#TBBmustRead TBB’s Eysis Clacken Speaks to Actress Bunmi Mojekwu About New Production Company
Bunmi Mojekwu is a British actress with a vast career in TV, film and
theatre. At the age of 17 Bunmi started her career at the Royal Court
Theatre in the Lawrence Olivier awarding winning play
‘Gone Too Far’ playing the street wise character Paris. She then went on to star in Channel 4’s ‘Meet the Bandais’, feature film ‘Fallout’ (Channel 4), alongside Gugu Mbatha-Raw, playing her best friend; Ronnie. TV credits include; Future Wags of Great Britain(Channel 4), Misfits (Channel 4), The Bill(ITV).
Bunmi then joined the cast of the BBCs‘Eastenders’ where she played Mercy Olubunmi, the show’s first Nigerian character and family, the Olubunmi’s. Stage highlight credits includes, the National Theatre’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’,‘What Fatima Did’ (Hampstead Theatre),‘Counting Stars’ which premiered at the Edinburgh Fridge Festival and won the International Amnesty Award 2015.
More recently Bunmi has launched her own film production company; BAM Film Productions which is dedicated to producing quality entertainment that inspires, challenges, uplifts and entertains. Motivated by the issues surrounding the under-representation of black and ethnic minorities, BAM Film Productions focuses on developing cross-cultural films which cater to a wide audience, exploring a range of genres all of which represent a true reflection of society today.
We caught up with her to find out more:
When did you first realise you wanted to act?
When I was in primary school maybe in year 5 or year 6, with the realisation that I could sing. I remember thinking, “I can sing!” So after that I wanted to be more involved in the school plays. I would learn all the lines from a TV show and perform them in front of my sister. In year 6 I auditioned for the last school play, I decided I was going to give it my all because I knew I could do it, I remember my teacher’s response was, “Wow you’re amazing” and she promised me a good role, but I didn’t get any of the lead parts. There was one character I wanted to play and I thought, “I have to get that!” But I didn’t.
In the end my teacher ended up making me the cow and I had to wear a cow suit throughout the show with a boy in our class who was very shy. I was so confused, I put my heart into getting the lead role. I ended up asking my teacher why she placed me as the cow but she never gave me a straight answer. Apparently I went on a good rant about the cow role when I got home; I made the decision to make sure I turned that cow role into the role everybody focused on and that I would steal the show and that was when I knew I had the ability to get people’s attention. After that I felt I had to be an actress or even a singer.
However it became kind of dormant when I went into secondary school until one day I had an R.E class, it was the day before parents evening and we had to do a presentation and instead of talking I decided to perform one of the characters from the bible. I thought my teacher was going to tell my mum that I hadn’t been doing well but instead he said I had a real talent and should look into acting. After that I was involved in other successful school productions and the idea started to solidify, by the following year I became a professional and throughout the ups and downs have never turned back.
What was your first production and were you nervous putting your talents into the world?
My first professional production was at the Royal court theatre in Gone too far. That was my first ever job. For my first audition, I didn’t understand it and never knew how professional it really was. Everyone would say, “you’re at the Royal court theatre!” I’m thinking “I don’t know what this is!” I was told once that I was the youngest black girl to perform there… I thought it was cool, but I was more grateful just having the chance to perform and express my art.
I’ve never actually been nervous. I don’t have any fear when it comes to performing because I’m the kind of person that I know what I’m good at, I’m always comfortable and I try my hardest to get as much knowledge or enhance my skills as best as I can. I know acting is very easy and natural to me, if I ever go into an audition I don’t worry and think “oh my god there are so many people here” I think the more people, the more exciting it is. I know I have the ability to carry anything through and it’s mainly because of the experiences I’ve had.
If I ever don’t get a role for something...