As one of Ghana’s most prominent and respected faces on screen, Joselyn Dumas has enjoyed immense love from fans.
Working with the award-winning writer, director and producer, Shirley Frimpong-Manso, she has played the role of strong, interesting, and complex women like the ambitious Naana Akua Quansah, who is looking to be Ghana’s first female president in the drama series Shampaign.
She also played a career-defining role as the tough, no-nonsense Jennifer Adams in the film series Adams Apples.
In Dede, Akwaaba Magic’s popular telenovela that is also available on Showmax, Joselyn plays a role unlike any other she’s ever played before.
She plays Dede’s evil stepmother Felicity, a character who could easily be a funnier version of Cinderella’s evil stepmother, and who takes Joselyn to places she’s never been before. Like speaking her native language, Ga, on screen.
This role, equally loved and hated by fans, has also earned Joselyn a new stream of local fans who marvel at this fluent Ga-speaking side of her they’ve never had a chance to see before.
In this exclusive chat, Joselyn shares more about this special love she’s received from the Ghanaian audience, her craziest interaction with Dede fans, what it means to play a character as “extra” as Felicity and more.
You play Dede’s evil and meddlesome stepmother, Felicity, a character cut out of a Cinderella playbook. What is it like to embody such a character?
First and foremost, it’s not a great thing to have devilish ways. However, as an actor you know it’s a character you need to portray and give life to. Felicity is dramatic and that’s just who she is. But I try to bring a bit of humour to her personality to humanise her a little, so people know that she’s not as bad as they think and has lovable moments.
Is this the role you anticipated when you were auditioning? And which other role would you have loved to play?
I wasn’t really after one particular role. It’s the role I got and I’ve played it to the best of my ability. Belinda’s (Jasmine Baroudi) role is also one interesting character. It would be fun to play her as well.
100 episodes in, has the show met your expectation of what you thought it was going to be when you were joining the project?
Yes, it’s garnered a great audience and viewership across the continent and beyond. I’m not surprised people are loving it. But what’s even more interesting is that it has earned me a local audience as well.
They love the fact that I can speak Ga and be very real with it. They just love it! People come up to me or on social media and say “Wow, I didn’t know you could speak Ga so well.” That’s so refreshing.
Felicity is unlike any other character you’ve played in the past, do you find it challenging to portray her?
Yes, it’s very different from all the roles I’ve done. I love that it’s refreshing in terms of how different the role is. With Felicity, as soon as I understood her character in its entirety, playing her became easier in terms of how dramatic she is and the humour she brings to screen.
The only challenging time I’ve had is that, as human beings, there are some not so good days and you get on set and you have to switch to this big personality of a character and play her to the fullest.
Now those are some of the challenging moments but as an actor, you don’t want to let the viewers see that, so you just shake it off as soon as the director says, “Action!!!”
With her theatrics and comedy, do you find it tough to keep a straight face when having to embody her craziness?
Sometimes I battle myself out of breaking out of character to laugh uncontrollably because of the things Felicity says and does. There have been times when the director says, “Cut” after a Felicity scene and the crew breaks out laughing because Felicity is just one noticeable piece of work.
Outside of your character, what does Joselyn really think about Felicity? Do you have any love for her?
I don’t like the mother to stepdaughter treatment; however, I love Felicity for being lovably crazy, humorous and just a full-of-light personality. Everyday is an opportunity to shine where she’s concerned.
Talking of Felicity’s stepdaughter, how is it like working with Adomaa Adjeman and the talent she brings to the role of Dede?
It’s great working with her. She gets better scene after scene and you can tell she’s putting so much effort into her acting craft. It’s just commendable.
Looking at all the conversation on social media, Felicity is loved and hated by fans in equal measure, what do you think about that? And what’s the craziest interaction you’ve had with a fan about Felicity?
It’s quite alarming how people on social media take Felicity’s actions so seriously considering it’s just a character. One time I walked into a party and I waved at a couple of people at a table and the outstanding singer Efya jokingly was like, “Yo! Don’t wave at me J, but girl, Felicity though, Felicity though!!! She’s a savage and you play her so well. Man, I love her but she’s a savage!
We all broke out laughing at the table. That made me feel good because as an actor, you should be able to ruffle peoples feathers by evoking some kind of emotion towards the character you are playing.
This is the tenth production that you’ve worked on with Shirley Frimpong-Manso. How is it like working with her? Is it easier for you to get into character when she’s directing?
It’s always fun working with Shirley. She gives you the space to be creative as an actor. And she involves you in fleshing up the character by making you understand the role you’re taking up. That makes it easier for an actor to split apart the character and find the “Whys?” to their character’s behavior.
Binge-watch the first 100 episodes of Dede on Showmax, with new episodes releasing weekly.