You may not have heard the name Barkad Abdi, but I’d be willing to bet you’ll soon recognize him. As one of the stars of the movie Captain Phillips, Abdi has taken Hollywood by storm and his impressive acting skills have earned him Screen Actor’s Guild, Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor.
Before the movie was released, Abdi was working an hourly job as a limo driver and had never acted before. It was an open casting call that changed his life. But, let’s start at the beginning.
Adbi was born in Somalia and was only six years old when the civil war broke out. In interviews, he’s recalled that hearing gun shots and seeing bodies was just a way of life. After a year, his family was able to escape to Yemen where they stayed until Adbi was 14 and they emigrated to Minneapolis. In a few years he was able to legally start working and got a job in the Mall of America where he worked through high school. Abdi soon took a job as a driver for a limo company, where he was working when a local news station did a story on an open audition for a movie.
He told Inside Edition that he wasn’t completely sure that he would be cast in the movie, but that he had to try. He had to learn how to swim and drive a boat before filming started, as he had never needed to do those things before. But, he has admitted that he lied on his application and told producers he could swim before auditioning. While we definitely don’t condone lying to get a job, it looks like this has worked out well for everyone involved!
Once the movie was released, Abdi quickly went from limo driver to limo passenger and is leaving Minneapolis to pursue an acting career. What a crazy resume he now has:
Captain Phillips movie 2013
Nominated for SAG, Golden Globe and Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Mall of America
So, what can we learn from this inspiring story? Major opportunities come along every once and a while. And, though it can be scary, you just have to try and put yourself out there. Think about what you’re passionate about and how you can work that in to your life. Whether you’re a driver who dreams of Hollywood, a musician who pays the bills as a makeup artist, a cashier who wants to be a cake decorator or a bartender who dreams of stand-up comedy, pay attention to what’s going on around you and how you can make the opportunity work for you. Sometimes you just have to go for it.
What’s your passion? Let us know below!