Actress tells of struggles before landing EastEnders role

Kingston University graduate Bunmi Mojekwu, who plays Mercy Olubunmi  in the popular soap opera , may have been the last character from the online spin-off E20, to have been featured in EastEnders, but perhaps it’s true, they save the best till last.

She told People with Voices: “I succeeded through faith in God and myself. I have a strong belief in God and he has brought me so far.

"I have managed to finish college and now university and still do so much work, I know it’s only through him and this strengthens my belief in myself.

Bunmi started acting when she was 17, fulfilling a childhood ambition to be an actress.

"I remember going on holiday with my family and my aunty was watching me and kept telling me that I belonged on the TV, because my cousin and I were always singing in the street, supermarket and every chance I got I was on the karaoke, so was convinced this behaviour is only for the TV,” she told People with Voices.

Bunmi describes her character Mercy as a ‘motherly figure’, like poor old Dot Branning– bless her little cotton socks, a character who is “determined and gets herself into crazy situations mostly due to her best friend Fatboy. She tends to take on the mother role within her friendship group and she loves her family; however she is very mysterious”.

The 21- year old, originally from South London, but now living in Kent, had faced a number of struggles before landing the role in EastEnders.

“The main struggles I faced were balancing my acting and school – I was acting through college and university and sometimes had to turn down jobs due to exams.

“Other struggles are dealing with patience, I am always hungry and anticipate my next audition and there are times when it is slow and this sometimes can affect my confidence, but when it comes along I put my all in because I love acting and I remember those times when I am not working and don’t want to go through it again.

“I think sometimes for someone like me it can be hard because I am not the conventional beauty therefore some roles won’t be offered to me and I get typecast. But I didn’t think I wouldn’t make it, I just think it makes me more interesting,” Bunmi said.

Winning the best actress award, at the Identity Drama School, Bunmi later featured in the award winning play Gone Too Far, playing the character Paris, at the Royal Court and continued her acting career from then on.

“I just love to perform I didn’t care where I was. I would re- act episodes from My Wife and Kids or Moesha, or I would sing a song and perform every lyric. I also watched films like The Colour Purple. Seeing people like Angela Bassett and Whoopi Goldberg, Laurence Fishburne and Denzel Washington transform like they do really touched me and I hoped that I could do the same for someone else.

In 10 ten years’ time, hopeful Bunmi sees herself acting, doing films in America as well as in the United Kingdom.

“I would have started creating and directing films, presenting things that I find interesting and influential. And I would have loved to have starred in a bio film, of someone like Whoopi Goldberg or Oprah.”

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