We had the good fortune of connecting with Ella Kweku and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ella, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
Nothing else made sense to me but doing what made me happy. I always loved singing, dancing, being on stage, putting on long dressed and coming up with little scenes where I could play in character. I loved entertaining the people around me and I would always find new ways to do so. I understood at an early age that I could give hope to people, inspire them to dream and I decided I wanted to be a part of that. The story of my life begins with very little hope; a brothers death, my biological mother leaving and a children’s home. My father always fought for my sister and I but he had little rights as an immigrant without papers in Spain. Hope arrived when Julie Forrest came into the picture, she’s the person I consider my mother. I think those first years of my life had such a strong impact on me, I just wanted to make people around me happy and to be seen.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I decided to leave home and follow my dreams when I was 18 years old. It definitely hasn’t been an easy road. I arrived in Miami with $100- $200 in my pocket. Not sure what I thought I was going to do with such little money but at 18 you’re not really thinking about those things. I didn’t know anybody in the industry so I literally just started knocking on model agency’s doors and asking for the chance to work with them. I had no working papers so I got rejected from all of them but one at the very bottom of my list. The agency owner didn’t necessarily like my look so she said no but one of the agents convinced her to give me a 3 week trial. During that first week I booked a job that was shooting in Mexico and so that was how I started my career as an international model. Before that I had worked in Spain for a couple years so I already had some experience in front of the camera. I think I’m very proud of that story cos I realize now, looking back, that it took a lot of courage. I had to learn how to navigate the industry very fast. I had no friends or mentors or even a mother agency to look out for me. An angel must have been looking over me cos I managed to stay out of trouble in a world where it was so easy. I had a ver wise friend tell me once “Gather the tools you need in each situation and then move on to the next” that has always stayed with me and till this day I always try to implement it. I have learnt to not be attached to an outcome. When I was younger I always tried to control everything and if things didn’t go my way I would be very upset and beat myself up. Life never happens as you want it to, that’s what makes it special and unpredictable. Although fashion has always payed the bills, acting is my chosen career. I specialize in drama, it comes naturally. I love loosing myself in other worlds and growing my awareness and consciousness through my characters. I heal through them. It’s a beautiful experience. It can also be a bit scary, my characters are usually dark or going through very hard moment. As a method actor I have to create anchors into this reality otherwise it’s hard to get out of my characters life. It’s fascinating, I’m basically rewiring my brain to believe I have lived experiences I haven’t. I just love it! For this new project I’m working on I have created the blue print of a second character that will help me out of my initial character once we have finished filming.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
My favorite place in California is probably Joshua Tree and Palm Springs, I love to be quiet and live a simple life. All I need is a good Italian restaurant, good company and I’m the happiest girl in the world.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
The America Musical and Dramatic Academy (AMDA) Brady Brannon & Rich (BBR) – My commercial agency TNG Models & The Driven Agency – My model agencies Dir. Marcelo Piñeyro – Director of my first feature movie as a lead for Sony Pictures Spain Dir. David Martin Porras – Director of a new project I’m currently working on Kaliah Garzón – My manager in Spain Paul Garnes for being a mentor/friend and checking on me from time to time. Jo Jackson and Jouri Smit for telling me things straight. Arrionne Simmons for being so open and sharing her knowledge in the PR industry. Wade Crescent for his creative genius, and keeping a smile on my face. Jorge Valdes-Iga and Patrick Jones for teaching me so much about advertising. Fabien Benhamou, Susan Berry, Haldane Morris and Janet Roth for taking amazing pictures of me. All the brands that have trusted in me to be a part of their campaigns: Dermalogica, Neutrogena, Ferrero Rocher, Nivea, Adidas, Nike, Clarisonic… I have learnt so much from their incredible teams. I truly feel honored Also thank you to any magazine and/or news paper editor who has ever written about me. I am so grateful.