By Benjami Njoku
New York-based model-turned-actor, Boma Akpore is one of Nigeria’s biggest exports to the outside world. Now, he’s enthusiastic about coming back home to be part of the country’s ever flourishing film industry.
An accomplished model, Akpore ventured into acting after an injury that cut short his professional football career, just before signing to play against the Scottish Premiership team.
Since then, he has found solace in the world of make-believe, having began his acting career with a big break on NBC’s crime thriller, ‘The Blacklist.’ He also featured in episode 616 of the critically acclaimed show. Recently, the New York Film Academy alumnus joined the cast of Hollywood’s first all Black Egyptian Film ‘Protector Of The Gods.’ He describes his foray into acting as ‘ a dream come true.’ In this engaging interview, he talks about his dreams and aspirations, his fears as well as his plans to return home to invest in the country’s movie industry.
Since delving into acting, would say you have realized your dream?
Since I cut the acting bug, it’s been amazing. Acting has given me a new sense of purpose , having had the opportunity to live in 20 countries. Acquiring all kinds of experiences which have helped broaden my knowledge. Since becoming an actor, any time I need an experience, I just bring it from my life experience. I love everything I have done from football, modelling. Now acting. I love every bit of it, it’s just been different. Acting has given a new sense of drive and purpose, been able to tell stories, been able to convince people, been able to play different characters and different parts in my my life. I have realized my dream. I definitely want to do this for a long time. I want to create my own stories and work on my own movies, which I’m definitely working on. I love it because it’s been a great feeling.
How did you get into acting?
A producer saw me at an event and told me she liked my look, and would love to cast me in her upcoming television series. Shortly after, I enrolled in the New York Film Academy and hit the ground running with acting since then.
Was there any time you felt like giving up your dream as result of frustration and inability to have a breakthrough?
Surely, there were times I definitely felt like giving up. Like they say, if your dreams don’t kill you., then your dreams aren’t big enough. You need dreams that will kill you, dreams that will look impossible to achieve. And you have to find a way to convince yourself and to all the people around you.
In this kind of career I found myself in, you have to prove yourself everyday. There are some careers you can manage to maintain for a couple of years. But in my kind of career, you have to prove yourself on daily basis. They use the term, ‘you are as good as your last job.’ Today, you book this job, and tomorrow, you definitely got an audition for something else, and you book another job. In football, if you don’t play well you lose your jersey to somebody else. In some teams, when you play lower professional leagues, if you don’t probably play, sometimes, it affects your pay. It also affects your relevance.
Sometimes when it’s tough for you, you feel like giving up. But that goes back to what inspires you. Why do you do what you do? Your ‘why’ is a big factor in everything you want to do. If you are doing it for the wrong reasons, it’s easier to give up. It’s not easier to quit because the reasons are wrong. If you don’t have enough in you to keep fighting when the times are not going in your favour… Basically, because of the reason you are doing what you are doing, and you are determined, do not take no for an answer. Be prepared to fail. Failure is the mother to all success. You actually learn more in failure than in succeeding.
Every successful person once failed especially, the bigger the success the more the failure. So, the bigger you are as a successful person, the bigger your failure you will encounter in life. Most times, we don’t really put our failures out there. No one celebrates his failure, everyone keeps his failure to himself. Yes, I have had my ups and downs, but I just have to pick myself again and move on because I am determined to succeed.
And what’s your advice to the young ones who are looking up to you?
My advice to the young ones is that they should not give up their dreams. Believe in yourself , know the reason you do what you do. Hold on to God and be sure everything gonna be alright at the end of the day. Keep your head up, stay focused and determined. Your eyes should be on the price.
You started out as a model before delving into football and now acting, what would you say is your driving force?
My driving force has been my environment because we are the products of our environment. Growing up, you see all kinds of things. You see what you want to become as well as what you don’t want to become. My environment and family have been my driving force. I take my family very seriously. I want to get the best version of myself for them. I just want to give them the best because I saw the sacrifices my mom and my grandmother made because of me. So, I want to go out of my way to be the best version of myself for them. Also, the fear of failure keeps me on my toes. I don’t want to live a life not fulfilling my full potential. I just keep going as much as I can. And none of us knows our last day, all we know is that we live today and we gonna see tomorrow. Who knows we gonna see tomorrow, only God knows. So, I try to live everyday like my last day. I go out of my way to give my all. I’m trying to leave a mark in the world in a positive way that will affect my generation. God, environment, family, background and fear of failure have been my driving force so far.
Do you have plans of returning home someday to be part of the development of the country’s film industry?
Definitely, I have plans of coming back home and doing some stories. I do come home once a year, usually to see my family and spend time with them. I want to bring some of the experiences back home to do some collaborations. Yes, I’d have such plans. Script for my short film has been written already as we speak. I was supposed to be in Nigeria last December, but I couldn’t make it because of the fact that I was working on a show then.