In this exclusive interview with Sunday Ehigiator, popular award winning Ghanaian actress, producer and socialite, Zynnell Zuh, speaks on how she started acting, and her plans to spend more time in Nigeria and explore the Nollywood movie industry
Who is Zynnell?
Zynnell is an actress, film producer and fashion entrepreneur. I am originally from the Volta Region of Ghana, but I grew up in the Greater Accra Region.
Tell us about your growing up and educational background?
I was privileged to attend some of the best schools in Ghana because my parents didn’t joke when it came to our education. For my Junior High School, I went to Star Avenue School; I did my Secondary at Wesley Girls High School and studied Law at the Mount-Crest University College in Accra for my second degree. I did a double major in Geography and Information Studies at the University of Ghana, Legon.
Being this learned, did your parents support your choice of career?
No, not at the beginning because acting was considered an informal low paying job that exposes women to all sorts of social vices. My parents love me without condition but it was hard convincing them acting could be a career, but they have never abandoned me.
How did you come about acting and how has the journey been so far?
I started acting in high school after I auditioned for my first movie role and got the lead role. I have been acting since then. The journey has been interesting and challenging with many breaks in between.
I took a long break to concentrate on finishing my first degree. After which I worked in advertising for two years then came back to produce my first movie ‘When love comes around’ which was on Netflix for two years.
Why did you decide to go into film production?
I decided to produce my first movie when I started getting frustrated from not getting good productions and roles to be featured in. It was a tough decision for me and I spent double the amount I initially budgeted for it.
The movie came together beautifully and did so well at the cinemas that Netflix contacted me to acquire it for two years.
I would have made a lot more profit if I hadn’t invested twice the amount that I did but I decided to chalk it up to experience. I produced two movies after that and they did very well.
How many movies have you produced so far and which of them would you consider an expression of your real-life philosophy?
I have produced three movies so far, I would say the three movies, ‘When love comes around’, ‘Love Regardless’ and ‘Anniversary’ respectively, all bring out some of my core values and beliefs.
You also have won several awards as an actor and producer, which of them would you say have been your most rewarding?
My favorites, I would say, are ‘The Golden Movie Award’ as ‘Best Actress’, for my performance in Anniversary and the ‘Spice Lifestyle Award’ in 2018 for being the best actress in West Africa.
You bring a particular fashion style to all your movies, is there any reason for that?
No, not at all, I would say that my style in movies is very much dependent on the roles that I play. I’ve been cast as a boss, side chick, wife, and sister, you name it.
All I do is being sure that I bring the ‘Zy-factor’ which is a touch of my personal style, but I am naturally a fashion enthusiast and a very passionate one at that, so I guess a leopard can’t hide its skin.
What project are you currently working on, and what more should we be expecting from you in time to come?
I’m working on a television series, a fashion program for TV and starting my own fashion line and styling company. I also plan on spending more time in Nigeria and exploring Nollywood and fashion industry here.
I believe that Nigeria is the entertainment hub of Africa with Nollywood being the third largest film industry in the world. As a producer, I have always collaborated with Nigerians for all my movies. I enjoy working with Nigerians a lot. My first breakthrough role in Nollywood was in the movie ‘Just Married’, and my most memorable has been ‘Hire a Man’, ‘Crazy Lovely Cool’ and ‘Backward’.
I am really looking forward to more collaboration, and definitely open to more roles. I believe in one Africa and working together with my colleagues in Nollywood to push the envelope and continue to tell our African stories.
How do you unwind?
I love taking vacations and spending time with my special someone.