Joselyn Dumas plays Lulu in Potato Potahto. Picture: Sibonelo Nqcobo
When Joselyn Dumas steps into a room, everyone stops and stares. I witnessed the star power she possesses, even in South Africa where she is relatively unknown.

However, as much as this Ghanaian beauty has embraced being one of the biggest stars in West Africa, she is all about her passion - entertaining people.

On a recent trip to South Africa to promote her new movie, Potato Potahto, which is showing in cinemas, the award-winning actress, presenter and producer jetted to Durban for an exclusive photoshoot and interview.

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The arrangement sets off love-hate situations, jealousy, competition and awkwardness as other family members get drawn in.

Set in Ghana, Dumas said she was attracted to the script as soon as she saw it.

Joselyn Dumas plays Lulu in Potato Potahto. Picture: Sibonelo Nqcobo

“For me the script was such an easy read and I love that. I also saw some of me in Lulu, so I could relate to her on certain levels. At the same time, I wanted to play her because she is also very different to me. Lulu is my alter ego. Although I am more tolerant than she is, Lulu is hard-headed; she always has to have the last word in an argument. I think everyone knows a Lulu in their life.”

The starlet wanted to know why she was the way she was, so she sat down with the film's director and delved into Lulu.

“Every good actor has to prepare, and I like to do so by finding out as much as I can about the character.”

Dumas also co-executive produces the movie.

“I am a producer, I have produced shows in Ghana and in other parts of the continent. I wanted to do that with Potato Potahto and it was not difficult. In Ghana, making television and movies is expensive, we don’t have the support from the government like in South Africa. Although we managed to get funding, I and others on the set had to put our own money into it as well. That aspect was challenging for us all.”

She said that a highlight of working on the movie was the fashion.

Joselyn Dumas plays Lulu in Potato Potahto. Picture: Sibonelo Nqcobo

“I love that we are showing a different side to Africa: we have beautiful houses and cars, we are stylish and the fashion was great. We had Ghanaian designers dress me, which was fabulous, and that also helped show Lulu as a modern African lady.”

Dumas said people would enjoy the movie because of its comedic factor and that they could relate to the characters.

The production has been to the Cannes Film Festival and the Toronto International Nollywood Film Festival, where she received the Best Actress Award.

Dumas, who grew up in Accra and studied in the US to be a paralegal, shot to fame when she quit her job in America and moved back home to pursue a career in acting.

“I did recitals as a child and was always a fan of television. I saw how people I looked up to had successful television careers. After working as a paralegal, I decided that going back home would be my best move. I was home sick, my marriage didn't work out, I was a single mother and I just wanted to be home,” she said.

Joselyn Dumas plays Lulu in Potato Potahto. Picture: Sibonelo Nqcobo

After scoring a job as a host on Rhythms, an entertainment show in Ghana, she was head-hunted by a popular television network to host her own talk show. Soon movie roles started pouring in and so did the awards.

“I have been very blessed in my career and the roles I have been given. It has not been easy. I remember my first audition - it was terrible but God had a plan for me. From Adams Apples to Love or Something Like That, I learnt lessons along the way and I am so grateful.”

The starlet also has a new show that just premiered, Keeping It Real with Joselyn Dumas, which she produced.

“I was looking to do something interesting and fun. I have done talk shows before but I wanted something a little more real - I wanted real conversations, tastefully done of course. I wanted to talk about things affecting all of us. We need to speak about it.”

Her future hopes are to be the best at what she does and see the African movie industry bursting at its seams.

Potato Potahto is in cinemas in South Africa.

* The photo shoot was made possible by Tourism KwaZulu-Natal and Tsogo Sun. A special thank you to designer Kathrin Kidger, to hairstylist Jackie Cain of the Umhlanga Laser & Aesthetic Clinic and make-up artist Noxolo Zondi of NoxxMakeup. 

LiamKarabo

IOL