For every glory you see in my life today, there is a story.” Joseph Benjamin God stands in for me such that in all of those moments I was going through, I never shut down, broke down and I am still standing.” Joseph Benjamin
Our cover personality, Joseph Benjamin was born some thirty something years ago to Nigerian parents but was raised in his early years by his foreign step-father before the inevitable turned his amazing childhood experience otherwise and the challenges went on until through grace, faith, and hard work, he evolved from obscurity to greatness. Today, the same man who had once lost the silver spoon with which he was born/raised is back and better; after first going neck deep into computers and IT, before discovering and cleaving to his passion as a TV Presenter, actor, model and voice over artiste. He is currently the host of the popular reality TV show, MTN project fame West Africa, a role that has re-launched his career and had brought him so much opportunity. An unassuming Joseph Benjamin aspires to be one of the most honourable God-motivated media representatives in Nigeria’s entertainment sector. He shares the story behind his glory with the SEE Team.
My humble beginning
I meet people daily who say, “Hey Joseph Benjamin, I want to be like you.” But I tell them that they can be better than me, but it doesn’t just happen at the snap of a finger.
I don’t even know how to narrate my own story. For every glory you see in my life today, there is a story. I have come from a very long way to this point. I have worked in Lagos as a security guard; I have worked as a baker in a bakery; I have worked in a restaurant as a waiter; I have worked as a bus conductor, (though while as a conductor, I have heard a driver I worked with tell me I was not rugged or fit enough for the job); I have also had to live and work with an uncle of mine who sells female shoes in balogun Market in Lagos; I have had to make do with living in an uncompleted building when I was kicked out by my uncle due to my supposed recurring lateness from choir practice (which I have been passionate about till date); I have had to cope with very few clothes, like having only a pair of shoes and a shirt; I have seen what it was like waking up and not knowing where the next meal was going to come from.
And I can say, the ingredient that was used in molding who I am now is from those experiences.
But then I had an amazing childhood. I liken my experience to the words of an artist who said, ‘he was born with a silver spoon but lost his spoon.’ I was born to Nigerian parents (from Kogi State) but was raised by an amazing Dutch step-father who largely influenced my life but everything became shaky when he, who was the breadwinner, died living behind me and my 3 siblings, my elder brother and two younger sisters (his daughters).
But truth is this, trials birth victory; trials have a component that makes a strong man hence my turning point.
My Turning Point
Though it happened around 1997 when my mum pulled me to Revival Assembly, I have however come to see everyday as a turning point for me because everyday I experience the newness of God; everyday I experience a different level of grace; everyday a different level of who He is; everyday God stands in for me such that in all of those moments I was going through, I never shut down or broke down and I am still standing.
I thus can say God is my only source. I am where I am today by His grace and strength. He motivates, inspires and propels me. When everything else failed, He was and is the last man standing. He can’t have enough of my worship; I still lead worship till date in my church (Revival Assembly). I am still in the choir.
My journey so far to fame
As far back as when I was a Pre-teen, I use to go for auditions to start TV commercials. My first acting experience was in ‘Tales by Moonlight.’ I was part of those who acted out the stories. I later got my first movie role in 1991 in a movie titled, ‘crossroads.’ I have had to accept a minor role of a gateman in a movie, where all I was expected to say was, “welcome ma.” Thereafter, it kept evolving, as I got the privilege to showcase my talent before producers like Wale Adenuga (of Super Story), Tajudeen Adepetu (of Soundcity Music Video Awards) and then I moved on to TV series like ‘behind the cloud’ and drama series on MNet, like ‘Edge of Paradise. I also did modeling for products like Indomie, National Electoral Commission, Maltina, Stanbic bank and others.
In 2007 I hosted the hip-hop world award at muson centre, which boosted my career, and I also started Tinsel series one and same year I started going for MTN project fame audition. Though I was shortlisted, it was given to someone else who I felt deserved it. Then in 2009, not knowing if anything was happening, I paid a courtesy call to the MTN project producer, only to be told it was perfect timing as an audition was on for a new host of project fame. And on I went till it was my final audition, where without prior notice, I was tested with hosting ‘who wants to be a millionaire.’ And I passed the audition and went for my contract to host project fame. It didn’t come easy but it did open doors for me and brought me lots of opportunities. It was like a re-launch of my career. That same year, I did lots of movies. I got to do a lead role in ‘Tangle with me’ alongside Genevieve Nnaji same year.
What next with me
I am thinking of hosting a talk show that will add value to people’s lives, though I am yet to get a clear picture or direction. My gospel music also is in the pipeline.
How I joggle acting, presenting, and modeling
I try to understand what each job requires and give it what it requires and make sure they don’t clash. If they are going to clash, I let go of one and prioritize and I ensure money is not my criteria for prioritizing but mileage.
To upcoming artist/presenters
I will say don’t give up even if it does not seem like it is working. It didn’t work for me at the beginning. If you know you have the talent and whenever there is opportunity to showcase what you have, put your best foot forward. You never know who is watching and no matter how small the window seems, it sure would lead to opportunities. And keep upgrading yourself and always be prepared. The most dangerous man on earth is not a man with a gun but a man whose time has come. So keep pressing on.
My Word of encouragement to all SEE readers
“Weeping may endure for a night but joy comes in the morning,” according to the Word of God. Why He didn’t say, ‘weeping endures for a morning’ is because weeping is always at night; a night being the trying period. Wherever it is tough for you right now is your night. So while in your night, do hold on to God who said it and that morning of breakthrough will surely come. Just do not try to take the place of God by trying to help yourself. Take it at a pace and when you get to that point, you will know you got there