Briefly tell us all you can about yourself and what you do for a living?
My names are Mawuli Peter Gavor. I’m an Accountant/Model turned Actor/TV Host/Producer.
Born in Accra, Ghana to the the two greatest parents to walk the earth.
Follower of Christ, Music lover, Sports enthusiast.
I’m just a regular guy trying to enjoy life one day at a time.
ON HIS PERSONALITY
Tell us briefly about your childhood, what was life like growing up?
Actually had a pretty decent childhood, all things considered. My parents made just about every sacrifice to make that happen. Grew up pretty close to my siblings. Was fortunate enough to have the best of both worlds, so to speak. Had the regular school life with the toys and games but also had the life of chasing grass cutters and daily walks to buy charcoal for the coal pot.
What were your hopes and dreams?
Mainly just to have a family of my own and a successful business. Honestly, it really doesn’t take that much to make me happy. Never really had intentions of becoming one particular thing (lawyer/doctor/engineer) or entering one specific field. I truly felt I could be successful at just about whatever I put my mind to. I did dream of becoming a pastor at one point though. Not even kidding. I was just about accepting what my life was going to be after I moved back to Ghana, assimilating to my full time job as an accountant before life basically pulled a bait and switch on me. You could say I have a new set of hopes and dreams now.
Tell us about some of the challenges you faced growing up.
I can’t claim to have the most embattled childhood so I don’t really talk of my bad experiences. If we’re being honest a lot of people have much harder lives than I had. I can say that I’ve been blessed enough to have a pretty supportive family so anything I’ve had to face in life has been made exponentially easier to bear and overcome.
Did you ever imagine you’d one day be in the spotlight? What was the initial experience like?
Imagine? Of course. Everyone as thoughts of being famous one day. Didn’t really consider it a likelihood though. I did know that if the opportunity ever came I wouldn’t pass it up. I guess in my case visualizing your future was enough because it actually did happen for me.
What influenced your career as an actor?
Watching other actors and entertainers (worldwide) before me use their influence to impact positive change in any capacity.
Describe your personality, is it anything close to that portrayed on AM HUSH?
I’m not that complicated as a person, in my opinion at least. Most days I’m amused at the path I chose for myself because I’m largely an introvert. Would rather be home than out running around in public, but that’s simply a part of my job so I try to adapt as best I can. My character on Hush is quite the opposite. Tes is the definition of complicated, mainly because he has a much darker past and family turmoil than I ever could in real life.
If you could change an aspect of your life, what would that be?
Not really sure I’d want to change anything. Everything happens the way it’s meant to. Always has. But in a perfect world I’d want to be better at keeping in touch with my friends and family.
If you had the power to influence change in the world, what would you do?
Make it harder for our leaders to be unaccountable for their actions.
Would you call Nigeria a second home? What’s fascinates you about the country?
At the moment I spend more time in Nigeria than I do anywhere else, so yes I”d consider it my second home. By far the most interesting place I’ve ever lived. I’m probably most fascinated by the level of happiness people are able to maintain despite dealing with daily frustrations. Before I moved here people often told me if you can live in Nigeria you can live anywhere else.
I’m starting to understand why.
If you had the opportunity to inspire someone with an event from your career, what would the story be?
One of the biggest breaks of my career happened off the back of a spur of the moment decision. Flew to Lagos for an audition I’d only heard about the previous day. Had no contacts at the time, no idea about where I was going, where I was going to stay, etc. Basically no plan .I just decided to get on that plane and see how it would pan out. Completely bombed it. Worst audition ever. Didn’t remember half of the lines, was nowhere close to adequately prepared, but I walked in with as much confidence as I could fabricate, auditioned with a smile, thanked them and left. Flew back to Ghana that same day. Didn’t hear a single word for months, so naturally I assumed it didn’t work out. Felt like I’d wasted my time and money, put myself out there only to be rejected. Took the L and moved on from it mentally. One random weekday when a producer from the network calls to ask if I’m ready to start shooting in a week. I’m shooting, who what and where. Turns out I’d been picked a while ago, just hadn’t been told. Literally a few days later, bags packed, I was on another plane back to Lagos. A year and a half later here we are.
If there’s anything I have unwavering belief in, it’s the fact that all we can ever do in any situation is offer the best we have with courage, regardless of how unqualified, unworthy or unprepared we feel we are. The rest isn’t really up to us. What is yours, you can’t lose.
What is the most extreme change you’ve done to your personality (hair, body weight, etc.) just to prepare for a role?
Since I started with this part of my life I’ve been shooting just about non stop, mostly on multiple projects simultaneously so it’s often hard to drastically change my appearance due to continuity conflicts.
ON HIS CAREER
Kindly give us a list of some of the movies you’ve done.
Devil in the Detail
A Place Called Happy
One More Day
Has it been easy carving a niche for your career in Nollywood?
What challenges did you have to overcome?
Nowhere close to easy, but I’ve had an amazing support system so also not as difficult as It could’ve been. I’m a big believer in doing the best you can and allowing the rest to happen the way it’s meant to. That’s what I’ve done since I started down this road three years ago, and it’s worked well enough for me.
What has been your biggest role in a movie and how challenging was it for you?
Every role is challenging in its own way to be honest, because no matter how small the performance requires the best I have to offer. My most challenging would have to be playing Tes on Hush, not based on the depth of the character, but the sheer length of time I had to maintain the character for. Maintaining a persona consistently for over 290 shoot days is no joke.
What inspires you to be better?
Having to hear people say they look up to or want be like me is probably something I’ll never regard as normal, but it does provide the necessary motivation to constantly want to be better, do better.
What does it take to be a good and prolific actor like you?
What sets you apart from the rest?
I’d have to leave this to the fans/people who watch my work to decide what they like best/what makes me good. I simply try to be two things. Passionate but more importantly, natural.
In view of your experience as an actor, what ‘bitter truth’ would you give other aspiring actors?
It’s never going to be what you imagined. It’ll either be miles beyond your wildest dreams or way beneath your expectations. Whichever way it happens for you try to face it with courage.
Are your fans able to distinguish between “TESIMI” from the “HUSH” and MAWULI GAVOR?
Have you encountered conflicts?
Depends on which of my projects they’re fans of. But yes, most people who know me from Hush treat me and address me as Tesimi. People keep expecting me to be dating the people I’m in relationships with on the show in real life.
If Nollywood made a movie about your life, who would you pick to play your character?
Not sure I can pick someone right now. I’d need it to be a child actor because the most fascinating parts of my life happened when I was younger. At the moment there aren’t too many child actors in the industry.
Do you ever feel pressured as a movie star?
Pressured may not be quite the word I’d use. I acknowledge the responsibility that comes along with what I do, but I don’t particularly feel pressured by it. Ultimately, apart from God and my parents maybe I don’t owe anyone an explanation for my actions, so I’m always going to live my life the best way I know how. ‘Movie star’ or not.
What’s the one thing your fans do NOT know about you?
If you ever need to put me in tears just show have me watch the movie ‘A Walk to Remember’. No doubt I’ll be bawling after an hour.
ON FAMILY/ Relationships
Is there a likely hood of you marrying a Nigerian?
At this rate, 50/50.
What’s your take on marriage?
A beautiful thing. If you can make it work for you at the right time, go for it.
Has being a celebrity affected your family life or relationships in anyway?
It’s hard to tell. Difficult to differentiate whether the differences in relationships are as a result of me working in a different country from most of my friends/family or simply having a different lifestyle. If anything I’m probably more of a loner now than ever before.
What’s your idea of being a role model?
Staying true to who you are but never failing to remember in every moment that your words and actions have far reaching effects.
Do you sometimes wish you were not famous, if not why so?
For one thing I doubt I’ll ever be able to perceive myself with such words like famous. Simply doesn’t feel real. But no, there wouldn’t be much of a point wishing otherwise. I’m here now. Might as well make the best of it… Continue Reading
Photography by Ellis Mbeku for EMSTUDIOSng