Please introduce yourself, what you do, why you do it, and what you want people to know about you.
I’m Mike O, (born September 23 1999) known professionally as a British Nigerian Actor and Model, raised in London, UK.
Why I do what I do…Hmm… that’s always a tricky question to answer. I find that my answer keeps evolving. Right now I would say, I want to be a part of bringing stories – whether happy or not, easy or hard, comfortable or uncomfortable – to life.
Every story has a right to be heard, it goes bigger than me. It’s not even about me but the story. Therefore, the part that I can play within that story, that will help elevate its performance is what I want to be doing and what I want to contribute.
I grew up in East London. I went from Avenue primary school, to The BRIT School of Performaning Arts to being a graduate at Guildford School of Acting – one of the leading Drama Schools in UK.
I have has six half-siblings: a half sister from my mother, and five half sisters from my father. I’m the youngest and only male offspring of the family. I do not get spoiled!”
I am where I am today because of Jesus.
What qualities make you different and unique from everyone else in the industry?
I definitely feel like my upbringing allows me to view the world in a different lens than to most people. I am incredibly sensitive and a lover of nature and all that.
I don’t listen to music. I love traveling and capturing the moment and I’m a fan of just giving new things a go.
It makes me different and unique because I do not follow the social norm. What is normality anyways? Pandemic changed what a “normal lifestyle” was for some people.
Who wants to be “normal”?
I like who I am – The messy flaws all the way to the amazing attributes – it makes me, me! and I embrace every part of it plus if Christ is all I have, I have all I need so I’m good!
Describe THAT moment when you realized you wanted to do what you do now. Who did you tell first? What has it been like since that moment?
I remember watching home alone as a little kid and saying to myself… “that! that! I want to be in that”. Home alone was so lively, mischievous and full of adventure and I knew from there on out that acting was what I wanted to do.
Literally! I went online applied for an agent, had a meeting and that’s where it all began.
I told my mom and she would take me to all my auditions back when I was younger. She was into acting aswell when she was in her youth so it’s in the blood.
Since that moment, I then began to realize how complicated it actually was. Tv made it look so simple and care-free especially home alone! But as I grew up, I began to understand that they are levels to this.
I still wanted to do it. I just had to grow, get training, understand the beauty, the business, and know what I bring to the room. Acting became real and now it’s my career.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve had to face and how did you overcome it?
As a young black teenager then, a black actor. It was the trying to secure a role that is not street related, not slave related, not negative, not a story that shines a bad reflection on black people and many more, the list does go on.
I honestly remember before I went into training, always being seen for roles that didn’t represent what I wanted to represent. I grew up watching home alone, fresh prince of bell air, my wife and kids and I’ll be in the Audition Room for Top Boy and Brotherhood.
Don’t get me wrong. Those stories still have a place on the screens and credit to those who create and show those stories, but there is more to be shown.
Black joy, Black comedy, Black rom-coms. It was those shows that led me to go into acting. So why is it dying down when there is an increase of black actors, more of us.
More of us meaning more perspectives, more outlooks, more stories. Black is more and I am more.
I’m overcoming it by actively showing what I can do, going extra hard on projects that showcase stories that I want to be a part of. I write them up and have it created because who can say no when the idea/vision is made real in front of you?
No one is holding back now. There are more platforms, more opportunities so, yes it’s happening! And I will be part of the more!
If you had to pick the TOP 3 people you’d want to meet that could take your career (or business) to the next level…who would those 3 people be?
- JORDAN PEELE
- KEVIN HART
- DENZEL WASHINGTON