Actress Ama Ampofo, after her debut performance in Shirley Frimpong Manso-directed movie, Devil In The Detail, has soared in her career faster and higher than pundits predicted. She got nominated for the prestigious Africa Movie Academy Awards and also won Best Supporting Actress at the recent Golden Movie Awards. Ama Ampofo spoke to Francis Addo in this exclusive interview and said Ghanaians should watch out for her. She also spoke about her first experience as actress on set with the big stars, director Shirley Frimpong Manso and how she wants to brand herself as well as her nominations.
Congratulations on your nominations.
Your first movie placed you ahead of some major industry stakeholders.
I am very happy about it and I am proud of myself but it has been different stages to this point. I thank all those who have been behind me to this point. I am very excited about my Africa Movie Academy Awards’ nomination for my first movie; I won’t lie about it.
I have heard you have won one other award already?
Yea, I took Best Supporting Actress in drama category at the Golden Movie Awards.
How did you get into acting?
I have loved the cameras, trust me, from childhood…I studied Theatre Arts combined with History at the University of Ghana for four (4) years. So literally that is where I will say everything started. So yeah, I had intentions and passion to act just that I didn’t know where to start from until I got the support, fortunately, from Sparrow Productions.
How did you get the role in ‘Devil In The Detail’?
I did this bank commercial. It literally drained me from 7am to 6pm shooting the advert at one spot. So from there, this gentleman on the set tells me, ‘I like your effort, I like your smile. There is an audition here, if you would want to show up.’ So I just took the details and left. I contacted them and apparently it was Sparrow Productions. They had a condom commercial and then I said ‘ok let me take the risk’; then I took part in it. It was the soft copy of the audition that director Shirley Frimpong Manso saw that made them call me to an audition for the movie. The day of the auditioning, I saw all the stars and I felt like, ‘should I go back?’ I was the last but two to be auditioned. Right after I performed, Shirley didn’t say anything. She just looked at me like what was that? And I walked out quietly and she said you will hear from us. So after three days, I got an email telling me I had been casted so I should show up at the office and sign my contract. I didn’t think it was that a big deal. I thought maybe it would be a short movie or something. From scratch, I had no idea who I was shooting with. The only thing I knew was Shirley and Sparrow Productions…
The audition must have been a real big deal for you?
Yeah, I saw faces at the audition that really intimidated me to go back.
At what point did you know you were going to act with Adjetey?
That was my first day on set. I saw him and I was told he was one of the people I was going to act with. I sat and waited for the rest, then I saw Nse Ekpe Etim. Shirley brought her and introduced her too that I was going to work with her too.
What memories do you have to share with readers on the first day of meeting the other cast for the movie?
The surprise birthday party scene was when I met everyone. Initially, I just had the script; no names, nothing. Oh yeah, it was a lot of pressure. I didn’t know it was that a big deal. I thought it was just a short movie.
How did you handle the pressure?
I had been on stage a couple of times so I did not find it intimidating. Yeah, that was what helped me joggle everything around. I said to myself, ‘Don’t be star struck. Do what you have to do and get out of here.’ They really helped me to socialize and that also helped me to calm down. Adjetey Anang really helped me. He will tap you once in a while on the shoulder and ask you if you are ok.
What reactions do you get from your friends and the public about your role?
The question I always get is, ‘Did you really kiss Adjetey?’ That one always comes up. I thought he does kissing scenes, what happened? Others ask how it was like kissing him and I was like, ‘It’s acting; it was not as if somebody had come from the house and planned to kiss people around.’
You have more kissing ahead.
Provided it is in the script, I won’t mind but if it’s not in the script, we will talk about it. (laughs)
How will you describe working with Shirley Frimpong Manso? Some say she is strict, others say she is not.
I won’t say she is strict. If you do what you are supposed to do, I think you will not have problems with her. Shirley is quite a principled person. If you flout, she will put you straight. But if you do it right, she will pamper you; she will tap you on the shoulders. So I wouldn’t say she is strict, I will simply say she is principled and it was amazing working with her; it was super amazing. I remember one time she schooled me in front of everybody. That day I felt like crying but I knew I was at fault. I was super late. So yeah, I just let it go.
Every actor has a brand people identify him or her with. How would you want people to identify you?
I don’t want to restrict myself to a particular brand. I will like the part where I will be able to blend every side—being the African lady or the tomboy. I just want to elevate myself to that pedestal where when Ama Ampofo is mentioned, it won’t be ooooh… I don’t want that ‘ooh’ expression. I want them to say oh that lady. I don’t want to restrict myself to anything.
Who is Ama Ampofo?
I am a go-getter. I know where I am coming from and I know where I want to get to. I don’t allow what I am seeing now get into my head. I try my possible best to get out of my comfort zone so I can work hard for everything.
When did you get into showbiz in general?
It was right before my participation in Miss Malaika 2012. So I will say 2011. I took part in Miss Legon, then Miss Malaika, before appearing in the commercials.
Where are you from?
I am from the Ashanti Region, Adanse Fomena to be precise. I attended St Paul’s Lutheran then Archbishop Porter Girls before University of Ghana.
So what’s up with you now?
It’s just a few upcoming projects that I will be handling with Adjetey again. People should wait, relax and watch out for me. I know they will enjoy it.