We had the good fortune of connecting with Nigel Sudarkasa and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nigel, how do you think about risk?
I think to take risks is to step towards the edge of the unknown and jump wholeheartedly without hesitation, knowing the danger but recognizing the beauty in the sights you might see on the way down. I believe the only way to truly grow is to push yourself to new heights. We as people were never meant to remain “comfortable” because in comfort there comes com[acency, and where there is complacency, there often follows a lack 0f motivation to change. I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa and for 18 years of my life, all I could do was dream of the future, who I’d be, what I would accomplish, what kind of acting career I’d have, what kind of people I’d meet along the way, etc. I spent my entire life there thinking of what I would do when I left, however, with the resolution of being elsewhere, came the realization of leaving everything I’d ever known behind. It meant moving forward in a completely self-serving manner. I knew the risks of leaving every sense of comfort I’d ever known behind and yet still the reward for doing so could not have looked greater. I left South Africa at the age of 18 and didn’t look back. While I recognize the importance my home played in molding me into the man I am today, it is only because I had the strength to leave it behind, that I am as successful of an actor and person now. I would rather live with the consequences of my choices than live with the regret of never knowing their outcome. Without constantly pushing yourself into the dark, you’ll never know the beauty in the light that lies beyond. Take the risks and be ready for the person you become. In my own life, I recognize the importance of risk, and once you get a taste of what risktaking has to offer, you’ll never be able to go back.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My name is Nigel James Sudarkasa and I am an actor, singer/songwriter, poet, and creative. Since I was a child I have always had the ambition to give people an outlet to both emote and relate. I believe that as a society that overemphasizes the importance of “strength” we sometimes forget the importance of what it means to feel vulnerable. We are emotional beings and I believe that the arts were created to let us tap into that sense of emotion that we all yearn for in this life. A place to feel comforted, a place to feel understood, encouraged, and even supported. I believe that as an artist I am a vessel for said constructs. I find joy in bringing others joy, I find beauty in bringing others a moment to feel what the heart is truly capable of. I began my journey in the arts when I was about six years old and since then they have helped me create the life I have today. Where once I was a child living in South Africa with the ambition of being an actor, I am now a college graduate living in Los Angeles with a degree in fine arts doing what I love most. While I recognize that the road was definitely not easy, I will admit that it is one I would walk a thousand times again. Every hardship, every challenge, heartbreak, or fight led me to where I am now, and for that, I wouldn’t change a thing. Our goals are merely stepping stones in this life but our passions are what give us reason to breathe. It is with the same urgency to breathe that I desire to act. I’ve learned that to accomplish your deepest desires you have to be willing to sacrifice the things in life that hold you back. Laziness, fear, angst, and overthinking are all hurdles that must be overcome in order to keep growing, and while I can admit that I have not fully overcome them all, it is my willingness to try that sets me apart from others. To the world, I exclaim, “I am an actor”, not in profession, but in soul. I am a vessel of stories and truths and that is something the world will always know because it is something that will never change.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
The beauty about Los Angeles is that everywhere you go is a beautiful sight in its own right. My best friend from South Africa, Kai, is someone who I have always wanted to take around LA. He’s never been to the U.S before and so I feel like it is my job to show him all the beauties that this country holds, starting with the city of Angels. The first thing I would do is take him to In and Out to try some of their world-famous burgers, and show him that he’s really not in South Africa anymore. The next thing I would do is take him sightseeing around LA, maybe starting off with the Griffith Observatory and making our way up and down the coast. The next day I would definitely dedicate to showing him the Santa Monica peer and the beach. He is probably the greatest appreciator of the beach I’ve ever met in my life. Since we were children he’s always loved the ocean and the freedom that it allows him to feel. Next would come a Universal Studios day where I would take him all around the amusement park and the CityWalk and just let him revel in the beauty of the entertainment-themed landmark. Throughout the next few days, I would show him around Hollywood and its nightlife, Malibu and its beautiful views, and Burbank and its incredible restaurants and eateries. LA is filled with incredible things to do like seeing shows, going to concerts, meeting celebrities, going rollerblading, surfing and so much more. He’d love it out here and I’m just waiting for the day that I get to show it all to him.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There is an old African proverb that translates directly to “it takes a village to raise a child”, which truly means that an entire community of people is needed to raise a child into an upstanding adult. My mother would always tell me this growing up, but it wasn’t until adulthood that I fully understood what she meant. We are all statues of clay molded by the environments and people who surround us. We are a direct visual of what community looks like in a singular form. I grew up in a pretty large family. Being the youngest of five children definitely gives you an appreciation for perspective. I came into this world already having role models that had walked before me and pillars of support who could help me become who I wanted to be. My family and my friends are my greatest sense of strength. I grew up in a house filled with incredible people, who embodied both pride and stature and created a clear emphasis on the importance of intelligence and happiness in life. My father, Michael, my mother, Joyce, and my siblings Jasmine, Jonathan, Maya, and Mari are my compasses in this life, they have helped me find my way through all the adversity and challenges that I have faced, and to them, I cannot express enough gratitude. The friends I have made along my journey in all the places I have been lucky enough to call home are the reason I am able to smile today. They are all a piece of me and I wouldn’t be able to take the credit for being me without recognizing the energy and support that has gone into making me who I am. To my friends, family, and all those who have had an impact in my life, I want to say thank you. To my “village”, this Shoutout is for you.
Jesse Boyle, Antonio Bourge, and Camden Retzlaff