we were kissing passionately while we were not.

How do you intend to conquer Nollywood as a young actress?

It may not be easy now getting the big roles because the A-list actresses are still much around but really I'm passionate about acting and the sky is the limit for all of us. We all can make a name for ourselves.

Are you really a virgin at 25 as you said in a previous interview?

(Looking furious)That is really annoying because I never mentioned a thing like that and I don't know if you can just determine a virgin by merely looking at the person. And I don't think any lady would come out publicly and say, see o am a virgin, come and rape me! You understand? I don't know how to describe it but that reporter lied on me because he wanted my personal side to sell their papers and I was not willing to disclose my private life.

So please just debunk that idea. It's a big cook up. I want to tell the whole world that I never said a thing like that. If I were a virgin, I won't tell the whole world. Rather, I would keep it to myself.

In the same vein, I will also like to correct an impression that I also said in the same interview with a National paper (not LEADERSHIP) that I am being sexually harassed by producers and directors. I never said anything like that and I don't think I mentioned anything that would want to like blacklist me that this person said producers are harassing her. And if I have said a thing like that they should mention the names of these people because I'm still young in the industry to start experiencing such harassment.

So what has this negative publicity done to you?

It is sad and annoying though when we tried to take it up with him, the person apologised. It has done a lot of damage because when the interview was published, they used it as the headline and my family didn't like such. My dad was like, 'if there is a thing like this I would have told him first'.

So I told him that I never said a thing like that. He just saw it as the antics of a reporter who wanted to impress with a good title. Some of my friends that read it even called asking, 'I don't know you are a virgin. I don't know you were being harassed in the industry. So this is how it is.'

I was not happy about it just because I accepted to grant the interview. You don't know that people read all these things including movie producers that I allegedly accused. Such things are not fair on us in the movie industry. These are the reasons why I hate to grant some interviews.

Being from Adamawa and knowing that there are not too many of you in Nollywood...

Earnestly, I have not seen anyone from Adamawa in the movie industry. It's an advantage for me and I think I am proud of it. It's kind of an eye-opener for me to be one of the actresses that is doing my state proud and I hope to start a forum in my state whereby young people interested in acting can be mentored.

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