This is a two part interview with Lydia Forson. Tomorrow, we'll post the concluding part of the interview. Do enjoy.
Lydia Forson is a top Ghanaian actress but it doesn’t mean that she’s only seen in Ghanaian movies. She was in Nigeria, last year, filming Kunle Afolayan’s Phone Swap, which is currently in theatres across Nigeria and Ghana. Lydia who started acting professionally in 2008, won an AMAA in 2010, for her role in the Perfect Picture.
Was it the Perfect Picture that gave you your first AMAA nomination?
No it was called Scorned. It gave me my first AMAA nomination. I think I was nominated for best upcoming actress. Yes, I've been around for a while. But I think because I am very selective about what I do. I wouldn't say its unfortunate, because there are people I know people who got into the industry years after me and they are a lot more popular than I am. Well In Ghana, I would say almost every body knows who I am. Not everybody, but almost everybody. When I come to Nigeria, it takes a while. People will be wondering who's she? Until maybe they go and google me up and say, “oh wow.” I think it’s because I am very selective about my productions.
|Courtesy of Bella Naija.com|
So how long have you been natural?
I've been natural for I think, four years now.
Why did you decide to go natural?
Actually it wasn't a decision. It was a very funny story. I was dating a very interesting guy. I never talk about any relationship in any interview, but this is relevant to the story. It was my birthday and he was coming into town. And for about three months, I had not done a retouch…[my hair] was half natural, half permed and I said, I want to do a perm and a cut. I just really wanted to look good.
I went to a very popular salon in Ghana. And they gave me a lot of nonsense about the time and appointments. So I went to three different salons and nobody was prepared to do my hair. So I went home and my cousin and I cut my hair together with scissors and that was it.
So I enjoyed the look, because I had wanted to go natural. And you know going natural is a tough decision. You have to be prepared. It's like the whole world is going to see you naked. You know, you are cutting your hair short. You have nothing to hide who you are. This is the real you. This is how God brought you into this earth. So it was a huge decision. So I just cut my hair and I loved my hair. I felt like I had just taken a weight off my shoulder and I haven't looked back since. I actually cut it and I cut more and more. My hair was so short…But I came to love it.
I came to really understand that most African women don't go natural because they think they won't look good in it and it’s sad…I have no problem with people wearing weaves. I mean, I colour my hair. But wear it [weaves] because it is a way of enhancing yourself. Don’t wear a weave because you think without it you are less beautiful. That means you are really insulting God, because you think God doesn't know what He is doing. So I think wear a weave, braid your hair just because you [want] a change. I know women who have never let anybody see their hair before. From one weave to another to another braid to another weave. The insecurity. And it's sad.
I think it was a process for me. I didn't go natural because: O yes, power to the African people. But then I came to learn more about myself. That really all my life, how many times have I worn a weave, how many times have I braided my hair? That was just not me. And I was living up to this image of beauty. But for once I feel this is me and this is how I'm comfortable. And I'm happy. And I came to discover myself.
For all the years I was in the industry, yes, people knew me,[but] when I went natural, all of a sudden people recognized me. And yet people still don't remember some of my early works, because I was with permed hair. So it made me stand out. I don't know if that makes any sense. So I’m not saying everyone should go and do their natural hair. I think, you have to get to a point where we don't do things to please the world, we do things to please us and what makes us comfortable. I'm not just that kind of person with a weave up to my butt. And being honest with myself helped me with my career and helped me in my personal life. I just became a totally different person. Power to the people..!(Lydia laughs)
|Lydia Forson with Kunle Afolayan. Courtesy Nollywoodmindspace.com|
Do people ask you about your hair?
This is the first interview [about my hair]. I know people have talked about my hair before but not to me. But this is the first interview that has asked in depth and I have actually spoken about it. And I'm really excited because, it's a totally different angle. I'm enjoying it because I'm passionate about it. It's not just about the fact that I am natural. It is who I am. Like I'm not trying too hard to live up to this expectation. People have told me, " Okay you know what? You are too African, so then if you are able to make it to Hollywood then all they will give you is African roles.” And I said, first of all, Dani Devito is not cute, he's short but he does as many movies as even some so called handsome people in Hollywood. Do not let the world define who you are. Tell the world who you are. And they will accommodate you. So it’s not just hair. It goes beyond the hair. It's me telling people this is me. Take me as I am or leave. And people will be forced to like you.
The second part of this two part interview will be posted tomorrow.