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Djimon Hounsou Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (8) | Personal Quotes (25)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 24 April 1964Cotonou, Benin
Birth NameDjimon Gaston Hounsou
Height 6' 1½" (1.87 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Djimon Hounsou was born in Cotonou, Benin, West Africa, to Albertine and Pierre Hounsou, a cook. He moved to Lyon, France, when he was 13. Hounsou has graced the catwalks of Paris and London as a popular male model. He has since left his modeling career and has worked on Gladiator by Ridley Scott and Amistad by Steven Spielberg.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Anonymous

Trivia (8)

Name pronounced Jie-mon Hahn-soo.
Came to Paris from Benin at the age of 13, couldn't find a job and ended as a vagrant, sleeping under bridges and rummaging in trash cans for food. Things changed for the better when fashion designer Thierry Mugler discovered him and made him a fashion model.
Was in Janet Jackson video "Love Will Never Do Without You" (1992).
On ER (1994), he played Mobalage Ikabo, a refugee from Nigeria. His actual homeland of Benin shares its largest border with Nigeria.
Fourth male African to receive an Oscar-nomination for acting. The other three were Basil Rathbone, Cecil Kellaway and Omar Sharif. All four men were nominated for 'Best Supporting Actor'.
Learned English by watching television.
His ex-fiancée was Kimora Lee Simmons. They were in a relationship from 2007-2012.
Has a son, Kenzo Lee Hounsou, born May 30, 2009. Mother is ex-fiancée Kimora Lee Simmons.

Personal Quotes (25)

School bored me. Being educated and being intelligent are two different things. I thought I was smart enough. And I wanted to be an entertainer. I stopped going to school as a way of saying I was mature, a way of saying I was going to choose who I was going to become. --Daily News, December 3, 1997.
America has this understanding of Africans that plays like National Geographic: a bunch of Negroes with loincloths running around the plain fields of Africa chasing gazelles. Meanwhile, we have Africans and African-Americans, contemporary men, with great stories, great integrity, great heroes and nobody wants to see or hear about those African heroes and those African-American heroes. One day, I will be in a position to play those great human beings on-screen.
The gym can serve as an excellent place where kids and young men and women can really empty their issues right on the floor.
Africa is my continent. It is where I opened my eyes.
Funny enough, every role that I have had, I try to tone down my accent or speak with better diction.
Africa is a continent that provides so much for the existence of the rest of the world. We go around the world and cultivate so many things.
I was just a very torn child, very wounded in so many areas, with no family support. I happened to the be the fifth child of my family. So everybody was already grown and had left home already.
Some of the reason why you have so many divorces is that we tend to get married, most of the time, not for ourselves, but for others, or for how it looks to others.
I like stories that have a social impact and social attributes to them. That's the whole reason we make films: to broaden our limited view of things and to see how life is evolving elsewhere.
Rehearsals are set up so that you find out all the nuances about your character. You never want to beat yourself up. It's about finding the right direction, and most of the time, the right direction is not what you think is the right direction. That's why the director's there: to guide you there.
The lack of diversity, specifically in genre films and the superheroes our kids grow up watching and emulating, they can't really identify with. When you see the same thing, over and over again, and it seems not to speak of you and your heritage and your culture, it leaves you out of this world a little bit.
One of the things I find extremely challenging about the continent of Africa is that when the immediate needs and the social needs of people are not met, that kills dreams, and it's all about survival.
If anything, Calvin Klein is the iconic company in terms of fashion. They do have iconic images for their campaigns.
Even while modeling, I was still practicing kung fu and boxing as sports.
I happened to the be the fifth child of my family, so everybody was already grown and had left home already.
I hope more people will ask diamond companies to continue changing the way they do business in Africa.
It's a part of most actors to want to be in an animated feature; to extend the legacy of your career.
Until you are somewhat comfortable and confident and embrace who you are as a person, you can't possibly love somebody else because you don't like yourself that much.
We like to make the Marvel comics films because they're fun. Families can go see them together. They're entertaining. They aspire to inspire, and that is cool.
When most people in the West think about Africa, is their first thought about the game reserves and who's chasing gazelles, or are they looking at Africans as people who are equally equipped to do great things, as in the West?
As a young boy, I had strange dreams of affecting people and somehow being instrumental in changing the makeup of Africa and helping to improve life there.
My passion is more about bringing the stories out from the African continent mixed with the West.
The rocky time came right after I left school. I spent a lot of time at night navigating the streets of Paris trying to find something to eat.
A lot of times, we also have to live and work. You have to make money to pay rent. In that respect, I don't think you can be so demanding. Those great stories are not the normal stories that come on a daily basis. It's a struggle to land those roles. Everybody is looking for the good parts.
I feel like Africans are too often portrayed as people on the National Geographic channel: the image is of an African man in a loincloth chasing a gazelle. It's not intentionally racist; I wouldn't call it racist at all. It's a lack of understanding another culture.

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