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Khula Budi is the lead actor in Famous, a Kenyan series, the founder of Black Forest Beard Oil, Mr World Kenya 2018, and the face you have seen severally on your television set at home and on billboards. But what does it take to juggle so many hats and do it well?
“You have to be committed to your craft. You have to put in the work to get results in anything, whether it is in acting, modelling or in whichever endeavour you are engaged in,” Khula shares during an interview.
He is dressed in casual tracks and is the perfect model of barely leashed energy.
Commitment and ceaselessly working to be the best version of himself are clearly the ethos he lives by.
Judging by his lean and muscled body, the various roles he has played on television commercials, and his vast modeling and acting career, it is clear that Khula does not know how to do anything half-heartedly.
His passion for the arts is clear in the way he speaks. He candidly shares about the hard work and discipline that has gone into building his brand.
Having started his modelling career almost a decade ago, Khula worked hard such that he has numerous television commercials with numerous brands of note under his belt.
He has explored the entire spectrum of the modelling world and has done everything from magazine editorials, commercial modelling and even pageantry.
In 2018, he represented Kenya in the Mr World competitions having successfully clinched the Mr World Kenya title.
“I decided to start acting as I thought it was the natural next step after conquering the modelling world.
My close friends Blessing Lung’aho and the late Kone Nouhoum are great actors. They would tape me, give me monologues and generally push me to get into acting.
I caved in 2020 and got my first big role in Maria, a local soap opera. I recently wrapped filming a new musical-drama series called Famous that airs on Showmax.
In the series, I play a multidimensional character called Magic. The character was so well-written and nuanced that it was a delight to embody them,” Khula shares.
He shares the importance for an actor to be prepared onset and to keep abreast of not just the lines, but the physicality and emotional requirements of any role.
Being the main character in the Famous television series, Khula shares how he had to showcase different emotions for different scenes that behoved him to draw both on past experiences and creativity.
For instance, having been a rapper immediately after secondary school, he is conversant with the recording world and drew from this to better create and embody a more believable character onscreen.
He emphasises the importance for an actor to be self-aware and have a toolbox that he can utilise while acting.
For him, music is one of the tools in his arsenal. He uses music to derole and get out of an intense emotional space after filming.
He is also passionate about physical fitness and uses it to recentre himself and expend any pent up emotions post-filming.
Having studied sports science, Khula is privy to the various benefits one can derive from working out and is a self-proclaimed fitness and wellness ambassador.
Philanthropy and entrepreneurship
In 2019, he and his friend Alvin Lee founded ‘Fitness Wars’ to promote wellness and do social good.
Fitness Wars is a strength and fitness competition where two competitors compete in a series of tests in front of a live audience with all the proceeds going to a children’s home.
Though Covid-19 put a halt to the competition that saw several children’s homes receive aid from the project, Khula shares that he is still passionate about philanthropy and is currently in talks with several partners in readiness for the next project.
Khula wears numerous titles. Not only is he a model, actor, philanthropist, and rapper, he is also an entrepreneur.
In 2020, with the help of his wife, he founded Black Forest Beard Oil, a premium beard and hair growth company. He shares that this is an idea he had been toying with since 2019.
During the height of Covid-19, he would find an alchemist, and an art director and build a haircare brand with a special bias in helping men grow beards.
He is currently working on another range that will cater to the female demographic.
He shares that all these products can be ordered directly from him through his social media pages or via FletNa, an e-commerce site.
As to what fuels his creativity and drive to venture into multiple projects, Khula credits his family.
“I love philanthropy work, especially with children because I recognise that there are children who might not have the same opportunities as my six-year-old daughter. So, I try to do what I can.
I have a supportive wife. She is my life partner and best friend. Whenever I have an idea, I share it out with her and we chart a way forward together,” Khula shares.
As to what he plans to do in the near future, he plans to pour himself into more projects whether on screen, in philanthropy or in the fitness arena.
With his driven nature and single-mindedness, we cannot wait to see what this will look like.