Actress Genevieve Nnaji flourished with finesse on the old Cathode Ray Television (CRT) sets when in the ‘80s she appeared in the popular TV series, Ripples, at the age of eight. Treading on the same path is child prodigy, Sharon Ezeamaka, who first appeared alongside veteran actor, Pete Edochie in the Nollywood blockbuster, Narrow Escape at the tender age of five.
Another newcomer in this category of kid stars is Michelle Mansah, who arguably emerges the youngest member of the MTV Shugah Naija cast, where she plays Tare, an athletic but vulnerable youngster who is under the protection of her older sibling.
TS Weekend’s recent meeting with Michelle Mansah was a delight. Amid chuckles and smiles, she relayed her journey into her acting and talked on her role as Tare, her parents and expectations for the future. Enjoy it.
Tell me about your role as Tare?
Tare is a very little girl that her sister is always protecting from all sexual abuses and everything, because her sister had already gone through that in the storyline. It is mostly about parents protecting their children from sexual abuse; like being alone with a man. The girl (Tare) is athletic, she loves to play, she is just a free girl and she has to be protected.
How did you connect with your character, Tare?
I connected with the character through my mom. My mom always tells me that everyday, so it’s kind of a repetition of what my mom always says.
How was it going through the closed auditions?
I was interviewed; they gave me just a few lines of Tare to see if I could act the role. And that was it.
How do you react to your schoolmates knowing that you are on MTV Shugah?
My mom always tells me to ‘be humble’. So, I got to be humble. But when people tell me ‘we saw you on MTV Shugah’, I am like ‘yeah! You saw me?’ So, they won’t think I’m proud.
Are you saying you’re trying to manage the level of success you have now?
Yes, I’m trying to manage it so I won’t get too proud and be bossy to my friends.
How did acting come to you?
It was just natural. I love to act and sing. It was just natural for me to do so.
How do you cope with acting and schooling?
When I go for a shoot and come back, I make sure I copy my notes so I won’t get distracted. Also, I have a reading timetable. That eases my way of reading.
As an actress, what are your plans? What do we expect from you in future?
I still don’t know if I’m going to continue acting. But for now, I’m going to be acting. I will continue acting till I get the idea that I want to stop.
Why would you think that anything would stop you from acting?
I don’t know. I don’t really know. Life happens.
While on set, you worked with much older persons. How did it feel like? Were you intimidated?
A little bit. But I saw someone my age that I played table tennis with; at least for that short time, I was happy we could play.
What do you aspire to asides acting?
I also love to sing.
Are you looking forward to becoming a singer in future?
I don’t know because I think about a lot of stuffs – whether I could be a medical doctor, singer or actress. It’s kind of confusing.
Are your parents supportive of your acting career?
Yes, my parents are supportive because they know… They actually allowed me to be free, to go into acting. They are the ones that encouraged me to go into acting.
The road to acting is tough. As you grow older, you get more challenging roles. How do you intend to tackle this in future?
Through the support of my parents, I’m sure I would add value. I will actually take acting classes.
Are your parents staying together?
My dad lives in the United Kingdom, his country. But my mom is here.
So you travel between holidays to see your dad?
I don’t know. Time? Money? Most especially where you have to pay for tickets and all that.