“Original Doctor” interviews Actress Vivian Jill
Vivian Jill—the renowned Ghanaian movie star who dominates the popular Kumasi-based cinematographic industry known as “Kumawood” has made some fascinating revelations about herself and the institution when she paid a courtesy call to Amansan Radio—the leading mouthpiece of the Ghanaian communities in New York City and the North American geographical area.
Indeed, Mr. Kwarteng (a.k.a Original Doctor) —the host of our flagship program “This is our time” (Yen Mmere Nie) and his able production team were privileged to have Vivian in the “barbecue seat” for the grilling pleasure of their listeners. Vivian, who is a proud mother of two—yes, you heard it right! The fair-colored-skin lady you admire in most Twi-speaking Ghana films is married and had just welcomed her second child; I say sorry to all the men who see her in their dreams amorously. However, let’s find solace in the fact that one of us is taking good care of her. Now, let’s go back to the studio:
Acting or what I define in layman’s view as “pretending to be who and what one is not—on stage or screen” is not an easy profession. One ought to be endowed with the skills and mannerisms to venture into this profession. So how did it all begun for Vivian? The host queried. She wasn’t certain as to the genesis of her career, but stated to the best of her instincts that, she feels her mother conceived her with acting; therefore, her day of birth marked the beginning of her acting prowess. ”I love acting and I do it with passion” she hammered. According to her, she exhibited the practical example of the popular Ghanaian adage that loosely translate that “a fruitful plant is spotted at its nursery stage” by her indulgence in amateurish acting in her elementary and secondary schools. That being said, she was quick to pay glowing tributes to the Ghana Actors’ Guild and all persons who had coached her to become who she is today along the ladder. Describing her passion for career, Ms Jill mentioned that “as soon as I receive my scripts, I put myself into the story and act out” as evidenced by her natural tearing in sorrowful films.
In the studio, she had lost count of the number of movies she had starred except to testify that her latest work “Wahala” was the most challenging of all due to its physical demand. She acted the fetish priest who was “possessed” to chant and undertake necromancy. “I did that exceptionally but I had to go through the pains” she confessed. On the same movie, the curious host took her to another level—her spirituality. He wants to know the effects of playing idolatrous roles have on their spirituality. She took a heavy sigh and stated calmly that “it depends on one’s belief”. According to her, she seeks guidance and prayers from her spiritual father—Apostle James Paul on such roles through series of counseling and prayers, and “Wahala” is no exception.
As a celebrity, the general perception is that, she must be swimming in glory. Well, Vivian points out that, it seems that way when one stares at the dense forest from afar, but proximity reveals isolation of each tree! That, entertainers usually go through multiple family, relationship, and financial burdens that put them under constant pressure—the kind that could lead into self-destruction as in the cases of other worldwide celebrities who met their untimely deaths to substance abuse. Also, in this technological world, her biggest concern has been the “social media pressure” where she has to go the extra mile to respond and interact with her numerous fans on diverse platforms; yet she still get criticized by those she misses inadvertently. To those, she accepts and apologizes because “I love my fans, without them I wouldn’t be where I am” she exclaimed emphatically. For her career advancement, she admitted that she’s not yet at the pedestal she envisaged and recognizes that it will take her fans to push her to the top.
Cohesiveness is key to success in any firm; when probed about how she and her colleagues relate to each other especially at “Kumawood”, Vivian said she works with her “parents and siblings” as she describes the peaceful co-existence among them to the extent that “if you touch one, you touch all of us” she concluded on that harmonious note.
Indeed, time really flies when seated in the “grilling seat”, and it was time for her parting words to listeners. Vivi acknowledged the bunch of emigration challenges in the Diaspora. “No one travels without a purpose and it can be frustrating when something hinders that aspiration”. The eloquent movie stalwart encouraged fellow Ghanaian not to relent on their effort to succeed. That, we should remain united and support each other rather than dishing out free “PHDs” (pull him/her down syndrome) to each other. She went on to advise that we should eschew pomposity and self-aggrandizement for after-all, “where are we taking the world to as mortal beings?” she asked rhetorically—an advice that resonates with her personality in the author’s view. Oh yes, Vivian is affable, approachable, respectful, empathetic, meek and all the virtuous accolades you can imagine unless in the movies where you might see any contrasting character. She urged fans to continue to patronize their works to boost the image of the industry and improve the nation’s economy.
Watch out for her future project on women’s health and childbirth-related issues.
Presenter, Amansan Radio, NY