Meeting with this diva, 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 becauseI 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? yvonne nelson 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.” by Ekerete Udoh