Kindly tell us about yourself and what you do for a living?
My name is Jerry Mudiaga Bakpa, also known as Jerry Mudi, born 0n the 6th of August in the 80’s. I am from Oghara in Delta State Nigeria. I’m an actor, model, singer, an aspiring radio/TV personality and a businessman. Born in the UK and raised in the north – precisely Kaduna. I am the second son and the fourth child of a family of eleven.
What were your childhood years like – did you have pre-defined hopes and dreams?
Growing up with my brothers and sisters for me was very interesting, an experience I hold dear to my heart. Through the years, I have lived in about 7 states across Nigeria including Lagos where I am currently based, but as we all know home is where the heart is.
Did I have pre-defined hopes and dreams? Yes I did, as a child I wanted to be a Petrol Chemical Engineer, I always knew there was lots of money to be made even at an early age.
You seem to be a man of so many passions, what else are you involved in other than acting?
Yeah sure, I am an Entrepreneur, so I keep my options always open when it comes to diversifying my income streams.
Kindly describe some of the challenges you’ve had to face in achieving your goals and aspirations as an actor?
My personal struggle began in 2010 when I arrived in Lagos for a Tinsel audition, It turned out great but until I got a call back on my way out of Lagos since I didn’t have accommodation at the time, So, I had to make a U-turn only to realize that my picture was rejected and I couldn’t capture a new one just because I didn’t know anyone with the same suit size in Lagos at that time. Good thing, I finally got into Tinsel after more auditions. One vivid experience I can’t forget was after having gone through a series of auditions with high hopes, I was called in and handed a two page script titled ‘’boy one” with a line ‘’she is dead’’. Now I was weak, discouraged and not sure what to do, so I smiled and walked out, dropped the script and never looked back.
In getting to where you are today, how much hard work did you have to put in?
Alot of hard work was and is still being put into becoming the Actor that I can be proud of. Auditions, lots of auditions, watching and learning from inspiring actors on screen, reading up on the internet about the craft and also learning on the job is what got me here and hopefully one day I can inspire young aspiring actors.
Describe your personality.
I’m warm, loyal, adventurous with a huge and fragile ego. A goal getter, action-oriented and driven by the desire to be loved and admired, I love to impact and change lives for the better. I believe I have an air of royalty about my self. I’m kind, helpful, a big-heart that showers love and affection on people.
What three character traits would your friends say you possess?
They would certainly say I’m kind, hardworking and headstrong.
What do you LOVE about yourself and why?
Oh, what I love about my self, hmm…….I love a lot of things about my self. The fact that I am created this good, with a heart and soul so honest and loyal, a lover who is never afraid to show it. A fighter for a good course, friendly, sociable, humble, always ready to learn and a giver who always looks out for people. I love these things about me because there make me me.
How was your first experience on set, did you feel intimidated by anyone?
My first experience was on a Tinsel set, an extra at Ziggy’s bar, can’t forget it. It was a 6AM call time. met other actors and brought my observant self. I sat, listened and watched before mingling. I was excited, having been given an opportunity on Mnet’s biggest show. Every other thing didn’t matter at that time. So did I feel intimidated by anyone? Nooo! Inspired and challenged are the words.
How versatile are you as an actor?
As actors we’re generally expected to be versatile enough to play everything. At least that’s the general consensus regarding acting as a profession, and not simply from actors and their coaches. A versatile actor is someone whose resume covers a wide range of characters, from playing the chill guy/girl to a psychopath, and am still on this beautiful journey to exploring different characters. So giving a 1 to 10, I’ll say 5.
What do you do to infuse yourself in any given role?
Do you easily get into character?
I must believe in the character. I must believe in what I say and that I am not just reciting, spouting or commenting. I should get to know the character as well as I know myself, so I can just exist and live as that entity. Also, what other characters say or think about my character can be very revealing. So as actor, I have to plant those memories, anecdotes and backstory. Do I easily get into character? Yes
In view of your achievements and experience as an actor, what’s the one thing that motivates you the most?
I will say the love for the craft. My career as an actor has come this far because of the love for bringing a character to life, I love inhabiting other people’s words, I lose myself in the character and in the world of the play and temporarily inhabit a different reality. The love of performing is more intense than a daily life, it’s like being in love or being frightened, it’s a heightened state. Some actors call it “performance high” and this is addictive. Doing a project on set is an incredibly intense process, which involves the cooperation and coordination of many types of creative people, all of whom must work to an end that is beyond and much bigger than themselves and often under extreme time constraints. Out of necessity, a company, crew, artistic staff, production, talent come together very quickly just for the job to be done. Now after all this is done the viewers make up the final component of the experience, which makes this all worth it and I love it.
Tel us about some personal struggles you’ve had to go through in the course of furthering your career as an actor?
At first people had doubts/ questions even within the industry and its completely normal but regardless, I had bills to pay, I’ve come to realize that with passion, consistency and dedication people will begin to believe your dream.
What sacrifices have you made for your career?
Would you say they’ve been worth it?
Being an actor is amazing. You get to “play” for a living, embrace your creativity and if you’re lucky, earn a very good living while at it. But there are also so incredible setbacks and sacrifices that actors makes as they pursue the Silver Screen or the Small Screen. Personally I have had to work without pay, quit a 9 to 5 while searching for a flexible job in order to pursue this dream of mine and not knowing where your next paycheck is coming from.
Now that’s tough isn’t it? But I’ll say the journey has been worth it.
Describe your experience in the just concluded AM HUSH Telenovela.
Hush is a by far the biggest Telenovela in Africa, it’s a story centered around family, politics, and general happenings in our society today. I played the character Billz, a computer wiz and an up coming artist. His character was more centered around his loyal friendship and work with Adze.
For me, playing Billz was more relative than challenging in the sense that I understand what it means to be a very loyal friend, I am loyal you know… you can ask around.. lol.. I also had the opportunity of working with an amazing cast and crew who have now become like family.
So I will say it was an awesome and fantastic experience.
ON FAMILY/ Relationships
What’s your take on Love and Marriage?
Am a sucker for love, Love is beautiful, love is sweet, love is when you take away the feeling, the passion and romance in the relationship and find out you still care for that person. Now that’s LOVE! I love love.
Marriage – I believe in, respect and look forward to the experience.
An institution where both parties are freshers, better with an open – heart, mind and soul.
Has being single enabled you give adequate attention to your career?
Being a single actor has its advantages and disadvantages, it’s just like pursuing a goal and career with zero room for distractions of any sort. However, this is dependent on how you can handle a relationship and focus on being a better and bigger actor. Personally, I believe that with the right person, you can and will achieve your dreams as actor. You will need all the support and encouragement cause it’s not a pleasure ride. For me, being single sometimes helps and sometimes I wish I had the right and special person just to say it will be okay or you can do this.
How has celebrity life affected your relationships?
Hmm I really don’t see myself as one yet. I get to meet amazing people I have never met before, people who watch me do what I love doing, get touched in one way or other and show love and appreciation to me. This has had positive effects on my relationship with people generally, It hasn’t changed the way I relate with people I have known for years neither has it changed me as person.
I have few friends, lots of acquaintance and as long as you’re being real with me, we’re good.
It’s believed that celebrity marriages seldom last; do you believe this to be true?
On the issue of Marriages, especially in Nollywood, it is important that people ( and the media inclusive) understand that these people are fellow humans being. They are people faced with everyday issues, couple with the amount of attention, invasion of space and privacy. This is making it near impossible to have a normal life as a celebrity, There are a few successful marriages in the industry and I’ll rather focus my attention there.
My respect goes out to all our couples that have kept it together against the daunting odds. I celebrate you all.. e no easy.
Does being a public figure come with advantages?
Public figures are most of the time given preferential treatment over others, be it in restaurants, clubs etc. Most times, being famous means being rich and the advantage from the fame generally brings lots of fortune. From luxurious homes and cars to fancy gifts or expensive clothes, People appreciate, adore and love you as a public figure, giving you the ability to inspire a lot of them, Some you may never meet. The effect could be inspirational, motivational and very humbling. Being famous attracts opportunities.
It also comes with its disadvantages, As a public figure, you attract stalkers, fake friends and lastly you are constantly judged by everything you do… Continue Reading
Photography by Ellis Mbeku for EMSTUDIOSng