Anah is one of those young bright minds that simply leave us in awe with their level of maturity and brilliance. She blossoms not just as an actor but also a film maker! Her voice is one that reflects her big, bold and beautiful heart, shining a light in dark places particularly on the issues of bully, racism and various forms of injustice. Anah is one of those amazingly gifted young creatives who make our hearts dance and sing new songs of a better future in the Creative Industry and beyond.
Join us on this special Anniversary ISSUE- As Anah shares on her awe-inspiring story and a truckload of inspiration on her journey as a versatile creative.
Enjoy and Stay Inspired
We are in love with how you effortlessly shine your bright light and brilliance! We stay in awe of the Bright Light that you are. How you stay bold and beautiful, using your platform as a Creative to shine a light in the dark places makes you an ICON, inside out. Can you please share some highlights of how you began your journey as a Creative?
I remember when I was little, I use to play with my dolls, I had different dolls and I would create different voices for them and I would have a different character for each doll, my mum would just watch me and be amazed like “What is going on?” and some of her friends would tell her that she really needs to get me into acting. I was five years old, and I was “yea! I want to be one of those people on TV” When my mom first heard about me getting into acting, she was like “what is that? I don’t even know where to start, how to do this” But from a help from a friend like Nadia, they really did help me in my acting journey.
I did local, I did my first short film when I was 7 years old and I was like “Oh my God, look at me” and I did a lot of commercials, like Build the bear. Build the bear was the first commercial I ever did and that was when I knew that I wanted this though it was in front of a camera, but I knew I wanted to be somewhere in film.
So, I have been acting since I was 5 years old, and I have been doing it. It has been a wonderful journey. I am so grateful to everyone in my path and my agency. What brought me into film making was when I was in my third grade, I was bullied about how I look like African bully scratcher and this made me feel less than I was, it really did bring my self-esteem down. I was bullied for three years, and I didn’t tell anyone and when I finally told my mom, it was such a relief, I don’t know why.
I can’t believe that my mom went through that too, and that kind of inspired me. At a time, my acting coach would tell me to fly and create, “create your own project, do what you got to do, don’t wait for Hollywood”. I would just write down my story, I didn’t think I was going to do anything with it honestly, I was just writing it down, trying to get my thoughts out there.
With the help of my mom, and my acting coach, I was able to make my first short film titled Made in His Image which was about my true story on how I was getting bullied. It was definitely a journey and definitely a process that I would always remember.
Like I have said before, I am not where I am because of me, I have so much support from my mentors, and I have so much support from everyone around me that have helped me get where I am today. Like Tyrene and Marcus, that film would be nothing without them, like they literally shot the film. I always thanked them so much, I called them like my set dads, it is kind of funny but they are like my set dads.
Doing Made in His Image did not only help me gain my confidence back but it made me realize that I want to be a director, I want to do behind the scenes, I want to do projects that inspire and tell stories and bring out these uncomfortable conversations like colonialism, bullying, racism and all these things. Just being able to show my films to all these other schools and organizations made me realize that there are stories that need to be told and people deserve to see themselves on TV and people deserve to see their stories on TV and that is what I hope to continue doing in the future.
What does Art mean to you?
I think Art means passion. To me, it does because anything that I do that involves my heart for writing stories and creating movies, I love it. It brings a smile to my face and there is no question about it. I never question my path on what I am doing because I know that this is the path I am in, so for me, it means passion.
It’s beautiful how you advocate for a fairer world that shows more love and empathy in place of all the hate, racism and general bulling. We love how your personal works and advocacy aligns with our goals as a brand. Kindly share any personal experience on racism and any words you have for both the victims and the world in general.
What I would advise for the victims of bullying is to know that nobody defines you, you are the one that defines you. Nobody can tell you that you are not smart, you are ugly, you are not worthy enough, it all depends on what you feel about yourself.
Know that you are beautiful, you are smart, you are special, you are significant and you are wonderfully made in God’s image because God made no mistake when he made you. What I would say to the bullies or to the whole world is hurt people, hurt people. We must have empathy for such bullies because they could be going through something in their homes, it is not an excuse for their behavior, but it is like that whole analogy of hurt people, hurt people. They are going through something at home which is why they are laughing it out at you, or you have something they don’t have. Of course, they would have such empathy towards the bullies.
To the bullies, what I would say to them is “learn to love yourself”. They might also have low self-esteem in themselves, and they are clearly missing something in their lives, so what I would say to the bullies is “learn to love yourself and don’t laugh out your pain on other people”. It may seem like the rational thing to do but it isn’t the right thing to do, it would only make you feel worse inside.
I would say that is my advice. Learn to love yourself, learn to find your own passion, and your own way. I think that is harder to say than do, it took me a minute to find my passion, my own way but if you do find it, stick with it and run with it, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise and it is ok to have confidence in yourself, it is ok. Don’t let anyone say that you are too cocky, there is a difference between cocky and confidence, you can see it in the person. So don’t let anybody tell you that you are too cocky, you just have confidence in yourself, you are not coming out as rude, you are not coming out as passive and aggressive because that is what they call we black girls. You are just honestly showing yourself love. I would just say, be true to yourself.
You served as an Associate Producer for the stunning film ‘A Christmas Gift,’ another displays of your brilliance at such a young age! What would you consider most fulfilling about being a Creative?
Just to be able to inspire people is the most fulfilling part of it because I would like to create a project that tells stories and I kind of like how I can interpret something beautiful because someone can go through what I went through and relate to it.
It can help them in some sort of way and I feel what is really fulfilling about being a creative is knowing people buy your art and your inspiring people through your heart and I love attaching myself to projects like Christmas Gift, it is like a family film and it is about family, love.
That film was so beautiful, Nadia was so amazing in it, shout out to Nadia, she was good in that film, and it was beautiful to see. Like not only just to see the growth of Nadia’s acting but to see the growth overall and to be a part of that was such a blessing and was such an honor.
I feel like creating projects and having meetings is awe-inspiring and so fulfilling. As a creative, the fact that I have the platform to do that is a blessing because not everyone has that platform to do that. I am given that platform, so I am going to use it in the best of my ability to make sure that I am inspiring people, that I am helping people the way I know how, which is through film.
What’s your dream life as an Artist?
Owning a range rover, that is my dream car. I have not really thought about my dream life, but I really hope to have my production company become big and continue to create more projects and open opportunities for women of color behind the camera. That is very important to me.
There are not many women of color behind the camera, and I really hope that one day I can give out those opportunities to people and just continue to create inspiring project. I haven’t really given my future, dream life a thought but honestly, I just want to keep inspiring, creating and providing opportunities, especially for the Chicago community. I know when I used to live in Chicago, I felt undervalued as an actor, unlike the LA actors, and the New York actors. So, I have always made it a point that if I am doing any project, there must be a Chicago actor in my project and I can give them my props, give them the respects they deserve because I have a big family in Chicago and there are a lot of great actors who are really undervalued and who deserve to shine. That is what I hope I can do in the future and continue.
Do you feel creatives in developed countries are at an advantage than those in developing countries?
Yea! I think so because not everyone has the same opportunity, not everyone is given the same respect, given the same attention, given the same care, so I believe they have an advantage and that exists.
We love how you unashamedly display the God factor and how you hold relationships dear. The one you share with Naomi Simms is very admirable. We understand balancing work time and rest time is a struggle for many creatives. Please share a few tips on how you try to balance work time, rest time, and family time?
I have had so many years of practice on this. When I was younger, it was a lot for me, and it was also a lot for my mom too because I would be at school, and she would have to pick me up because we had to be at this place or this audition or go on set for this thing. I remember when I was younger, it was just hard to balance mentally, to learn to be with these people and be with those people.
I was made to feel that I wasn’t always there for everyone, and I know that wasn’t the case but as I got older, I learnt that I could set my time aside to be able to be there for my friends and family and be there for my work. I am very organized with my mom like what is the schedule for today, what is the schedule for tomorrow and it is seen, and we give everyone the time they deserve, and they need but that took time, that took growth for me honestly.
But a lot of these come from my mom because my mom really has helped me to become organized. She is a working woman, and a single mom and she takes time from her day to take me to point A to point B and I thank her so much for that honestly because it can be a struggle and it can be a lot but at the end of the day, we feel good about it, and we know we are doing the right thing.
You shined so bright as always, at the Cannes Film Festival! Can you share some highlights of some of these moments for you? Also in few words, kindly describe the kind of filmmaker you look forward to becoming.
The Cannes Film Festival, that was honestly a blessing and God was with us throughout the whole experience, we were like how are we going to raise this amount of money to go but we raised a lot of money to go and that was honestly insane and I think everyone donated to that campaign.
The highlight of the Cannes festival was just being there, being able to work with people like Roy Morgan and seeing these people at the Cannes Film Festival was inspiring. And to be able to be in the same article with Spy kid was honestly crazy and I was just walking on the street, and everyone was looking at me and I was like “why are people looking at me?” Then we saw this billboard and I was right there next to Spy Kid, and I was like Oh my God, that is my face. So that was honestly insane, to be able to just have that experience because not all the people can say they have this experience so I was honestly and incredibly blessed to be 12 years old, all the way to the Cannes Film and showing my films, and getting the first ever rising star from Cannes Film Festival was honestly insane, I would forever remember it.
And the kind of filmmaker I will want to be is Eva Demonir. I know that is so specific but I look up to her so much. She is literally like my idol. She always makes projects that make you think, that have you reflect and have you want to make change. I love everything that her name is attached to because it makes you cry, it makes you reflect and it is so inspiring and I love it, I love her so much and that’s what I want for the future, to be able to make people feel something when they watch my project, to inspire someone to make them write their own project either writing a book or creating a magazine, just like anything, doing fashion or anything of that sort because Eva Demonir really inspired me so I hope to inspire someone.
What does success mean to you?
I think success means being able to feel satisfied in whatever career part that you want to do. I feel success can come from anything, you can be a CEO of a business and not be happy to be the CEO of that business. I feel like being successful is being passionate about what you are trying to pursue.
Please briefly tell us something we do not know about Anah Ambuchi.
She is actually very awkward. It is not intentional or anything but I am very extroverted, I am very outgoing but it can come out like a little of weird and awkward. When I was younger, I used to be embarrassed to crack jokes because people would be like oh, you are not funny, but I wasn’t trying to be funny. Now that I am more confident in myself, like I can crack jokes and people would just laugh, not because they are funny but because of the way I delivered them and that is ok, that is just who I am. You are awkward, yea, I know. At least I am happy, and I am comfortable in my skin and if I say an awkward cunny gag joke, I say awkward cunny gag jokes.
Let’s go a little poetic: If poetry is a rainbow and you have a choice of one color in that palette, what would that be and why?
I would say yellow because yellow means sun, like light, and it is like refreshing, just like a pretty color to see and to wear and every time I wear yellow, I feel happy. When I see yellow, I feel happy. People always be like they like my personality with yellow and bright. So, I would say yellow.
Yellow is not my favorite color, I like color blue, I think blue is calming and relaxing, I just really like that color but yellow is my second favorite. If I was to pick between blue and yellow, I don’t think I can live without my blue but yellow is just a want not a necessity.
Massive Love Anah!
The ICONIC Team