Curvaceous and attractive Ghanaian actress Joselyn Dumas was a practising paralegal before she relocated to Ghana to follow her dreams of becoming a television personality. The actress who recently embarked on a weight loss programme, in this interview shares some revealing facts about her life, among other issues.
TELL us about combining being a TV host with acting?
Sometimes I have crazy schedules but I love doing both. Being a TV host is fun and expressive and I usually can just be myself as opposed to movies where I have to take on a different character. So you see both are similar but different. I love talking, I love acting and being a TV host involves acting as well.
How did it all begin?
I was a practicing paralegal until I relocated to Ghana to follow my dreams of becoming a Television personality. I made my debut on Television as the host of Charter House’s Rhythmz, an entertainment show, which saw me interviewing many celebrities.
Later I was contacted by one of Ghana’s biggest Television Networks to host their first own produced flagship Talk show, ‘The One Show’, which was aired from 2010 to 2014.
Currently I am the host for a new TV talk show ‘@ Home with Joselyn Dumas’ which is aired across Africa and parts of Europe.
You are also a producer. When did that start?
I wanted to do a production, so I spoke to Shirley and she said she had a script which we can do it together. So she wrote the script and I read it and I thought it was so heavy. It was titled ‘Love or Something Like That’. My character was an emotional wreck and I am quite a happy-go-lucky person so with those roles, I think I am able to sort of play it. But this one was more like I had to really go inside of myself and sort of find that dark place and stay there throughout the entire production. I co-produced ‘Love or Something Like That’. That was my second production. I also did ‘V Republic’ with her. It’s also my production.
Why did you abandon Law for entertainment?
When I returned to Ghana, the plan was to attend law school, get called to bar and practice law. However, when opportunity in the entertainment industry came along, I went with it. Even though I grew up with my mom who did some theatre acting, I didn’t have acting as a part of my career plan, but when the opportunity came, I grabbed it and I’ve been working at improving myself to be the blessing given to me. I believe in the saying, ‘One’s success can only be established through one’s consistent actions’. So I have worked at making myself better in my chosen field.
I was ready to pursue law but God had other plans for me and I am glad I discovered my passion and purpose on time. I sometimes imagine how miserable I might be in the law profession now if I had stayed in it.
Any plans to go back to the profession?
No. It has been so long I would be lost. I am passionate about my career so I’ll stick to it.
Looking back, what can you say about your present status?
I believe I am where I am now, not because I am beautiful or super-talented, because there are so many people out there who are more talented than me. It has simply been God who gives that highest favour. So I owe everything and where I am today, to him.
I have and I’m still working hard. When I first started acting, I read in the newspaper where someone told me I can’t go far in the industry. When I read that article, I cried, I was discouraged for a while but rather than stay discouraged, I used it as springs to my steps. I made a decision to be better, to do better, and to be respected. Honestly, I am grateful to the writer of that article; he made me see that I wasn’t the best version of myself and every time I start getting too comfortable, I remember and work on myself.
Tell us about your foundation.
I am very passionate about giving back to the society. Children are at the core of my heart and that’s why the Joselyn Canfor- Dumas Foundation was set up to help children with special needs.
My passion for philanthropic work led to the establishment of The Joselyn Canfor-Dumas Foundation (JCDF) to help address the needs of vulnerable children from all backgrounds and regions of Ghana. The JCD foundation is currently undertaking a project with focus on Autism.
Children have the right to an adequate standard of living, healthcare, education and services, and to play and recreation. They also have the right to protection from abuse, neglect, exploitation and discrimination. This includes the right to safe places.
Unfortunately some children especially those in deprived areas do not get to enjoy these basic human rights. As a Single mother, I have always been passionate about children and their developmental issues. My passion to work closely with children goes back a long way before my career in television begun. This propelled me to make personal contributions to spearhead my foundation.
You also trimmed down. Why?
It’s for my health! Life is meant to be lived, loved and enjoyed, and we most certainly owe that to ourselves. I want to enjoy my life and enjoy it being healthy. I loved myself enough to realize that even though I shouldn’t be judged by my weight, obesity wasn’t allowing me to perform optimally. I felt healthier after losing weight, and I loved it. I was in tune with my body and learnt to be disciplined. My lifestyle and eating habits changed.
What are the challenges in embarking on such exercise?
I had to be disciplined; my lifestyle and eating habits had to change; No carbohydrate after 6pm, no fizzy drinks, etc. It’s not an easy road, it comes with many challenges and it is never ending. The race for perfection and excellence has no finish line; it calls for discipline, discipline, discipline – that’s my secret, to be honest.
I struggled with my confidence and body image, as people would stare which affected my self-esteem for a moment. I would see my love handles hanging out of my favourite pair of jeans, and I didn’t like it. I had to take ten selfies for that one perfect shot because my double chin was being a nuisance. I couldn’t control my racing heart beat and short breaths after taking only a few steps. Those for me are some of the challenges I faced that made me re-evaluate my life choices.
As a brand, what will you say is your selling point?
Like I said earlier, I am not perfect, but I always have that little voice in me telling me, ‘girl, what you just did is so wrong, you don’t say stuff like that to people’. And that little voice from God keeps me very grounded. Although I am always working on myself, it’s my little guide.
I always give my best to every project and I will never take what I have or this blessing I have been given for granted.
Tell us about your filming career?
My role in ‘Perfect Picture’, made a lasting impression on the director which led to subsequent key roles in other movies.
Then came the big break came two years later in the Shirley Frimpong-Manso movie series ‘Adams Apple’s. The role of Jennifer Adams in the movie got me nominated for ‘Best Actress in a Lead Role’ alongside Hollywood Actress Kimberly Elise at the 2011 Ghana Movie Awards.
Tell us about your personal life?
Joselyn Dumas is a versatile and fearless actress who continues to shine on the big screen and has received high acclaim for her work on television and in Film. Born Joselyn Canfor-Dumas in Ghana, she spent her early childhood in Accra, Ghana. She had her basic education at Morning Star School and proceeded to the Archbishop Porter Girls High School where she became the Entertainment Prefect. Joselyn furthered her studies in the United States where she studied to earn a Degree in Administrative Law. Joselyn is a proud mother whose life is centered around her child. Her belief, ‘Never stand begging for what you have the power to earn’ has been her motivation and drive over the years. Joselyn is an ardent reader, loves to travel, admires nature, always makes time to keep fit and above all loves God.
What came to mind, when you got contacted for the ‘Potato Pohato’ lead role?
When Shirley contacted me for ‘Potato Potahto’, I think I said “When do we start shooting?” I’ve worked with Shirley Frimpong –Manso and I have never doubted her brilliance as a director. Then the script was definitely something I wanted to bring to life. Reading it alone was funny and I was ready to tell a story that serious with all the humor infused into it. I’m glad I took that role in ‘Potato Potahto’.