Annabella Zwyndila (fondly called queen of the north) was a housemate in Amstel Malta Box Office (AMBO 3) Reality TV show and a nominee for best upcoming actress, ZAFAA awards 2012. In this interview, she speaks on her passion for the industry and other projects.
What has been your motivation since you started-off in the movie industry?
Knowing the fact that my hard work and perseverance will help me achieve greater professional success is what keeps me going. Success is what motivates me. I was brought up in Plateau State , Nigeria. I’m fourth of six children, and raised in a middle-class family. My father was an Army officer and my mother a Lecturer. I attended Command Secondary School ( Jos, Plateau State) before graduating from University of Jos, where I read creative arts/ and Special Education respectively. I began auditioning for acting jobs in Nollywood while in the university.
What are the challenges you have encountered during these period?
As a young girl, my Dad thought me to always follow my dreams no matter how hard they get. Not until I made steps into university, miles away from my family…I had no idea how hard it would be for me. After my studies, I joined the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN), but getting a role was difficult. Something in me refused to give up. One day, a friend hinted me about an audition for a RealityTv Show (Ambo ), he asked if I needed a form and I didn’t hesitate for a minute and said yes immediately! That was the beginning of a beautiful career change that. Till this day, I have never regretted nor looked back
When you decided to follow this path, what were the reactions of your parents and siblings?
I would say not being able to comprehend on some level as a first timer. The job of an actor requires being able to make the audience believe you are that character. So it is the responsibility of the actor to find something about that character they can relate to somehow, either emotionally or by personal experience .Things are alot better because I always practice and work intensively on myself. Though at first they freaked out, my parents were disappointed in me. Because I knew I needed their approval, I kept on pushing until I was able to convince them that I can double in business and acting and of course promised I would be a good girl.
Tell us about your recent project(s), how has it been so far?
One of the most interesting projects I’ve had the pleasure of working on was setting up a production house and producing my movie Phoenix. Phoenix is a fictitious story of a young undergraduate whose mum falls in love with a younger lover and employee but unknown to her he is an enemy from the past. It features actors Ujam C’briel, Adaeze Eluke, Righteous King and myself. It was such a great feeling to be able to see a project from start to finish. I had a great time working with the rest of the cast and crew and I really learnt alot about team work and communication.
Where do you hope to be 5 years from now?
I would have graduated from a film school. I’d like to be seen as someone with deep expertise in filmmaking. I’m also excited to take on more bigger and interesting projects in the next few years to come.
What are your greatest fear?
Not being successful financially
What can you say about the Nigeria film industry?
Its evolving really well. Nollywood is globally recognised today because of the contributions and creativeness of of our entertainers. We are making progress and I’m happy to be a part of it. It really goes without a say that film business is lucrative. There’s a handful of benefits such as investor having their name in the credits at the end of the film as well as making a return on your investment. Investors would also have the chance to be involved with the production of the film.
What’s your view about Covid-19 pandemic?
Before Covid-19, I belong to a group who cater for the internally displaced persons. We set up and deliver assistance, such as provisions, health and other basic necessities . So far, we have been able to reach out to some of the most vulnerable in our own little way. Unfortunately, the economic assistance promised by the government in response to the outbreak has not been very effective. People are suffering, people are hungry, some are losing homes (due to inability to renew rent), many are losing jobs(source of income) on daily basis due to the outbreak. At this point, it wont hurt to place every Nigerian on a monthly stipend of at least N10,000. We (every Nigerian included) need assistance, support and care so we can function as a people to fight this common enemy.
Any advice to protective entertainers?
Brace up for eventualities. Do not loose yourselves in the process. Dress decently, comport yourselves well, practice and work hard on your giving talent and most importantly, pray, pray and pray your way to success. As a young girl, I got to understand that the prayer of a virgin is very effective7 (experience) yes! God answers them speedily. (That doesn’t mean they are righteous or better than others) just means they are doing something right.