Original Mr Nigeria, Ikenna Bryan Okwara has made a smooth transition from what has been a prolific international modeling career into one of Nigeria’s most sought-after contemporary actors. Bryan won the maiden title of Mr. Nigeria 2007 and reached the semi-finals in the Mister World 2007 competition for Nigeria.
Blessed with good looks and a great physique, it comes as no surprise that Bryan has graced runways across Africa and America, and has served as an ambassador for brands such as Audi, Guinness, Knorr, Globacom and more. His acute dancing skills were brought to light on the Reality TV Show, Celebrity Takes 2 and more recently, he has graced our TV screens with movie roles in ‘Heart To Heart’, ‘I’ll Take My Chances’, ‘Weekend Getaway’, ‘True Citizens’ , ‘Awakening’, ‘Ifunaya’ and more.
Bryan recently wrapped up shooting for ‘Shattered Romance’, a movie produced by Juliet Ibrahim’s Jewelz Productions in Accra. I caught up with him to talk about his role in the romantic thriller, as well as his future which may soon include a return to the world reality TV and perhaps a music career – although Bryan insists music may not be his thing.
What brings you to Ghana?
I’m here to represent and feature in a great movie which is coming out soon. It is called ‘Shattered Romance’ and I’m playing a character called Jay. I read the script and I thought it was a great movie, and I wanted to be on it
What role are you exactly playing?
I’m a supporting lead to Susan and I’m playing Jay who is a hustler but at the same time has a great heart. Jay is in love with a particular woman, who he wanted to marry. But found out the girl was with someone else – who is a real big-time cheat. He flipped out and decided to take matters upon himself and sort everything out. So that’s my character
How has the shooting been so far?
So far it’s been really quick, very professional. Big ups to Eddie Nartey the director, he did a great job on set and I like the way he works. He tries to make you understand your character; he builds your character and confidence. He builds everything around you and makes you do a great job, and so far everyone is on point. We are almost to the completion of the movie.
How was it working alongside Juliet Ibrahim who also doubles as the producer of the movie?
It’s my first time working with Juliet. She’s a great actress. She’s the kind of person you could be having a conversation with about waakye at one moment but when she hears ‘action’ everything changes. So you got to keep up with Juliet when you working with her.
Is this your first time shooting in Ghana and how is the experience?
Yes, it’s the first time. Shooting is the same everywhere – having your schedules, reading your script and meeting deadlines. So far it’s been great, nothing to complain about. Lots of different characters and being on set with actors that I had never seen before is a great experience and I am taking it all in. I am hoping that even if the movie doesn’t win an award it will be nominated.
So aside ‘Shattered Romance’, what else is happening for you at the moment?
A lot, I have to get back to work, you know how it is when you are shuttling from owning an office as the first Mr. Nigeria and then being an ambassador, to working for an entertainment company and being an actor and intentional model. It is a lot on my calendar. So I just take one of them at a time and then try not to make a fool of myself.
What should people expect from you?
Well, they should expect a bigger brand because a lot of things are coming up and I cannot can it all into one but we are working. Hmmm, what should I give away? Not music -music is not one of them. Okay, there’s a new reality TV show coming up and they spoke to me about it and I said cool, great plan! So look in that line, we are going to be doing something in that light.
You are no stranger to reality TV; do you think these shows impact the lives of people who take part?
Yes, pretty much. If you are career-driven and you build a personality out of yourself, whatever happens to you is an add-on. That’s how I see it. There are some artists I see who are performing at shows at night and then in the day, they have a day job. So how you want to mold yourself to become a personality is up to you. Some people can have the same platform as I have and be staying at home; some people can have the same platform and be sitting next to Obama. So it is just the way you envision your career.