If you have ever dreamed of changing careers, you are certainly not alone. (I myself have made that switch). Xandria Dede Kamel is my real name, but I am also known as Xandykamel in showbiz. I was born in the northern part of Ghana - Tamale to be precise, but I was raised in the northern parts of the Volta region. I am an actress, entrepreneur and the founder of Xandy Empire. I completed both my junior and senior high school in the Volta region. And later, I went on to pursue my hospitality management diploma at the school of culinary arts. Fast forward, I later on joined the Ghana Immigration Service as an immigration officer in 2012. But I resigned from the Immigration Service and took to acting. I started acting in Kumasi, where I was discovered by a producer by name Macho and his a production company. As newbie in the movie industry it wasn’t easy starting off. I do remember, sometimes I end up showing up at a movie location or set and staying out for a week without shooting a scene. Meaning my accommodation, transportation and food bills are all on me. That is one of the challenging meth in the movie industry in Ghana. I had to take care of my own bills for almost 2 years. God being so good, I was able to face this giant and elephant in the room. Later, I had the opportunity to be featured in a movie in Nigeria. That changed my story. I went on to feature in couple of movies, like: Missing Gold, Father Abraham, Mary Kronkron, Save the Child, Merry Go Round, 5pm and many more. With all these experiences I had to go through, I was able to channel those few energy into producing 4 movies namely Frustrated Husband, Royal Family, Merry go round and Night Shift. I am so grateful to acknowledge my journey as a unique opportunity ordained by grace. Therefore, focus on your journey because your story is different from your neighbour’s.
What would you say was the single most influential factor in your success?
I was raised by both parents, however 7 years ago I lost my dad on the 25th of December 2012. Life became a bit more challenging for my family, because my mom was back then a housewife with no job. My two younger sisters were still in school back then and being the eldest came with responsibilities, trying to make ends meet to supports them. Therefore, going on sets and not getting paid was very depressing. Sometimes, I wondered why I got so motivated to show up on various sets everyday without a paycheque. I had so much passion for the industry, but sometimes I became overwhelmed questioning my decisions in leaving my regular paying job as an immigration officer to be an actress. My faith in God kept me grounded most days. Therefore, the single factor in my success is I trusted the process, knowing that at the right time things would work out. Some days, my mother became worried wondering and had a hard time understanding why I wasn’t getting paid after staying on set for many days. Later, I had to explain to her why and what this sacrifice meant to me. With time she understood, here I am today – she is a proud mother.
What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started?
I wished, I knew earlier losing a parent would actually have an effect in my life and career (positively and negatively). Trust me, I would have saved all the allowance my dad gave me before he passed away. That way, I could have avoided seeing my mom stressed out. However, God being good - everything turned out great.
What were the biggest initial hurdle and how did you overcome them?
The biggest hurdle in my story, was when I lost my dad – re: he was the bread winner. It really took a huge toll on me. I had few individuals who were very encouraging and also supportive.
What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur or talents out there locally and internationally?
One thing I would advise any upcoming or any talent out there is please be yourself.
Also, focus on your craft.
Don’t let anything distract you from your goals.
Do believe in the talent and work on your weakness.