Djimon Hounsou born in Cotonou, Bénin has had his share of life’s unpleasantries from childhood. He was born to a family of five to as the youngest child. He often felt left out and uncared for by his family members who were always busy and hardly had time for him. At the age of 13, his parents sent him to live with his oldest brother Edmond in Lyon, France.
After a short period at his brother’s, Djimon left the house in search of fulfilling his dreams of becoming an entertainer. For various years, he spent his days as a vagrant, searching for jobs, but could not find any. He ended up sleeping under bridges and rummaging in trash cans for food until his luck changed when his picture was taken by a photographer who was working for a renowned fashion designer named Thierry Mugler at that time.
He was 21 years of age at the time the pictures were taken and sent to a modeling agency in Paris. The agency who received Hounsou Djimon’s pictures was fascinated at the outcome of the pictures and he was used as the opening model of Thierry’s runway performance.
At the end of Djimon’s first show, Thierry asked Djimon where he lived and how he had been living his life. At this point, Djimon had no pleasing response to give him. This prompted Thierry to take him in as a regular model and Djimon began his world tour as a professional model.
Hounsou Djimon still had dreams and hopes of making an impact in the entertainment industry, the cinematic aspect to be precise, hence, he went to America in 1990. Upon arrival, Djimon realized the fact that his language barrier would pose a problem for him, therefore, he was determined to learn the English language. He did this by watching television channels such as A&E and the Discovery Channel.
His movie career debuted in Without You I’m Nothing which was in 1990 as an Ex-Boyfriend, also in television shows such as Beverly Hills, 90210, and ER. Moving forward, Djimon has appeared in movies including Gladiator (2000), The Island (2005), Blood Diamond (2006), Eragon (2006), The Tempest (2010), How to Train Your Dragon 2 (2014), Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), Seventh Son (2014), Fast and Furious 7 (2015), The Legend of Tarzan (2016), and so much more.
He has received several recognitions/awards for his excellent performances on various projects, some of which includes his nomination for a Golden Globe Academy Award for his role in the Steven Spielberg film Amistad in 1997, nomination for Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for In America in 2004, nominations for the Broadcast Film Critics Association, Screen Actors Guild Award and an Academy Award, all for his role in Blood Diamond.
He has extended his dreams outside the entertainment industry by becoming a strong advocate for human rights, speaking out against poverty, social injustice, and climate change.
Hounsou Djimon went from pooling through garbage for food to be one of America’s finest actors today having the same sense of humility and staying true to himself all through the years, excelling and impacting positively in hopes of inspiring others around the world.