Talent startles. It awakens. It thrills. True talent sets a man on fire, figuratively speaking!
Nollywood, multiple award-winning actor, and the darling of Producers and Directors alike, Okechukwu Chukwuemeka Ukeje aka O.C Ukeje is a man set on fire.
Born July, 1981, O.C Ukeje has added to his repertoire of awards, the most coveted ‘Best Lead Male Actor’ title at the recently concluded edition of the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards, [AMVCA] 2015.In 2013 alone, he bagged four ‘Best Lead Male’ awards from the Nigerian Entertainment Awards, the Best of Nollywood Awards, Nollywood Movies Awards, and the AMVCA’s.
Interestingly, O.C Ukeje studied Marine Engineering at the University of Lagos, Nigeria. However, he performed in several stage plays from matriculation until graduation, honing his skills and dreaming big dreams of taking over the creative industry.
Upon graduation in 2005, he grabbed the opportunity to feature in the now defunct ‘Amstel Malta Box Office2006, and his talent shone through as he won that edition of the reality competitions. Did winning plunge him into the arms of luxury though? Not exactly .
In an interview with naijamayor.com,O.C stated,
“It was really very difficult at the beginning because winning a reality TV show does not translate to immediate success. Things did not work out easily for me. After I won the Amstel Malta Box Office, I did not work for the whole of 2007 as I was signed on for one whole year…Then, there were talks about me winning a reality show and no one had seen what I had to offer. This is because I was tied by my contracts as the winner of the AMBO. So, all through 2008 and 2009, it was pretty difficult for me. In 2009, when I was eventually leaving for Los Angeles for study, I had made up my mind that if I returned and nothing changed, I would have to do something else outside the creative industry.”
Imagine the loss to the movie industry if O.C Ukeje’s prodigious talent had gone unrecognised and untapped. The live of thespians may be enviable, but it is also very hard work; work that O.C is not shying away from as he refuses to be type-cast, challenging himself at every turn with different, daring roles.
Fast-forward to 2015, O.C is playing in the big leagues and has starred in over 18 movies and series since his award-winning performance in his very first silver screen appearance in ‘White Waters.’ His filmography includes:
2007: White Waters, 2008: Comrade, 201: Black Gold (2011 Nigerian film), 2011: Two Brides and a Baby, 2012: Black November, Hoodrush, and Till Death Do Us Part (Short). 2013: Confusion Na Wa, Alan Poza, Half of a Yellow Sun, Awakening, Gone Too Far, and The Rubicon. In 2014: When Love Happens, Gidi Up (TV Series), A Play Called a Temple Made of Clay (Short). 2015: The Department, and Heaven’s Hell.
Leading a new generation of actors, O.C’s tenacity, passion and talents have made him a beacon in a very competitive industry where you have to constantly bring your A-game. To sum it up, at the 2015 AMVCA’s, Blossom Chukwujekwu who won in his category, actually thanked O.C for not showing up at the auditions for the role.
Did I add that the young man’s voice is on fleek?
Now, isn’t this a man on fire? Talent, Tenacity, Training. Probably the 3T’s of succeeding as a thespian.