Dress by Rachel Gilbert. Earrings by Alex Monroe.   Photo by Joseph Sinclair
Article by Tristan Dyer​​​​​​​

There’s no time like the present for London based actress Amaka Okafor to indulge in the well-appointed spotlight currently shining upon her. Starring in the new hit Netflix series ‘Bodies’, Okafor has innately tapped into her character with depth and ease.I sat down with this effortless and intriguing persona on a crisp autumn day to unpack the exciting and thriving world she lives in. 

Growing up in Birmingham, England, with a father from Nigeria and a mother from India, Okafor expressed how the midlands in England was an ideal place for her upbringing, as it is very ‘mixed and feels more integrated than London’. It was the film Beverly Hills Cop that struck a cord within her to pursue her fascination with acting. ‘I went through school knowing I wanted to be an actor but didn’t really know how I was going to make it happen’, Okafor shared.
Joining a youth theatre group was her first taste of exploring her talents before carrying on her passion by taking a drama course in university. ‘I didn’t know that drama school was a thing so I didn't know to look for it. I decided to write to a community theatre company who I did my work experience with when I was 17 when I was graduating university asking if I could audition for them. They do theatre in schools, prisons, church halls and community halls. It’s really like theatre in the heart of a community to help bring about change’, Okafor expressed. Gaining a position in this company presented her with the opportunity to embark on her eclectic career.

Continuing to reflect on her school years, she shared, ‘It’s just what I’ve always known I’m good at. Right through school I made sure I was in all the school plays and it was never the main part. There was just a feeling when I was on stage and I just knew it was what I was supposed to be doing. It wasn’t until my final year at school I was put as the lead.’

Coat by Anthropologie.    Photo by Joseph Sinclair

Amaka whisked herself into the industry and went where the work led her. In her time off, she helped her father raise her younger sisters. ‘It kept me out of the rat race. It stopped me from stressing out about what was getting made and why I wasn’t getting seen for it; I just wanted to earn a living from being an actor. A couple of years down the line I got an agent and then I gradually started building. I was in an arena where I thought, 'ok I think I’ve got the hang of this and I want to go to the next level'. I would start saying no to the sorts of jobs I was doing and wait for the kind of jobs I wanted to do. Bit by bit it’s built and grown.’ 

Embarking on a career in the entertainment industry is a gander not taken without a strong backbone. Okafor has found success and her voice of advice to the younger generation is, ‘if it’s what you want to do, it’s the happiest thing, I love my job so much. Make sure you’re in touch with those things that nourish you; the times when its dry, the times when you’re not working, they can be really hard. Those things that nourish you reaffirm your sense of self and can help you not wobble. I am a good person, I do have worth, I am here for a reason and it doesn’t all lie in whether I get this job or not.’

Diving into the gripping series of ‘Bodies’, Okafor reminisced on when she first received the script. ‘It’s so exciting; it’s such a ride. Every episode when I was reading it I would get to the end and need to know what happens next. The mystery is real tight and tugs you along.’

Set in four contrasting eras, ‘Bodies’ follows a tenacious murder investigation where the victim is unchanged, leaving viewers enchanted by the relentless crime drama. Always the first on set and the last to leave, Okafor found many similarities with her character Detective DS Hasan explaining, ‘We’re so alike; she goes out on a limb at times when she probably shouldn’t. I auditioned my butt off for this part because I really loved her. It was the best job of my life; I had such an amazing time on it.’

Dress by Rachel Gilbert. Earrings by Alex Monroe.   Photo by Joseph Sinclair

Valuing her sacred time with her daughter and spending time in the countryside, Okafor sets her sights on continuing to work on film and character work. ‘I really enjoy getting immersed in a completely different world’, she sentimentally expressed. With a gentle momentum and zest for life, Okafor closed out our conversation humbly saying, ‘I’d like to be a good role model in every way; being open about my flaws as well so that people aren’t trying to strive for some sort of perfection that doesn’t exist.’
Talent Amaka Okafor @sallyamaka - Represented by Lauren Jenkins at Pinnacle PR @pinnaclepruk
Writer/Interview Tristan Dye@tristandyer
Photographer Joseph Sinclair @josephsinclair
Wardrobe Stylist Sarah-Rose Harrison @sarahroseharrison 
Hairstylist Nicole Harrowell @nicola_harrowell 
Makeup Artist Dominique Desveaux @domdes_makeup 

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