dudley o’shaughnessy is your new favorite screen heartthrob
The boxer turned model has another talent up his sleeve: acting. We get to know the boy from East London with his star on the ascent.
Born and bred in East London, Dudley O'Shaughnessy is the model, actor, and all round dream-boat you need to know about. You might recognize the former boxer from Rihanna's "We Found Love" music video (yes we asked him, and no he doesn't know how it happened either). If not, don't worry because you'll be seeing a lot more of this one. After spending a few years strutting his stuff on Jeremy Scott and Balmain's catwalks, Dudley's finally decided to hang up his modeling shoes and head Stateside to focus on a career in acting. With a couple of shorts already under his belt, and feature length film, White Color Black, in the making, Dudley's star shines ever brighter. If you don't love him already, prepare to fall hard.
Tell us a bit about yourself and where you grew up?
I'm born and bread in East London. Mom and dad were separated from young, but always kept good friends, so I grew up in two areas. Monday to Friday I'd be at my dad's in Canning Town for school and for boxing. Weekends I'd go to my mom's in Hackney. I got two brothers and two sisters, aunties, uncles, a bunch of cousins, and beautiful nieces and nephews. And a group of extraordinary friends who remind me of Jedi from Star Wars. I boxed from the age of 9 to 21 at West Ham Boys Club in Plaistow; it was the real primary school, secondary school, college, and university for me. Once I stopped boxing I put more time into modeling and now I currently live in Los Angeles. I moved here in September to follow my dreams of becoming and great actor and an inspiration to the younger generation.
How and when were you first discovered?
I was in Old Street with my mom and a lady called Bernice Bobbery scouted me. She saw me from far and managed to get to me before I went though the train barriers. I owe a lot to her, and to so many others, so thank you if you're reading this Bernice.
What was it like at first? Did it come naturally or were you quite self-conscious?
It was very nerve-racking at first; it used to make me more nervous than when I was about to fight in boxing. But slowly it got calmer and calmer, I still get nervous but it's not as bad. If anything, modeling made me more self-conscious.
What's the best thing about modeling?
For me, it has to be the people involved. I've met so many great individuals that I wouldn't have ever met if it wasn't for the modeling industry. It's helped me grow a lot as a person too, and also helped me with more of an understanding of how things work.
What's been your career highlight?
I have to say winning the National ABA title in 2010, it was the first thing I'd really put all my heart and soul into.
How did working with Rihanna come about?
To be totally honest with you, I'm not entirely sure. It just happened. All part of the magical journey.
When did you first get into acting?
I've always been interested in acting, but it wasn't until I stopped boxing that I really started to search for it. Once I did the "We Found Love" video, it was confirmation for me that acting is what my heart beats for. I believe it's my calling. And I've picked up the phone.
What is it about acting as a profession that interests you most?
There's many things. I'd say the main thing is how much it opens me up as a person; it challenges me a lot and all the challenges somehow fit some other challenge subconsciously in my life, it's therapy in a way. It also requires, heart, soul, acceptance, dedication, and truth. Boxing does too, so I can use what I've learned through boxing and apply it all to acting.
What can you get out of it that you couldn't get out of modeling?
It requires me to feel and be open, there's no Photoshop in emotion, the camera sees everything. With modeling I just turn up to set, but with acting I have to really prepare, and in doing that I get to bring someone to life and tell their story. It's a beautiful thing.
You've done a couple of shorts, can you tell us a bit about these?
I'm not sure what to say, but they've all been brilliant. I've learned so much in all of them; I feel they really capture my progression.
What's the story behind White Color Black?
First of all it's directed by a very talented man named Joseph Adesunloye from Nigeria. It's about a photographer from London who is missing something vital in his life, and until he deals with that he cannot go on. And that is love, culture, and truth. He has to go to Senegal in Africa to find it.
What kinds of films do you want to be a part of?
I don't have a specific genre but everything I want to be a part of has to challenge me in some way.
There's been a lot of discussion about diversity or lack thereof within Hollywood and also fashion. What are your thoughts?
There is a lack, but both industries, I believe, are incredibly diverse. Five years ago was a lot worse than it is now, in another five years it'll only be more open. Times are changing constantly -- it's all part of it.
What inspires you the most?
What do you stand for?
Unity and love, that everyone is the same, everything is one. And everything can be overcome. Love is all we need and all we're really in search for deep down.
Where do you currently call home?
Home will always be in London, but I know right now I can't go home, because I have a path to follow and right now that path is in the city of Los Angeles, the city of Angels.
What's the bravest thing you can do as young person?
Look someone in the eye and speak the truth about how you feel and not to have any intentions -- to just go with your true feeling.
What's the best thing about being young in 2016?
Our differences are what gives us a unified voice to stand for something that affects all of what we as a people are made of. No one is one color anymore. It's 2016, Two Thousand and Sixteen years on earth. Two Thousand and Sixteen years old.
What are you working on at the moment?
My craft and process as an individual and an actor. I have another short film that I'll be shooting at the end of the month in Berlin, with a fantastic director called Hakan Can. [I] also directed a music video for singer with a lot of potential called Jorja Smith which should be coming out soon, check her out. There's also some other stuff but I can't talk about it -- just keep your eyes open.
What are your hopes and dreams for the future?
Just to be doing everything that I love to do with others who love what they do and to get closer to my family. And want to shout out all my Gs dem, all the Jedis dem. I see you now.
Text Tish Weinstock
Photography Michael Mayren