Nollywood star actress Stella Damasus on Wednesday signed a multi-million naira fashion label deal with “SDA Collection” as the Brand Amabassdor of Amvictorious, a Houston Texas, USA based fashion label company which creates unique, one-of-a kind American-made lifestyle products for brides, babies, men, women lifestyle amongst other products, in Lagos.
The ceremony, which was presided over by the VP International Logistics, Mr. Edgar Dominguez, saw an elated Stella shed tears of joy as she thanked her stars for the privilege of identifying with a world class brand.
She took time out after the ceremony to speak to Showtime Celebrity on the new deal as well as her exploits in the acting business.
BY BENJAMIN NJOKU
You mentioned sometime ago that you don’t brand every product that comes your way. What’s the reason for the rejection?
There are certain things I don’t like to talk about. But the truth is, I only look out for things that will benefit me in the long run. And one of the things that puts me off from some of these contracts is the attachment of a time frame.
For instance, a one year, two year deal is unacceptable to me.
I have been discussing for the past two months with the management of AM Victorious. We have spelt out terms and conditions for this deal.
My lawyer as well as my manager who is currently in America looked at the project thoroughly and we found out that it’s beneficial to both parties.
In terms of agreement and duration of the contract, its okay. So many other brands have approached me in the past but because of the unfavourable terms and conditions, I turned my back on such deals.
I don’t want to start a journey that will end in two years. It takes a longer period to make impact on something. Moreover, it’s not easy to represent a brand and help that brand become a market leader.
What I agreed with the company is that instead of making it a duration thing, let us make it a life-long business plan. My business plan is to make money and also get myself involved in something that will be beneficial to me. So, this deal is beneficial to me as well as it is beneficial to AmVictorious. We are not into this deal based on duration. I’m also building a relationship that will last in my lifetime and also allow my children benefit from it.
That’s the reason I accepted the deal, and why I haven’t accepted other contracts that came my way in the past. The fact that the Amvictorious is giving me an opportunity to do business with them that can last for a lifetime is a factor.
How do you feel about becoming the brand ambassador of Amvictorious?
I’m excited and I looked forward to it.
I actually flew into Lagos from Abuja to seal the deal. It’s very important that finally, I have seen it come to pass. This is the first time I would be signing a contract of this nature before the media; to publicly identify with a product.
I’m humbled knowing that there are a million and one other celebrities out there, who are more popular than I am; celebrities who are doing bigger and greater things internationally than I am.
So for the company to chose me over these celebrities not just as a Nigerian but for the whole of Africa, means that I should continue doing the positive things that I have been doing.
I’m honoured that Amvictorious singled me out to be part of this project. For me, it’s God’s blessing because I have been praying for something that I can be proud of. And today, my dream has come true. I’m very excited.
Stella Damasus is into acting, music and fashion. What are you doing at the moment?
I’m involved in a lot of things. I’ve just finished the final audition for my foundation: Stella Damasus Art Foundation where I am offering a three-month training for talented young Nigerians free of charge in the areas of acting and singing.
I’ve also just finished auditioning applicants for the second session. I did the first session last year, and I have graduated some people. I also have a new company, which is based in Abuja. We are doing a lot of things ranging from organising seminars to producing movies.
We organised a seminar in Cameroon recently , and after the seminar, we decided to make a movie for the people to see how quality movies are done. We are currently editing the movie titled: “The Unspoken”. It will be out very soon.
I am also doing a documentary now, which is very dear to my heart. And when it commences I will let the press know about it. My new deal with Amvictorious took a lot of my time . We had series of meetings and consultations. The company is planning to set up a branch in Abuja. All these things took a lot of my time.
At the moment, I’m a columnist with PM News. I make sure that I write my column every Wednesday in PM News.
I’m trying to be the best I can be in whatever that I’m doing.
For sometimes now, your have not been regular on screen. What happened?
I’ve done three movies that are yet to hit the market. I did “Behind Close Doors” Part 3 and 4”. I shot the movie about three years ago.
I don’t know why it has not been released into the market up till now. I also did “Bent Arrows” a Lancelot Imasuen production which is yet to be released too. And recently, I did “Two Bride and a Baby” by Blessing Effiong,”. The premiere has been done at the cinemas.
The most important thing is not about flooding my face in movies that would make me a better person. Within this period, I went back to school to study acting in the UK. In fact, I’m actually going back there very soon.
I want to improve on my acting skill and my diction. I must continue to avail myself of the opportunity of being retrained.
Recently too my production company did a 13 episode TV Show called “Changing Life”, showing on AIT, OSTV, UK and Ghana. Soon we will begin airing it in Canada.
Right now, I’ll soon start shooting the second season of the show as well.
When you have all these projects in front of you, I need time to sort out my life, business and my children.
My first daughter is going to be thirteen, in August, while my second daughter will be ten too. I need time to stay with my children. I want to be part of their growing up.
I take out a few months in a year, do the things I need to do, and go back to tender my children. I try not to expose them to the public, until they have come of age and decide what to do with their lives. Whether they want to become stars like their mum, is left to them. Paying attentions to my kids is very important to me. That is why I’m not so particular about featuring in movies nowadays.
All these projects in your hands suggests that your music career is suffering?
Not really. My music is not suffering. I’m not a recording artiste, but I own a band and I still do my live performances. I don’t go to night clubs to perform, instead I perform at weddings, product launching, naming ceremonies and all that. You might not see me on screen doing music, because I’m concentrating on my band now.
For the past one year, I have been working on my own songs, trying to arrange them well because after over 15 years in the industry, my fans are expecting something good from me.
I have to be careful not to come out with something that will not meet their expectations. And before the end of the year and by God’s grace I will drop two singles.
When you look back today, what would you say may have gone either wrong or right in your acting career?
I don’t ever regret anything that I have done or gone through. They are all part of my working experiences. I like the pace at which my career have gone. And if after 17 years of being in an industry and I’m still so relevant that people still believe in me and want me to endorse their products, then, it means that God dictates my pace. I can’t run faster than my legs can take me.
Since I surrendered myself and my career to God, He’s been able to order my steps. I’m not allowed to be everywhere. I’m only at places where I have to be attended to. I don’t have any regret at all. I’m happy the way my career has turned out. I’m happy with the pace with which I’m going.
Over the years, how have you been able to cope with the temptations and criticisms associated with acting ?
If you have asked me this question ten years ago, I would have answered it. But after more than 17 years in the industry, I don’t bother anymore.
They call me old layer now, since I’m not among the hottest and freshest actresses around. They have those they run after now.
I’ve been able to carry myself in the industry in such a way that God has been providing for me and my children.
So, I don’t succumb to male’s advances because of money or fame. The small fame that God has given to me, I’m contented with it.
How is your present love life?
I love Jesus. I’m in love with Jesus and He loves me so, more than anything else in this world. I’m happy.
Would you say, you have been unlucky in marriage?
I don’t know, God has an answer to the question. But I’m loving my life right now, and I love the way things have turned out for me.