Brainy and sexy actress Naa Ashorkor, on Thursday, opened up as never before in a no-holds-barred interview with NEWS-ONE and makes rather interesting revelations about her life, upbringing, career, core values, trials and her future prospects.
Naa is host of Starr 103.5 FM’s mid-morning programme, ‘The Zone’, and also runs her own TV show, ‘Tales from the Powder Room’, on GH-One.
She has starred in some of Ghana’s best contemporary movies including ‘A Letter From Adam’, ‘Checkmate’, ‘Adams Apple’, ‘Perfect Picture’ and ‘Scorned’.
NEWS-ONE asked Naa Ashorkor about her greatest achievements:
What is the biggest thing you have achieved?
When people ask me about achievements and how many awards I have won, I have not won many but I have won some. I really don’t count awards and nominations as achievements. What I count are the people who feel I am making a positive difference in their lives.
For example, I never knew it was possible to receive phone calls from facebook until two nights ago when a girl called me around 1am.
You receive calls at 1am?
Not exactly but I thought this one was strange and also did not understand how it was from facebook so I picked and the caller said she was 29 and wanted to commit suicide but wanted to talk to me before the act. I did not know what to say. I listened to her and she said she takes inspiration from me but was tired because of family and relationship issues.
We spoke from that time until I was ready to prepare for work and by then she had changed her mind. These are the things that make me happy and I am glad I have this opportunity to make a difference in people’s lives. Not many people have such opportunities in this world.
Are you a very religious person?
Not really. Let me tell you this: In secondary school, there was a lot of talk about witches and all that so I used to go for prayer meetings to protect myself from the witches. There was this time the pastor said I should allow God to use me to touch lives and I thought he was talking about me becoming a pastor’s wife or a lady pastor or something. But in these last few weeks, I now understand I am touching lives in a positive way.
Many look up to you as their role model.
When people say I am their role model, it makes me want to live up to expectation. But I say to myself, just keep doing you and the people who look up to you need never to be disappointed.
Hosting mid-morning radio in Accra is a challenging task. Many doubted your competence. You have proven them wrong. What was the magic?
I would be honest with you. When Bola Ray asked me to host Mid-morning on Starr FM, I said no. Not ‘no’ to radio but to hosting mid-morning because it was too big. I said I would prefer hosting a women’s programme on Saturday evenings or something less challenging until I grow into it and then maybe a year later, I take up bigger challenges.
But he said I could do it and I felt he would not gamble with his investments and so if he believed I could do it, why not? Then I can do it. For the first three days, I was trying to sound fantastic and it was a lot of mess. I was just all over the place. After that, I decided to relax and just be me. I’ve been a very odd freak of people on radio and TV and I could recite the intros of many of them. And I attempted to do radio like I have known how the others do it. But when I decided to be me, laugh at my mistakes, read the LPMs like I was reading any other sheet of paper, things became easier for me.
There is a tendency to sound a certain way once a microphone is set before you. TV is audio-visual and viewers could see your emotions but on radio, it is different and I had to just be me. There is a hashtag on Tigo—‘Keep Doing You’—and that was what I decided to do. If you listen to me on radio or anywhere else, I talk the same. Being me is how I’ve survived and I keep growing every day.
You got married just when you started hosting mid-morning radio. Double pressure; you must be super human to have survived.
Oh I don’t think so. I just like to take it easy and did not pressure myself. There is pressure on those who want to be pressured. Sometimes you see people and they seem they have no problems but they have huge problems. And there are people walking around and acting like the whole world is coming to an end but they are only hungry and need food. It is the attitude we adopt that makes the difference.
When I started radio, it was challenging and I was trying my best. I could not even understand the consol and which button to press when. I know music but not the names of the musicians and yet I was to decide which music to play. But I had a fantastic DJ who helped me—DJ Mono.
I remember there was this guy at Airtel who wrote a whole write-up about how I was terrible and some even said I was a square peg in a round hole. But I am grateful to God it is working out.
Those who thought I would fail are changing their minds and people now listen to me not because there are no competitors but because they can see I am getting better.
There are fears marriage would affect your career adversely.
No I don’t think so. It has not. It won’t.
Before Naa became a famous person, who was she?
I am still all that I was—just an ordinary girl. Primary school, I was very loud; JSS, I was a very quiet girl; SSS, I was talking everywhere. I was SRC vice president and secretary for my region. I did a lot of school debates and even won a few cups for my school and I enjoyed it.
I think I got to know myself better in secondary school—the sort of person I was, the things I like to do and the things I won’t like to do. Before GIJ, I was in a lot of school activities and debates. I loved to be heard and to champion strange courses. That is what people would remember me for.
Were you the same at the GIJ?
I was very quiet in GIJ.
But you still found something special in GIJ?
You mean in GIJ? You mean my husband? Oh yes. I met him in GIJ. I don’t know if people really remember me in the GIJ. For my first three years there, I was not on TV. I started TV in the third year and I believe that was when some of my mates even saw me for the first time.
You acted ‘Kabuki’ in Lydia Forson’s ‘Letter from Adam’ and got married in the movie which was premiered just when you got married in real life? Was it a hype for the movie?
Ah! You mean I got married to push someone’s movie? It was pure coincidence and I did not even realise the coincidence until people started talking about it. We shot that movie when? I can’t even remember. But Lydia booked the Silverbird Cinemas about six months before the premiere date. It has nothing to do with my marriage.
How do you manage to stay away from controversy or scandals as a showbiz person?
Well, I don’t know. Maybe my mother always told me that if I stayed at home, I won’t get into trouble and that has really entered my head. She always said trouble cannot come to you when you are in your home. It has helped me a lot. I work with an event organising company and it is only when we have events that you would see me out. I feel comfortable at home and at places where I am safe.
If you read all the stories about celebrities in trouble, they mostly got into trouble when they went somewhere or said something.
You are an actress, a TV presenter and a radio presenter; which pays the most?
It depends on who you are working for that would determine how much you are going to get. I think acting has paid me the most and I am looking at the biggest amount of money I have received at a time and that came from acting.
Would you become a movie producer someday like your colleagues?
I am so happy they are becoming producers because it would make our industry bigger. But I would rather want to produce a stage play. I love movies; they are great but I love stage plays. They are challenging and I would want to promote that.
Are you pregnant as reports say?
I also heard about that. It is not true. But if it is true, I am not aware.
Anything you would want to tell your fans and readers of this interview?
We are in an overcrowded world with too many people competing to be seen. The best you can be is to just be you and not try to be anybody else. Anybody else is taken and your best bet is to be you. Grab opportunities when they come and never say ‘I can’t do it’. Just try because it is only when you try that you can say you can or cannot. But you’ve just got to try.
Thanks for the interview, Naa.
Thanks too for the opportunity, Halifax.
By Halifax Ansah-Addo (Twitter: @HalifaxAnsahAdd)