John Boyega is in a galaxy of his own making.
O Star Wars star, 30, has been working nonstop since his role in the global franchise catapulted him to stardom. In a new interview with men’s healththe British son of Nigerian immigrants has opened up about how this work ethic ended up affecting his mental health.
Growing up in Peckham, a working-class community in London, Boyega said his ambition was the “battery power” that led him to become a “millionaire probably at 22 or 23” after his role as Finn in the sequel trilogy. . Star Wars The Force Awakens (2015)The Last Jedi (2017) and The Rise of Skywalker (2019).
However, the pressure to maintain that upward momentum has become toxic. “[I] had to say yes to everything,” he said of the pressure he put on himself. “It’s exhausting and it’s stress, and then dealing with the fact that you eventually have to introduce yourself,” adding, “There are so many different ways which careers can exhaust you, but the artistic way is unique.”
His work schedule left him feeling “exhausted, frantic and paranoid,” he said. “You’re tired of your own dream, what you love.”
Being able to talk openly about stress is vital, which is why he says he surrounds himself with trusted friends and family who will listen without judgment.
“You choose your circle in which you can accept how you express yourself. Once you feel that acceptance, they can help you, motivate you,” he said. “This is your safe place as a celebrity. So you can claim [about the downsides of fame].”
“I still want to say that shit,” he continued. “Like, this is petty, but I want to say to my sisters, ‘Oh, this is how I feel.’ And they’ll be like, ‘This is petty, but yes, I hear you.’ Whereas in the world it’s going to be like, ‘You’re a millionaire, you idiot. You know what I had to do this morning, and you’re complaining about it?’ Let me relax and complain to people who understand I’m not trying to be mean It’s just today I’m sad I’m trying [this phase of my career] as a more balanced person who is willing to improve. I know it’s a weird and random thing to say, but I’m willing to apologize.”
Still, the Smash Star knows how fortunate he is – and the responsibility he has to be a role model. Taking advantage of this has helped him find the gratitude he needs to get through the tough days.
“You have two options as an artist,” he said. “Focus on your tiredness or acknowledge that you’ve arrived and express your extreme gratitude. When I was broke and no casting director wanted to see me, if someone said, ‘We’re flying you tomorrow, take care of your hotel, shoot one men’s health cover and then fly back’, I would have cried with joy. Yeah, I just got off a flight, but that’s what rappers sing about. I’m living it.”
Using his platform to speak out about important causes — such as in 2020, when his rant at a Black Lives Matter protest went viral — has received its fair share of “backlash,” he says, but for the proud Nigerian actor, it’s normal.
“Our empowerment is not the end of it,” he said of black empowerment. “This is who I am. I’m going to speak up for what I believe in and make sure that everything I do is aimed at supporting people.”
Boyega is no stranger to talking about the mistreatment of black actors in film. Last year, he made headlines after complaining about how black actors and characters were portrayed in recent years. Star Wars movies counting british gq that he felt marginalized throughout the filming process.
“What I would say to Disney is don’t bring in a black character, market them to be much more important in the franchise than they are, and then put them aside,” he said at the time. “It’s not good. I’ll say it straight.”
Reflecting on his earlier comments, Boyega acknowledged men’s health that he hopes his stance can create accountability for the leader on the field.
“I was the one who brought this to the fucking front,” he explained. “At least the people who are getting into this now, after my time, [they’re] cool”, pointing out that now, Lucasfilm “will make sure you’re well supported and at least you [now] go through this franchise knowing that everyone will have [your] back. I’m glad I said it all back then.”
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