Amanda Ebeye tells Ademola Olonilua why she does more of soap operas than Nollywood movies
You once said that some of your friends who are actresses encouraged you to become an actress. How did they manage to do that?
I had a particular friend who was taking me for auditions. Back then, auditions were held at the National Theatre and Winnie’s Hotel in Surulere (Lagos). Actors would hang around and wait for audition notices. Those were the two most likely places artistes converge for auditions. My friend knew I always wanted to act and she was acting partly but in smaller roles. She was and is still more of an actress than a model till date. We are not really close friends anymore.
You became popular in the television series, Clinic Matters; is there any difference between you and the character you portrayed in the soap?
Yes, it’s a world of difference between the character, Abigail and I. Abigail is known to be very nosy, she is two-faced and has issues and controversy surrounding her. She also gossips a lot. I talk but not to the detriment of other people. I was only portraying a character to the best of my understanding at that time.
But do you gossip, and are you temperamental in real life as you act in the soap opera?
Yes. I could be a little bit temperamental but not a big time gossip like Nurse Abigail. I talk too but who doesn’t? I can never scandalise, lie or bring people down; never. On several occasions I’ve had a lot of people say, maybe when I get upset, I yell. They assume I am just as Nurse Abigail in reality. It is very funny because whatever I portray is what I would have done if I was truly that character. It is not who I am. If I was a gossip, a liar, a prostitute, a pilot; it is all in my head, it is my imagination, my creation and not who I am in real life. But when people talk like that, I feel honoured because I feel I gave the character my best shot.
Has your celebrity status helped you get favours?
Yes, I get loads of favours because people are always nice to me, especially my fans. I get easy favours and preferential treatment. I don’t have to queue; I don’t have to pay for certain things.
You are also a model; how did that happen?
I got into modelling before acting. My family lives in Benin. It was actually modelling that brought me to Lagos. I had jobs with Unity Bank, UBA, Emzor Paracetamol and others.
How did your parents take it when you got into modelling?
My mum was more interested in my education. My dad didn’t want to hear of it but my mum didn’t mind as long as I got a degree. Immediately I finished my studies, she allowed me.
Can you remember how much you were paid for your first role and how you felt about it?
I can’t really remember. I think it was N5, 000 or thereabout. I didn’t care about the money, I was so happy. Valucci was the director’s name and I got there just when the audition was about to end. The name of the movie was Weeping Tiger. I was late for the audition but the director saw me and still called me to read. That was how I got the role. I was in Jim Iyke’s music band. It was unbelievable. I was walking on sunshine because it was the happiest day of my life.
Why do you do more of soaps than movies?
There was a time I stopped doing movies and concentrated on soap operas. That was between 2009 and 2011. And since 2011, I have been doing strictly movies apart from Bella’s Place that is owned by Royal Roots.
Can you act nude?
I cannot act nude but like I have said before, if you pay me about $50m, I will. Please who is the first to pay?
Nollywood actresses have on some occasions shaved off their hair for a role. Can you do same?
I can shave my hair because I’m an actress. If the role requires it, if it is a beautiful script and the money is good, I will do it. It will not be because it is the trend. It is not because Mercy Johnson did it so I should, no, that is not a good enough reason. Right now, the script has to be outstanding for me to be interested in shaving off my hair.
Your mother is a fashion designer. Did it influence your decision to become a model?
I’m not a dress model, I wasn’t ever. I was more of a photography model, so my mum being into designs had nothing to do with it.
What were your early days like?
I was a stubborn kid. I was never a tomboy. I don’t know how to bounce or sag for the world but stubborn fighting for my rights and the rights of others, yes. I always wanted to defend others in need. That’s why often they used to say I knew how to ‘buy’ other people’s matter. But my friends would say I had and will always have the heart of a child because no matter how much I fight you, I’ll always feel bad and be the first to tell you sorry.
Can you remember your first kiss ever? How did you feel?
Yes I can and it was wonderful. I felt it was the best thing at that time but I don’t think so anymore.
Most times, rich men love having affairs with actresses, do you have any ‘sugar daddy’ or has any approached you before?
I’m sorry I don’t have any, sugar daddy, because I don’t get attracted to you become of what you have. There are other criteria you have to meet and not money. You might be poor but if we work, then we can flow. You don’t have to be rich. I’m simply not ruled by anything but my feelings. So, if I don’t feel for you and you have the whole world, it simply won’t work. So, what might rule others can’t rule me.
If you could turn back the hands of time, what would you want to change?
Some movies I did last year. Oh lord I wish I could wipe them out.
Are you in a relationship?
No, I’m not in a relationship at the moment.
What kind of man are you attracted to?
I like a God-fearing man; one that respects me and can protect me. I would love a man that loves me; someone that can be my best friend and is knowledgeable and smart because I need to learn from him.
Some women complain that Nigerian men are not romantic. Do you agree with that school of thought?
I don’t agree with it because not all the apples in a bag taste the same way. Some might have gone soggy, some might still be fresh, and some might have spoiled completely. So, there might be some Nigerian men that are not romantic, but there are quite a lot of them who are. That’s my belief.
Would you rather marry a Nigerian or a foreigner?
I am very indifferent. I would get married to whoever God wants me to be married to.
What are you currently working on?
Right now, I’m enjoying the holiday season with my family. After the festivities, work begins. I want to have this little time when I don’t have to think about work.