BBG x Carrera - #DriveYourStory

6 March 2019

Photography and Words by Cecilie Harris
Fashion David Nolan

Our second story in our #DriveYourStory collaboration with Carrera Eyewear features Jordan Banjo. Ultimately this is the story about the boy who blagged his way into 'Star Wars'. If you are planning to go watch 'Solo: A Star Wars Story' when it releases in a couple of weeks or so, you may catch a glimpse of Jordan in the crowd, his arm in the corner of the screen or similar blink-or-you'll-miss-it moments. Although this is not such a revelation in itself, Jordan was never meant to be there, and he certainly was not meant to be in the main stars' shoes for a few moments as a stand-in. The revelation and inspiring takeaways in this story is the power we have to make things happen for ourselves and change our own path.

Some people, when they enter the room, have the ability to make everyone look their way and they have this specific aura of energy and positivity, that the rest of us are still trying to work out how to get. With incredible charm, a humble attitude, great sense of humour, and positive thinking to be jealous of, Jordan is definitely one of these people. After all, he made it into this story. He charmed his way into our hearts even after he misinterpreted the brief the first time around. This didn't stop Jordan, he tried again. And he wore the biggest smile.

Jordan is in his final year studying politics. To get some additional income he has dabbled in extra work in film and TV. Jordan was never meant to be at the audition for extras for the new Star Wars movie, but sometimes things happen if you want them to. We'll let Jordan tell the story:

"I want to start telling my story with my friend Shihab. I mean, it’s his fault that I decided to become a struggling actor/ bartender/dog groomer/whatever pays the bills. I love to act, I really do. The sheer presence of being on stage, capturing the audience’s attention and embodying the soul of a character - it’s an adrenaline rush. Shihab invited me to accompany him to a theatre audition at our university. To my surprise, there weren’t just two directors, but ten. I don’t mind how many people I have to audition in front of, but let a brother know is what I’m saying. Anyway, they loved it and I didn’t have to wait long to be notified I got the main part. Being back on stage and performing in front an audience, man, I loved it. It had reignited something inside of me I didn’t know was there.

I then saw a post online looking for paid extras to star in a feature film set in the Afro-Caribbean community in Hackney, where I’m from. I leapt at the opportunity to get involved. I know extra work isn’t exactly real acting, but you have to start somewhere. Upon arrival, I was shocked by the massive turnout: over a thousand people had shown up to this casting call. A couple of hours into waiting the chances of being seen were slim, but at this point I was so close to the entrance I couldn’t turn back. It wasn’t until I was inches away from the door that I started to hear the sirens, it was the police. The clock was ticking. I had less than five minutes to explain why I deserved to be let in. Fortunately, I’m blessed with the gift of the gab, I really am. Once I get into character I fully commit to it. I started acting as if I had already been inside, but left some vital documents I needed to go back and retrieve. As I walked through the entrance I was met by a small group of happy faces, and after a brief chat with the casting team, a couple of head shots and the filling in of some paperwork, I was signed up. I strode out of that building with my head held high and my dignity still intact. Although I didn’t get a part that time the best was yet to come….

A month down the line, whilst I was cleaning tables at a restaurant in Shoreditch, I received an email saying I had been selected as an extra. I was under the assumption it was the same film, considering it was the only casting call I attended. To my surprise, it wasn’t. It was Star Wars! On the first day of shooting, I was approached by two fellas who asked whether I knew how to stand in. I didn't, but I said yes. Basically, when the main characters aren’t on set, but the directors need to get a sense of the flow of the scene, they get ‘stand-ins’, and it is their role to perform the actions of the main characters, and sometimes recite their lines. While it was daunting at first, I did it and was fortunate enough to work as an extra and ‘stand-in’. It was an amazing experience and sparked my interest in considering acting as a profession…"

With this experience of extra and stand in work in his pocket, Jordan's perspective is changed, and after he finishes his studies in a couple of months is eager to explore this path further. And it's this positive attitude, ability to not give up and see opportunities, and force of positivity that is so unique about Jordan. In the below series of images, Cecilie Harris paints his colourful personality onto each frame, as David Nolan matches the colour design with bold Carrera eyewear against the strong colour palette of garments.

Perhaps Jordan can be an inspiration to all of us that anything is possible and that our perspective can change at any time if we want it to.

Eyewear throughout CARRERA.

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