Paul Ogola, photographed by Blackgold Production (via Instagram // @blackgoldproduction)

“A huge blessing to be the first”: Successful actor Paul Ogola enters the doors of the Emmy Awards as the first Kenyan juror

Successful actor Paul Ogola makes history as the first East African jury member for the 50th edition of the Emmy Awards 2022. The ceremony announcing the winners among the nominees takes place tonight in New York.

Paul Ogola, photographed by Adelyne Nimo (via Instagram // @adelyne_nimo)


I am just letting you know that I am a juror in the 50th International Emmy Awards. Roger ! #goddid” had shared the passionate actor on his Instagram page on August 28th.

You might know him from the “Sense8” Netflix show, or from African productions like “Crime and Justice.” The award-winning actor is not scared to dream big and plays both in the international and African fields.

As he expressed through our Zoom-session interview on October 30th, it is “a huge blessing to be the first” to participate at the International Emmy Awards as a Kenyan jury member. Being the first means others like him can follow his steps, which is the idea he stands for.

A brief overview of the Academy

The International Emmy Awards celebrates the best leading producers of global television in the United States each year. They come from all around the world and compete with each other to get prestigious academy recognition.

According to the academy, the jury includes more than a thousand professionals from all around the world and from different backgrounds. Paul Ogola stands proudly among others, like the Egyptian producer Mohamed Hefzy and the Filipino actress Dimples Romana.

An inspiring message to spread through a Kenyan Voice

It is a huge responsibility,” said Paul Ogola, as he expressed his feelings about being a jury member of such a big event. He insisted on the fact that it was a responsibility he “enjoyed to take” and that he was beyond happy about it.

The actor focused on the fact that he is carrying his Kenyan voice with him to the ceremony. According to him, it is his duty to show other Kenyan and East African actors. He highlights the fact that the place he is in now can be occupied by those coming from Kenya in the future. It is not a closed door, and he is himself the living proof.

When they get to see somebody like me on such a stage, it only unlocks the gates for opportunities,” he said, convinced by his powerful words. He really hopes to inspire as many other actors as possible to help them not give up on their dreams and goals and understand that they do belong anywhere they want to be.

The stage, soulmate of the passionate actor

No dream was ever too big for Paul Ogola, who was able to achieve what was then considered impossible. Let’s follow his example and travel back in time.

The end of the 1990s can be a relevant starting point. We’re in Kenya, Africa and folk songs can be heard all over the streets for traditional dance festivals and competitions. A folk song is a traditional and cultural musical creation. A round of applause is noticed, surrounding a troop of artists who are dancing vigorously and freely. One of the teen boys dancing doesn’t know it yet, but his life goals are about to change as he enters high school in 2003.

The first day of high school is a big deal in Paul Ogola’s life. He notices the drama club members rehearsing a play as he enters the doors of this new school and stands amazed. He can feel it in his guts: he wants to do acting and nothing else. Paul Ogola joins the troop in February and has never stopped ever since.

I fell in love with acting immediately. This is exactly what I want to do. Not just now. I see myself doing this for the longest time” he said in the interview, using an emotional tone as a kind embrace towards the one he used to be and never gave up on.

2010. Paul Ogola just went through a casting for the Netflix germanic and Kenyan series “Nairobi Half-Life.” Nervous, he discovers the news: he is officially participating in his first international show. And Action !

2011. Successful filmmaker Lana Washowski notices his skills during casting for the international Netflix show Sense8. He cannot believe it: he is now taking part in a show coming from the United States!

To get that opportunity was mind-blowing, more than a blessing to me” he said, while remembering the events. According to him, perseverance makes the difference in a country where acting opportunities are rare. The International Emmy Awards juror wants to share his inspiring message through his own story and not only words.

Paul Ogola will then have many other opportunities throughout the years.

I am just some young kid from another village who had the determination and kept on pushing, kept on praying, and kept on working on my skills while having the correct information about yourself because that’s where they find us” said the storyteller, while giving advice to others about the importance of the professional image online to be noticed by the biggest companies such as the Emmy Awards Academy.

And because the man is full of surprises, he was also recently appointed as a jury member of the Out of Africa International Film Festival, happening in Kenya in January 2023. Stay tuned because this is not the last time you hear about Paul Ogola.

  1. Thank you k so much Nawel for your in-depth interview and brilliantly written article. I feel happy and humbled to share with you my story and have you package it with love and beauty, for the world to read.
    Thank you and keep it up!

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