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Exclusive With Tomiwa Kukoyi-Sage

if i was not an actor, I’ll probably not be known. I’ll probably be a copywriter at an advertising firm or maybe a military officer. Either of those.
-Tomiwa Kukoyi

Tomiwa Kukoyi popularly known as Tomiwa Sage is a Nollywood Actor, TV Host, Stand-Up Comedian, Master of Ceremonies (MC), Writer, and Blogger. A Theatre Arts graduate from the University of Ibadan, He hails from Ogun State.

Exclusive With Tomiwa Kukoyi-Sage
Exclusive With Tomiwa Kukoyi-Sage
Why are you referred to as Tomiwa Sage?

That’s my name actually. It’s a part of my name; Tomiwa Sage Kukoyi. I gave myself Sage, it’s like a rabbi. I used to rap, that was my stage name then.

You emerged as the first runner up at the 2011 edition of Next Movie Star, please tell us about the experience.

Sure, it’s been long somebody asked me about Next Movie Star. It was great. I went in and I was burning with passion, I wanted to be – I’m an actor, and that was when I really realized I should have done this, should have done that. I learned a lot about mounting the camera, networking, branding, and how to survive as an entertainer in Nigeria basically. It was a really good experience.

Exclusive With Tomiwa Kukoyi-Sage
Tomiwa Kukoyi-Sage at The Next Movie Star 2011
When did you start acting and what was the first movie you featured in?

I started acting way back in high school. I’m not a Christian so it wasn’t church drama. When I was in school we had a good drama club in my time and that really helped me to make a decision early in my life about the fact that I wanted to do this. I was in literary and debate in school. We won competitions based on drama, based on debate, based on very good stuff, you know. So yes, I started acting then. And then I got into UI (University of Ibadan), I studied theatre arts so I started to really act there and we did some really professional work too. But the first movie I did was a screen adaptation of Women of Calabar and I did that with Toyin Osunaike, Ngozi… and some other people.

Exclusive With Tomiwa Kukoyi-Sage
Exclusive With Tomiwa Kukoyi-Sage
What role have you played that has been the most challenging for you so far?

Well, I’ve done quite a lot of challenging roles. Every script is challenging – as an actor, everything that you do basically is challenging – no two scripts are the same. You’re going from character to character, you have to enter into it, so it’s usually challenging for me.

But I’ve had to act like a monkey and it was very challenging for me. My lecturer made me go to the zoo for about 3 months – every morning I went to the zoo – to learn everything about a monkey, what a monkey could do; how they sound, their behavioural pattern. I was literally a monkey for the rest of that year.

And you’d imagine this whole situation was just for a one-minute appearance as a monkey. It was a stage play and it needed that correct dramatization and characterization of a monkey. So, I was jumping up and down, laughing like a monkey – I can still make some of those laughs and all of that.

Exclusive With Tomiwa Kukoyi-Sage
Exclusive With Tomiwa Kukoyi-Sage
Is there any actor you haven’t worked with yet but would really love to work with?

Uhh, in Nigeria, I’ve not acted with Kehinde Bankole – I like Kehinde’s work. I’ve been on set with most of the people that I’d love to work with already. Then Joke Silva and yes! Bimbo Akintola. And foreign, Will Smith, Jamie Foxx. These are very versatile people who throw anything into their character, they are so deep into it.


Which do you prefer between Stage Plays and Films?

You people are trying to let me betray my profession. Stage – because in film, you can manipulate a lot and get away with it but on stage, you have one shot and one shot only. For stage, there seems to be a serious rack for wanting to get perfection, that if you miss it, you can’t do it again and you just have to do it right.

Exclusive With Tomiwa Kukoyi-Sage

You’re also a comedian, when did you start comedy and how did that come about?

I started comedy since I started movies. These are art forms, so I discovered I could do basically both at the same time because while in school, while acting, we had comedy shows and we functioned perfectly well in both.


If you weren’t an actor or comedian, what will you be known for now?

if I was not an actor, I’ll probably not be known. I’ll probably be a copywriter at an advertising firm or maybe a military officer. Either of those.


You have a blog named Ijebuboy, what do you blog about?

Short stories. I write short stories, fiction, non-fiction, and all of that.

What should we expect to see from you in years to come?

Oh well, I’m writing a book. I’ve been picking out excerpts from my book on my Instagram handle just to get people involved with what is to come.

Any word of advice to younger people who aspire to be an actor or comedian?

Just know why you’re doing it. Ensure that it is really what you want and put your mind into it. Learn your craft and learn the BUSINESS of your craft, very important, don’t be a talented broke person.

Describe yourself in three words.

I’m spontaneous, I’m very hilarious and I’m very kind. I’m a kind person.


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