EMY Africa

LIGHTS, CAMERA…ACTION!

“My life looks like the inside of a Formula 1 car moving at a 1000 miles per hour.”

Life is, without a doubt, pretty cool for Mawuli Gavor right now since he made that transition from business to entertainment. From hosting in Ghana around 2015, to spreading his wings across Africa, he is indeed one good looking man to the ladies, a physique to compete with when it comes to men, and one of the young top guns in African entertainment.

Most people hit ground-breaking acting achievement when they are old but that is not the case for this young trailblazer. And he’s not been blinded by the lights. He reminds us of what Dolly Parton said. “If your actions create a legacy that inspires others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, then, you are an excellent leader.” He’s fit to be a leading voice for younger actors in the making.

Photo by Gilbert Asante

In the demand for leading men, this actor is starting to see himself in a whole new light and shares some of his ins and outs with us.

Photo by Gilbert Asante

Hello Mawuli, when did acting start for you?

MG: My career switch happened in 2015 but I was primarily doing commercial/billboard shoots in the beginning. Acting came a bit later, making my first on screen appearance playing one of the leads in Shirley Frimpong’s cinema film, ‘Devil in The Detail’.Can’t say I planned on venturing into acting but when the opportunity to work with one of the best filmmakers on the continent presented itself, it only seemed reasonable to attempt to rise to the challenge. Starting on a high like that turned out to be a pivotal move because it ultimately led to other offers. The rest as you know, is history.

You’ve moved from television into the bigger pond of films – what strategy did you use and what advice would you give anyone hoping to make that jump as well?

MG: It’s always tough to give advice on how to do things the way I did, because I ended up becoming who I am/doing what I do under fairly unexpected circumstances. It was hardly by design, but I believe one takeaway from my story that’s probably relatable to everyone regardless of ambition/career choice is simply to put the very best forward within your ability, and be prepared to be comfortable with either outcome. Win or Lose.

How do you deal with the weight of your own achievements?

MG: Not sure I’d say that’s really something I struggle with. I rarely properly acknowledge the things I accomplish, which is an idiosyncrasy I’m consciously attempting to work on. Trying to take more moments to celebrate even the small wins. When it comes down to it, I’m without a doubt my biggest critic so if you asked me, I’d probably tell you I don’t believe I’ve achieved anywhere close to what I think I’m capable of. That’s probably much more of a problem for me. Dealing with the weight of the possibilities I know are achievable for me. No matter how far I come or how well I do in my mind there’ll forever be the voice insisting I should be able to do better. Hopefully one day, I’ll be able to look back and be proud of what I’ve done with my time.

Give a little breakdown of your most iconic characters you have played.

MG: Tough to rank in terms of ‘iconic’. Think that would be for the audience to decide. If I had to, top of the list would be my first major television appearance on the M-Net show, Hush, playing “Tes”, the drug addicted son of a cult/secret society member played by RMD. Shooting 260 episodes playing the same character makes it something hard to forget. The unnamed violent boyfriend in the adaptation of “I Got Flowers Today” is likely another character that would make my list. It’s pretty important to me to be a part of lending a voice to important subject matters whenever possible, so working with DSF on that and witnessing the unforeseen global impact makes it one I’ll always remember. Characters like “Damilare” in Chief Daddy and “Detective Dan” in Sugar Rush would have to make the list based on the success/reach of the films.

We absolutely think you are a man of many talents – a presenter, an actor and an entrepreneur. How do you keep all these in sync?

MG: I’d love to say I have it all under control but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. Most times it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day/days in the week to actually accomplish all the things I have on my plate.

That being said, my stepfather, the great Jose Mourinho always says. “That’s the good kind of problem to have.” I’m beyond grateful to have incredible opportunities and experiences come my way as a result of who I am/what I do. Juggling them all might be a bit of a madness, but I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Photo by Glibert Asante

Have you ever felt like giving up? And how did you pull through it?

MG: Felt like giving up on a particular project/ambition? Yes. All the time. In general, no not really. Can’t say I’m particularly afraid of giving up/having to move on from things that aren’t working out. Simple matter of whether I’ve given it everything I have/done everything within my ability or control. If I’ve done that and I fail or it still doesn’t work out, I’d be okay with giving up and moving on to something else. It’s unreasonable to expect that everything we try will be successful. Failure is as much a part of everyday life as the air we breathe. Do your best, take it as it comes and move on if you have to.

So, what made you finally decide to become an actor whole- heartedly?

MG: When I first started out in entertainment, I was extremely reluctant to make a full career switch. I’d trained most of my life for one path. The entire reason I’d gotten into ‘entertainment’ was to fulfil a contract with Martini to be their Brand Ambassador for Ghana and subsequently Nigeria. I had every intention of going back to my regular corporate 9-5 once that ‘adventure’ was over. My manager at the time, Kofi Doku, had other plans. Kofi happened to be a bit of a virtuoso when it came to talent management, so what was meant to be a quick dip in the pond turned into being thrust in full time. Within months of working together I found myself in a cinema film with the biggest director on the continent, hosting my own TV show on one of the major networks, on multiple billboards and magazines all over the city/country. In a sense, the rollercoaster had already taken off and there was no stopping it.

I chose instead to go with it. With time, I’ve found a working balance between pursuing my career in entertainment while concurrently utilising my prowess in business and finance. Looking back, I probably couldn’t have been more fortunate.

As humans, we spend a lot of your time hoping and wishing for something to happen, then all of a sudden that thing starts to take shape. In your case, how is that feeling like?

MG: When it’s your time, it’s your time. As long as you’re always prepared. Always believed what’s yours can’t be taken away from you. The hard part we all face is having to muster the patience to wait to see the plans intended for us unfold. For me, everything that happened after my career took off was simply proof that things were always meant to work out in this way. The number of unlikely circumstances that needed to converge in order to kick start my career in the way I did are simply too many to make it a happenstance. That this is how life turned out for me. I’d spent the years consciously attempting to be the best version of myself, mentally, intellectually and even physically. Regardless of the opportunity that came my way I’d always be able to at the very least give it my best shot. The rest will always happen the way it’s meant to.

Would you say that you have a different approach to acting today than in your early movies?

MG: Generally, no, because my approach from the beginning has always been full commitment to the task at hand, which usually requires a lot of preparation for each project. That being said the approach has evolved with time, as you learn certain techniques that develop as a result of getting used to being on, behind or around the camera.

What would you tell a younger you, now that you have gained experience in this industry?

MG: I’d have to tell a younger me to stress less and enjoy the journey more – the good and the bad. Looking back, the majority of things I spent time and energy worrying about were irrelevant or out of my control anyway. Opportunities will always come and go. Failures are inevitable, but so are wins, as long as you’re willing to try hard enough.

When it comes to fashion, what are the three rules you take into your look?

MG: Fashion doesn’t have to be deep. End of the day, it’s always going to be a personal choice. My personal rules just happen to be 1. Wear African. 2. Wear African. 3. Stand out no matter what. More than welcome to emulate if you happen to think my efforts are successful.

Now that you’re well ahead in the industry, what are some of your long- and short- term goals?

MG: Short term goal at the moment is just being better at managing the different things going on around me as I attempt to pursue the uniquely different passions and ambitions I have. Long term, hard to tell. Who knows what the next decade will look like. At the end of it all, I simply intend to leave a legacy with a positive co-efficient. One that helps more than it takes away.

What does your life look like these days?

MG: What does my life look like? Like in the inside of a Formula 1 car moving at a thousand miles an hour.

Any words for the younger generation?

MG: Sure. “Life was never meant to be easy. It’s not always about you.” Truth be told, Mawuli Gavor knows exactly where he’s at, and like all shooting stars, he’s soaring above a landscape of possibilities. We at EMY Africa are pleased to see young men like this breakthrough and become positive role models for the youth.

Grace Dorcas Annan

Grace Dorcas Annan is a marketer and PR professional who represents fashion designers, photographers, models, cinematographers in Ghana. She specialises in business development and advisory and is passionate about how storytelling and targeted fashion messaging create business-changing content. Presently a children’s book author, she’s obsessed with innovating new ways of creating amazing content that’s useful, effective and educational for children.