Nollywood actor and model, Kenneth Okolie, became popular after he won the Mr. Nigeria competition in 2010. He was second runner up at the Mr. World competition later that same year.
His first movie role was in Aina, produced by Olamide Marare.
Kenneth talks about his education, the Nigerian movie industry, and politics.
PT: Tell us a bit about your background.
Kenneth: I attended Stepping Stone and Learning Field Primary Schools, then St. Jude’s Secondary School. My universities were Igbinedion University, Okada, Valley University Ghana and GIAMPA in Ghana.
I studied business administration in Igbinedion. I did not get to choose a course of my own in Igbinedion University. Then when I went to Valley University; I studied marketing. I also did a course in Sales and Entrepreneurship as well in GIAMPA, Ghana.
I am from Ihiala, Anambra state. I grew up and still live in Lagos.
PT: What are your hobbies asides acting and modelling?
Kenneth: I love swimming, I love basketball, and I love football.
PT: Can you dance?
Kenneth: No, I can’t dance
PT: Ok, but you can wind your waist, because sources tell me you are a good dancer.
Kenneth: I can “wine.” It depends on the kind of wine that you are talking about oh! I love wine, red wine! (Laughs) Ok, I love dancing.
PT: Did you ever see yourself modelling and acting while studying business and marketing courses at the university?
Kenneth: The thing about it is that being a marketer and going into modelling is kind of a cliché because as a model, you have to market yourself. You are your own brand. People want to see you, the person you are, how you look, your poise, your composure, your confidence. That’s something that most people admire and like. With that, you can sell your brand.
The same thing applies to marketing. Once you know your target and you know how to market it, you know the niche. You have a niche in the market like “boom!” when you have the product that you actually want because everyone has something that they want and every individual has something that someone wants. You want to know how to put that through to the guys and “boom!” You are good!
PT: How did you get into acting?
Kenneth: My acting career started in 2010, after Mr World, in which I came third. I did a stage play as a talent at the Mr. World contest, people loved it. I got good reviews. And I was like okay! Let’s try this. I think this is a good idea. Let me just try my hands on that and all that stuff. So I contacted a few people, we went for casting and audition with an amazing producer, Emem Isong. She had something coming up at that time and yeah, she put me on it.
PT: What else do you do asides acting and modelling?
Kenneth: I am a furniture dealer.
PT: What was your first movie and how many have you done so far?
Kenneth: My first movie was Aina. Olamide Marare was the producer. He is based in the United States of America. A Nollywood actor/producer. So, he came with a Nollywood production crew who came here to get the job done and commence the production and everything. After that, I worked with Emem Isong; then moved on from there. I can’t remember how many movies I have done, maybe 18.
PT: Have your parents always been in support of your acting career?
Kenneth: Well, they never expected it. My dad didn’t really know what I was up to or what I was doing on the side but my mother actually had an idea of my modelling and everything. Well, I took permission from him at least. As far as I was getting good results in school, he was okay with it. You know. He has been supporting me since day one.
Kenneth: No, I’m single. If I had a girlfriend, that would have been difficult to answer but yeah I am single.
PT: Why are you single?
Kenneth: I was in a relationship but it did not turn out well. We wanted different things.
PT: So what’s your idea of an ideal woman?
Kenneth: Hmmm, I am a big Mercedes fan. I love Mercedes Benz so if God gave me a Mercedes Benz, then I would be happy. The latest C-class is not bad. Anyhow you want to do it, just send it to me. I don’t have a problem with it.
PT: Really, what kind of woman do you like?
Kenneth: (Singing Nicki Minaj’s Anaconda) My anaconda don’t, my anaconda don’t, my anaconda don’t want nu’n unless you got bunz hun!
PT: How do you handle your female fans?
Kenneth: Well, I don’t put pressure on my female fans. Yes I appreciate everybody you know. It’s more like appreciation. I just appreciate them. That’s all!
PT: Which actresses have you dated?
Kenneth: No no no no! It’s bad for business. It’s very bad for business.
PT: Who are the actors you would like to work with home and abroad?
Kenneth: Well, abroad is home! As in! I have been in the U.S all my life and all (in an American accent) you know what I’m saying. Ok Denzel Washington, Will Smith, Pete Edochie over there in New York, you know. Then abroad which is Nigeria, you talk about Ramsey Nouah, Segun Arinze, Sam Dede who acted Issakaba. I would love to work with Sam Dede. People like that inspire me in the movie industry; from Desmond to Ramsey to Sam Dede. These guys actually motivated me.
PT: Who is your biggest mentor and inspiration?
Kenneth: Will Smith, Al Pacino and Robert DeNiro, Denzel Washington, Brad Pitt. I love Robert DeNiro mehn, I love him!
PT: It seems the new trend is celebrities going into politics, what do you think about that?
Kenneth: I think it’s actually good that actors are going into politics. Well, I hope they are going for the right reasons. I want to believe they are going for the right reasons. Why I am saying it’s actually good is that they already have a crowd, they already have a voice, they already have people that they control that actually admire them and support them in what they do. So with that, they actually have the capacity to conduct a change, conduct a movement. I pray it’s for the right purpose, not for their pockets. That’s why I said it’s actually good.
PT: Do you think you would go into politics?
Kenneth: In future, yes! Why would I not want to empower people, empower the youth, empower the upcoming, create job opportunities for people who look up to me as an icon. Like Kate Henshaw, I heard she is running. Desmond Elliot as well, I heard he is running. I am not sure of the others who are going into politics but I am sure of both of them. So by God’s grace yes I will go into it.
PT: What movies should we expect soon from you?
Kenneth: The Departments, The Arrangements which is with Ebony Life. It should be out before December. I can’t really say but before December. And some other movies. The Voice with Nkiru Sylvanus should be out on DVD very soon though. It might be premiered in the U.S.
PT: Where do you see yourself in five years?
Kenneth: Wow! I can’t really say because I see a lot of things. Things I can’t say because you don’t want to say. I would be a family man. That’s limiting yourself. Boom! Let it happen but I see many things.
PT: Do you intend to make your own movies?
Kenneth: I am actually making my own movie next year. I start shooting from January
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