Yvonne Nelson’s lesbian story


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My interview with top Ghanaian actress –
Yvonne Nelson-was a revelation in so many
ways. Of the leading Nollywood stars, Yvonne
is among those I had not had a close
relationship with.
I had watched her from afar, seen countless
number of her movies and had always thought
she was a great and talented actress –
someone who combined poise, beauty and
style. I had also heard of some unsavory
things ascribed to her – the rumors of sexual
orientation which some say verged between
pure lesbianism and bi-sexualism – all
manner of shenanigans that had been
whispered and published about her.
Some years ago, she came out with a movie,
“Heart of Men”, in which she seemed to have
appeared in frontal nudity– a development
that set off a firestorm of protest among
Nollywood lovers –with many condemning the
exploitation of graphic sexual images to
promote and sell movies – which was a
deviation of what Nollywood had always been
seen to represent: a family friendly
entertainment medium.
Added to an alleged fight for supremacy
between her and fellow Ghanaian actress –
Jackie Appiah – a development that was said
to have resulted in her much publicized one-
year ban from Nollywood- you begin to have a
profile of an actress who may come across as
a diva and somewhat opinionated.
It was with mindset that I welcomed the
chance to interview Yvonne Nelson, when her
representative called and informed me that the
pretty actress was in New York, and would
love to talk to me. And so, on the balmy and
unseasonably warm evening of March, 2012,
I drove to the Marriot Hotel located at the
heart of Times Square, Manhattan, where she
was staying, to do this interview.
Bad girl roles
The first revelation was that Yvonne Nelson is
an exceedingly pretty actress –far prettier in
real life than in her movies. Second, she is a
far cry from those bad girl roles she plays in
movies. Yvonne neither smokes nor drinks. An
offer of drinks from me was flatly but
graciously rejected. Her depiction as a diva
also felt flat because the Yvonne that I saw
and interviewed was thoroughly grounded and
even shy.
So why all the misconceptions?, I asked her.
In a diction and vocal cadence that showed a
highly educated and urbane mind, Yvonne told
me she had been hugely misunderstood. “That
is why I am willing to address some of those
misconceptions now. Even though it pains me
to have to talk about them, but I will. I am
nothing close to the roles I play in movies.
People should understand that I am an
actresses and I get scripts that expect me to
act in a certain manner. As a consummate
professional, I am not going to turn down
those scripts because
I was expected to act in a certain manner,”she
said. “I am aware that some people took
exception to the role I played in the movie
“Heart of Men” where there appeared to be
some form of frontal nudity, but the truth of
the matter is that there was no such overt
display of nudity. But let’s even for the sake of
argument say there was some nudity, why are
we so judgmental and somewhat hypocritical?
The same people who took issues with that
movie watch Hollywood movies where sexually
graphic scenes are shown in a most morally
appalling manner. We don’t condemn such
roles; we, as a matter of fact, celebrate such
roles. I am not an advocate of nudity or
sexually graphic images in our movies. I have
actually spoken against some of those
tendencies; I will never appear frontally nude
in any movie no matter the fees promised.
“I have morals and my morals are held closely
to my chest. As you may recall, I was not the
only person in that scene; there were others,
and I am always at a loss when my role
appeared to have been the one that garnered
the most reaction. If you have been following
the industry, which I believe you do, overt
resort to nudity has been greatly reduced. It
was a phase-one that was experimented by
some producers and realizing that it ran
counter to the values that Nollywood
orGallywood espoused, the producers went
back to doing stories that are heavy on family
values.”
One of the rumors that dominated the
industry, last year, was one that centered on
her sexual orientation. It was widely
speculated that Yvonne Nelson was a lesbian
or, at best, a bi-sexual. Until this moment,
Yvonne had not commented on that rumor
and when I asked her what her real sexual
orientation was, she looked me straight in the
eye and said “look at me….what do you think?
Of course, I am not a lesbian.
Lesbianism is against my religious beliefs, it’s
against my cultural norms and I think it was
very mischievous for people to insinuate such
about someone they hardly knew. The rumor
was started by a notorious website in Ghana
last year when they reported that they had
never seen me with a man. In their warped
and twisted calculation, I was thus a lesbian.
Can you imagine such crass reasoning?
That they had not seen me with a man, and
may have seen me with my girlfriends going
out to have fun, and then automatically I was
a lesbian. It was a hatchet job – an attempt
to discredit me, but they all failed. I am
heterosexual and would remain one till the
end. When you are in the public light as I have
been blessed and privileged to being, your life
becomes a public property and some
mischievous people will say all manner of
things about you. It comes with the territory,
so I forgive them.”
‘Jim Iyke and I’
Sometime ago, it was also reported that
Yvonne was in involved in a hot romance with
Nollywood actor – Jim Iyke. Jim Iyke then was
hot and heavy with the Jamaican model –
Ketura Hamilton – an affair that has since
ruptured.
Jim is now seeing fellow Gallywood actress,
Nadia Buari. I asked Yvonne if she was not
treading on dangerous path if indeed she had
ever dated Jim Iyke. Smiling, Yvonne told me
“I am not dating Jim Iyke – and that’s the
truth, but I want to confess that we have very
close relationship. We have great chemistry
together – call it some form of magic between
us, especially when we act together.
He is a hot guy and I like him a lot. We are
always together when he comes to Ghana to
act in movies, I drive him around. When I am
in Nigeria, he does the same for me. But does
that mean that we are dating? The answer is
no. We are great friends – the manner I am
with Majid Michel, John Dumelo – these are
great and hot friends of mine as well. Does it
mean that I must date ever person that I have
an on-screen chemistry with?
People should learn to be less judgmental.
There is nothing wrong about having a
friendship with a co-star and not talking it to
the physical level.”
Given that the reason she was alleged to be a
lesbian was because she had not been
regularly seen with boyfriend, I asked Yvonne
if she was currently dating. “I am not dating
now –conventionally speaking – but I
wouldn’t say that I am desperate for a
relationship at the same time.
People have asked me if I don’t think I should
be considering settling down, and I tell them
that I appreciate their concerns but that I am
still very young. I don’t have to rush to get
married because everyone is doing so. When
the time comes, I will get married. This may
surprise you: I am a simple girl – very easy to
date. If I go out with a date, it doesn’t cost
the man money. I don’t order expensive
champagne, I don’t order exotic meals. My
drink of choice is orange juice.
Most women would say they are looking for a
chiseled man –those with perfect six-packed
abs – well, good luck to them. I am not
interested in macho men. I am more
interested with the substance-the values and
the humanity the man brings to the table than
with his physical or material possessions. I
work hard, so I don’t expect my man to have
to slave to satisfy me. I am sure this may
surprise you, because any one who looks at
me – analyses the roles I play – may
incorrectly define me according to those roles.
That is the exact opposite of what and who I
am – so when the time is right for me to get
married, God will bring that guy to me. “
‘No problem with Jackie’
Some years ago, it was widely reported that
Yvonne was banned from Gallywood and
Nollywood for one year due to her alleged rift
and diva attitude toward fellow Ghanaian
actress – Jackie Appiah –an actress she is
said to be engaged in a fight of supremacy
with. I asked Yvonne what was the status of
her relationship with Jackie. In a body
language that showed she was weary of being
thought to entertain animosity towards Jackie,
she said: “I don’t have problems with Jackie
Appiah at least any that I know of. The
industry is large and big enough to
accommodate everyone, so the notion that I
am in some form of competition with her to
determine who is a better actress is
ludicrous.”
“But according to published report, you were
said to have been banned because you wanted
same treatment given to Jackie Appiah on set
to be accorded you, and when that didn’t
happen, you were said to have stormed offset,
leading to your being banned for conduct not
befitting a top actress”, I pointedly told
Yvonne. “First of all, let me set the record
straight – no one banned me. I was not
banned, period. I was working throughout the
period they claimed I was banned. Concerning
my request to be accorded same treatment as
Jackie Appiah, that again is misleading and
untrue. I think I have worked hard enough and
established enough bonafides to have certain
things I need in the industry without having to
make an issue out of those demands. I don’t
know if some of these rumors emanated
from camps that wanted to amplify a non-
existent hostility and rivalry
between Jackie and I. I was in the university
for four years and was acting at the same
time. Most times, there were conflicts between
my lectures and time I was supposed to be on
set and I would make some demands and,
most times, things didn’t go so well on set
and, because I wasn’t going to compromise
my studies, I tried as much as possible to
manage the two competing demands.
Sometimes, I had to make choices that may
not have been pleasant with certain actors
and producers. I want to say that I have no
regrets for pursuing my education, at the same
time, giving my best to the industry. It has
made me a better actress – and one with a
better inquiring mind”.

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