Daniel K Daniel: DKD Why He’s A Thriller Inside His World

Daniel K. Daniel, a prominent figure in television and film, shares his journey in an interview with Arabella Star Magazine. Despite initially not intending to pursue acting, his career started unexpectedly during university. He has a diverse portfolio including acting, modeling, voice-over work, and event hosting.

As a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science’s class of 2022, he discusses his experience and the industry’s evolution, stressing its global potential. Daniel emphasizes dedication, hard work, and integrity as keys to success, attributing his values to his parents, particularly his journalist mother.

He advises aspiring talents to persevere, network, and seize opportunities. Daniel looks forward to challenging roles and cherishes moments as a dedicated father. Grateful for his fans, he anticipates the next chapter in his career.

You have an impressive portfolio as a television and film actor. Can you tell Arabella Star Magazine about your journey in the entertainment industry and what influenced your decision?

Well first and foremost, I want to say thank you for the audience, for the question and for the interview. I have had quiet an impressive carrier so far and am very grateful. It’s not by my hard work alone but I would say grace has a very huge role to play in all of this because am not the hardest worker in the house on in the planet.

I would say it’s been a long and short journey because my journey was blick. I started out in 2009, I never wanted to be an actor, and everybody that knows me and has followed my journey knows this fact about me.

Daniel K Daniel

It wasn’t a carrier that i pursued or dreamt of when I was much younger. When I was much younger, I wanted to be a flying fighter pilot and be all up in the sky flying planes. I had a lot of role models in my family like my uncles and my step granddad who was a fighter pilot and that is what I wanted to do but you grow out of all those childhood fantasies real quick. When I was much younger my Dad use to allow film practitioners and film makers to come use our house to shoot films back then and I never knew i would have anything to do with them in life.

Daniel K Daniel

Fast-forward to several years later, I went to the university, graduated, and that was when my journey started. It was a good accident or a good coincidence because I didn’t go looking for film, films choose me, the art choose me. I studied applied bio-chemistry, am a Bachelor of Science holder and I also have a further degree in Data Based Management here in the USA so like I said, I didn’t choose the art.

I started doing some amateur modeling in my third and final year in the university I had a lot of female friends who were into modeling, so they always recommend me to their agents and when they need a male stud in quote, dark male stud in quote, they would always recommend me to them and that’s how I got a few modeling gigs when I was still in the university, that’s how it all started for me.

Daniel K Daniel

After the modeling gigs when I left the university, a friend of mine who was also a model, one of my modeling friends from school came visiting and wanted me to drop her off at her friend’s place, so I said no problem, I dropped her off at a friend’s hotel and she explained that it was her friend from Lagos who is a movie director and she wanted to get into the movies. So it turns out that the friend in quote was having an audition and invited her to come around that he was having an audition so that he can see if she will be fit for a particular role. I said my hello’s and after dropping her off, I was about to leave when the director said ‘tell your friend to come back’ and she was like he didn’t come here for the audition he was just dropping me off but the director insisted saying ‘he has the look of someone I have in mind, he can play a brother to someone.

I didn’t even know who that or what the person looked like but he said we look alike. So he called me back, and I told him I wasn’t there for the audition and he said you don’t have to be here for the audition, let’s just see if you have it in you, let’s see if you can read.

So he asked me to read and after I did, he said you read very well, what is your name? and I answered, my name is Daniel K. Daniel and he laughed and said you weren’t here for the audition but you already have a stage name coined out for yourself that sounds very fancy and I told him that’s my name, my name is Daniel k. Daniel and he said their is no way my name is Daniel-Daniel, your first name is Daniel and your last name is Daniel and I said yes sir that’s what it is.

He started laughing again with his fellow directors and I pulled out my driver’s license and showed to him and he was like oh! his telling the truth and I said yes my name is Daniel K. Daniel why would I lie about it.

After the joke he said that’s nice, ok let’s see if you can act and I said act what? He said act the same script you just read out, but do it again with more emotions and don’t look at the script too much this time and I said ok give me a second and I read again, read it over the second time and I was like let’s do it.

He called someone from the audience, the director’s name is Kabat Esosa Egbon and his assistant at the time for this particular project was Tola Balogun. I didn’t know who they were at the time forgive me, but I eventually realized that they were some top important people in the industry and I probably hold my first gig to them so I read and acted. People started clapping in the audience and he was like that is one of the best performances we have seen today and I was like really? Ok and that was how it started, I got the script and the rest they say is history. Don’t get me wrong, I did get my first role handed to me by happenstance or luck or stars aligning but when you decide to pursue something as a carrier, you will definitely get a lot of challenges along the way so the challenges started to come and of course I when got my first role, my mum was there for my very first recording.

My very first scene and my first shoot was in Wuse 2, Abuja in front of Glo Office. I remember it vividly, I came in the morning, I was waiting to shoot the whole scene and I waited till like 7 to 8pm before I finally shoot my scene and after that, my mum came and gave me a peck and said I support you, just know that I was here for your very first shoot and that was very nice so being a first child and a first son, my dad died when I was 18, may God bless his soul and we still miss him and it’s still the single most painful thing that has ever happened to me.

I had to grow up quick and become the father of the house and when my mum gave me her blessings and said ok if this is what you really want to pursue no problem but you didn’t really like it when they use to come and film in our house back in the days and truly I didn’t like it because back in the day they were coming to destroy my peace. This little boy just came back from the school with his brothers and we want to play video game but we have people in our house asking us to shut up, be quiet and stay in our room because they want to film.

Daniel K Daniel

I didn’t really like it back then but now am the one going to film in people’s houses and asking them to keep quiet while we film, isn’t it the irony of life but that’s it in a nutshell so I felt very motivated from a very young age to excel in everything I did.

My parents instill that spirit of discipline and excellence in us right from when we were very young and even when I lost my Dad, it kind of fuel me more and motivated me to succeed because I have everybody looking up to me as the first son and the first man in the house I will say all of the life lesson and motivations have brought me this far and am quite grateful.

So like I said the art choose me and I choose it back and when I did, I gave it my all, I did some courses to harness myself and make myself a better actor than what they said I was and also workshops and a lot of things to harness the talent they said was already there.

Prior to being a renowned actor, you are also a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science. Can you share your experience and what it means to be part of the Academy’s class of 2022?

It’s not prior to being a renowned actor, i became a renowned actor before being named as an academy member. Have had a lot of outstanding and astonishing mile stones in my life so far and this is what I can classify as one of my greatest achievements.

As an actor, as an artist and as a film maker, everybody aspires for the Oscars no matter how little or how big you are, the holy-grill is the recognition that we all seek from the awards that we receive. When you stand on the stage and receive an award, it feels like oh, this is the gratification; this is what I have toiled all this while for.

I remember when I won my first award in 2013, 2014 and fast forward to the next five years, I won several awards over the next five years and whenever I step on the stage to pick any award, it felt like hmmmmmm this is the gratification for all of the hard work and sacrifice we put in as film makers. When I got the call 2years ago that I was going to be added to the academy of Motion Pictures, Art and Sciences, that’s like the pinnacle, that’s like the peak of every actor’s career.

People were like how did DKD do it because they are other legends in Africa, how was DKD chosen out of all this people and I was like I have no idea, I don’t even know the criteria but am like eh, the art always chooses me and they choose me. I would say am very-very grateful, for the past year, have been a very active member of the academy attending virtual meetings and being a decision maker basically, we are about starting the voting for the next Oscars and I get invited to briefings, I get invited to big movie premiers in LA, in Atlanta.

Screening for movies, casting sections and all of that, we are privy to inside information’s, there’s a lot of email I get that contains so much information that I wish I can share with the world. Last year Oscars, we voted, we were the ones that selected the films and we just got the mail to start selecting films for this year’s Oscar as well so I feel like theirs a lot of work that we to do and there’s a lot of responsibility that comes with this and am very glad and very proud to be a part of the Academy.

In addition to acting, modeling, and voice-over work, you’re also known as an events compère. What do you enjoy most about hosting events, and how do you engage with your audience?

All of my careers in art and entertainment are like my loves. I love acting, I love voice over acting because it’s pretty much as exonerating and as exciting as acting because it’s basically acting without your costume because when we are in the studio doing voice acting, it’s very animated, it feels like you would have to be in character to sound like the character over the voice because if you don’t do all of that, your voice doesn’t come through as proper acting, so I love that very much. Modeling is where it all started for me, anytime I get to walk the run way, it feels like am at home where I started.

Modeling is where it all started for me. Coming to event hosting, I would say this is the one that has suffered the most in my entire career in entertainment because I haven’t had the time to give it much love as I give the other ones. Have been busy with acting over the past seven years, I love being on the stage talking to people, engaging with the audience.

Am not much of a joke star or a prank star but I have a lot of sarcasm in me and I speak sarcasm very well. I like engaging with the audience that can understand weighty sarcasm without taking offence and that’s it for me. I like to be knowledgeable about a lot of things so that I can engage the audience no matter the age or type of audience that am dealing with.

My immediate younger brother Chris Daniel is the event compere King now, he took over form me and his the event compere king now, a big shout-out to him and what his doing. He does a lot of event hosting now, from weddings to events and shows.

I remember my stint on star gist when I was hosting star gist it was like I couldn’t wait to get to work, it was so much fun, it was like gossiping with your fellow stars and talking to the audience at the same time we could get to be ourselves and show the other side of us so I totally love being a host.

The Nigerian television and film industry has been evolving rapidly. How have you seen it change over the years, and what challenges and opportunities do you anticipate in the future?

Well that’s the truth. It has evolved over the years and I know am not one of the pioneers but I know we have seen Nigerian and African movies evolved from the days of VCD’s to DVD’s and now we are in the cinema era, Netflix, Amazon Prime, basically all the streaming platforms out there, Rock Tv and the rest of them, Show-Max and the big screen out-there which is the ultimate.

So I believe we have come a long way, we have come in lips and bounds and there have been a lot of challenges from the very beginning which Nollywood has surmounted as an industry. I feel like every generation have done their part to get us to where we are today right from the first generation, from the days of the very first movie with Kenneth Okonkwo and Living in Bondage up until now, I feel like what rings a bell is Funke Akindele and her one Billion naira movie heading toward the one point five billion Naira mark ahead which is quite remarkable.

The levels that we are and the heights that we have attained currently is astonishing so I see no limitation to the growth of Nollywood because there are a lot of movies being done across board. Nigerian movies are being shown in different countries in the USA, UK, in the Caribbean, basically everywhere, we are filming and there’s no limitation to the growth, everybody watches Nollywood now.

Whenever am coming back into the United States from outside the country, most of the officers will be like, welcome back, my wife loves your movies, you know stuffs like that, it’s good to hear and some of them don’t watch but they admit that their spouse watch our movies on Netflix and all the rest other streaming platforms.

When you talk about the opportunity and secrets in the future, its limitless, there are a lot of our movies that are doing very well on Netflix, I can’t remember their titles right now but a lot of Nigerian series and movies are breaking bounds on Netflix, being top ten and being number one for days and weeks so there is no limit to the opportunity that we have in the future and everybody is starting to take note and even Hollywood they know that Nollywood is here to stay.

Can you torchlight some insights into the skills and qualities that have been most valuable in your multifaceted career?

I would say for me personally am not the hardest worker in the room there are a lot of people that work harder but for me, hardwork is really important even if you have all the talent in the world, you still need to put in some work to see your dream come to fruition and that’s exactly what I had to do.

With me, I would say some of the things key things I had to do is dedication, hard work and professionalism most especially you know being professional in your job and how you relate with people to your fans and to the media, everybody deserves a level of respect.

So I would say dedication hard work and grace because if you have this other two and the big man up their isn’t smiling at you then I don’t think you are going anywhere so grace is a very integral part because you can be the hardest worker in the room but hard work, smart work without grace is nothing so I believe your luck has to be in whatever god you serve, I serve the most high God and I believe grace played a very big role in my success and in all my careers and another thing is being a man of your word, being someone that people can rely on and having integrity also helps when people speak about you, they will be like when he says this is this then this is it, you are not someone that keeps people waiting or lie about your availability to producers just to snap jobs left right and center.

Another thing like I already said is, treating people like you would like to be treated, just treating people with respect basically, do as you would be done by, that’s my golden principle.

Daniel K Daniel


When it comes to professional growth, the place of role models cannot be over-emphasized. Kindly discuss the people who have inspired you to make positive decisions that have influenced your progress in the entertainment industry?

Well there’s no straight forward answer to this question but I feel like my biggest role model are my parents. You know my dad died when I was 18, but his still my biggest role model because everything I know mostly survival traits and being a gentle man was thought to me by my parents my Dad and my Mum, the values they placed in us growing up, mostly helped me and my siblings navigate the world and be who we are today as with regards to role models in the industry, my Mum is a journalist and she used to be the president of National Women Journalist in Nigeria, she use to work in AIT, NTA and Radio Nigeria so I would say she is my role model because growing up and seeing her work ethic, when she had to work even on holidays, sometimes my Dad had to make meals during the holidays because Mum is always at work you know news casting on Christmas day, New year day, on your birthday, sometimes she will not be available on important days because she has to work and that just became my life when I was fully into entertainment you know, have miss a lot of key days like friends weddings, uncles, aunties, cousins and they just start thinking that this guy is just too proud, he doesn’t care about us anymore but the thing is that when you are on a job, and you are thousands of mile away, you can’t just break off and tell everyone to give you two days because you have to go for a cousins wedding of course that doesn’t make sense and nobody would listen to you but then if you plan ahead and you are able to get that day off that’s good but if not, it’s not something that you can get easily so my mums work ethic, coming back home after midnight because sometimes she has to broadcast the news at maybe eleven pm or ten pm and then coming back home at one am and sometimes we wait up.

My Dad use to record her if we had to sleep before ten or eleven and play it for us much latter or a day after so watching her with that work ethics was very inspiring. At the time, I didn’t know it was going to affect me because I didn’t know I was going to be in the arts or entertainment business but then looking back I would be like oh; that’s how Mum use to do it and when I work late nights now I give it a hundred percent and whenever she calls and am working, she just says no matter what you do, give it a hundred percent.

I remember one time she called and I said am shooting one small film and she was like shut-up and I said what? She said shut-up and I was like what do you mean? And she was like, theirs is no noting as a small film because I was giving the impression that I was just shooting one small film and I will be back soon and she corrected the impression and gave me a different mindset. She was like, there is no small film, treat every film like it’s the biggest you ever get, you are always in competition to beat yourself so treat every project with respect and there’s no such thing as a small project maybe because the budget is small or it’s a small film and then she says every film you do is going on tap forever so make sure that there is no bad performance from you ever and that got me thinking that’s true, I can’t ever change any performance that I put forward even in the next twenty years, it’s still going to be the same, am not going to say oh can I go and correct that scene that I shoot in Blade, I didn’t shoot it well, can I re-shoot it? No, so if you give a bad performance because you are having a bad day, it’s a bad performance forever and you are never going to correct the performance in that particular project so, it just changed my mindset and I just realized that every appearance and performance, I must be ready to give a hundred percent.

What would you tell aspiring actors, models, voice-over artists, and events comperes who are looking to build successful careers in the entertainment industry?

I think have covered most of this, so basically hard work, you have got to put in the work, do your research, networking is also a very integral part of this because you never know who will put in a word for you.

We are in a business of selling yourself, its either you sell yourself or people will sell you so you have to sell yourself. You can also use social media, back then social media wasn’t really helpful for us because then, it was just the advent of social media but now.

Social media is a very integral part of anything we do, this is the Tiktok generation and people are blowing up on Tiktok, on Facebook without being on a professional movie set so, use all of this to your advantage, make the noise, sell yourself, network, contact people and most of all, stay in the course, work hard, you are not always going to get a yes, you are going to get ninety percent No’s but make sure that when you get that yes to perform, you give it a hundred percent and outperform everybody that’s my advice. You may only get one shot, make sure you take it.

As an actor with a diverse portfolio of work, what are your future aspirations and the types of roles you would like to explore in your career moving forward?

This is a question I actually ask myself at times am like, what kind of script would just make me leave what am doing, jump on the plane and move, it seems like it will take a lot to motivate me at this point that I am in my life and in my career so am like maybe if I get to play Iron Man or something, well am just joking.

Daniel K Daniel

The type of roles I look forward to play is anything life changing, I just look forward to telling good stories, nothing flat like being their done that kind of stuff, I want something challenging, ground breaking stories, ground breaking movies, yea I want to be part of such projects, something different, something new, something innovative, well not a project that will cause a negative steer but something challenging that will help see the other side of Daniel.

I remember up until the time I shoot a soldier’s story in 2006, I use to play mostly softer roles, lover boy roles, mummy’s boy roles, rich kid roles, that was basically what I was being stereotyped into but after I spoke to the director and producer of the soldier boy story, and they said we don’t want you to be the protagonist or the good guy in this film, we want you to be the bad guy, we want you to be the antagonist, we want you to be boss man, that mean, gritty, heartless killer and I was like, me like this, no oh! Am too soft for that oh! Fresh, Ajebo boy like me? So that’s not what an actor is, an actor is supposed to be a chameleon right, so I took the script home read it, digested it then I was like yea, I could actually be this guy and that’s probably the best role I ever played according to their word and accolades.

That opened a new door in my career and people started seeing me like oh! He can actually do anything, he has range, he can speak different, act different, walk different, talk different so things like that is what I look towards to.

Daniel K Daniel

Aptly share with Arabella Star Magazine your proudest moments in the entertainment industry? 

First and foremost, thank you for talking to me, Arabella Star Magazine, I appreciate you, you guys are doing great thing. Big shout out to you and thank you for this interview, it was nice talking to you guys.

My proudest moment, like what I learnt from my mum, every moment is a proud moment. Every time I get to step on the stage and perform, it’s a proud moment for me and of course, the gratifications come from the recognitions, have gotten countless award nominations in the past ten years and by my last count it was probably like seventy or eighty nominations that I had for awards in the past ten years and I won about, going by the last time I checked my awards plaque, I think they are about ten or eleven awards. I don’t want to discredit the smaller ones but going by those ones, they are more than fifteen. Every time I receive a plaque or an award, it’s a proud moment, It’s just like this is the reward for all your hard work, all those long nights, endless hours, for missing my kids birthday which I missed last year because I was filming in Nigeria, In 2022 I also missed my kids birthday you know, for missing those important dates in the life’s of our loved ones, so those awards just make you feel like you are doing something great and you are being recognized for your hard work.

Daniel K Daniel

So with regards to my work and career, those are very important parts of my career and also being nominated and a member of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science, the Oscars is also a very proud moment for me because just a very few Nigerians are on that board and in my year I was inducted with Blessing Egbe and Funke Akindele in 2022 and I think class of 2023 was RMD and some others so it’s a big deal, it’s A class, it’s the best of the best in the industry so it’s a very proud moment for me in my career and being a father also, this is not professional but being a father is one of the proudest thing in my life, I love it and its very gratifying and fulfilling with this.

I want to say a big thank you for this interview and a big shout-out to my fans and friends that keeps supporting the Daniel K. Daniel brand and keep rooting for me, I want to say a very big thank you, God bless, Boss-Man talking to you.

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