Hello, there is a new Hollywood Heartthrob in town!!! Dayo Okeniyi is popularly known for his starring role as Thresh in the blockbuster ‘Hunger Games’ but this critically acclaimed Nigerian is rocketing his way to the top with upcoming roles in high budget movies in works alongside the A-list actors in Hollywood. Well, the dark-skinned actor was in Nigeria over the holidays and this interview had to happen …. Familiar yourself with Dayo Okeniyi not just because he our own but because he is an amazing actor. Read the short but interesting chat as he reveals his favourite Nigerian food, actor, and musician; he also showed off his rapping skills.
Ogagus: Compliments of the season bro. Many of us have seen Hunger Games but never guessed that you were Nigerian, can you give me a crash course about your growing up and when did you move to Indiana?
Dayo Okeniyi: My mother is Kenyan and father Nigerian and I grew up in Lagos even though I’m from Oyo State. I loved growing up in Lagos Nigeria, but I ended moving to the States in 2003 for academic reasons.
Ogagus: I am a foodie, so what’s your favourite Nigerian food?
Dayo Okeniyi: Pounded yam and Egusi.
Ogagus: When you were growing up, did you ever imagine yourself as an actor or think about taking acting as a serious career?
Dayo Okeniyi: Absolutely yes… but in my final year in university, I decided to make that dream a reality.
Ogagus: You have a bachelor degree in Visual Communications, but did it help define your career path?
Dayo Okeniyi: Going to university and getting a degree was me setting up a plan B in case acting didn’t work out. In fact, my design degree helped pay the bills when I got to L.A before I became a full time actor.
Ogagus: Prior your role as Tresh on Hunger Games have you had any other acting gigs?
Dayo Okeniyi: Yes when I first started out in Hollywood, I did mostly short films like ‘Eyes to See’ and ‘Lion Amongs Men’ but ‘Hunger Games’ was my first big studio film.
Ogagus: How was the experience working on a high-budget movie which turned out to be a major blockbuster?
Dayo Okeniyi: It was amazing, A God sent and extremely unforgettable experience. I feel blessed!
Ogagus: I know that you will be appearing on ‘The Spectacular Now’ but are there any other future projects we should be looking out for?
Dayo Okeniyi: Yes, I have a little role in a movie called ‘Runner Runner’ coming out later this year which stars Justin Timberlake and Ben Affleck. I also have another movie called ‘Cavemen’ starring Chad Michael-Murray and Canila Belle
Ogagus: Do you still listen to Nigerian music and who is your favourite Nigerian artiste?
Dayo Okeniyi: Yes, Novakillz.
Ogagus: What’s your opinion about Nollywood? Who is your favourite Nigerian actor and actress?
Dayo Okeniyi: It has so much Potentials, I cannot wait to take what have learnt to influence Nollywood someday. In terms of favourite I would have to say Richard Mofe Damijo and Omotola Jalade.
Ogagus: Hope to win an Oscar someday?
Dayo Okeniyi: Hell Yeah
Ogagus: What do you look for in a lady?
Dayo Okeniyi: Humility
Ogagus: Favourite: Hollywood actor and actress?
Dayo Okeniyi: Denzel Washington & Meryl Strepp
Ogagus: Favourite song at the moment?
Dayo Okeniyi: Mulla by Big Sean featuring French Montana
Ogagus: Last book you read and please don’t say ‘The Bible’?
Dayo Okeniyi: The Alchemist
Ogagus: Lagos or Los Angeles?
Dayo Okeniyi: Lagos
Ogagus: How good are your rapping skills?
Dayo Okeniyi: They are fantastic.
Ogagus: So drop a few bars rhyming with ‘Ogagus’?
Dayo Okeniyi: I’m chilling with my hommie Ogagus
Internationally known from London to Lagos
Even all the way down in Barbados
He always keeps it fly like an Airbus
Ogagus: Well that’s solid, if you don’t become the next Will Smith, you might become the next Lil’ Wayne. Thanks for your time and I wish you the best, go make Naija proud.
Dayo Okeniyi: Thanks for having me.
Interviewed by Ogaga Sakapide [ @Ogagus_ ]