The actor and musician Olurotimi Akinosho, better known as Rotimi, has come a long way in a short time. After making his debut as an actor in 2011, he is now in his second leading role on a major TV series, and has, in the same period of time, released a pair of acclaimed mixtapes—and even done some modeling. As we count down the days to second season premiere of the Starz hit series, Power, (executive produced by Curtis “50 Cent” Jackson) we thought it was time to learn more about this intriguing star on the rise. Rotimi joins Power for its second season, playing Dre, a protégé of 50’s character, Kanan, the nemesis of lead character Ghost (played by Omari Hardwick). Read on to find out how Rotimi got into acting, how 50 Cent has influenced him, and about the time a personal hero gave him a shout out in the club.
Tell us about your decision to pursue acting?
My story is a little unorthodox. At first I just wanted to book a commercial. I didn’t have any expectations, and I wanted to try something new. After booking Boss (another Starz series) I had to begin filming the following week. So I would say that I was basically thrown into the acting world.
Tell us about your first professional acting job?
My first professional acting job was on Boss. My first acting job was basically my first acting class. I had to show up on set prepared and knowing my lines. Also, I got a chance to work with a living legend, Kelsey Grammar—that gave me hands-on experience.
What about Power first appealed to you?
Season 1 of Power was a hit. Everyone was talking about the series, and how I should watch it. The show was well written, and it had a great cast. Who wouldn’t want to work with 50 Cent and Omari Hardwick? When I found out that my character would be involved with 50 Cent and Omari, my decision became a no-brainer. The cool thing is that before I got cast on Power, Naturi Naughton (who plays Ghost’s wife, Tasha) and I were already good friends, and she had been raving about the chemistry on and off the set.
What was the audition process like for Power?
Initially, I just sent in an audition tape. I got my best friend in L.A. to study my lines with me, and we incorporated props in my audition tape. Two weeks later they wanted me to audition in person. My audition included Courtney Kemp Agboh (creator of the show) and David Knoller (executive producer). I was in a room full of executive producers, writers, and the heads of Starz network. Sinqua Walls, who plays Shawn (a big part of my storyline), was my scene partner.
What should we expect from your character in season 2?
My character Dre is a wild card. He is a young protégé of 50 Cent’s character, Kanan, and Omari’s character, Ghost, trying to find his way. It gets exciting as the season progresses.
What is your best nightclub story?
I was in L.A., and I had just finished filming season one of Boss. I was in the section with some of the Clippers players, and this guy taps me on my shoulder and said he was a fan. I turned around, and it was Jamie Foxx. He was filming Django Unchained at the time. He then got on the microphone and gave me a shout out. It was a super humbling experience! He is one of my favorite entertainers of all time.
What, in your opinion, is the best music to dance to?
The best music to dance to is my music! Haha! I say anything that speaks to you. I personally enjoy dancing to hip-hop, R&B music, EDM/trap music.
What has been your best 50 Cent moment in the POWER experience so far?
In between takes, having those various conversations about business, finances, women, and everything about life. He basically took me under his wing, and is a mentor.
How does your character's personal style differ from your own?
It’s funny—Power really did a great job with the styling of Dre. His style is fly by combining high-end and urban fashion. A lot of things Dre would wear I would personally wear myself.
If you weren't an actor, you'd be…
If I weren’t acting or singing…I would be a sports agent.