ALM: Please, introduce yourself to my followers…
ANNABELLE: Hi, my name is Annabelle Mandeng. I am a 48 years old German actress, presenter and dubbing actress that loves to run, workout, paint, cook and live a healthy life with loads of fresh juices!
ALM: Your parents are from Germany and Cameroon – so your half German and African. How do you identify yourself? Do you see yourself more as a German or an African?
ANNALBELLE: I clearly see myself as a German as I was born and raised here. I have only visited Cameroon a couple of times for a week or so in my life as my parents divorced when I was a baby so I don’t have any connection with Cameroon.
ALM: What is your thought about being raced from parents with different nationalities? Would you say it was difficult? If yes, why ?
ANNABELLE: My parents divorced when I was 1 1/2 and my brother 6 1/2. We stayed with our mom whereas my father went back to Cameroon after writing his PhD in economics in Germany. So the only culture we knew was that of my German mother.
ALM: Your mother worked for the German Entwicklungsdienst in Togo. You also lived in Pakistan, therefore you lived in different countries and cultures. What did you learn the most while living in those countries / cultures?
ANNABELLE: What I learned most is tolerance and respect towards different cultures, needs, behavior and traditions. It opened my horizon and made me also understand that I will always be black in Germany and white in Africa. Or simply „different“ in Pakistan. A conflict at first but finally it taught me to be happy with my individuality.
ALM: What do you enjoy the most living about the German society?
ANNABELLE: I love the openness, I love to talk to people openly, to move around in the clothes I prefer, to watch the change in our society into a multicultural melting pot. I love the humor of the people in the north where I grew up and going skiing in the south. There is a lot I love!
ALM: You are an actor, dubbing actor and TV presenter. Which of those profession do you like the most and why? What are the difficulties of such jobs?
ANNABELLE: I love all three jobs but I prefer most to act and dub. Working in the German media being 5’11“ 1/2 (1m80) and black is really not that easy. As an actress I have played in a couple of big productions but only now – due to the change towards diversity – I played a leading role in a cinema movie which be will be out next spring („Berlin-Alexanderplatz“ by Burhan Qurbani). As a dubbing actress I have SO much fun! First of all, the only thing that counts is my voice, not my height, not my looks, not my skin color. Second: since I was a child I loved to play around with my voice, reading out loud, recording, ect., so I simply feel at home. As a presenter I love the intellectual challenge as I work with big companies, the Berlinale, the government simultaneously in German and English and sometimes in French.
ALM: Have you ever experienced any kind of troubles because of your appearance? If yes, what exactly
ANNABELE: Honestly? Not really. I guess because of my height, posture, education and appearance. People think twice before making such a move towards me. Still I have experienced racist remarks, was sometime pushed by elderly men while walking somewhere but it has nothing to do with what happens to others. The only thing that is finally getting on my nerves is the need to explain in roles why the character is black. If you take a look in Kindergardens you can see that these reflects how diverse our society has become This should be much more reflected in the German media. I know that things change but too slowly in my eyes.
ALM: Which advice would you give young black women which would like to work in the media industry?
ANNABELLE: The only advice I can give which goes for any young woman no matter what skin color: rely on your brains, work hard and be respectful and kind.
ALM: How do you deal with people who criticise you?
ANNABELLE: Openly as I love to learn!
ALM: You are also an athletic person. What does sport mean to you? How do you handle your weaker self on days you do not feel like working out?
ANNABELLE: I have always worked out since I was a toddler basically. It is part of my life and always will be. And it is a necessity, too, as my spine had to be stabilized with titan bars and screws. Plus my left arm is handicapped since a major car accident when I was 17. Sport for me is like sleep, food, drink or hygiene. If I don’t feel like working out it is mostly simply due to the fact that my body needs a break. If not, I know that I always – with no exception – feel better after a run in the park or a couple of exercises or what not. Also as a balance to being so alert in my jobs.
ALM: What or which people inspire you and why?
ANNABELLE: I feel inspired by courage, talent and creativity.
ALM: If you had three wishes, what would that be?
ANNABELLE: I would wish for a political and economical change in countries such as Serbia. I would wish for more tolerance towards other cultures, religions, sexual preferences, gender, skin colors. And I would simply wish for a couple of million Euros to support projects such as ocean care and to buy living spaces for myself and my family and friends.
Dear Annabelle, thank you so much for being a part of those people who inspire me. You are an example of a living multi talent and a kind-hearted soul. Thank you for your time and interest. All the best 🙂