Rykardo Agbor is a Nollywood actor who has acted in more than a hundred English and Yoruba movies. He started his showbiz journey as a Model. In this chat with Nollywood Post, he talks his road to fame and more.
How did you become an Actor?
Before becoming an Actor, I was a model. In 1992 while still modelling, a friend of mine, Leo Marenini, a model also, told me about a movie audition in Ojuelegba in Surulere, Lagos. I accompanied him to the venue where a lot of people had gathered gather for the same audition. It was for a movie from Fidelis Duker titled ‘Visa to Hell’. Somehow I landed a major role that day. I got there as a Model; I left there an Actor. That was how l was launched into acting and since then I haven’t looked back.
Wow! How has the journey been?
Well, it has been okay. I have gone through the thick and thin, as the acting business has its ups and down. The bottom line is that I have stayed consistent, focused and relevant till date by God’s special grace. We are still here working out what we know best.
What were your early challenges as an Actor?
It was in the era where there was no mobile phone. We had NITEL landlines, but only the rich could afford that. So it was difficult knowing where to meet for auditions and to even know who was doing auditions. We would just walk around and hopefully stumble unto an audition and or hear someone tell someone and you get to hear about it. But I was lucky to have been raised in Surulere. The movement wasn’t so tedious as it was still in the neighbourhood.
What else would you have become if not an Actor?
I have always loved Entertainment, right from childhood. I would stand in front of my parents TV set and look at Actors acting and wish out loud that one day l would do exactly this. But at one time, I was a very good football player. I was already registered in a young team that was selected to play football in Europe in 1985-1986. My parents’ consent was the only thing needed by the Sponsors, but my father didn’t give it. He said that Football is for loafers, for drop outs and that no son of his would be a loafer.
I could sing very well also. Back then I was in a group and we had recorded songs. I was selected to join some other young men to sing in the USA, but my parents kicked against that. So I stayed back and went into modelling while at it, Acting found me. And I am happy today that I am Actor.
When you became an Actor, how did your father take the news?
Well, my dad would not have taken it, but I had moved out of his house at that time. I was my own man. He didn’t see acting as profitable until one day, we were travelling together. We were waiting at the VIP lounge to board the flight at the Airport. While waiting a lot of people were giving us curious looks and there was some commotion because people wanted autographs and photographs. My dad was taken aback by this and asked what was happening. I told him nothing.
The same thing happened when we got to Calabar Airport. At another time, my dad called to say that his friends had called to congratulate him on his son’s success as an Actor. I think that is when my father started seeing the big picture as against the norms of his time. Today he has come to appreciate my impact, which isn’t an easy thing coming from my father.
You speak and act in Yoruba movies also, tell us about that.
Like l said, I grew up in Surulere, Lagos. That was where learnt to speak the Yoruba language. How I got involved in acting Yoruba movies was by accident. I had visited a friend’s office/Studio in Surulere and we were conversing in Yoruba when another of his friends joined us (I later found out that his name is Kolade Alabi, a movie Producer).
The man asked my friend about me as he was also wondering how I could speak Yoruba so fluently. He was about to shoot a very big Yoruba movie and had a character he thought l would do justice to. He asked if l wanted the role. My friend advised him to ask me directly. He did and we agreed on the terms and the rest is history. The title of that Yoruba movie is Toko Taya. It was shot in 2001/2002. It was produced by Kolade Alabi and directed by Simi Opeoluwa.
Would you perhaps act in a production where you would have to speak your native dialect?
Why not? I am Actor. Whether it is English language, Yoruba or my own native tongue. So far, the Producer has finished his job with a good script and story. My work there is to interprete the Character, the Role l am to act, to the best of my ability.
You have been acting for more than 20 years and still counting; have you produced or directed any movie yet?
I have directed many movies, but l have produced just one. The movie is titled ‘My WAY’. It is already streaming online in some platforms. But I am more into acting. I love acting.
Your looks… hmm. How have you managed to stay this way after so many years?
[Laughs] Like I told you, I am a Sports person. I play football. And I know that the Profession that l am in, your appearance counts so much. So l am always in the gym when l am not working. I also do not get myself into situations where l will drink, get drunk and smoke because you are what you eat and drink. In this profession of acting, we are supposed to be role models to all. As an Actor, you should try to know what to wear, how to wear it and when to wear it. Know that what you wear should sit on close to perfect bodies. And perfect bodies can only be worked on. you cannot buy them from the market.
So has this helped you in your career?
Yes it has helped me indeed! Your body with which you act is your tool. It has to be enhanced for a better look and performance. l thank God for the strength to keep working on it.
Any life lessons you want to share?
Life has taught me to have patience and to persevere. If you want something, you have to at all times project whatever thing you want. After praying about it, keep saying it and believe God for it. Even in God’s Word, it is written that ‘there is power in the tongue’. I was a little boy when l would stand in front of the TV and l would say that l would one day be on the screen and everyone would watch me just like l was those Actors then. I would always say l want to be an Actor, l said that with so much passion. Even when situations nearly pulled me into becoming something else, God guided my steps and brought me this far. Today l am living my dream. And it is getting bigger and better.
Some of the Yoruba Movies you have starred in where shot abroad… How do you get visas?
The Producers facilitate that. It is not that difficult for actors to get visas. You are a Star, people in the embassies must have watched your movies. You are not about to run away to their country, you are very busy in yours.
Quickly, give us a Rykardo Agbor news update
I recently got an endorsement signed with an Online TV Platform called Bebuzee, a new free to watch Online Destination for Entertainment, social and news content. On the platform, you can watch 10 African Movies free. I was made one of their Brand Ambassadors. Bebuzee is new in Nigeria but it is already a force in UK and Europe.
How have you managed the home front and your career?
What l do is I give my family undivided attention when l am home or around. I do not club or go to parties. It is not needed at all. If I am not home, I am working, but when I am home I give my family all my time. Occasionally, I take them out for a drive if that is what they crave for.
You have done well for yourself in the industry; how have you managed fame?
Well, I didn’t get this far by my own power. I am proud of what l have become. I am proud of where God has brought me to, but l am humbled at his blessings and how he has raised me up. On my own, l wouldn’t have gotten this far. l am grateful for that.
What is your advice to young upcoming actors?
They should fear God and commit their dreams into his hands and believe he would bring them to pass. You cannot achieve much on your own. With God all things are possible.
Any message for your fans?
Be patient. Do the right thing. Ask God to help you and in time everything would fall into place. Everyone’s time is not your time. And God’s timing is the best.