Of a royal family linage, Oba Momodu 2nd of Agbede kingdom, his name is Abubakar Joseph Momodu. Old friends call him ABK. And new friends, Joseph.
Since featuring in Simi’s Joromi music video, many now call him Joromi. Joseph came from a Muslim background. But now a Christian, born and bred in Lagos.
An alumni of Delta State University, an actor, model and a presenter with a body of work that includes:
Ballerz and Ice Cold Water music videos by Wande Coal and Ebisan; Culprit, Surprise Wedding, Bitch Please and many other movies.
Follow Ediale Kingsley into this exclusive piece of conversation with the emerging star.
So when and how did all these venture into the entertainment industry got started?
It started far back when I was 7, at Citylight International church drama group when I tried acting up a role in a drama piece. My performance wowed the audience even as small as I was, to the extent that they kept requesting for more of me on stage. Since then, my mom started encouraging me to do more.
She gave me the platform to continue on that route of destiny, every church I attended, I belonged to their drama unit till date: from Citylight church to Foursquare gospel ministries; to Rivers of living waters, to Winners chapel.
Then at Abraka, my acting prowess got revamped and stretched. And finally, back to my base Lagos redeemed Christian Church of God, Surulere main parish.
It has been stage acting from inception, aside that, I also did MC jobs from my younger age, I cordinated our street carnivals event and even some birthday parties at leisure. Then, by extension, along the line I included modeling to my portfolio. In 2011, I signed under Xa’ models, after exhausting my deal with Modella in 2009. My last agency was Beth Modeling in 2015, before I became a freelancer.
What formed your decision to go freelancing?
Firstly because my face as a model or actor has gradually become a selfselling brand, some clients call me directly for jobs while in minimal cases I still need to attend auditions as the case may be. As such, agency functions has rather become futile.
Secondly, the agency fee they receive is preposterous. They do nothing actually but at the end will still slash the models pay, and in most cases receive higher percentages. This is possible, because sometimes you may not be there or know the actually pay of a contract when the agent negotiates on your behalf. He only sends you your own cut after the shoot, and doesn’t tell you the exact pay. Your face is used, you received less and the agent who sits at his comfort zone receives more.
You are presently nominated for an award tell us about it?
Yes, just as I was nominated for the Lagos Fashion Awards 2016. Going a step higher I have just been nominated for Nigeria Achievers Awards, same commercial model category. Industries and companies choose models who they feel van best represent their brand in the face of the general public and use such persons as models to advertise their brands which is watched on TV. Civilization has made the world a global village, so people are watching, they remember how many times they have seen a particular person on TV representing various brands. Then as a way of appreciating such persons efforts for the year, they are nominated for excellence on a platform like this.
I am just fortunate to be on this category among many other models and actors who are probably my senior colleagues in the industry.
Talking about being fortunate, you have become quite an item since your latest music video job with Simi. Tell us what that Joromi character has done to your private and public brand.
Yeah, I make bold to say that playing Joromi in the music video by the vocal goddess, Simi, as I fondly call her, was the major push in my career line.
I suddenly became famous than before, people now stop me on the way to identify with me and take pictures with me.
I now get invites to shows, interview on TV stations and direct calls for jobs, all of this were not coming Fort not until I played joromi, so in essence, I will say am more than fortunate, I would rather say its divination at work, God’s own perfect plan.
Unlike before when it was usually sheer luck or maybe via cumbersome scrutiny among many,
It has further increased my worth and price in the industry, and many directors and clients now want to work with me more.
Joromi story is about an open love call from a woman trying hard to get her passionate crush. Who is your crush in the entertainment industry and how are you handling the female advances bombarding your way?
Amongst the female folks, my crush in the industry is Omotola Ekehinde. I also like RMD from the male public figures. Their stature, looks, acting prowesses and personalities makes me love them over and over again. I look forward to being like RMD and better than him thereafter.
About the female advances, I just know when and how to shut the door in the most polite way without sounding rude or pompous. Am a model and actor for Christ’s sakes, our job is glamorous and plenty other side attraction attached, the grace of God has been helping.
And secondly, discipline, I would say has been a good factor.
It’s not all the food that is brought before you that you can eat. Am very careful with compliments, I leave them at that especially those coming from the female fans.
Tell us about the Culprit movie you got involved recently and also throw some lights on your latest Nollywood flicks hitting the cinemas or TV screen soon?
Culprit is a power packed thriller that centers on a wealthy man who was murdered by an unknown insider, and the attempts to find the killer.
I acted as the main detective handling the case and was assisted by my colleague, the vibrant and astute Lucy Ameh. The movie was directed by Saheed Apanpa and produced by Rich Porter. Some other projects I featured in are Surprise Wedding by Chris Eneaji, Bitch Please by Uduak Issong, and two major television commercials, their brand names I won’t like to unveil for some professional reasons.
Is Mr Joromi seeing someone at the moment? Or should the ladies wishing to send their signals keep their hopes alive?
(Big smiles) The signals can keep coming so long it’s a profitable one, I mean business wise of course. Am dating at the moment but I won’t say am off the market (laughs).
Being a seed from a Royal Muslim family. Is it a kind of creative rebellion that has seen you delve into Entertainment and Christianity? And what are your parent’s thoughts about these critical diversion?
Becoming a Christian was instigated by my dad. He was first to convert, following his prophetical meeting with the Holy Spirit. This saw him renamed and christened Late Evangelist M . A Momodu.
The option to convert with him or remain Muslim was thrown open to all of his children, while my mom chose to remain Muslim till date, I decided to follow on the same route with my dad. My mom has a uniform believe on both religion anyways, she sees both religion as regulated by one God, so it’s rather easier for me. She prays for me in Islamic terms and I say both Amin and Amen (laughs).
Your line of field is often under attack by the rumours that it’s highly dominated by gays. Why is it so?
To an extent, I will say yes. the modeling industry is particularly dominated by gay guys, clients, designers and coordinators.
And their targets are the cute guys, but it’s not a do or die affair to give into their demands. It all lies on the single decision of the model in question.
What’s the most cherished moment in your career? Share with us the very good, very awkward and very embarrassing moments.
Yeah, every success story must have gotten it’s own sour moments and mine are…
Firstly my most cherished moment was when I grabbed my first ever major television commercial deal in February 2016 as the Konga Mechanic Guy after going through rounds of stressful audition.
From general audition, to callback auditions, to round 3 and just at the point when I wanted to give up, I was called for wardrobe checkup and lastly I got to shoot the job.
It was my first major commercial gig and I did under Beth Model Agency.
My awkward moment was during the firststars callback audition, among like 150-300 persons that were administered scripts, it finally got to my turn after hours of holding unto the script, only to get in and my lines suddenly went volatile on the sound of the word ACTION!!!
The judges gave me seconds to regain myself, after another sound of action, my line left me and went their way, only for me to recall on my way home.
To think I actually prepared for this particular audition months before the callback.
And lastly the most embarrassing moment of my career came just few weeks ago on a set I just finished from.
I got distracted with some personal issues, and on the call of action, I was muttering, scattering my lines from beginning to end and end to beginning.
To the point that I was mispronouncing words that I was very familiar with. The producer, director and other crew member were so disappointed in me.