2011 FACE List Honorees
Ngoli Okafor is a Fascinating African Committed to Excellence. He has penetrated barriers facing African immigrants in the U.S. to become one of the most celebrated celebrities of his time. Ngo credits his success to growing up in Nigeria. “I learned to be strong at a very early age and mediocrity was never accepted in my family. I knew that I had to be the best at everything I set my mind on.”
Ngo attended the prestigious University of Connecticut where he received a degree in computer science. After working in the industry for a while, Ngo was still unsatisfied and wanted to pursue his love of sports. He accidentally stumbled into boxing when a simple workout routine (punching the bag, jumping rope, etc) quickly grew into an all-consuming passion for Ngo, who, at the urging of several fashion photographers, had relocated to New York City to pursue modeling. With the fierce dedication he’s applied to his work throughout his life, he immersed himself in the ring, training five to six hours a day…every day.
After winning the Golden Gloves in 2008 and 2009, Ngo decided to try something else and focused more on modeling and acting. Throughout his modeling career, Ngo has posed with supermodels like Gisele Bundchen (V Magazine) and superstars like Mary J. Blige (MAC Cosmetic’s Viva Glam campaign). He’s appeared in more than a dozen issues of Men’s Health Magazine, has produced two best-selling calendars and has been featured in publications ranging from Vogue and W to ESPN and Fortune.
Most recently, he was celebrated alongside five Olympians in the Spring issue of the Wall Street Journal Magazine. As a result of all of his efforts, he is acknowledged as one of the most downloaded black male models on the internet. His television work has included stints on soap operas and TV series. He just finished work on a feature film titled “Jeremy Fink and The Meaning of Life”. Ngo also worked on “The Rebound”, starring Catherine Zeta Jones, which opened in theaters in summer 2010 and he’s currently at work on, “Triumph of the Will,” a feature-length documentary, which chronicles his journey from Nigeria to the top of the boxing world. One of Ngo’s goals is to bring more awareness to the importance of sports in Nigeria.