By BENJAMIN NJOKU
He’s one of the most sought actors in the Nigerian movie industry at the moment. But interestingly, Nosa Rex Okunzuwa better known as Babarex was initially not cut out to be an actor.
In fact, according to him, if somebody had told him he would end up becoming an actor, he probably would have doubted the person.
Today, he’s not just one of the bankable and influential actors in Nigeria, but also, a fast rising Instagram comedian to watch out for.
In a chat with the handsome actor during the week, he recalled how he began his journey into the world of make-believe, noting that his upbringing played a very vital role in his steady rise in the movie industry.
The actor said until he graduated from the university, he never saw himself venturing into acting.
In his words: “That’s why I always say that the movie industry chose me, I didn’t choose the industry. Although I was involved in school drama, I never knew I would end up as an actor.”
Nosa said everything started like a play and before he knew what was happening, he had developed a strong passion for acting.
“I was just having fun. I thought by now, I would be working in one big company and earning a fat salary. But why I decided to pitch tent with the movie industry is because I enjoy what I’m doing.
“I have found love in acting and making money out of it. I am okay with the industry,” he said.
The actor, who read Mechanical Engineering at Ambrose Ali University, Ekpoma, Delta State, said he has a plan to do something relating to his field of study in future.
Nosa credits his upbringing for this attitude towards his career and life. He, however, vowed to remain humble and not get carried away by fame and stardom despite the odds.
On what has changed about him since he made his acting debut in 2010, the handsome said a lot has changed.
“I’m still learning on the job because I didn’t attend any film school. Everything I know about the industry is what I learnt on the job. I will say I have learnt a lot, my acting skills have really improved. No one is perfect.
“With all humility, I will say I have found myself . When I came into the industry, I was floating, as I didn’t know where my strength lies. But today, I know where my strength lies. I think I’m doing better than I was before,” he enthused.
Talking about what values he learnt from his dad that helped to shape his acting career, Babarex who lost his mom in 2007, said he learnt how to be patient and calm in every situation from him.
“Also, I learnt how to face challenges and everything I learnt from my dad is really helping me in my marriage. This is because I saw how my dad took care of his family. If I tell you today that I am a family-oriented person it’s because of my upbringing.
“I don’t joke with my family. When I see my family doing well, it gives me joy. I can be driving a rickety car and see my wife and kids driving in a good way, I feel very fulfilled.
“I want you to rate me based on their outlook. They are the ones I am making all the sacrifices for.
“So, my dad made me a very disciplined person. Problems and challenges will always come, but your ability to stand firm and face those challenges is what makes you a man. Thinking of tomorrow, that’s another thing I learnt from my dad.
“I’m always thinking about tomorrow so that I don’t blow my resources away. I’m not carried away by fame. Sometimes, while I’m home, I’d forget I am an actor.
“I don’t talk carelessly. That’s how I have been living my life. I don’t show off and I don’t know how to carry my shoulders high.”
“I am a replica of my dad, and he’s the reason I got married very early. I have three younger brothers who are looking up to me. So, if I am not responsible, it’s going to affect their lives. I can’t be this responsible and my younger ones are irresponsible. It’s not possible.
“But now, I am like a mirror that everyone is watching and waiting for me to fail or succeed. That’s what really inspired me to continue to improve on my craft.”
“My dad was a retired Naval Officer. All the while, I have never had any reason to seek advice from him. He has never used his influence as a top Naval officer to rescue me in any situation. I don’t bring problems home. It’s not like I don’t misbehave out there, but I know my limits.
“When I’m making any decision I know that there’s always somebody watching me and will ask me about it. There are some stuff I will post on social media and my dad will ask me what’s going on.
“I know that somebody is somewhere watching, so I don’t live my life anyhow,” the actor who’s also a social media influencer said.
Nosa, however, slammed most of his colleagues who fight dirty and live their lives on social media. He wondered whether they have people who are monitoring their activities at any given time.
“Sometimes, I wonder whether they have parents, uncles and relatives that watch over them. Some of them live their lives as if they have two lives or they don’t care about tomorrow,” he decried.
Describing the COVID-19 lockdown as a blessing in disguise, the father of two kids noted that he had his breakthrough during the lock down.
While some of his colleagues were indoors throughout the lockdown, the actor said he was busy creating content and shooting films. According to him, it was during the lock down that he started making comedy skits because he wanted to show his funny side to the world.
“The lockdown was a blessing in disguise to me. While people were indoors due to the pandemic for three months, I was busy working.
“I didn’t have time for myself throughout the lock down because I was creating content. It was like a breakthrough for me. That was when God really announced me because of the content I created during that period.”
Continuing, he added: “People that are close to me can attest to the fact that I’m funny. It was hard showing the world because when you look at me, you may not think that I can be funny. I usually play lover boy roles.
“I just decided that I would use my skits to show the world my funny side since nobody would give me that opportunity. The COVID-19 pandemic helped me to discover myself fully.”
“The pandemic was a breakthrough for me. I didn’t have a choice, I was creating all those contents inside my house. I took advantage of the lock down to rediscover myself.
“Before then, it had been jumping from one location to another but the lockdown period gave me enough time to think and create good content. I started dropping content back to back. It really favoured me,” the actor recounted.
Besides creating comedy skits, Nosa also featured in not less than 21 films last year and it’s still counting.