I believe in women and our stories – Lydia Forson on why she plays strong women on screen

In Akwaaba Magic’s To Have and To Hold, Lydia Forson’s most recent TV role, the award-winning Ghanaian actress plays Akosua, a woman whose life is turned upside down when she catches her husband of 10 years at the altar marrying another woman.

But despite the mess in her romantic life, Akosua is a career-driven woman who will not let anything get in the way of her success in a male-dominated advertising world. She’s the kind of strong women that Forson enjoys embodying, more so if their stories are as complicated and as layered as Akosua’s.

“I love characters that challenge me and take me out of my comfort zone. I’ve had a few but I’m open to more,” Forson admits.

To Have and To Hold S1, which recently wrapped production and now has all 26 episodes available to binge on Showmax, also stars Naa Ashorkor as Enyonam and Zynell Zuh as Kuukua. Together with Akosua, they navigate friendships and dating in modern Ghana.

Read more about Forson’s role in the interview below, where she also names her To Have And To Hold co-star Adjetey Anang as one of her favourite actors and talks about why Akosua would be an Adele fan, and more.

What would you say attracted you to the role of Akosua?

I appreciated her initial naivety and subsequent growth through the many challenges she went through. I love characters that evolve.

With this character, viewers get to learn that they too can grow from their struggles and that there’s no shame in starting over, even if it means taking a new and unfamiliar path.

You are used to playing strong women on screen, and Akosua is no different. Why is this important to you?

I believe in women and our stories, and I don’t think we always have the opportunity to tell these stories or explore them as accurately. So whenever I do have the opportunity, I do not hesitate.

Akosua has gone through some bad relationships, like walking in on her husband’s wedding to her date getting arrested for fraud. In real life, what would you say is your relationship deal-breaker?

I would have to pick dishonesty and disrespect.

Do any of Akosua’s experiences relate to you personally?

I don’t think I share a lot of similarities with Akosua. Perhaps that’s why I find the character so interesting because I get to see the world through her eyes, and experience situations I probably never would have.

You recently tweeted that each time Adele releases an album, you’re going through heartbreak. Great to see you’re Adele’s fan just like the rest of us but do you think Akosua would love her music?

I love Adele: she’s a fantastic singer and songwriter who knows how to make you cry, laugh and think at the same time; even tweet about heartbreak you may or may not have experienced.

I definitely think Akosua would like Adele’s new album, which focuses on her own choices that has led her to where she is.

After 17 years of being in the game, which role would you say has been the highlight of your acting career?

It’s always hard to pick because each role I’ve played, I believe, has snapped my career and made it what it is.

Which Ghanaian actor would you give anything to share screen time with?

I’ve been fortunate enough to have already worked with some of my favourite actors, Adjetey Annang being one of them. I don’t think I could ever get tired of sharing screen time with him.

Let’s talk about working with Naa Ashorkor and Zynnell Zuh. What has that been like? Do you share ideas about your characters?

We have good chemistry on set and that goes a long way to help us tell the story. I’ve known both ladies for years and worked with them before, so this makes it a lot easier.

We do share a lot of ideas and discuss our characters, give suggestions and even help each other out when there’s a challenge.

To Have and To Hold recently wrapped filming with a major cliffhanger. Where would you want Akosua’s story to go in the next season with regard to her romantic relationships?

It would be nice to see her try to find herself more, without a man. A lot of time, I think women are so consumed by their relationships, they miss out on the opportunity to explore other areas of their lives. I’d like to see Akosua without her struggling with who she thinks she needs to be with.

Binge all 26 episodes of To Have and To Hold S1 on Showmax.