Irene Opare

Popular Ghanaian film actress, Irene Opare, has stated that instead of the TV stations helping the film industry, 'they are rather showing the foreign movies to collapse our industry.” She stressed that the TV stations screen either Nigerian/foreign films or telenovela and that as a result, majority of Ghanaians have grown to like the foreign films more than the locally made ones. In an exclusive interview with The Saturday Statesman, she indicated, Every TV station one switches on shows a foreign movie instead of the local ones.

According to her, because the TV stations are not showing most of the local movies on their screens for the public to view and buy them, producers also don't gain enough money to pay them (actors and actresses). She said they only survive on the small money they have been receiving here and the collaborations they do with the Nigerians. This, she stated, is what makes the Nigerian film industry more advanced than ours.

Irene observed, Though our local producers are on the same level as those of Nigeria, what they put into production is greater than ours, in terms of location for shooting, the free hotels and a whole lot. And one thing is when Ghanaian actors go there; they are paid more than here.” All these problems, can't they be addressed by the Ghana Actors Guild? No. I don’t think it can.

Is it not a formidable body representing actors?

I don’t want to comment about it. What I will say is majority of the stars are not members so I don’t really know what to say.

Don’t you think if you come together as one body, your grievances will be easily heard?

Yes I know. It is now that we are planning to come together, so very soon you will hear of us. Any way, when did you start acting? I started acting on stage for Theatre for Development in 1989 when we traveled to almost all the remote villages across the country to act.From there, the Director of Development of National Drama Company, Mr. William Addo, approached me and I played the role of a queen mother in a drama entitled Fire Storm.

My performance in that drama was so good that people liked it; and one thing about me is I don’t fake crying, when a part comes and I’m to cry the tears just flow naturally; this made me progress little by little till I shot my first movie entitled Demona in the early 90s. But the one which brought me into the lime light was Destiny, an H.M Film.

I know you have experienced the positive side of being an actress, has there been any negativity attached?

Yes you are right. Many good things and favours come to me as an actress, but I’ve also faced the negative part of it. I quite remember one day I ran into a seven-year old boy with his mother and all of a sudden, the little boy began screaming just because he saw me acting as a thief in a movie, so I had to get closer and explain things to him before he calmed down. There are some too who see me and start raining insults on me just because I acted as a devil in a movie. Even my own family sometimes rejects me for “tarnishing the Opare family name” due to the roles that I have been playing. But all the same, there is nothing I can do about it since it is my profession.

Is there anything that you do aside acting?

I operate a shop called Fafsy Clothing’s Wear where I sell fashionable ladies and men’s wear. I also run a company called Fafsy Innovations; I do event management, write poetry, drama and dance. I organize standard chart awards night, also for the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Trade and Industry. I do creative work as well because most of the ideas I’m using to work now come from Theatre for Development. In fact, it has really helped me a lot.

Can you brief us about your personal life?

I was born in Accra to Mr. and Mrs. Opare who were both teachers but my dad is dead and my mum is here with me. She helps me in managing the Fafsy Clothing. I attended Cambridge Preparatory School, Accra. I did a little computing, secretarial studies, and fashion as well. In 1998, I got pregnant for Kwame Sefa Kayi and I had Fafa Kayi, who will turn ten years next month. Despite the fact that we are not together, we call each other because we have a daughter.

What qualities are you looking for before you get married?

I want an intellectual man with money. I will also consider the height, the complexion and how sweet he is, a man who can tolerate me for who I’m; who wouldn’t get mad when I kiss another man in a movie or ask me to stop acting because of jealousy. The most important of all is a man who will be a friend and not just husband, because husband and wife relation brings about jealousy. One piece of advice I always give to my friends who are getting married is to enter with their head and not their heart because it really hurts when a woman is disappointed. I wish you all the best in your search for a friend and not just a husband. Thank you.