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Who Is Benjamin Lugo Touitou? | Biography| Profile| History Of Nollywood Actor Benjamin Lugo Touitou

He is charming. He is brilliant. He has no airs around him. He is down-to-earth and quite expressive. He is Benjamin Lugo Touitou. 
Ben Touitou is one new fave the ladies are coming to love- and it doesn’t hurt that he acts pretty well also (especially the roles of ‘loverboy’ wink). The half-Israeli and half-Nigerian cutie has graced us with his presence in movies like Lagos Cougars and Desperate Housegirls.

 The fast rising Nollywood actor who has been labelled the new Nollywood sweetheart on the block.
In this Interview: It was a delight talking to him despite his tight schedule. Well, if there is anything we achieved; we made him cough out all you might want to know about him….
 
Where is Benjamin Touitou originally from?

(Laughter) That question sounds very sarcastic in a funny way. Well; my dad is Israeli and my mother is Nigerian, specifically from the Igbo Tribe. I did more of my growing up in Nigeria. So I am mixed. And I love both origins, they both shaped me and still shaping me into the man I work hard to become; which is a man with a globalist view, with respect and love for all mankind and with no limitations.

When did you join Nollywood?

I shot my first movie in Nollywood in 2012/2013. I guess that was when I joined.
How many flicks do you have to your credit so far?

Wow… well as at now… quite a few, not much. The series are: ‘Desperate Housewives Africa’, ‘Casino’, ‘This Thing called Marriage’, ‘Oasis Season Two’, and another yet to be shot – ‘Body and Soul’. ‘Casino’, is still in post production. ‘Oasis’ and ‘This Thing called Marriage’ is still being shot. As for the movies they are: ‘Lagos Cougars’, ‘Forgetting June’, ‘Desperate House Girls’, ‘Where Does Beauty Go?’, ‘Code of Silence’, ‘Mad Man I Love’, ‘One Fine Day’. Others are still in the pipeline.

Which one is your favourite?

Hmm… (laughter) interesting. I respect my characters very much. Every character I ever played was alive to me… and was very, very real. I don’t joke with them and I try to be in tune with their needs, their demons and their good sides, as much as possible, so I can’t say one is a favourite but I can tell which one I think if I met him in real life; I would probably dislike as a person, and that’s Chuks in ‘Mad Man I Love’, he is mean! Oh you don’t want to mess with this one! (Laughter)
Which have you had the greatest ovation for?

Hmm… (smiles and laughter)… well many of them actually and a lot of productions aren’t complete yet so I can’t say but thus far it’s ‘Desperate House Girls’, ‘Lagos Cougars’, ‘Code of Silence’, ‘Desperate Housewives Africa’. As for ‘Mad Man I Love’ which is only showing on IrokoTv for now and the few who saw it all said the same thing, that it was a very different path to the usual loverboy characters I played in the past and one particular Irish lady kept going on and on about how she felt the rage, insecurity and intensity of the character Chuks. But I can’t put that in the list because it’s not enough good comments to call it a great ovation. However I immensely enjoyed playing that role. I always wanted something more intense, crazy, masculine, fast and dangerous. I have so many shades that I can’t wait for people to see.

What do you do aside acting?

Hmm… quite a few other things. I am an entrepreneur, I have few startups here and there I co-founded with several people. One of them is Grailgraphix which is a creative company that offer creative services like graphic designs, print, book design and publishing, branding, creative consultancy, social media marketing, logos, and business identity packaging in general. We have very strong reputable clients and have done quite impressive jobs. Others are Coco Luxury Nigeria, Fasheon, Arch Paradigm and others. Also other small businesses here and there. I love being busy.
Can we have a peep into your background? And did you study Theatre Arts at any point?

My background was very fun, loving and full of a lot of interesting, sometimes magical events. My dad was a Civil Engineer (he is late now) and my mum is a lecturer. I had a lot of fun growing up. I was always curious, I asked a lot of questions and I am a perfectionist to the core. I even find it hard to please me.(Lots of Laughter) I play a lot. I love arts and music, I used to learn how to play the guitar and piano, I love swimming and aerobic sports, I love good food and healthy living. And all these were a result of my childhood. My dad died of cancer, he smoked like a chimney and it broke my heart when he passed away, he was very young, like early 60’s. I grew up in a normal neighbourhood, at GRA, Onoh Crescent, Enugu State. I was usually the odd one out (laughter), because of my looks. Sometimes I felt like a monster in Paris. Music and fine arts was my first love followed by a hungry urge to know how the world works and soon in high school I focused in the sciences because the arts like poetry, song writing, singing, acting, dancing, government etc all came too easy for me, and I wanted a real challenge. So I studied Computer Science in the University. And I LOVE IT! It’s like playing god. (laughter). As for the magical things, well I grew up in a very spiritual home, and a lot of amazing things happened to me growing up and still do. Some may call them miracles, some, law of attractions. I had a lot of amazing encounters.

What is your favourite fashion item and why? 

(Laughter) Wow Bustline; I love this question. I love mufflers, sun shades, watches, hand accessories and shoes. The first two are mufflers and sun shades. Why them? First I like to be mysterious and I like to be ready. The muffler can shield you from the sun and it can also keep you warm when you are cold. The shades, well, for several reasons like, I am very sensitive to light, also, it kind of shields my face from the world (laughter) plus I look really cool in them (winks). U know I got to protect my ‘segzy’ eyes na. (Lots of Laughter)
Would you call yourself fashionable? And why?

Yes I do because I see things differently and dress very differently. For me the ultimate fashion trend is a handsome guy or beautiful lady dressed in a simple and classy way. That’s the ultimate sophistication. It shouldn’t be too loud, nor too crude, nor too open. It should blend with you and make you stand as the best of you, not anyone else. Fashion can also be an expression of self, but it requires balance, the same way self requires balance, else people who are too sexual might as well dress in thongs and bras walking around or guys who are too extroverted may as well dress in a red shirt and yellow pants. And another reason I see myself as fashionable is that I tend to look good in clothes, tuxedos, suits, jacket, jeans etc. Not sure why, I am a pretty average looking guy (laughter) but I do. A lady told me twice that I could wear a bunch of leaves sewn together and still look good; even though I think that’s too much exaggeration(winks)

Who is your favourite Nigerian actor/ actress?
Hmmm. Favourite is a big word. It could mean many things. It could mean favourite as in someone I love seeing their works? Or someone I respect a lot and learn from? Or both or someone I think his/her acting skills are simply amazing? (laughs out loud)… oh well. There are many amazing actors in Nollywood. One in particular I had a crush on until she got married is Dakore. But I still think she is the most beautiful Nollywood actress though (laughter). Other Nollywood actors I respect a lot are: Majid, Ramsey, OC, RMD, Desmond, Nse, Omotola.
Are you dating? If yes, who? If no, why?
(Laughs out louder and sighs) My relationship status is always a private affair o… anyone who wants to know should come and ask me directly (laughs), my instagram handle is @BenjaminTouitou, and my twitter handle is @BenLugoTouitou.
Your ideal woman?

I truly love, admire and respect women in general. Women are magical beings I must say. Nothing in this world is more beautiful than a woman that is confident, sexy and talks well and can dream ahead of her time and sees endless possibilities. For ideal, a woman in good shape, clean, dresses decent (please not like a nun oh), is confident, knows what she wants and above all has a heart for Godly things. I could go on and on about how inspirational women are; but let’s leave it for now before the men get upset (laughs out loud)

Are you planning to produce your own flick?
Yes… oh yes, pretty soon. Already have scripts being worked on. Maybe I can use this medium to ask investors to contact me. I am very thorough and whatever I do, I want nothing but the absolute best even though I also believe in being pragmatic. One thing is for sure, the flicks will be the best of their kind, stories that will keep you dazzled and entertained.
What has Nollywood fetched you so far?
In terms of finances, I can’t disclose that dear; however, it is getting really good. I always want epic roles with great productions, sometimes the pay is good, sometimes it is just okay, however in times of uncertainty, passion lives on. I do what I do because I love what I do. I love the art, the science and the business of acting.
How would you rate Nollywood?
Nollywood if I am to relate it as a human is an early teenager. She just hit puberty and has started to notice changes in her body. Larger boobs, rounder hips, but nothing too amazing yet, may be in another 10 plus years or so, then the real woman emerges. Pretty much Nollywood is that way. A lot of awakening in the industry. A lot of people wanting to do great things, innovate, experiment, but nothing too amazing for now, most of the film makers are still following old trends for the fear of loss, which is fine, however the true secret to the true success of Nollywood will come from comprehensive collaborations, both local and international, with smart and more organic stories.
What are you passionate about that people don’t know?

MUSIC!!! POETRY!!! BUSINESS!!! INNOVATIONS!!! I am a hardcore business man on the inside with cool look on the outside but everything I do I relate as a business, even my acting is a business and I DON’T JOKE WITH MY BUSINESS! Music was my first love just after drawing and sketching. I have written a lot of songs but looking for the right platform before I come out in that area. Plus music is a very jealous entity, it doesn’t share, so when I do start, it will be a temporal pause on acting. And as for poetry, oh well I love words, and word play, maybe someday I will write a piece for your blog. And the last is innovations! I can be a geek… and I love loving problems and I think technology, computers etc., are still being invented to make life easier, faster and better, and sometimes I see problems in Nigeria and think of possible solutions for them, so yes, innovations and innovating is a passion.

How do you unwind?

(Laughter) I can answer that question in two ways: what the world wants me to say or what I really do. (More Laughter). I have a lot of things I do to help me unwind. Some are very private. But to give a hint, I am a good bad boy (Laughs and winks) and I am a very sensual male. As for the ones I can mention, I like going to the movies, I love a glass of good red wine, I love nature and animals a lot, I love to sing and listen to good music, sometimes classical music. I love to travel to new places. I also like to read a good book. Unwinding also comes from me doing what I love, acting is one of it.

How down to earth can you be?

As down as the Wisdom of the Bible tells me to be. I can be very calm and humble but I am not stupid. Sometimes I see things before they happen yet close my eyes because sometimes wisdom demands that. Solomon once said, it is not everything you should be listening to, else  one day you will hear your servant cursing your name. And it is not all that you hear that you respond to. Words can be life or death. Also the Igbo tribe has a proverb that says, “The gentle strides of a Lion does not mean that it’s claws are weak”. But in general I respect people so much and I easily see the pain and discomfort of others, and that bothers me a lot, because there are times I cannot do anything to help and my heart aches badly.
Your most embarrassing moment?
One time I went out with friends, and women in their mid thirties and early forties called me by my character name in Desperate Housewives Africa, and started “advising” me. (Laughs out loud) It was funny, they told me not to mind Kiki, that she was just being naughty. I was like, “Okay Ma”…  (Laughs out Loud), and these were also mothers with their children.
If given the assignment to change the face of Nollywood, what would you do? 

Wow. A lot. Where do I start from? One, we need more innovations in Nigeria in terms of technology for filming. Two, we need more spirited actors. I know I am one. And by spirited; I mean actors who respect the art and science of acting and has respect for every character they play. Actors that are ever evolving. Three, we need collaborations that have links to national and international interests. Four, we need more experimented projects especially ones that bring out the true colours of Africa. We need movies that propagate the cultures of Nigeria. We need that done but in a smart way. Not in your face and stupid. Movies can have stories set in cities but with elements of the African culture embedded gently into the facets of the stories. There are many things that I would change. But let me get there first!

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