I was born to Nigerian immigrants in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. We moved around a bit when I was very young: for a few years, we moved back and forth between Calabar, Nigeria (where I started school) and Philadelphia. Our travels took us to Birmingham, England before we finally settled in southern California.
From an early age, I had an interest in both art and science. At the age of five, I wrote my first short story, Milkball Fight. It was all of two pages and a portrayal of war as fought by two opposing groups of milkballs. I wrote my first computer program at the age of eight in the BASIC (Beginner’s All Purpose Symbolic Instruction Code) programming language on a Commodore 64; I later wrote some electronic music (mostly simple loops) on an 8086 PC. I developed an interest in becoming an engineer and wanted to be involved in the creation of some new and interesting technology; to do that at highest level of ambition, I would need a PhD. I started to do acting around the same time, although mostly in school productions. My first role was as a weatherman-I wore a bucket hat, like Gilligan from Gilligan’s Island! I developed an early love for creating things. Whether I created a story, a sound effects program, or a good performance, it didn’t matter-I got a real charge from seeing an idea come to life.
However, as I grew up, I had a feeling that life may force me to choose which activities I could participate in as serious interests; one among these would become a career. After graduating from Servite High School, I attended University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) on a scholarship, where I went on to do my B.Sc. in Mathematics/Applied Science (my applied science was computer science and biomathematics! Mind bending stuff!). During this time, I could not keep up with the writing and acting-I was a scientist 100%. After graduating, I went to work as a web developer, then went back to school to pursue my M.Sc. in Computer Science at Loyola Marymount University. Between degrees, I felt lost-I wasn’t quite where I wanted to be with either my creative or academic pursuits. I continued to write, but it was mostly for video game hacking-I created very comprehensive video game hacks that not only transformed the characters, but the entire story from beginning to end!
After getting my master’s degree, I again returned to the work force. This time, I went to work as a software engineer developing in-flight entertainment software for several commercial airlines. This time, I had turned away from my academic pursuits for a bit to nurture my creative interests. I took up an interest in improv and took improv classes at the famous Groundlings Theatre in Hollywood, California. I was never sure if I could do them all-be a scientist, an actor, a writer. Did I mention I wanted to make video games too?
Maybe my eyes were bigger than my stomach.
However, the last few years have given me back hope that I can do it all. In 2013, I was accepted to Columbia University to do my Doctorate in Engineering Science. In 2014, a friend from Groundlings Theatre, Jack Fitzmorris, gave me my first credited acting role in his web series, Zach and Anton Save The World. In 2015, I got a big break when I was cast to play Alice’s father in the British Independent film, AliceVille. I have begun again as well to start writing again as well-I may release a book in 2017 of my travels.
Scientist, writer, actor-I’m a (highly unusual) triple threat!