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Playing the character ‘Amina’ made me a stronger human

By Guardian Nigeria
13 November 2021   |   2:56 am
Lucy Ameh is an actress and producer. She hails from Benue State but was born and bred in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Ameh holds a BSC in Mass Communications from NTA

Lucy Ameh

Lucy Ameh is an actress and producer. She hails from Benue State but was born and bred in Kaduna State, Nigeria. Ameh holds a BSC in Mass Communications from NTA TV College Jos affiliated to ABU Zaria; she also has a diploma in Law from the University of Jos. Having been in the movie industry since 2007, she has been featured in a couple of television series and movies including Tinsel, Ajoche, Living in Bondage, Swapped and most recently, Queen Amina recently released on Netflix where she played the lead character. In this interview with IJEOMA THOMAS-ODIA, she shares her experience working on the set of Queen Amina, her sojourn into the movie industry and her lifestyle.

Your career has evolved over the years; share with us your journey into the movie industry?
I started out from film production and acting school in Kaduna right after secondary school while I was awaiting my university admission, my mother registered me to be trained for three months, after which I joined the Actors Guild of Nigeria (Kaduna chapter) then admission came and I went to the University, at intervals. I featured in a few projects that were shot in the North, but professionally I started out a little over 10 years ago. While in my second year at the university, I would go to Abuja to feature in productions or anywhere I got an opportunity. When I got posted to Lagos for the youth service corps, I didn’t return to the North again, I stayed back and I tell you, it’s been an amazing journey. I am glad God led me to take that decision, it wasn’t easy at first because you have to prove yourself all the time, from one audition to the other, but after some years of auditions, I eventually gained my sit on the table and like the saying, I have only just scratched the surface because I am definitely doing greater things, the goal is to continue to live my dreams and my passion and also be a source of joy and inspiration to people.

What inspired you into acting?
I am actually a born actor. As a child, I asked my mother, ‘how did the people inside the box (TV) enter into that box’? I told her when I grow up I want to be in the box; I was an actress in the house growing up, in secondary school I was the storyteller after lights out, once we hear the care of our housemistress zoom off, we turn on the light and everyone sits in my corner and all the Genevieve and Ramsey movies I watched during the holiday I will begin to narrate, the funny part is that I don’t just narrate I say their exact lines and act it out just like they did. I really got inspired also by watching Nigerians on the screen and I knew that’s where I belong; in our Slum book for secondary school graduating students, theirs a column where you put what you will like to be in future, if I filled 50 of those books, in all of it I wrote, ‘actress’.

Share with us your experience on the set of Queen Amina. How would you access your role on this new Netflix film?
My experience on the set of Queen Amina wasn’t a piece of cake, it was strenuous and fun at the same time, I was trained alongside my other colleagues for one month straight every day, on horse riding and sword fighting and script rehearsals, it wasn’t easy because it took a lot of strength to be able to do that, that’s why I looked so slim and smart in the film, but in all of it, I enjoyed the whole process it was a huge learning curve for me and am glad I was a part of it. The character Amina inspired me while growing up; knowing that at a time like that she was powerful, resilient, fierce, feared and she was a queen, thinking of her I tell myself I can do anything and be anything I want, I have no limitations. Playing the role also made me a stronger human, I am proud of myself and I can’t wait to play other challenging roles.

The movie took a few years to complete filming, what particular challenges did you face during that course?
Yes, we shot in 2015/2016 about six years ago, first I had to recover from my injury and I had to work extra hard to break free from the character Amina, I embodied the character so much that I was Amina for about two years after the shoot. Then 2017 we shot a couple of scenes again, then in 2019, we shot some other scene’s again, having to go back into Amina’s hairstyle and also back into the character and climbing the horse again was challenging.

What key changes do you hope to see in the movie industry and how are you contributing your quota to its growth?
I hope and pray that soon enough the industry should go through an overhaul and get a proper structure, whereby we have a database of actors with actual identification. To become an actor, you have to at least have a certain level of educational qualification or certain criteria, let actors get paid well for their labour, let’s get health insurance to be in place for every actor, and any actor who falls sick can be conveniently treated, instead of seeking for help from the general public, let platforms where our movies are sold pay filmmakers well so that they can, in turn, pay us in millions. Let actors and crew members go back to school to acquire more knowledge about the craft and how to conduct themselves professionally because talent is not enough, let the actors and actresses be given roles because they have earned it, not just because one has a foreign accent and the other doesn’t. I go through the different acting master class from time to time and I lend my voice when I the opportunity arise.

What does fashion mean to you?
Fashion to me is been me, whatever fits me and looks good on me and makes me feel comfortable and is also appropriate for the given occasion at hand, is fashion. We are different people with different perspectives about life; the same goes with fashion. As long as I am comfortable and confident and I feel good in whatever am wearing then I am good to go, also it’s not just about what I wear or how I wear it, it’s all about how well I carry myself.

What is your favourite fashion piece?
My favorite fashion pieces are my shoes and my jewelries.

What key advice do you have for young people seeking to build a career path in the industry?
Go to school, the industry will remain here whenever you are absolutely ready. Just believe in yourself, do not let anyone tell you, you can’t do it or you are not good enough, work hard, study about the job, be focused, be determined, be attentive, be humble and be consistent, never give up, you are your only competition, and you have no limitations. Go out and shine, the sky is big enough.

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