Bukky Bakray: What you don't know about me

The Editors
·3-min read
Photo credit: Harper's Bazaar
Photo credit: Harper's Bazaar

From Harper's BAZAAR

Bukky Bakray's life changed practically overnight when she was chosen as the lead in 2019's coming-of-age drama Rocks. The teenager, who had never acted before, was selected after Suffragette director Sarah Gavron scoured East London secondary schools to find her cast for the Hackney-set film, and was barely 16 when the movie was released during the London Film Festival that year.

"Rocks has been the job to absolutely shift my life, change my perspective, everything," she tells us. "I can't remember which artist said this, but when they finally made it, they were like, 'Yeah, we're different now; we're vegan, we do this, we go to this place, we wear these garms.' And I feel like that's how it is with me and the rest of my mates who were in Rocks... It really shifted our perspective into what we consume and the kind of stuff that we watch, eat and do; where we walk, how we walk, how we carry ourselves."

The film launched to much critical acclaim, and Bakray's performance as the British-Nigerian student Shola landed her the Young British Performer of the Year honour at the London Critics' Circle Film Awards. But the teenager, who has just turned 18, says she refuses to make her career the sole focus of her life.

"The best advice I've ever been given is to not believe in the hype and also make sure that acting is not the love of my life because it is the only thing that will never, ever love you back," she says, with the wisdom of someone who has been doing this far longer. "And that unrequited love, we're not here for that, ever."

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Bukray's latest accolade comes courtesy of BAFTA, which has named her one of this year's five EE Rising Star Award nominees - the eventual winner of which will be chosen by the public.

"To be nominated for the EE Rising Star award is absolutely insane," she says. "I don't think there is a word that I can use to describe the feeling. I guess it's because I know the people who have been nominated and who have won this prestigious award in the past. I remember the day that I watched Letitia Wright win her award... and I was just thinking, she is such an example of someone that I would want to aspire to be... I still kind of think that people are slightly trying to gas me, but I'm grateful. I'm blessed at the end of the day."

From her strangest audition experience, to what makes her happiest and what her party trick is, discover what you don't yet know about Bukky Bakray in our exclusive video interview above.

Public voting for the EE Rising Star Award is now open at ee.co.uk/BAFTA and the winner will be announced at the EE British Academy Film Awards on Sunday 11 April 2021.

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